Wine Tasting and Chasing Bandicoots

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Nov 2008

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, July 14, 2008

Decided to make the most of the opportunity of being in Western Australia by taking to the outback and doing a 3000km road trip in 5 days.
We started by going down south passing Busselton and its world record breaking wooden pier and doing the long trek around Cape Naturaliste to the whale viewing area before continuing on to the Margaret river area. We loved this area with rolling countryside and vines in every direction. We had to choose from a list of over one hundred wineries but finally called to Wills Domain and Leewin Estate where we took a winery tour and tasted some of their fine wines with a delicious cheeseboard. We enjoyed the hospitality of the owner of a local B & B, Edna, an old lady who had bandicoots in her back yard; they looked like giant rats! Boutique Breweries are all over here and we called to one called Bootleg Brewery where we got a taster of all their award winning wines. Mmmmm especially the mind numbing
Over the next couple of days we visited the Lake Cave which had a huge stalactite suspended in the air; with its reflection on the water it was like a table. Our tour guide was mad; he looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings when he held his light onto a glowing stone.
The weather started to get really wet; we headed down to surfers point...bloody lunatics surfing in 10m waves with wind and rain!! Despite the bad weather we decided to climb the Gloucester tree in Pemberton. Only about 20% of people actually make it to the top so we were even more determined to complete the climb. When we arrived in the forest park there was nobody there and it was starting to get dark. The tree was 60m high and had ice cold metal pins sticking out horizontally from the trunk. As we climbed higher the worse the wind got and the tree was really swaying from side to side... so scary. At the top, in the tree house the rangers used to use to lookout for bush fires we looked at each other then had a huge hug as we realized just how incredibly dangerous this climb was. The view from the top was smashing, kind of like the tree tops in the film "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon".  Eventually we made it back down in one piece but seriously it was one of the scariest and stupidest things we've done on this trip.
We went to Cape Leewin where the Indian and southern oceans meet; the weather was brutal as we walked around the beach areas. We stayed in the car at the rock bridge where the sea waves nearly lifted the car from the parking area. The force of the ocean waves was frightening and there was a guy with a death wish walking around the very edge of the rocks.
We stayed at a youth hospital called "tingle all over", it was basic but clean. The storm really picked up that night and we thought the wind was going to take off the roof; it really made us tingle all over!! The next morning the power was out in the entire state. We drove through driving rain and wind as we dodged fallen trees on the main highway as forest rangers were busy using their chainsaws to clear the road. We reached the famous whaling town of Albany but unfortunately the town had no power either so we couldn't even get petrol.
Everything was closed, we couldn't even get lunch, the main supermarket was open and packed with people filling up their trolleys as if there was no tomorrow!! As they were only selling dried foods we ended up having a crisp sandwich! On fumes we eventually found a place that had a generator so we could fill up and continue our journey.
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