My partner and I spent a lovely 3 nights away recently in Margaret River, at the beautiful Riverside Tourist Park in Willmott Avenue, a stone’s throw away from the Town centre! We left the suburbs of Perth around 11.00 am on Thursday 23rd April and arrived at our new temporary residence 3 hours later.
Our domicile was a small 2 person chalet, number 15, quite close to the Office. The park consists of a great number of different accommodation arrangements, to accommodate singles, couples and families, and includes lovely awesome cottages alongside the Margaret River.
A stroll down-hill from our Chalet lead to the Margaret River where there were lots of ducks and some coots, and a gazebo, with a bit of an uphill climb back to no. 15. Our chalet was fine for us, just enough space for one couple, with a shower opening into 2 rooms – a door into the bedroom and a door into the lounge or tv room. The TV area had a reverse cycle wall air-conditioner which we had to use as it got quite cold at night. We put it onto 27 degrees Celsius and it seemed to cut off at a certain temperature and blast warm air straight out in front but not terribly all around the room.
Luckily my partner, Sean, had thought to take a blanket with us as the quilt on the double bed wasn’t warm enough! In fact, feeling the cold easily, I also wore my cardigan in bed on the 3rd night because I was still cold even with quilt and rug, haha. I had 2 piece pajamas on, but the top had short sleeves, not warm enough!
There had been a professional Surfing competition on, but of course being un-organised I hadn’t looked up the times of the competition. I got Sean to drive out to Prevelly Beach on Friday about midday to find that the contest had finished earlier that morning. Nevertheless Sean got some good photos of the ocean and some surfers.
Well, having previously found out that the best fish and chips can be found at “Squid Lips” in Margaret River, we eagerly headed there for dinner on our first evening, after looking around the town. In town we perused a lovely shop called “the Good Olive” in which we bought an interesting picture book on Retro Caravans for Sean’s mum for Mother’s Day, and I bought an expensive but hopefully worthwhile green umbrella – with the label “Sassy Duck” and promising to be wind proof. I really need an Umbrella that doesn’t turn inside out for going to and from work !
I also bought a beautiful Swallow decorated “Birthday Calendar” for $20. It is gorgeous, for writing in birthdays so one doesn’t forget, and I was mightily pleased to see the best picture for the month of September, which is my birthday month!
Click on THIS link here for a close-up of the September pages from Patricia’s official Website !
As Sean was about to take a photo of me out the front of the beautiful mosaic Squid Lips sign, a fellow raced up to us and offered to take pictures of the two of us, which was very nice of him. We assented, but as Sean doesn’t like photos of him being public, I’m not posting those pictures here! Anyway here’s a photo I took of part of the Squid Lips premises. I was pleased to see a note on the counter with appropriate sketches, reading “Tired of man-eating Sharks? Well, try man eating shark.”
Sorry to vegetarians, I do eat fish, but somehow I got the idea that Squid Lips with its specialty gourmet squid, is in favour of sea-food but not in favour of Premier Barnett’s nutty idea of culling sharks. Hey, sharks have a big home, the whole ocean, and killing a few adult sharks while in the mean-time injuring or stressing out juveniles, will not necessarily remove those sharks in the sea which actually kill or hurt human beings whom go into the shark’s territory. I once said at a dinner party that my opinion was that sharks shouldn’t be killed to which a witty person replied “don’t worry, there are plenty more in the sea.” I rest my case that I put before – make sure you kill every single shark and wipe them out – and then maybe some people who go into the sea will be safe.
Well, we bought the Gourmet Box which came with a delicious coleslaw, and the guy very kindly said he had added another Skewer to our box ( seeing as there were 2 of us ). I could hardly believe this as it is rare for someone to give something for “free” and this generosity was the high-light of my day. Below are photos of the Gourmet Box for one, shared by the 2 of us. Sean loved the prawns and scallops on the Skewer especially, and I loved it all, very tasty and satisfying, and living up to the reputation of SQUID LIPS. I highly recommend a visit there – friendly pleasant and genuinely nice people – and delicious comforting food – what could be better than good old fish and chips?
On Saturday we set off for one of the famous underground Caves. We stopped at the Calgardup Cave, thinking entrance to it was free. Sean espied a tidy pathway and toilets and went off while I snooped around to find there was an entrance fee of $16. The fun part was that I saw someone being given a torch and a helmet (having paid his fee) so he could explore the cave. I confess I did have a small vision of myself being claustrophobic and alone in a dark cave, shouting – for help.
So, as we only wanted to pay for admission to one Cave, and suspecting therefore that a visit to the Giants Cave would also incur a fee, we headed onto Lake Cave. A tea-room without Devonshire tea was next to the Office which had a nice Souvenir shop and a Display about caves. We eagerly bought our tickets at $22 each plus a booklet about the caves for $2 ( usually $10 if you weren’t buying a ticket ). I was all smiles until Sean pointed to a big sign on the counter saying “There are 300 steps to get to Lake Cave, some physical exertion is required.”
I regarded this with great wonder, thinking nobody least of all myself was going to stop me from seeing that Cave. Last October I had heart surgery to replace a faulty valve I was born with, and my recovery was pretty awful and I have only just started feeling physically well again. Again snap visions arose of me collapsed in the cave or stuck panting on a step, but I shook these off like a dog or a cat shaking the water of its fur coat. Be brave, Celine, I said to myself, plus I could see an Indian family on our tour, including a lady whom looked to be about 70 years old. If she’s going I will too, I decided, haha.
Well, there were many narrow metal steps down, down, down a few landings to a brick paved area, but they weren’t all that steep. Knowing there was more to come, I sat on a circular bench at the gathering place for our tour group to listen to our Guide talk about the Cave history. You can see me contemplating my future success with my Lake Cave exploration in the photo below!
I am pleased to say that I grabbed the camera off Sean to take a photo, my piece de resistance, of the view above, from my perch. Wowwww, that was a most angelic sight, as I raised my eyes to the heavens I could see a conformation that made me feel a well-spring of hope and light, knowing that this cave was 67 metres below ground and that I am but a speck in the mystery and wonder of Life. The photo at the top of this Post is the picture that I snapped.
Next we had to duck underneath two low hanging rock formations to get into the cave proper, and the last person had to close the gate. Sean and I didn’t want that responsibility in case we muffed it up, so we rushed forward so as not to be last! There were lots of us in this Group and when we got opposite the spectacular Suspended Table formation, our Guide nicely organised us all to stand in two rows with children in front, plus me also in front as I am rather child sized.
The Lake Cave has electric lights installed in it and is a spectacular big cavern with a cool lake and dripping water and awesome stalactites and stalagmites, including a formation called the dragon which faced another formation lighted up in red. The suspended table is just that – a flat platform suspended from the roof. The flowstone or recent flow of water glistened like diamonds on the formations, and when our Guide switched off all the lights, there was pitch black, but then we saw a faint tiny glow, which was from the sunlight coming through the cave opening.
Once you got down the steps into the cave, that was it, no more steps. There was a wooden walk-way with electric lights and seating at the back of the cave. We headed back to sunlight after enjoying the silence and majesty of Lake Cave. The first person to reach the Gate between the Cave opening and the outdoors, had to press a red button to open the Gate, so we made sure we were not first! I guessed that the Gate was there to stop quadrupeds (four-legged) creatures from wandering into the Cave.
I slowly made my way back up, resting only now and then, and found to my astonishment, the effort was really quite good for me. I did have sore legs for a day after but I am pleased that I was better off for the exercise, than worse for wear.
Bellview Shell Museum
After the cave and a bite to eat at the tea-rooms, we ventured on to the famous Bellview Shell Museum on Bussell Highway, taking Forest Grove Road to the Highway. Woww, this is one man’s personal collection over 70 years of all things shell. It was truly spectacular and I’m so glad I went there. There were 2 huge rooms. Sean had finished looking through both while I was still looking through the first room at the front of the house, where there was a counter where you pay $8 for an entrance fee. I could see why someone on the web said they had spent 3 hours there. We were there for about one hour.
Below is a photo of me in the back room.
I bought a nice little shell filled with assorted shells for $5.80 as a souvenir and a tiny cowrie turtle wearing glasses for my sister for $3. There were beautiful shells for sale for $30 upward and a few shell figurines but no shell dolls for sale! I loved the shell dolls that they had on display, however. The picture below is blurry, sorry, but shows a magnificent Rooster made from Shells! Luckily, I already own a gorgeous Shell Doll from Australia, and you can see her at THIS post of my Blog.
Candy Cow, Cowaramup
On Sunday 26th May we headed home, stopping at Candy Cow in Cowaramup, at my insistence. Many years ago my sister had bought the sweetest black and white candy cow toy at their stall at the Perth Royal Show! Candy Cow in Bottrill Street had plush cows wearing pink or yellow shirts, and I bought one wearing a pink shirt. I tried some fudge and we bought 5 fudge bites for $3 each, getting a 6th free, and I bought some gummy bears.
Then Sean saw a Skill Tester which cost $2 for 2 goes, and he had 4 goes and I tried twice, to grab a small black and white candy cow. Alas, we were not skillful enough, and the “claw” grabbed a toy part but then the toy slipped out of the claw’s grasp.
However, the man who headed the shop saw us and encouraged us and wanted us to win something. I also went for a small sheep toy but that too would not be captured. As we paid for our purchases, me looking glum, the man asked how we had gone with the Skill Tester. He advised us there was a knack to it as he had seen someone else win 3 toys one after the other. I regarded this news painfully. The man said “don’t worry, we’ll see what we can do.”
After taking our money, and asking how much we had spent on the Skill Tester, and which toy we had tried to grab, he told us “wait here” and raced off, to return shortly with a sweet little black and white cow. “Look what I found waiting for you” he said, smilingly, holding out the toy to me. Well, I could have kissed him, but instead I gratefully accepted the gift with a big smile. I tell you, the kindness I encountered “down south” was very welcome, and gladdens my heart even now.
So, although on our 3rd night, I wished we were staying for longer, I enjoyed every moment of my stay, and was happy and grateful both for the opportunity of my first real holiday since my operation, for the company of my partner, and for a nice cosy home to return to !
Last but not least, below is a photo of a sweet orange, black and yellow “rubber band” (latex free) bracelet that Sean kindly and cleverly made for me while at Margaret River on our last night there. I had bought a fun “Rainbow Loom bracelet” kit from the Australian Geographic store. It had an intricate weaving apparatus and some instructions which I couldn’t quite follow. Luckily Sean peered closely at the pictures and advise that we should in the first instance try just 3 colours. The video link below shows how to use the Kit.
We are off now to try to do the Honeycomb Design!