Day 3 – Oceans Collide & Margaret River’s Specialities – food, wine and limestone caves

To visit and put my feet in as many of the world’s seas is a big one on my bucket list. Over the last three years I have knocked off a few but also have had the opportunity to see three different points where two oceans collide. Cape of Good Hope in South Africa where the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand where the Tasmin Sea and the Pacific Ocean join and finally at Cape Leeuwin in South Western Australia. Here the Pacific and Southern Ocean dance together in a swirl of white caps, waves flowing in opposite directions.

img_7860Cape Leeuwin was our starting point for the 3rd and final day of my three day Southern adventure and while the rain might have stopped the wind was out in full. It was an early stop which meant that we had the place almost to ourselves lending to great photos including one with the Pirate Cow that greets you on your way up to the lighthouse. It was part of the 2010 Margaret River Region Cow Parade. On arrival, you are given a headset and given full reign of the peninsula passing by the old lighthouse keepers cottages and finally landing at the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse; a tall white elegant beacon, which has been watching over the Cape’s waters since 1895.

On top of wine the Margaret River region is also known for its limestone caves and we were headed next to Mammoth Cave. The largest and most easily accessible with a wide pathway through the cave and a headset self guided tour to take your through. As we headed down into the heart of the cave, it felt like we were going back in time and about to take a visit with the Fraggles. It is one of the only caves in the area that also contains fossils. As the temperature and humidity dropped we entered into a world of caverns filled with frozen icicles and elegant towers made of stalactites and stalagmites. My camera unfortunately doesn’t do the cavern justice.

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After that we had worked up an appetite and it was time to take our lunch by the Margaret River. I was so excited to visit Margaret River. In my head it had become this picturesque little country town. The region is most definitely stunning but the town itself didn’t quite live up to my expectations but we did only just walk from end to the next, popping into the tourist and wine shops which line the main street. Our lunch though was a delicious smorgasbord of local cheeses and meats eaten under the trees at the park on the other side of the river thanks to our guide. Then after a savoury lunch a taste of something sweet was in order so off we popped to the Margaret River Chocolate Company. It reminded me very much of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. Two large bowls of milk and dark chocolate chips tempted you at the entrance to sample. I can happily report both were yummy. There were so many types of chocolates to choose from – mint, salted caramel, truffles of every description and chocolate body products such as soup or massage oil!

imag0803From there we continued the foodie trail and headed to a place which sells what Margaret River does best – wine. Our stop was a small winery named Churchview Estate. A picturesque wooden showing room amidst the vines and roses complete with a fluffy moody cat. It made the perfect atmosphere for tasting a few glasses of their vino. My personal favourites were their Chardonnay and Riesling.

The tour was coming to a close. Our final stop was Busselton, home to the longest Jetty in the Southern hemisphere. It marked the end of my travels with this fine bunch as I jumped ship here to stay for an extra night which then turned into two as I just couldn’t pull myself away from the charming seaside town. We said our goodbyes after a walk along the white sandy beach and they dropped me off at Phat Sam’s Backpackers, the only hostel in Busselton and they headed off back to Perth.

Phat Sam’s was run by a lovely French couple when I was there who very kindly gave me the lay of Busselton – where to eat, what to see, and a map of the whole area. I was also lucky enough to arrive at the same time as a fellow traveller named Yves, a photographer from Switzerland, who was also hungry, wanted to see the surrounding area and capture the sunset over the pier. Therefore, he was promptly adopted as my travelling buddy and fellow foodie for the next couple of days while I explored and took in my last few days on that side of Australia.

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