We were down in the Margaret river area end of last year, after Christmas, it was my last outing for 2012. The main reason for going was to try out the icecreams at Millers but there were a few other things on my list as well.
The first plan was to take husbands car and camp somewhere overnight and be in the area for at least 2 nights and 2 full days. Due to time restraints and not being organised right it didn't work out like that and at one stage it looked like it wasn't going to happen at all.
It ended up that I only had a days notice and we had to take Wanda but luckily she was (just about) ready to go and it didn't take long to get some food together and be off.
I was going to drive the first stint, a bit more than a couple of hours, to CANEBRAKE POOL where we planned to camp that night. We still had a bit to go by my directions when husband says "turn onto Sues Road." That didn't sound right to me but he had read the book so that's where I turned. He soon said "go 11km then turn right" So I look at the speedo, get the number and go driving along. I do look at the speedo a few times but it took that many to realise that it wasn't turning over. Oops, when do I turn? Luckily there was a signpost with the road name still attached. Now this was a gravel road and I think husband had forgotten that Wanda doesn't like gravel roads, especially ones with corrugations. It was dusty and rough and to top it off she started getting hot. "Go faster" he says, "you need to get the airflow going" Ummm, I don't think so, we'll stop for a bit. "No, we're just about there, keep going" Now we had checked the water and oil before we left home so we knew that it should still have plenty even though it was a hot day so I did what I was told and kept going and what do you know, the temp gauge went back down to where it should be. We wanted to camp at CaneBrake Pool but when we found the campground it was packed. We thought this might be the case, it being small and during holidays and we did have an alternative place in mind but we went down to the pool itself for a look. It was packed too. It looked like one main group but they had tables, chairs, floaty things, eskies...spread from one end to the other and 3 people sitting in the small entryway to the water and 4 playing catch right there on the edge as you went in the water itself. We went back to the car and went exploring instead. Husband drove. We eventually ended up at, I think, The Rapids, it was a smaller pool and not as easy to get into though people were there swimming when we got there. We parked, decided to stay there, Husband fished while I got the table and chairs out. It was a nice flat area, shady, clean, no toilets but we had our own so no big deal with that. While there another couple of cars came and started setting up camp as well but for some reason they ended up packing up and leaving. It was a warm night and we had to sleep with the windows open but there were no mossies and that was just as well. I have lost the netting that goes up on the back door, I have no idea where it might be so need to have a proper look in the shed and find it. I was up at 5, went for a walk, came back for coffee, woke husband and we had coffee, packed up and drove to Canebrake Pook for an early morning swim.. There was no one at the water when we arrived but quite a few cars with people camping in the carpark dispite signs saying "No Camping" At 6.30 am I went in the clean, cool, refreshing, lovey water and had it all to myself as husband sooked out and wouldn't come in. It was great to swim and soak after the dusty drive and only a quick paddle the day before. We were leaving by 7am and there was a car load of people unloading tables, chairs and eskies as we were left. Different people from the day before. It looks like you need to get there early if you want a spot.
Margaret River. After my swim husband drove us out of the camping area, we were going into Margaret River to suss out some shops that I wanted to look at. Well we drove into MR, it was before 7.30am and I must say how surprised I was at how busy it was. Shops open, cars and people everywhere. We parked and walked the streets a bit then back to the car to drive and see if we could find the Lions Shed. We did but it was closed so it is on the list for next time. In this area though there were a few other secondhand salvage type shops so we went into those. They were good shops but I cannot remember the names of them. They are in the same street as the Lions Shed though and easy to find. Husband bought a single swag -$40. They had 2 bar fridges there, with the wire racks that I wanted but couldn't get in the new bar fridge that we needed and bought a few weeks before. Bugger! They had a lot of things at very reasonable prices. The other shop in that area was selling old and antique stuff and I scored a nice birdbath, plastic but made to look like old iron. That was $30 and more than I would usually spend but hubby was there and convinced me to get it. I'm glad he did.
We then drove south down the Bussel Highway to Witchcliff to check out the Flying Wardrobe Lots of stuff but we didn't think it was as great as I thought it would be.
After that, turn around and back to MR to the Red Cross op shop. Going down the road where that was we were surprised that it was so busy but it turned out that their were farmers markets on,,,right next door! How lucky was I! The op shop didn't do much for me but wondering around the markets emptied
Once back on the Bussle Highway we headed northish, I needed an icecream to calm my nerves. I read about Millers Icecream sometime last year and liked the idea that it was made on the property, would be fresh, was natural with no crap added...I decided then that I would go and have a taste. Husband saw a menu and liked the name MegaMoo and even though we didn't know at the time what that was it was in our heads to get that. It turns out it was a taster plate so we each picked a few flavours and sat out in the open and gorged ourselves. Next time we wont be so piggy and will just have a couple of scoops each.
Other places we went...ummm, I should write things down at the time but here's what I remember.
Chocolate Factory. Hmmm, I was expecting great things with this but really it's just a place that sells chocolate. LOTS of chocolate. It was busy as, hundreds of people all pushing and shoving. They sell food as well but I always think that places like this take advantage of tourists by being expensive but what do I know. They may have been reasonably priced, I didn't think so but there were a lot of people eating so I might be out of touch with food prices. If you have been here let me know what you thought. We didn't buy anything, no food, no chocolate. I was hoping to see them making it but there was nothing happening behind the glass wall so we just looked then left.
Silkworm Factory. On the same road there was a Silkworm Factory. That only had a few other people there when we arrived though more did come while we were there. This was interesting. A front area full of things made from silk. Clothing, hats, bags, There was a talk about how they grow the silkworms, send them to Cambodia for the silk to be harvested and made into the products and sent back here to be sold. I found it interesting as who didn't have silkworms as a kid but there is a lot of travelling to get the final product back to here. They also sell a few products made from mulberries like jams and tea made from the bark of the tree. They had some to taste...not awful and I would have bought some but they didn't have any left.
Chilli Waters Across the road from the silkworms there is a place that has dried fruit, a couple of types of golf, bamboo products...We went for the dried fruit but bought some chill pickled onions that are HOT!. Nice cut up on pizza or cooked with other food but straight out of the jar...hot! Next time we are in the area we may try our hand at a game of Big Ball Golf.
Cowarumup. What can I say about this cow town. I loved it. There are cows everywhere. Not real ones but throughout the town area there are dozens of cow statues, some big, some small. Standing, lying down and even a golden one, in the park, way up high on a pole. We had to check out the Candy Cow lollie shop and once again we missed seeing anything being made and after all the icecream we had not long had we didn't buy anything.
Just before we left this town I found out that these cows have a "wheres Wally" type symbol on them. We found a couple but it was time to leave so had to give the rest a miss.
It was a full day and I didn't get to see and do everything on my list but I'm pretty sure that I'll be down that way again one day and will get to do them then.
Have you been to any of these places? What did you think of them?