Monday, 4 January 2010

Australian travellogue: We were typical Margaret River tourists!

5 Nov 2009. You don't go to Margaret River without partaking in their wine, cheese and chocolates, I told my wife. They are part of the reasons why we're in Western Australia, I added.

Well, we had our fill of cheese and chocolates in the Margaret River region except the wine. We knew of the ridiculously stringent drink driving law in Australia, with its incredibly low tolerance limit and thought the wiser of going on the roads with alcohol on my breath. So all we did was at Walpole, we bought a bottle there and we had been drinking little by little in our hotel rooms all the way to Busselton. Here was where our wine finally ran out and we didn't replenish it. We didn't think we could finish another bottle before we left Perth in two days' time. Anyway, we aren't good drinkers.

One good thing about staying two nights in Busselton was that we didn't have to worry about packing our clothes in the morning. We could just get up and go, which was what we did.

First place we stopped was at the Margaret River Chocolate Company and boy, was I floored by the huge varieties of chocolates! If my wife did not restrain me, I think I would have pigged myself out. Still, I treated myself to a glass of the freshest and "bestest" chocolate drink ever...chocolates with hot fresh, frothy milk and a dash of cocoa powder.

Next door to the chocolate factory was the Margaret River Providore which combines vineyards, olive groves and organic vegetable gardens on a working farm. Despite it being almost 10.30am, the wine tasting was still not ready, so we had to confine ourselves to the oliver oil and other natural produce - jams, chutneys, spices, relishes, pickles and sauces - at the farm. It didn't matter to us, actually, because amidst all the interesting stuff, we didn't miss the wine at all.

BTW, I've been reading that while the Margaret River region produces just three percent of Australia’s grapes, it is responsible for more than 20 percent of the nation’s premium wines. There are many small boutique wineries with different varieties of wine to suit different tastes. Margaret River is reputedly the most exciting of Australia’s wine regions.

The last place we visited on the drive down from Busselton was the Margaret River Dairy Company where we had a bit of fun with the cheese-tasting sessions. We wanted to buy some yoghurt to bring back to Busselton but because we would be on the road for the whole day and the weather had turned warm, we thought the better of it. The night before, there was even a huge thunderstorm in Busselton, quite an unexpected change in the weather pattern.

And finally, we arrived at Margaret River itself - the town, not the river, at about 11.30am. A dash of freshening up followed by a walk down the town centre and popping in and out of several shops. Time out for souvenir hunting as we decided that this was as good a place as anywhere else to pick up the bligatory souvenirs for the relatives and friends back home. For a while, I thought about buying one of these for my Caucasian colleague. What a fun present it would have been.

Next: Lake Cave
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