Working our way back along the West Coast

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August 27th 2018
Published: September 30th 2018
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R: We had just two more days to this trip. The first of which we packed up and said goodbye to Gareth and Fi who were heading up to Perth for some more time in WA. I had to return a suit to Dave and Shannon, who had just surfaced from their cottage in the woods. Then we were off. We started with a venison farm - more tasters, and ended up buying 200g of sliced meat as a road trip snack. While it was delicious, it wasn't a particularly convenient roadside eat, being quite oily and oozy. Then we started the wine. First was Vasse Felix, who did a very nice selection of Shiraz, though they were mainly known for their Cab Sauvs. They also had some Chardonnay that Cate was semi-interested in, but they also had an art gallery and a lovely sculpture garden to walk through. (Incidentally the weather has been great while we've been here: 20°C most days, and sunny - we heard this was not the case before we came, or after we left). Just one minute drive brought us to our next stop - Cullen Wines, who weren't really bothered if we were there or not. This was a organic vineyard and you could tour their small garden of organic herbs that were used in the restaurant. This was quite nice but was making us hungry.

Cate had had a very nice Sushi lunch the day before while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was so good, she wanted to go back again. So we did, and it was delicious. It was also a winery, but we didn't have time for wine here (Fishbone) and as we had to head on up the coast. We carried on up the coast to Yallingup, a beautiful stretch of coast which was nice for a little potter. Here we ate the chocolate we had bought a few days before, and marvelled at someone's "Marry Me" in stones on the beach below. But this wasn't time for a rest. We were on to Cape Naturaliste after that where there is a lighthouse, but with the short time we had, the available walk wasn't that exciting. Dave and Shannon recommended Eagle Bay brewery so we headed there next to sit in the sun and try a few beers. I opted for a tasting platter, while Cate tried the cider. I can thoroughly recommend the stout, though 25°C was hardly the weather for it. We looked up, and noticed Shannon's parents and cousins at a table just down the way so we had a bit of a chat, before heading off once more.

Then it was on to some more speed tourism - we went to see Busselton's famous 1 mile pier - which we didn't walk down as it was starting to get dark.

Then it was straight on up to Fremantle, where we were staying. The sunset was incredible on our west, and the moon rising on our right was so amazing we had to pull of the highway to take photos. We finally arrived in "Freo" at about 7:30pm. We were staying in a new hotel which was designed to look like cabins on a ship on the inside - quite quirky, and very cosy (the rooms were not big!) and headed out for the evening. We had pre-designs on the evening, having been out for food in Freo several times before. I am quite a fan of the Little Creatures brewery which has a great waterside location. We wandered around the town and took in the nightlife and various other menus, before ending up at the great hall of Little Creatures for some delicious Pizza, Sardines and loaded fries and not to mention some great beer and wine. We had a nighttime walk around the Esplanade area, before retiring to our hotel.

I had to move the car by 9am so the next day wasn't a lie in. We had a another potter around town and some coffee, going up to the Round House which was a prison in the early 1800s but now has a fabulous view across the bay. From here we could see an art installation that ran down the street - yellow lines painted along the buildings. It looked like the council had gotten very carried away! It was great weather again so we enjoyed just walking about in the warm winter sunshine (while the Aussies all wandered around in their coats). Then it was time to head on.

We were meeting Jess, our friend who lives out in a suburb of Perth. It was about 40 minutes drive (not least because the sat nav wasn't quite sure where to go). Jess is married to Tom - Cate's friend from school - and has recently had a baby girl, so we were conscious we didn't want to intrude. However, it was great to catch up with Jess (Tom was at work in the outback somewhere!) and we had a great lunch out somewhere (I'm not sure where we went). It was also nice to meet baby Rose before they head over to the UK later in the year.

Catching up done, we had just a couple of hours before we had to head to the airport. We took the time to head back over to John Forrest National Park (see previous!) where we were slightly more successful than last time in finding a Kangaroo or two. Then we headed down to Mount Lawley, where Dave and Shannon lived last time we visited. We liked this area last time we stayed, as it had great bars and restaurants, and we ended up in a Mexican place called El Publico. Here Cate decided she wanted sweetcorn so ordered the sharer plate of corn - which turned out to be a 4-person oven bake tray of sweetcorn with cheese on top. Now as many of you know, I despise the stuff, so Cate had it practically all to herself. Last Aussie beer in the tank, it was time to head back to the airport, for our 23:30 flight to Doha.

We did, however, manage to stock up on wine in the airport to bring home with us. Phew. I was worried there for a second.

PS. I love Qatar airlines - I got a seat where the seat in front of me had been removed. Except for the worrying rubber mat on the floor which indicated there might be some escape hatch underneath it, it was a great place to sit! (See photo).

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