Wine Country

Trip Start Jul 25, 2012
1
75
136
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Big Valley

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After a night in Bussleton...again, it was off to Cape Naturaliste and the Lighthouse, which is part of the scenic route to Margaret River.
Cape Naturaliste lighthouse was activated
in 1904. It is a 20 m high cylindrical tower built of limestone that
still uses its original first order Fresnel lens made by Chance Brothers. The light characteristic is "Fl. (2) 10 s", i.e. a group of two flashes every ten seconds, the focal plane
is at 123 m above sea level. Another precious lens optic is displayed
there, the second order Fresnel lens of the Jarman Island Light, as well
as the original Great Sandy Islands beacon. Both items were originally
used on the Pilbara coast further north.
The lighthouse was constructed of limestone quarried from nearby Bunker Bay, which was also known as the "Quarries".





From the lighthouse it was on the Yallingup.
Yallingup is named after an Australian Aboriginal word that means "Place of Love". After its caves were discovered by European settlers in 1899, Yallingup became popular with tourists.Tourism and viticulture are Yallingup's primary industries.

Once again I was unable to appreciate the limestone caves as dogs are not permitted in the park...so I potted off to the reef area where I was in awe at the stunning rock formations that depicts a land of pre-historic times.

The scenic route is approximately 135kms long from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, but I only got as far as Cape Mentelle, about half way, where I turned off towards Margaret River.
I had know idea there were so many wineries in the area and I couldn't sample any of them...unless of course I wanted to tempt fate and the local blue and white van, my luck, nah!

I booked a stay in a working sheep farm this time which was a ten minute drive out of town. Fabulous surroundings and plenty of room for everyone, huge open fire pit where campers gathered for drinks and recounted stories of their adventures.
The weather turned nasty again with bitter winds howling through the paddocks that kept everyone but the brave inside the first night I was there.

In the morning it was a relief to see the sun shining through the cloudy sky, so after breakfast I took the dogs for a long walk around the (sheep poo) infested paddocks. That certainly entertained them, they hardly lifted their heads the whole time sniffing everything in their paths and attempting to eat it as well...nothing like a bit of sheep poo to get the intestines working...only kidding.

Margaret River
"The town is named after the river, which is presumed to be named after Margaret Whicher, cousin of John Garrett Bussell (founder of Busselton)
in 1831. The name is first shown on a map of the region published in
1839. European migrants lived in the area as early as 1850, with timber
logging commencing in around 1870. By 1910, the town had a hotel which
also operated as a post office.
After World War I, an attempt by the Government of Western Australia to attract migrants to Western Australia (known as the Group Settlement Scheme) and establish farms in the region attracted new settlers to the town. In 1922, over 100 settlers moved into the district.
In the early 1920s the Busselton to Margaret River Railway was built and in 1925 the Margaret River to Flinders Bay line opened."
"Margaret River is the foremost Geographical Indication
wine region in the South West Australia Zone, with nearly 5,500
hectares under vine and over 138 wineries as at 2008. The region is made
up predominantly of boutique-size
wine producers, although winery operations range from the smallest,
crushing 3.5 tonnes per year, to the largest at around 7,000 tonnes.
The region produces just three percent of total Australian grape
production, but commands over 20 percent of the Australian premium wine
market.
Stretching some 100 km from north to south and about 27 km wide in
parts, the region is bounded to the east by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste
Ridge, between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and to the west by the Indian Ocean.
A Mediterranean-style climate, lacking extreme summer and winter
temperatures, provides ideal growing conditions. The climate is
described as similar to that of Bordeaux in a dry vintage.
Humidity levels are ideal during the growing period and the
combination of climate, soil and viticulture practices leads to
consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour. Consequently, annual
vintage results continue to exceed expectations and reinforce Margaret
River's reputation as one of the premium wine-producing regions of the
world.
The principal grape varieties in the region are fairly evenly split between red and white; cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, merlot, Chenin Blanc and Verdelho."
  

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