Tepi Laut Villas

Unlike a great percentage of Australians (according to Redgum in 1984), we never had a desire to visit Bali. We don’t cope very well with heat and humidity and weren’t too enthused about the crowds. When our friends from Darwin said they were going with the family and renting a private villa with room for two more, it was the perfect opportunity to spend time with them and experience the culture across the sea. After a long day of travel (it’s a fair distance from Tasmania), we landed at Denpasar airport along with, it seemed, every other flight from across the globe, just before midnight. After obtaining a visa (that’s another story), we stepped outside into the stifling heat and, just before we were overcome with secondhand cigarette smoke, we spied our friends. They had come to rescue us in the villa car which was, thankfully, air-conditioned. Sitting in the middle of the back seat of the SUV, I had a perfect view of the chaos that is Bali traffic. I closed my eyes to prevent my heart from stopping and we eventually arrived, dazed and disheveled, at the villa. It was Nirvana. Awakened at 6am by the chanting from the temple in the neighbouring village, I peered over the balcony

1.from balcony2.from balcony

and made my way downstairs. The open living area was beautiful, there was no doubt we were in Bali.

3.living area4.living area

Our room was upstairs on the right,

5.outside

an air-conditioned sanctuary from the heat of the day.

The bathroom was exquisite, every amenity catered for.

There was plenty of space for lounging around the pool,

and the secluded bale was inviting on a hot afternoon.

The edge of the water feature at the entrance (or exit, depending on whether you are coming or going), was dotted with fresh frangipani blossoms.

17.entrance

There were five villas in the group at Tepi Laut surrounded by rice fields, away from the madding crowd, at Seseh Beach.

18.exterior

Our villa, Villa Sungai, was on the edge of the complex overlooking a river and the small fishing village of Seseh.

19.exterior

It was a pleasure to return to the tranquility after a day out,

the villa dog was probably the luckiest dog in Bali.

22.villa dog

The night lights were cute, like someone hiding in the foliage wearing a hat.

23.exterior

A relaxing dip in the pool was always welcome

24.view from the pool

and offered a different perspective of the garden.

We were well looked after by the wonderful villa staff and enjoyed some fabulous meals

28.dining table

prepared and cooked in our own kitchen.

29.kitchen30.our villa staff

We experienced a spectacular monsoonal downpour one day, a brief respite from the heat.

31.rain32.rain

It was fun to return after a day out to find a new menagerie awaiting us. Apparently, it is known as towel origami.

Voyager Estate

After visiting some of the boutique wineries in the Margaret River region, we thought it only fair to experience one of the more substantial enterprises.

1.entrance

The word that springs to mind when I recall our visit to Voyager Estate is ‘immaculate’.

2.Voyager Estate

Established in 1978, the regimented vines were patiently awaiting their spring foliage.

3.Vineyard

At the end of the long driveway, we parked the car

4.Voyager Estate

and made our way along the perfectly paved paths edging manicured lawns.

5.Voyager Estate6.Voyager Estate

The gardens and buildings were inspired by the Cape Dutch farmsteads of South Africa. The colourful plantings complemented the stark white buildings beautifully.

 

As we neared our objective, the flawless approach

10.Voyager Estate11.Voyager Estate

was lined with some intricate examples of topiary.

12.topiary hedges

We finally reached the Cellar Door

13.Cellar Door

and entered the inner sanctum.

14.entrance

The hallway leading to the restaurant was pristine (as were the bathrooms).

15.hallway

Private tasting sessions are offered in ‘Michael’s Room’, named after the late mining magnate, Michael Wright, who bought the estate in 1991.

16.Michael's Room

We settled for a few samples at the tasting counter and, of course, a purchase or two.

17.departing

Swallows Welcome

There are many fabulous wineries in the Margaret River region but Swallows Welcome, the smallest winery in the region, is really something special. Tim & Pat Negus first planted grapes in 1994 and the family run business has been producing wine since 1997. The rural setting is peaceful and the artistic influences are evident on arrival.

Patricia Negus is a well known watercolour artist, her illustrations of wildflowers and birds have graced the pages of many books. Tim & Pat built the mudbrick and timber Chapel of the Flowers, a serene gallery, to exhibit 102 of Pat’s works that are featured in Wildflowers of Southwest Australia (the plastic chairs were remnants of a recent social occasion).

9.Chapel of the Flowers

The beautiful leadlight windows create a subtle ambience.

The delights continue outside,

the garden is a testament to Pat’s love of nature.

31. honeyeater

We made our way, past the magnificent magnolia tree, to her studio, filled with stunning artwork, books and cards for sale.

We wandered through a gorgeous courtyard cottage garden,

inhabited by a few frogs

and the occasional snail.

45.snail

After all the distractions, we finally reached the tasting room,

46.tasting room

adorned with more colourful leadlight.

Pat guided us through the range of superb reds,

finishing with a nip of Pensioners Port. Tim’s self-portrait graces the label

51.tasting room

and his other works decorate the walls. Pat instructed the boys on the fine art of labelling

52.Pat, Michael and Dave

and they soon had a dozen ready to ship home.

53.labelling

I could have lingered in that garden all day but lunch was beckoning. It’s a good life for some……..

54.winery dog

random rambling

There are times when I feel compelled to take a photograph, whether it is something particularly beautiful or unusual, or both. I then wonder what I am going to do with that photo, so here are some of my random snaps to share with you. In spring, we had a pair of welcome swallows determined to nest close to our front door. Each time they started a nest, we devised cunning ways to deter their efforts. We eventually ended up with a 30cm strip of black plastic stapled to the top of our walls to prevent them attaching their mud to the cedar cladding. They finally got the message they weren’t welcome.

1.angry swallow

Michael came across this gorgeous mum keeping her eggs warm, while walking with Poppy in the forest.

2.forest bird

I love kookaburras, I spied this handsome fella in the garden before leaving for work one morning, keeping an eye out for a tasty breakfast morsel.

After a brief rain shower one summer morning, behind the stream of sunlight, the plants were letting off steam.

10.morning sunlight11.morning steam

The strelitzia looked magnificent after the rain.

12.strelitzia

When we first moved to our house, there was an impressive stand of oriental poppies outside the lounge window, the same ones you can see on the header image of this blog. They then disappeared, my husband suspects I inadvertently poisoned them along with the weeds (he could be right). This year, just one bloomed and hopefully there will be more in the future.

The Japanese black pine seemed to be at impossible angles, reflected against the clear sky in the waters of our pond.

17.reflections18.reflections

I don’t know what these enormous moths had been up to but it looked like they were enjoying a well deserved rest.

The Tiger Lilies fell victim to our nocturnal furry critters last year and we had no blooms. For some reason, they left them alone this time around and they were stunning. Apparently, they are named because of their spots. Shouldn’t they be called Leopard Lilies?

Walking in the forest, I saw these cute fungi emerging from the damp humus.

26.fungi

On my way to bed one night, I sensed I wasn’t alone. It’s nice to get a friendly wave, just not from five hands at the same time!

28.spider

No spiders were harmed, he was gently relocated out of doors. Finally, after a hard day working in the garden, there is nothing better than a draught of home brewed stout.

29.stout

Cheers!

30.stout

spider surprise

We all know that feeling of walking smack bang into the middle of an orb weavers web. These clever spiders spin their beautiful webs at night to catch unsuspecting flying insects, enjoy an early morning snack and retreat for the day leaving the web to catch unsuspecting humans. We had one residing in the veggie patch, just to the left of the door and we never failed to fall prey upon entering. The spider proved smarter than we are and moved to one of the beds where she wouldn’t be disturbed. Early one morning, she (or he) was resting in the middle of the web.

1-spider-asleep2-waking-up

As I watched, she woke up and moved toward a tasty morsel that had fallen foul during the night.

3-going-for-breakfast

She grabbed her breakfast

4-breakfast-on-board

and returned to the centre of the web to dine.

5-all-eaten

She then curled up and went back to sleep.

6-relaxed-again7-back-to-sleep

I am grateful to her for helping keep the insects from the succulent leaves of the veggies.