Meelup Trail

Our last day in the Margaret River region dawned clear and sunny, perfect for a morning walk. The Meelup Trail starts at Old Dunsborough beach

1.Old Dunsborough Beach

and follows the coastline for 11.5 kilometres to Eagle Bay. We fortified ourselves with coffee from the Silver Bullet Espresso van, a gorgeous Airstream caravan parked at the boat ramp.

2.Silver Bullet Espresso

The detail in this lovely sculpture doesn’t really show in silhouette. Sculpture by the Bay is an exhibition of works held on the foreshore each March as part of the Dunsborough Arts Festival. This was the winning piece from 2015, installed near the boat ramp.

3.Dunsborough boat ramp

We walked past some beautiful homes with stunning views

4.Geographe Bay

before the trail narrowed and we were embraced by dense coastal vegetation.

5.trail

It was a bit early for most of the wildflowers,

but the magnificent Barrens Clawflower was putting on a wonderful display. Endemic to the south-west of Western Australia, the name is from the location where it was found in 1920, West Mount Barren.

Further on, the trail opened up and the coastal views were spectacular.

13.trail14.Geographe Bay15.Geographe Bay16.shags on a rock

Strategically placed seating invited a chance to rest and take in the view and perhaps spy a passing whale.

17.whale watching18.Geographe Bay19.Geographe Bay20.Geographe Bay

Granite rock formations lay scattered throughout the landscape

and along the sheltered beaches.

26.beach27.beach28.beach29.Geographe Bay

Lunch time was approaching and there were more wineries awaiting us. We returned along the same path,

30.forest

encountering this Shingleback lizard basking in the dappled sunlight.

31.Shingleback lizard

Isn’t he handsome?

32.Shingleback lizard

Acacia abounds

Through the cold, damp haze of August, the first promise of spring starts to appear across the landscape. The expanse of green in the forest turns a lovely shade of yellow as the wattle trees flower. With over 1,000 species of Acacia worldwide, around 950 are native to Australia. We mainly have two species on our property, both are endemic to eastern Australia. Acacia melanoxylon grows to 40 metres in Tasmania, twice the height if its mainland siblings, and can live over 100 years. The Tasmanian blackwood is a beautiful tree and we are surrounded by them.

1.Tasmanian blackwood

The timber, with its variable colours and grains, is sought after for furniture making. The Aborigines used a hot infusion of roasted bark to bathe rheumatic joints. The same potion was used to stun fish to make them easier to catch. The creamy yellow flowers have a fluffy appearance and grow in clusters.

2.Tasmanian blackwood flowers

Our morning walks with Poppy look quite different when the wattles are flowering.

3.forest walk

Acacia verticillata is my favourite. Prickly Moses doesn’t actually have thorns but the small, flattened leaf stalks are prickly.

4.Prickly Moses

The flowers are quite different to the blackwood, a brighter yellow and cylindrical in shape.

5.Prickly Moses

The dense, prickly foliage offers a safe home for little critters like bandicoots and birds.

6.Prickly Moses

I have seen Acacia mucronata, or Narrow-leaved wattle, in the conservation area adjoining our property. It has creamy yellow cylindrical flowers and, not surprisingly, narrow leaves.

7.Narrow-leaved Wattle

I’ve often wondered why Acacias are called wattles. Apparently, it comes from the term, “wattle & daub”, a technique used by the early British settlers for building their huts. The branches were used to make the framework which were then daubed with mud (and perhaps a few cow pats). The Acacias were used mostly and so, they became known as wattles.

Busselton

After a day spent savouring the digestible delights of Margaret River, and a peaceful amble through a magnificent Karri forest, we thought there wasn’t much else we could do to top off a wonderful day. We were wrong. We arrived in Busselton as the sun was setting, casting an eerie light to the east. The longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere, Busselton Jetty stretches almost two kilometres out to sea.

1a.Busselton jetty

Construction began in 1853 and the jetty was gradually extended until the 1960s. Closed to shipping in 1972, a period of neglect ensued, along with damage by a cyclone in 1978 and a fire in 1999. The jetty has since been restored and the Underwater Observatory at the end is on the list of things to see next time.

1.Busselton jetty

Toward the west, the descending sun was creating a spectacle.

2.Busselton

We were the only ones on the sheltered beach, the calm waters of Geographe Bay gently lapping at the shore. The changing palette was mesmerising as Sol slipped below the horizon.

3.Busselton4.Busselton5.Busselton6.Busselton

A perfect end to a glorious day.

7.Busselton

degustation decadence

One of our favourite restaurants in the whole world (no, I’m not exaggerating), is right here in Burnie. Each time we visit Bayviews, I peruse the menu closely and, for quite some time, have coveted the degustation menu. There is a choice of a 6 course or 9 course menu and the option with each to have matching wines. On a recent inclement Saturday, we indulged, with a friend, in a long, leisurely lunch. We opted for the 6 course menu, accompanied by a bottle of the wonderful Josef Chromy Pinot Gris 2016. As usual, the view was spectacular

1.Bass Strait

and the ambience restful.

2.inside restaurant

We started with lightly fried southern calamari seasoned with a blend of herbs, citrus zest, black pepper and coriander seeds and served with a romesco sauce and fresh mix of local herbs, bean shoots and roasted peanuts.

3.calamari

The pan roasted Rannoch Farm quail, from southern Tasmanian, was served with a light corn veloute, crispy chorizo and a celeriac and red radish remoulade (try saying that after a couple of wines).

4.quail

Sourced from Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania, the Atlantic salmon was paired with a fragrant yellow curry and topped with cuttlefish from Northern Tasmania, thinly sliced and shallow fried.

5.salmon

We were surprised to see some intrepid souls braving the water in pursuit of the perfect wave.

6.surfers

We weren’t distracted for too long as the fourth course was served. Slowly poached for five hours in a stock of spices, fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables, the chicken was incredibly tender. Sliced and served in the poaching broth and finished with a fragrant herb and pickled daikon salad, the flavours were exquisite.

7.chicken

The tamarillo sorbet palate cleanser was a lovely shade of pink.

8.tamarillo sorbet

The main course of the degustation is usually slow cooked Tasmanian midlands venison shoulder. The shoulder was unavailable, instead we had venison backstrap cooked medium, served with braised red cabbage, smoked plums, white onion puree and water chestnuts.

9.venison

Outside, the clouds had dispersed and the surfers were still keen in their pursuit.

10.beach

Inside, we had made it to dessert. Peanut praline semi freddo consisting of a light sabayon base combined with a caramel and peanut flavoured cream, served with a light chocolate mousse on coffee soil.

11.dessert

Our lovely friend summed it up beautifully…. “It’s like eating poetry”.

Boranup Forest

After a day of indulging in the digestible delights of the Margaret River region, it was time to walk off some of the damage. Boranup Karri Forest was the perfect destination. It is possible to drive through the forest but calories are not burned that way. We parked the car

1.Boranup Karri forest

and choosing a walking track,

2.Boranup Karri forest

we were soon surrounded by towering Karri trees.

3.Karri forest4.Karri trees

The Karri is a eucalypt, native to south western Australia, with a light coloured trunk that turns brown before it is shed.

5.Karri tree

The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath, hence the botanical name Eucalyptus diversicolor. The third tallest tree species in the world, mature trees branch only from the top third of the trunk.

6.Karri trees

At ground level, there were cosy homes for the wildlife

7.Karri tree

and a few early wildflowers added colour to the forest.

It’s hard to believe these magnificent trees are little more than 100 years old. The area was extensively logged between 1884 and 1913, the long, straight timber widely used in the building industry.

12.Karri forest

Hopefully, these trees will be left in the forest for future generations to enjoy.

13.Karri forest