HeyZeus.org : Personal Blog of Zeus

My Weekend at Margaret River (Mandy Style)

Margaret River

Note: Pictures were taken with an iPhone.

As I head to Margaret River on my 3 1/2 hour voyage, the beautiful country side was like any other with the exception of the Harvey District, known as ‘The Heart of Diary Country’, which I would only assume also it’s steak.  The number of cattle around was incredible, and it wasn’t the plain black and brown cows, it was the black and white spotty ones.  About mid way on my trip is where I stopped at Harvey Moo Shoppe / Visitor Centre, built in the 1800’s.  A quaint little store with a stable for a restroom in the back, and Stirling’s Restaurant Cottaqge situated on the picturesque banks of the Harvey River.  After my rest stop, I continued to my first destination in Margaret River, Cape Lavender for Breakfast.

First, let me describe the Margaret River area.  It has 2 major roads that run north to south on either side of the city.  Each road is surrounded with farm land for cattle, sheep, or grapes.  There are hundreds of wineries around.  It’s like you’re in the middle of no where but in reality you’re in very populated farm country.  The wineries, lodging, and restaurants are anywhere between 7-30 minutes apart.  The roads at night are dark and desolate, you might see a car every 15 minutes, (everyone drives around with their brights on).  There is only one area that’s heavily populated with stores and that’s the shopping centre.  The rest is mildly lit signs on the side of the road for lodging, wineries, and restaurants.

I wanted to arrive for breakfast at Cape Lavender, which is known for making consumables (soap, shampoo, fudge, wine, etc) out of Lavender trees and their breakfast. I had Green Eggs and Bacon with home made Vienna on top of Basil, which was absolutely delicious.  The 17 dollar meal was worth every penny and the lake side view was very peaceful.  After breakfast I went to their gift shoppe where they make EVERYTHING out of Lavender.  While shopping I found out they have 3 Labradors, 2 yellow and 1 chocolate lab and even make their own lavender dog shampoo and well of course…I can’t wait to use it on Hannah and Marle (Big Girl and Bubba)!

From Cape Lavender, I headed south on Caves Rd. to my first cave, Calgardup Cave.  This cave was a self-guided tour which was very exciting!  I walked to the counter to pay the 12 dollar entry fee.  The nice lady instructed that I would be entering the middle of the cave and could navigate left or right, each side was around 100 meters in length.  Then she said I’d be getting a helmet…(great!  I love helmets.. 🙁 ) and she followed that I’d be getting a torch!  A TORCH!  I WAS PUMPED, I WAS GONNA BE A GOOFY INDIAN JONES WITH A HELMET AND A HUGE FLAMING TORCH!  Well I quickly realized that a torch was just a big flash light (such a disappointment!).  I strapped on and headed onto the boardwalk into the cave (your not allowed to leave the boardwalk and touch the rock because of the acids in your skin).   Quickly I realized that there was ABSOLUTELY no lighting in the cave (that’s why we needed our ‘torch’)!  So the darkness started to freak me out a little, especially since there were only 2 other people in the cave.  I walked the cave completely alone clutching my torch like a baby clutching their teddy bear when the boogy monster is waiting in the closet.  As I entered the cave I asked an older couple leaving, “left or right?”, and they said “to the left was more challenging,” and well honestly I wanted to get that part over with since it was pitch black and all I had was my torch and pocket knife.  As I head east the cave gets darker and darker and I continually wait for some snake type lockness monster to come out of the very shallow stream and choke me to death while I yell for no one to hear me.  Seriously, the cave was incredible with millions of stalactites and stalagmites from the ceiling and the ground respectively.  The different formations were astounding, there were even parts I had to crawl under.  After crawling under some rocks, I get to the end of the boardwalk and read one of two signs mentioning, “This is the end…follow the trail back to go to the other side or to the exit”.  The other sign said,  “A World of Darkness.  Sit down, turn off your lights and experience cave darkness.  This is a world without light and the only sound is the splash of water droplets.” –FUCK THAT!  I was already more than a little freaked out when I would look back at the pitch black following me. I thought twice about turning the light off but was too freaked out, so I just started to speed walk back to the opening of the cave.  After getting back to the middle, I decided to go explore the other side.  It was just as beautiful, the cave was truly peaceful and the different colors, formations and straw like stalactites really spurred your imagination.

From Calgardup Cave I drove half hour to Jewel Cave where it was a guided tour that started at 2:30pm.  Here I purchased my 3 cave pass for $45…….

Side Track:  After buying my 3 day pass, I waited in the car to figure out where my hotel was.   A car pulled up and parked very close and this Asian Bitch, ‘accidentally’ slammed her car door into my car!  I said something to her boyfriend, but that asshole didn’t speak any English!  He’s lucky he didn’t speak any English, that it’s not really ‘my’ car and it’s a company rental.  I tried to take a picture of the bitch, but wasn’t able to get a good picture for everyone to see.

…..Well Jewel cave tour finally started and luckily we didn’t have to wear hard hats or need torches!  The tour was great and the cave was lit up beautifully!  Lots of the formations resembled different things, a budda statue, bacon, trees of a forest, a camel laying down, all sorts of things.  This cave also had a 500 year old fossil of a possum that was starting to form calcium carbonate or calcite.  This cave was much bigger than the first and the reflection from the water was pure mirror.

After Jewel Cave I went to my third cave of the day called Mammoth Cave known for all the animal artifacts that were discovered in this cave.  This cave was another self-guided tour, but luckily it was also lighted and had a very nice audio tour that accompanied the 45 minute walk.  Again just incredible the size, colors and shapes of the rocks.

From here I headed to the All Seasons Margaret River Resort, where I checked in to my simple cozy room.  I showered and got dolled up and ready for my meal at Cape Lodge where I went straight to the bar to do some wine tasting then have my $95, 3 course a la carte meal which ended up being a 6 course meal for $160 (again worth every penny)!

After getting back to the hotel, I finished watching all 2 channels of tv (literally) and passed out.  I woke up and checked out to find a small breakfast meal in the city centre.  I was only 5 minutes away and got some gas and went to get some breaky at Sails.  I ordered a delicious simple croissant sandwich with ham and cheese, I needed nothing elaborate because I knew my lunch was going to be fancy.  After breaky, I went and did some souvenir shopping before quickly heading to Lake Cave and CaveWorks (a place where they talk about the caves without having to go in one).

Lake Cave was my favorite, partly because of the tour guide and the other part because it had a floating island that it’s known for.  It was beautiful and aside from the floating island we saw; Homer, Marge, and Maggie Simpson silhouettes, a turtle’s head, the back of a crocodile, a dragon’s head, and some other neat figures in the stalactites and stalagmites.  Mac was our guide and apart from being entertaining, he was very knowledgeable, really made for an enjoyable tour.  Lake Cave was the deepest Cave in the WA (Western Australia), and it’s entrance was the size of a football field.  We were 97 meters below the surface at one point.

Afterward, I drove to the beach to go in the Indian Ocean.  I got my right hand and big toe wet (accidentally, since my shoe got soaked), I count this as now being in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean (check)!  The beach side reminded me of Hawaii with all the mountains along the side.  This was a very popular surf area and I could see why, there were beautiful waves although with some deadly reefs below.  The sea is an incredible blue color, just like the pictures.

I decided to go back to the city centre to do some more exploring and I’m glad I did, I got some more great Australia only items for friends and family back home.  Earlier, I rescheduled my lunch so I could hit up a winery when suddenly;  I drove by a cheese factory!!  I had to stop for only one reason, the love of my life!  She would have made us stop, along with the fact I would have stopped for us to enjoy this cute little store.  The store was set out all on it’s own (again in the middle of farm country off the side of the road).  I tried 5 different cheeses and bought Smokey Cheddar Cheese and Marinaded Feta!  They just melt in your mouth, and if I don’t open them they’ll last till I get home, but if I do I have to eat it all cause it will spoil on the plane…let’s hope that I’m a good boy….

I never did end up going to any wineries as time didn’t permit.  I barely made it to my lunch booking at Flutes, a beautiful winery on a rushing stream with excellent food.  I had a light meal since last night’s dinner was sooo heavy.  The food here continued to be fantastic and the wine as well.

All in all, it was very fun and full weekend, there is so much to do in Margaret River, you could easily spend over two weeks enjoying everything!