Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Western Australia (26 November 2016 - 5 December 2016), Day 5 - Yallingup to Margaret River

Cape Lavender Teahouse
Spectacular view from the plateau
Canal Rocks
Canal Rocks
Cape Lavender Teahouse
Gifts and products sold at Cape Lavender Teahouse
Fountain with golden gilded statue at Laurance
Rose garden at Laurance
Garden dining experience at Laurance
Chilling out at Laurance
Wine tasting at Laurance
Old world charm, Laurance
Chandeliers made of wine glass, Laurance
Even the restrooms are a great place to unwind, Laurance

Imagine.....You are having breakfast in your Australian outback home and the most beautiful peacock came on to the terrace. Standing proudly on the balustrade, it elevates its tail, opening into a magnificent fan!!!

Imagine.....You are riding out from your resort and a kangaroo ran alongside you, as if wanting to bid you farewell. You travel a few hundred meters alongside one another, conscious of each other's presence. After checking you out, it crossed your path, right in front of you and was gone in seconds!

Real life experiences to be treasured!!!!

After this morning's thrills we reconnected with Caves Road, passing Ngilgi Caves once again. Following the road, which made a 90 degrees left turn, we soon came upon Cape Lavender Teahouse, strategically located at the exit to Canal Rocks. At 9.00 am in the morning, the place was still not opened for business.

Making our way along Canal Rocks Road, the climbs were immediate and excruciatingly steep. Many times, we gave up the challenge, preferring to walk instead.

Passing by our first vineyard, with the tea rooms right behind us, we caught a whiff of rotting flesh. It was Rygel who pointed out to us, the carcass of a calf by the side of the road!

The distance from Cape Lavender to Canal Rocks is only 3.5 km but it took us an hour to get there as we were pushing our bikes most of the time. We also made a wrong turn to Canal Rocks Beach Apartments, totally misled by a series of signboards with the same name. 

The properties led us down a steep slope to a stunning beachfront. Back tracking our way up was a killer, even on foot!!!

Getting to Canal Rocks, we had to climb to a plateau before going downhill, all the way to the seaside. This got us all worried about the return journey! 

The rock formations by the sea were magnificent but with our bikes parked not within sights of the walkways, we did not spend a long time there. Besides, a group of school children on a field trip were beginning to crowd the place, let alone some Chinese tourists.

Not knowing when is our next stop, we thought about emptying our bladders at the public toilet but quickly turned away as it was a composting toilet that was not composting fast enough considering the number of visitors with a bad day!!!! Stretching our bladders, we left Canal Rocks, climbing back up the steep slopes!

Retracing our steps, we reached Cape Lavender Teahouse around 11 am. Yet to be lunchtime but unsure when or where our next meal will be, we decided to take a break there. We ordered a set of scones, a slice of cake and lavender ice creams. While my boys liked the scones and the cake came solid and wholesome, the ice cream was too fragrant for our tastebuds.

The teahouse was nicely decorated though slightly overpriced. While its main hall was dedicated to selling souvenirs and lavender products, the tearooms only serves desserts. 

Another alternative close by is Barnyard. However, it was closed on a Wednesday and since it serves maincourse, it controls its own niche. Both concerns enjoy a monopoly in this desolate countryside.

Traveling on Caves Road, we past wineries, farms and forested areas. We were totally isolated except for the occasional few cars that whizzed past us. 

The climbs were just as steep as Canal Rocks Road. It sapped the boys' energy as this is their first tour on bikes. It took us close to 2 hours to ride/walk a 10 km distance!!!

Upon sightings of vineyards and restaurants, we were thrilled but could not decide on which stop to make. VT was hoping to push on to the nearest town but Ryan was getting demoralized.

After rolling past quite a few vineyards and none for awhile, we were thrilled to see Laurance with it's "Graceland" feel. The property has a vast lake decorated with an eyecatching, centerpiece statue of a gilded lady together with a fountain. The gardens were beautifully sculpted with rose bushes while the building holds a rustic old world European charm. Everything spelt MONEY and can be quite daunting to tourists on bikes!!!

Not wanting to jump into it immediately, Claudine was sent to scout Black Brewing Co, another restaurant and vineyard a few hundred meters away. This location is on top of a hill thus not visible except for a small signboard. The place was equally plush but disappointingly Asian Fusion!

Settling on Laurance, we truly enjoyed our experience there. Though pricey by Malaysian standards as a pan seared barracuda costed us AUD 38, we were very happy with the food and service.

Game meat at Cowab

Blackcows at Blackburn

Hitting the road after lunch, we continued on rolling hills, this time passing more farms than wineries. Soon, we left the farms as well and were traversing through a forested area. Turning left to Carters Road, our moody teenage son returned!!! His doom and gloom matches the eerie dark forests.

Thankfully, we finally saw light when the road connects to Busselton Highway! It was beginning to drizzle and traffic was heavy after office hours. Crossing the busy road, we rolled past Kate, the red locomotive on Rotary Park.

Just a little ahead was Margaret Forest, our stay for the next 2 nights! Immediately, we could sense the mood changing for the better. Whoop!!! Whoop!!!

Our stay was perfect!!! A fully equipped kitchen with IGA only 150 m away and Coles only 450 m away, VT was all sparkling eyed. We had porterhouse steaks, roasted potatoes, sausages and bread for dinner. Everyone enjoyed a good spa bath that was large enough for 2 persons and chocolate milk before going to bed that night!!!


Margaret Forest Resort



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