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Exploring the Margaret River Region
Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja – Aborigini for “Hallo and Welcome to Wadandi Noongar country. This morning, we took the short drive to Ambergate Reserve and Walk Trail and walked through the bush in search of wildflowers.
I am struggling to name those I found (despite buying a pocket guide to wildflowers), so if you can help, please add a comment and I’ll fill in the blanks!
Flora and Fauna - Ambergate Reserve and Walk Trail
The Aboriginis have a thing or two to teach us about how to live in harmony with nature and the seasons. They operated a six season year, moving on every two months from the coast in Summer to further in land in Winter and eating what was most plentiful in season. Nothing went to waste – everything from edible tubers to octopus (which you can still harvest by hand on this shore) to wallabies was gathered. Everything was consumed in moderation to leave sufficient for sustainability. Clever stuff.
Margaret River - Beaches
The afternoon gave time to explore the beaches at Margaret River – it takes about an hour to walk the length of them, finishing in Ganaralup at the White Elephant Café, which has a good selection of food and drinks.
The beaches were deserted – we had them all to ourselves.
Surfer’s Point is worth a visit. It wasn’t discovered until 1958 – just two years before they actually got any electricity here. Waves here are consistently between 0.6m and 7.6m all year round and provide conditions to challenge the most skilled of surfers. Surfboards have been specially developed locally to withstand the powerful surf of the Mainbreak. Today though, it was relatively calm and so not much of a photo opportunity.
Seagulls at the White Elephant Café formed an orderly queue as they waited for leftover chips to materialise on vacated tables.
As soon as the tourists left, all hell broke loose and it was a case of every gull for himself and may the best gull win as they dived into a feeding frenzy. The mug of tea left in the middle of the table stood no chance. The poor young waitress tasked with entering the fray to remove the chips didn’t fare much better either.
I really think that a beach walk here is best done barefoot along the waterline with your eyes firmly shut … if you dare … focussing on the sound of the seagulls and the waves and the feel of the ground beneath your feet.
The sun had warmed up the flat, smooth rocks to a pleasant temperature – nature’s equivalent of underfloor heating. The warm rocks eventually gave way to soft, densely packed sand with grains the size of small hailstones, yielding nicely atop your tread so you sink in up to your ankles. God’s own pumice stone.
Further along the beach, the sand begins to dampen and flatten off, cooling your feet nicely. Then you get a refreshing splash of surf for a few metres before deeper water takes you by surprise by coming right up to your knees. If you’re not careful, the sand softens suddenly and pulls you right down into it.
A couple of hours passed happily by in a millisecond – I think I may have just discovered what mindfulness is really all about – without even trying?
Tips for Future Travellers
We missed the White Elephant Café and had a lack lustre sausage roll for lunch at a café up the road instead – top tip – don’t make the same mistake!
There are sharks in these waters – only God is perfect and even he slips up sometimes!
Margaret River High Street – I was expecting so much from it given the foodie reputation this are has, but it was rather underwhelming. The best restaurants are at the wineries out of town a bit and the best foodie treats are to be found at the farmer’s gates rather than in the High Street itself, so you need to allow some time to drive around the “back streets” if you want to discover these.
Give it a miss:
Unless you have plenty of time, give a visit to the Old Settlement a miss. It’s quite interesting to read the signs about the English migrants that settled there in the 1930s, but otherwise, the most interesting thing there was the red and green parrots.
Glad I packed
Shipwreck shorts – perfect for the beach walk.
Wish I had packed
Ear plugs. A chirpy bird of some sort was my night time constant companion during our stay at Cape Lodge.
If you are looking for more information about the food and wine that the Margaret River region is so famous for, you might be interested in my post on the Voyager Estate Tasting Menu.