Lap of Australia - Summary: Margaret River Region
We arrived in the outskirts of the Margaret River region undecided as to whether we would camp at a sheep farm stay facility or try and find something a bit more bush. We had spent the night before in motel accommodation and were rearing to find some space in the wilderness to camp. Using our HEMA GPS we located a bush camping spot down a few dirt roads alongside a river on Cane Brake Road so we headed there to see what we would find.
We found a bush camp ground with about 12 individual camping sites all equipped with a place to light a fire. There were pit toilets at the entrance not far from each camp site and a very full river with a dedicated swimming area. Everything looked wet, but it wasn’t raining when we arrived… We picked a spot and set up and it promptly started pouring! This was totally new. We had experienced a few spots of rain whilst north of Townsville… all that time ago… but nothing since then and definitely not heavy rain.
We cooked at the tailgate of the truck and with the rain pelting straight down, it wasn’t much of a problem. We did get wet but once we ate and packed up we dried off and snuggled into the tent. Admittedly we were a bit nervous about what the night might have in store for us…
We are ecstatic to report that aside from a massive puddle of water developing and overflowing from our awning (and still not collapsing the tent!)… we stayed dry regardless of the torrential rain all night! We could have set the awning up with the pitched roof and that probably would have eliminated the pooling water problem, but we were in a bit of a hurry setting up and didn’t bother.
The rain remained steady the next morning and about midday eased off enough that we thought we could cruise into town and see what touristy information we could find for the area. We visited the tourist centre, walked up and down the main street and did some grocery shopping.
One occasion when it’s great that your kitchen travels with you is that you don’t have to go back to camp when you re-stock with supplies! It had stopped raining for about 20 minutes and we had driven past a hedge maze sign (A Maze-n) in the area and were excited to check it out! Ok, so we were chomping at the bit to do something seeing as we had been driving for what felt like a week straight!
The rain held off the whole time we were there and the sun even came out. You couldn’t even tell that it had been raining heavily… especially in the photos! A Maze-n boasts one of the largest hedge mazes in Australia and has been established for 19 years. The grounds are awesome showcasing native west Australian plants, unique sculptures using antique bits and pieces and plenty of small puzzles.
We were on the grounds for about 1.5 hours, and then got talking to one of the owners on our way out. She was lovely and told us all about the history of their land beginning as a nursery and developing the hedge maze gardens and what plans they have for the future. As we were talking the clouds briskly rolled back in and the rain set in once again! We were so thankful to have been able to spend a few hours in a relaxing native garden as well as experience our first hedge maze.
Back at camp things were looking pretty miserable, but at least the inside of our tent was dry! We spent the whole next day in the tent with the rain bucketing down, and the rain didn’t stop in the evening either. When we woke up to rain yet again, we had had enough of sitting around and realised it was probably silly to try and wait it out and so we went driving! We had a look down some tracks near our camp and had some fun in the mud, but nothing epic to report on.
Along the main road we spotted an Emu and some chicks in the pouring rain. It was hard to get a photo from in the car quickly before they disappeared up into the trees, but you can just make them out. You can also see how heavy the rain was!
Another day, more rain! We decided to visit the coastal town of Prevelly which was the closest surf break to Margaret River. The wind was really howling! The wind had blown the rain clouds inland and almost blew the door off its hinges while getting out of the truck.
We were intending on going for a walk, but the wind and the cold got the better of us and we just watched for a while from the truck instead. All that time in the hot north and centre had really thinned our blood!
After a day out and the rain setting back in we decided to eat in town and chose the Settler’s Tavern. There were open fires and plenty of space and it looked as though some famous bands had played gigs there. We were really happy to find they had several gluten free specific pub meals and they were very generous in size. We left feeling like we were going to pop, and so very satisfied that we didn’t have to cook outside in the rain again.
Starting to get used to taking advantage of half hour pauses in torrential rain, we had a day trip up to Dunsborough via the Busselton Jetty. We managed a small window to eat some lunch alongside the jetty, but we didn’t want to pay to walk to the end given the weather!
Our destination just outside of Dunsborough was the Happs Winery and Gallery. We selected the Happs Winery as it was the only one we could locate that offered organic sulphite free wines. To be honest we are not wine drinkers, we like tequila… but we wanted to taste some anyway. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and the winery has a comfortable homely feel. After talking for a while with the lady offering us tastings, we discovered she was back to her local town of Dunsborough after having lived in Darwin for the last 8 or so years. We were excited to hear about this as some work prospects in Darwin had started to look good, and as we all know we haven’t made it to Darwin in the truck yet!
The gallery contained pottery as well as paintings and we enjoyed looking at all of the pieces. If we weren’t travelling, some purchases might have been made! We were allowed to take a photo of the pottery.
Starting to feel like we were waiting for the rain to stop so that we could pack the tent away and move on, we got a small break the next morning. The tent seemed to dry out on top quickly, but the bottom was still wet and muddy, no matter how we tried towelling it off. Sadly the tent was going to need to dry out at the next stop. Gross.