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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Are you sitting comfortably? (part l)

Are you sitting comfortably?? (part 1) 

This is going to be a long un!!! 

I'm aware i have neglected the blog over the last couple of weeks and its not that we havent done anything, the complete opposite. We have been up to loads but time is galloping on. It's hard to believe as I sit on the balcony of the Novotel Ningaloo, looking out onto the Indian Ocean, in 28 degree heat (it was 38 during the day)  but this time next week Mollie and I will be sitting on a plane Scotland bound. I don't think I ever believed that this week would come. but it has and Mollie and I just need to make the most of the last few days we have..........

So, what's been happening? Well I decided to go on a little road trip to a place called Margaret River. The place is a hidden gem!!! It has over 200 wineries with frequent wine tastings and live gigs attracting locals and many from further afield. We headed down on the Monday holiday, Labour day which was a good call. My side of the road heading south was empty but the other side heading north - nose to tail!!!!! Aussies really like heading to this place for a break and I'm not surprised. The area is in the bottom south west of Australia and stretches from Bussleton to Augusta and then along the coast to Albany. I had planned to do a wee circuit which was to follow the road round to Margaret River with a stop in Dunsborough and then Margaret River and then onto Albany. 
The drive down to Dunsborough was fine with the exception of temporarily losing Pob! Mollie left him in a Tourist Info place. Eeeeeeek. A quick turnaround and he was rescued. I don't know who was more upset, Mollie or me. Graham gave Mollie Pob (Pooh Bear) and Tigger when she was born and I suppose it feels as if he is here.

Bussleton has the longest Jetty in Australia I think. We bypassed it due to the Pob incident and headed to Dunsborough. It was no more than three hours driving to get there from Byford which in Scotland can get you to Edinburgh from us (oh yes it can!!!!! Lol) I'm getting used to the fact that to get anywhere here you either fly or drive and be prepared to drive long distances. I found us some accommodation in a reasonable motel and then headed out to have a look. The first thing you notice is that the beaches are STUNNING and the water is just gorgeous. Clear blue, warm and teaming with life. There was even a wee boy fishing off the beach with his mum. Mollie was dying to see what was in his bucket. 
A wee play in the park and then a  nice bistro dinner in the pub next door(The Pour House) Beautiful! 

The drive between Dunsborough and Margaret River is full of things to do. the wineries really kick in but there are also caves, light house, mazes, cheese factory and chocolate factory. Some deserve more time and attention than others of course but we did do it all. I did initially want to just stay for one night at Margaret river but we didn't get a chance to do everything on the drive down so a quick change of plan and we now have an extra night in Margaret River. On the Tuesday after leaving Dunsborough we headed for Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse which Mollie loved. There was a tour that you could do so we did it. We got to go to the top and got to check out the workings of it. It was good. You could see for miles. 
The lighthouse looked down on to a stunning beach called Bunker Bay which again was just beautiful. The temperature, after leaving the lighthouse was climbing so we had a quick bite to eat and then onto the stunning Bunker Bay Beach. There was a bit of a wave which Mollie had great fun on. I didn't want to leave but we had to get a move on. 

The ticket we had for the lighthouse allowed us to get discount into the Ngilgi caves so we departed e lighthouse and headed for there. Its only a 20 minute drive. These caves are awesome. You can decend down to around 30 odd metres down though, at it's deepest it's 50 odd but the public doesn't go that far. The guide explained all the formations we were looking at. They also have a 'fairy' cave which Mollie thought was brill. The deeper down you go your breathing becomes very laboured due to the decreasing oxygen that far down. I got lots of pictures so maybe you Geography types can maybe explain to me again what I was looking at. 

The day was disappearing and I was desperate to find somewhere to stay. We hadn't done any of the play areas, the maze, chocolate factory etc so I was going to have to return to them the following day. I had seen a motel in trip adviser with a good write up so that was it - sorted. So Tuesday had been pretty full on. Wednesday was much the same. We managed to squeeze in; a morning at a maze place. Fab! We got lost!.........a cheese factory, a winery and the Margaret River chocolate factory. I did do tastings as we went round each. I felt ill by the end of Wednesday. I must have done them in the wrong order!!! Anyway, another packed day. Oh, we finished off each day, Tues & Wednesday with a trip to the beach. It's about 15minute drive from Margaret River but again it had powder soft sand and clear blue seas. It got better and better. The drive to the beach is fine except for all the black bare trees. Back in November there was a big bush fire which ran through those parts. It devastated a whole area of bush, shrubbery and trees. It's quite sad. Mollie asked lots of questions about it so it must have affected her too. She did remember about the bush fires in Queensland too.

The drive from Margaret River to Albany is a long one.It took nearly 6 hours and that was with a quick pit stop for fuel and a tree top walk called Valley of the Giants, which was gorgeous but very scary!!! what happens to your fear when you are younger? You have none!!!! As you get older you certainly believe that the metal walkway way above the trees will fall and you with it!!! Hmm, maybe not but it's worth bearing in mind. Back in the car and off to Albany. Alot of the beaches on the coast were actually closed due to the threat of or previous fires that had occurred in the area. 

Eventually we hit Albany. It is a loooooong road. Again no accommodation booked but trip adviser helped us out. A nice b&b down by the beach. 

I'm off to bed so part ll is tomorrow x

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