. After stuffing ourselves we all felt like a little savoury bit so stopped off at the Providore cheese factory and tried herb feta, baked Ricotta and smoked cheddar and of course decided to purchase some for a decadent cheese and biscuit lunch. We took lunch at a lovely little park in Margaret River town and did a bit of cow parade spotting. They are life size fibre glass cows personalised and painted by various local artists and displayed around the region. Liz and the kids had last seen a cow parade in Buenos Aires with her Mum Eileen 4 years previously. Liz and I went to a few wineries to sample some of the local nectar which was much more to my liking compared to the Mad Cows. As we made our way down the coast line we drove on a dirt track through a wonderful forest (Boranup Drive) full of the most amazing and huge Karri trees. We bedded down on another beautiful beach at Hamelin Bay where huge Sting rays come right up to the shores and swim around your feet! Except we didn't see any due to the rough sea!
The next day provided a great school lesson for the kids as we went to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. It is located on the most Western point of Australia where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. The views are spectacular and we took a guided tour of the light house which was most interesting and dates back to the 1850’s.
The forests down south and near Walpole are stunning, the Tingle trees are just huge and we spent time walking through and playing hide and seek actually in the trunks themselves! At Walpole we took a boat trip out to the bay and had a local Western Australia guide who was a mix of a bald Crocodile Dundee and the lead singer from Midnight Oil (look it up oldies). "Welcome to Walpole mate, best and most beautiful place on the earth and you are now the luckiest buggers on earth cos I’m gona show you it!" was his greeting. He had funny stories and an enthusiasm about the nature around us that was intoxicating. The kids didn’t know if his on going stories were for real or not – brilliant!
On leaving Walpole our final visit in the region before heading up north, was to the tree top canopy walk in the “Land of the Giants”. We had done this in Asia and the difference being one of a choice of construction material. In Asia they were made from Bamboo, rope and wire; all sort of strung together and wrapped round a few trees here and there. Here it was a beautiful steel structure rising magnificently from the floor and suspended on individual pillars. It would rival the Sydney Harbour Bridge for looks. It was over 40 metres tall but fortunately you feel safe which is just as well as my vertigo was truly being tested.
After brekkie we set off on our adventure in old Limey Lizard down South towards Margaret River region. We stopped for our first night in Yallingup on the most incredible beach with fabulous surf. We set up camp, handed out individual jobs and then headed straight for the beach for a game of family footie. It was all very exciting having our first cooked meal in the van and fun was had by all as we tried to manoeuvre around each other as we made the kids beds up. It was like playing a combination of Twister meets rubiks cube as we put up the ladder and tried to make the beds out of the various tables and planks of wood. After morning showers in the amazingly clean toilet blocks we visited a wooden maze which Issy and Ady enjoyed getting lost in and finding the trap doors to escape from. The whole region is called Margaret River and is known for its fabulous wines and dairy products. Our next port of call therefore was a chocolate factory where we saw a rocky road being made out of the brown stuff (choccie that is!) and of course sampled our far share of the various offerings too