Margaret River and south west WA – beaches, 4WDing and wineries

Bushwalking in the morning, vineyards in the afternoon, beaches and 4WDing in between. South west WA may just be one of my favourite places in the world. Where can we find an east coast equivalent??

 

We started our south west quest with a “quick” leg stretch at the Busselton Jetty – almost 4kms later we were back on land.

We then spent a few nights in Yallingup – a beautiful spot where Perth’s elite come for the weekend. And the privilege of being near Perth’s elite clearly drives up caravan park prices. After indignantly telling the front desk that I would be taking my dirty laundry elsewhere (like she cared) because they had the most  expensive laundry in all of Australia, Mae then proceeded to get gastro and spew all night long over all our sheets, pillow cases, sleeping bags and PJs. Which meant me crawling back to the front desk the next day and asking for change for three loads of Australia’s most expensive washing. Some of the joys of life on the road.

Freshly laundered and with Mae’s guts in recovery, we headed south to Forest Grove where a former colleague very generously let us stay in their holiday house for a few days. Wringing out some final perks of my old job. We spent a few glorious days with walls, a roof, a couch, an oven – pizza filled bliss. It was magnificent and almost made me want to get a job again – until I remembered I would probably have to work rather hard to get a holiday house, and would probably not have a whole lot of times for holidays. Much better to have a friend with a holiday house.

After 8 months in the grape-less outback we had been looking forward to hitting some wineries. Yet, remarkably, wineries were the least interesting thing about this amazing part of Australia. We were too busy driving and hiking through some of Australia’s tallest trees, 4WDing through bush tracks down to spectacular beaches and swimming, surfing, kayaking and fishing.

We did drink a little bit of wine too. But, with diminishing travel funds, and so many other distractions – we didn’t go nearly as nuts as we did at the start of our trip in Beechworth and McClaren Vale.

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We spent a night in Pemberton in an “arboreteum” (a fancy way of saying camping in the middle of a lot of trees), didn’t let the kids climb a tree that was 53M tall, free, but with no safety whatsoever and a long way to fall, and instead handed over a lot of $$ to be less death defying and walk a bit more safely through the treetops in the Valley of the Giant Trees.

The hubby is a bit freaked out by heights and didn’t want to do either – but at least he was in good spirits and happy to have his photos taken while he was conquering his fears.

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Next was possibly the best campground of our trip so far. We have spent 9.5 months on the road with hardly any rain. We were lucky that our first major rain, thunder and lightning co-incided with us staying at Ayr Sailean (near Denmark) – a low cost farmstay with an incredible enclosed camp kitchen (walls, roof, doors – yay!) and free unlimited wifi (that actually worked). As the skies opened we bunkered down with local wine, cheese and chutney and the kids  got to watch their iPads for more than 2 minutes for the first time on our trip. May not sound like much – but it was a BIG deal for us.

After our long dry spell with nothing but blue skies, I have been quite fascinated by all these clouds down here at the end of the earth. Denmark, Albany, Bremer Bay, Fitzgerald River National Park and Cape Le Grande have been loads of fun for an amateur iPhone point and clicker (lots of cloud and beach pics to follow)

 

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our fave traveling families the “Squishys” (@thesquishy6) and the Dudes (@allaveryadventures), with whom we have travelled and shared most of our 4 months in WA. When we set out on this trip we never imagined we would join forces with other travellers, and so the Squishy – Dudes-Riley-Smith (we never got a cool nickname) alliance has been unexpectedly fabulous. Thanks for the great times – we miss you already and have extreme FOMO as we hear about all the fun stuff you are doing without us (as we stare down the Nullarbor). But I know there will be fun times and visits ahead – we are homeless remember – we will absolutely be turning up on your doorstep in the future for some free camping (don’t worry – we will come bearing wine).

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I am (was?) a corporate lawyer who has packed it all in and hit the road. With my hubby, three young kids, Bonnie (our 4WD) and "The Shack" (our camper trailer), we are taking a year (or so) to forget about work and city life, enjoy our amazing country – beaches, mountains, outback, desert, food, wine and adventure – and figure out what we want to do next.

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