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

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

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

Watershed Winery

With lunch time approaching, we arrived at Watershed Winery, not far from the township of Margaret River. The expanse of regimented vines

1.Watershed vines

followed us down the driveway to the impressive cellar door edifice.

2.entrance

The light, airy café and restaurant are separated only by seating arrangement and menu.

3.restaurant

Head Chef, Dan Gedge, was trained in Cornwall by none other than Rick Stein. Sourcing the freshest seasonal produce, he creates a very tempting menu. I can’t remember what we ate and I have no photos but I do know it was delicious. On a warmer day it would have been perfect to sit outside. The extensive alfresco dining area

5.alfresco6.alfresco4.alfresco

delivers stunning views over the dam and rolling vineyards.

7.vineyard & dam

The architecture is exceptional, and with the beautiful setting, I can see why it is a popular venue for weddings.

8.rear entrance9.rear courtyard

We didn’t linger after lunch, there were more wineries to conquer.

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