Yes, I realize, I promised this post a week ago. I apologize. I’ve been entirely too wrapped up in *what to do with my life* (now that I don’t have a job lined up for next year for the first time in my adult life) to think about things like posts and food and, oh, the little things that I really should be paying more attention to. Like gorgeous beaches, sun (when it happens!), berry picking, and the massive stack of vacation pictures I finally put up on my flickr page. This first one is from Little Creatures, in Fremantle, which is one of the best places I can think of to have a beer by the sea and dream about living anywhere warmer than CT. As long as you don’t want a stout, of course, but Australia isn’t really the place for stout anyway.
Perth itself looks like this:
It’s a small city, but it has the most amazing park right near the city center with preserved Bushland and all sorts of gorgeous places to while away the day.
Kings Park aside, Perth was just a good chance to catch up James’s family and go shopping for passionfruit tea and delicious jam donuts and all sorts of other good stuff at the Fremantle Markets and this greek spice market whose name I can’t recall at the moment. This was good in its own right, but I wanted to see something new, so we ended up heading down to Margaret River for a few days. We stayed near Yallingup, which is a tiny town a bit north of Margaret River, with cheap campsites and views like this:
It’s nice seeing the sun set over the water again. There’s also a pretty awesome cave nearby:
It is one of a few sandstone caves in the region, and it was worth a trip, even if we did have trouble getting pretty pictures. We headed down toward Margaret River, as well, to check out the Karri forest (pictures do not capture how awesome this was):
They’re as tall as redwoods, almost, except they all seem to reach the same height, so you feel like you’re under this light, open canopy of green. It’s the kind of place you’d expect to find fairies if you happened to be five years old and less cynical than I am.
In Margaret River, we stopped for lunch at the Margaret River Bakery, which was cheap and awesome. I had a burger with the works,
which was something like AU$7 with the chips. Beetroot, fried egg, and grilled onions were all involved in this masterpiece, and while I was skeptical at first, there is a reason burgers in Australia come with this particular combination. The beetroot and onion were a sweet counterpart to the savory grilled beef and fried egg, and despite my misgivings, I ended up liking it. James had a AU$4 pie, chips, and gravy special:
This was proper Aussie tucker, as James would say if he happened to be feeling homesick and in the midst of making pie. Yes, gravy and chips are brilliant together, if slightly indulgent.
Now, Margaret River is probably not known for its bakery, however delicious our lunch happened to be. It IS known for wineries and food producers, which happen to be all over the region, which you can go check out if you have a car and an adventurous stomach. We didn’t do much wine tasting (I was driving — on the wrong side of the road! And James doesn’t drink.) but we did check out some local cheese producers, a chocolate factory, and an olive oil producer or two. Olio Bello was my favorite one, I think. They had new olive oil they had just pressed that week, which was green, fresh, spicy, and tasty. We picked up a bottle to bring back with us, and had to restrain ourselves from buying more. The liquid ban in airports is cumbersome. We also checked out The Berry Farm, which makes jams, berry-infused ports and wines, and this incredible sparkling strawberry wine that I seriously would have bought if we could have brought it back. We also stopped for a coffee on their grounds, since we ran into a guy that said they made “incredible cappucinos” on our way into the tasting room. He was right, though the setting might have helped the experience.
Most of the wineries have cafes and restaurants on their property, and this was no exception. I’d say go for lunch and a glass of strawberry wine and just hang out for a little while in the sun, if you have the chance. If we hadn’t already been eating almost continuously all day, we might have done just that.
It was a different sort of vacation. You have to understand that you will be driving everywhere, stopping for free food at random little farms and shops all over the place, and spending more money than you really planned on spending. This wasn’t a bad thing at all, and we balanced it with plenty of beach walks, which I sorely miss here. (The Long Island sound is just not the same!) I think I need to look for a job somewhere warmer.
So that’s finally Western Australia, more than a month after our return. Maybe I’ll even get back to posting about our garden (which is growing like mad), that awesome strawberry rhubarb tart with the easiest crust ever that I made ages ago, or berry picking in CT. You’ll have to wait and see…