Sharks or Wine?

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Having rejuvenated from a couple of days on the stunning Western Australia beaches, we got in the car and headed south towards the Margaret river wine region stopping in the beautiful beach towns of Rockingham and Busselton along the way. 

Sadly on the morning that we left from Scarborough beach, a scuba diver in Busselton was attacked and killed by a Great White Shark which is the 4th fatal attack in 6 months in the area. The shark was spotted a few more times and reported to be swimming around the area and so all of the beaches were closed to protect people from any further attacks. When we were in Sydney we had heard about these attacks in the news so were a bit apprehensive about the sea anyway, so as you can imagine this latest attack didn't too much to reduce our concerns.

It was so strange to see these beautiful white sandy beaches with nobody on them at all especially as the weather was beautiful at around 25C and sunny. In Busselton, instead of swimming with killer sharks we paid 5 dollars to walk along the Busselton jetty which stretches roughly 2km's out to sea providing amazing sea and beach views which are quite iconic to the area. All the way along we were checking out the water to see if this Great White was lurking around there but we didn't see much as the water was a bit choppy. So probably our only chance would have been for the shark to leap out of the water right by us. Once a year Busselton holds a swimming race from the Jetty back to the beach which now seems like a good way to feed the sharks, but each to their own.

We were booked into a little cabin at a campsite in Margaret River town which was actually the same price as a basic youth hostel room in the City's but so much nicer. Obviously if you're traveling alone, a backpacker hostel is great but for us we have enjoyed ourselves far more in the Campervans and campsites. It was great, we had a kitchen and an en-suite bathroom and it was just so much nicer than any of the hostels we have stayed in, it's definitely the way to go if you have your own transport and can get out of the town because they're usually in a beautiful place too!

Our plan for the week was to be outside most of the time but the weather had other ideas as it was overcast and drizzly when we moved south so we actually spent most of our time exploring by car, checking out the local beaches, neighbouring towns and the wineries.

The beaches around Margaret river are known for their surf and when we were there you could see why as the wind was howling and the waves were huge. Amazingly, despite the beaches being closed due to a shark attack there were a fair few people surfing... surfers seem to go by their own rules and if the waves are good, they'll be out there.

In our exploration, we went right down to the most South Westerly point of Australia where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet, where once again we were blown around by Gale force winds along the coast. There wasn't an obvious line of waves crashing against each other like we saw at the tip of New Zealand there were just a lot of huge, heavy crashing waves and some great views over the sea. You feel like you could actually blow away, especially Katy being so light.

Once we had enough of the gale force winds we decided to go the semi-indoor route and went to a few wine farms with the aim of trying their Chardonnay as we had been told that was the grape of choice for the Margaret river but to be honest they weren't really to our taste and actually our favourite wine farm was called 'Coward and Black' where we really liked their Autumn Semillion. As an added bonus, that wine farm was attached to a chocolate factory so we sampled the local chocolates and also visited a couple of cheese places. All in all, it was much more relaxing than we have been used to and probably just as well as the next stop for us is Southern Africa where we aren't expecting too much relaxation in the wild African bush.

When we returned to Perth we had a few hours to kill and ended up lugging our bags halfway across the city having a rest in Mode Coffee house midway. While we were there Ben Cousins, the Perth AFL player who is currently all over the news following a drug scandal wandered through the coffee shop. It's so weird how we only know a few Australian celebrities and have seen quite a few while we've been here. Radiki Samo, Steve Waugh, The Manly Sea Eagles, the trainer from Australia's biggest loser and now Ben Cousins.

So that is it for our Australia adventure. Saying goodbye to Australia is hard, it's been an amazing year, but lots to look forward to in Southern Africa, so bring it on!
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