Margaret River, Western Australia


Monday, October 28, 2018

Sign in The Henley Brook, a restaurant with a chicken theme
I dream of a world where a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

Margaret River
“Did you see a whale?” I asked a woman we met on the windswept bush trail on the way to the Indian Ocean lookout. “Yes,” she answered, “whales and snakes!” My eyes from that point on were firmly fixed on the path. In fact at the lookout we did see a whale breaching completely out of the water sending up a grand plume of spray. Fortunately though no snakes!

This is our 46th anniversary weekend and we have returned to the wine, chocolate, cheese, mango yoghurt and food centre of Western Australia. We are at Rosewood House, sleeping in a bed with a real mattress and best of all an ensuite bathroom. For 6 weeks it had been the climb down the ladder at 3:00 a.m., the walk to the communal bathroom, and the trek up the ladder again that reminded us we were truly camping.

What gives Margaret River its character is the landscape. On the same tree canopy lined road will be grazing Angus and Holstein cattle, eucalyptus trees and wildflowers, sheep, a brewery, a winery, pottery gallery, a furniture design studio, an olive oil and specialty food shop, cheese shop and art gallery plus bistros and restaurants associated with many of the wineries and breweries. Pastoral scenes of sheep and cattle are framed by vistas across mini lakes. One breathtaking scene gives way to another especially as the afternoon sun slides through the gum trees.

Food Highlight
Miki’s Open Kitchen has two sittings a night at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The menu is set. There is the option to add wine or sake pairings. Food is assembled right in the restaurant and lucky guests, like us, have a seat at the counter surrounding the chefs.

The menu had 6 (!) courses with 3 or 4 items per course. It looked daunting. Would I be able to finish everything? Each item was at most two bites – one scallop, one asparagus spear and my favorite – if only for the shock factor, a shot glass of exquisite broth with a squid tentacle. Geoff’s squid was short and meaty, mine was obviously a tentacle. I was so tempted to put the thicker end in my mouth and slowly suck the tentacle down waving it about. I didn’t but it would have made a great picture.

Each course was presented on a round metal tray, in a long ceramic dish or in separate tiny dishes just so in front of us. The server described every item to each guest.

I can’t remember having eaten so many entirely new flavours, every one exquisite. A dinner to remember.

Community Garden
In the centre of town community gardeners have created a quirky oasis with native trees, grasses and flowers. Pathways lead to small open spaces with brightly coloured benches. Hanging from branches and propped up at the base of trees someone has painted quotations about gardens, flowers, peace and solitude.

Every child is born a naturalist.
His (her) eyes are in nature open to the glories of the stars,
The beauty of the flowers and the mystery of life.

The first morning of spring
I feel like someone else.
~ Matsuo Basho

There was an air of wildness about the Garden.
It was the sort of garden in which you could garden if you wanted,
but if you didn’t, it would not matter.
~ Mona Walling?

If you have a garden and a library you have everything that you need.
~ Marcus Julius Cicero

In the open area with tables and chairs near the potting shed and next to the kitchen and community room, there was a couple with a guitar singing. For a donation everyone was invited to help themselves to tea or coffee and homemade sweets which of course I did.

Touring Day
At the Saturday morning market we found Gordo’s wines. We’d had his wine at a restaurant for our anniversary dinner 3 years ago in Margaret River and learned that he only sells it at the market, and he still does, and it is still good.

The surfers and sailboard surfers were out at Prevelly Beach on a windy afternoon. Margaret River started out in the 1960’s and 70’s not as a foodie paradise but as a surfing hippie town. The waves here range consistently from 2 to 20 feet making this a surfing mecca so this has become the site of the one of the world surfing championship beaches.

Food, food and more food…a seafood broth soup for me and a ploughman’s board for Geoff at the Eagle Bay Brewery. For lunch we sat with a view across pasture and lake, out to Cape Naturaliste lighthouse and beyond that the Indian Ocean. Planters with herbs and vegetables provide much of Eagle Bay’s produce and all the water for the beer is rainwater. Rainfall has declined 20% in the past 25 years which makes water conservation a high priority here.

Tomorrow we leave Western Australia, one of our favorite places for new adventures in Adelaide and South Australia.



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