Albany, West Australia, Australia

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The view of Gull Rock National Park from our luncheon restaurant, the Emu Point Café, on the east end of Albany, West Australia

 

Cradled between Mount Melville and Mount Clarence, Albany (population 34,000) overlooks Princess Royal Harbor and King George Sound on Australia’s south coast on the Southern Ocean.  Albany’s history is well represented by some 50 19th century colonial buildings now housing art galleries, museums and restaurants.  The Amity Trail is a self-guided walk around town where visitors can see the old whaling station or climb aboard the Brig Amity, a full-scale replica of the ship that brought Albany its first European settlers (and convicts) in 1826.  Albany has much to offer in the way of natural wonders as well, with white sand beaches, the rugged coastline of Torndirrup National Park and excellent diving and snorkeling sites.

 

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Looking across Frenchman Bay in the rain from Golf Links Road in Albany, West Australia

 

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Dog Rock is a natural formation that has given the nearby shopping center its name in downtown Albany, West Australia

 

the-sign-next-to-this-mural-noted-this-mural-is-a-dedication-to-all-those-men-and-women-who-have-served-in-the-australia-armed-forces-in-all-theatres-of-war-and-peacekeeping-operations-_

The sign next to this mural noted, “This mural is a dedication to all those Men and Women who have served in the Australia Armed Forces in all theatres of war and peacekeeping operations. And all future Service Men and Women who will continue to protect what our War Veterans have fought and died to defend, Albany, West Australia

 

At the Dog Rock shopping center we found a mural (above) and (next photo) an interesting painted “poster” about Army soldiers (“diggers”).

 

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Comparing a World War I and present Australian Army soldier (“digger”), Albany, West Australia

 

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Town Hall, Albany, West Australia

 

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Saint John the Evangelist Church, the oldest church in Albany – the first Anglican Church to be consecrated in West Australia in 1848

 

Full of character, York Street is the main thoroughfare in Albany, the oldest town in Western Australia.  It is lined with shops, parks, and cafés and is a great place for a stroll.

 

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Shops in buildings dating back to the 19th century along Grey Street at the intersection of York Street, the town’s main shopping street, Albany, West Australia

 

the-albany-entertainments-modern-architecture-located-on-the-pier-along-the-southern-ocean-near-the-cruise-ship-berth-where-we-docked-is-in-stark-contrast-with-the-surrounding-19th-century

The Albany Entertainment’s modern architecture, located on the pier along the Southern Ocean near the cruise ship berth where we docked, is in stark contrast with the surrounding 19th century buildings, Albany, West Australia

 

The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia, Australia

the-tree-top-walk-is-a-600-meter-1969-foot-loop-along-a-raised-suspended-walkway-reaching-up-to-40-meters-131-feet-above-the-ground-in-a-forest-of-indigenous-red-tingle-trees-in-the-valley-of-th

The Tree Top Walk is a 600 meter (1,969 foot) loop along a raised, suspended walkway reaching up to 40 meters (131 feet) above the ground in a forest of indigenous red tingle trees in The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

On our drive out of the Margaret River Region (south of Perth) we drove east along the Southern Ocean coast through Denmark, Western Australia, towards Albany, where our ship had docked after sailing south along the Indian Ocean from Perth and then east in the Southern Ocean.  Our destination along the way was the “Tree Top Walk” among the indigenous red tingle trees in the so-called “Valley of the Giants” just west of Denmark (Australia).  The sign greeting us there noted: “The Noongar Aboriginal people of the South West [Australia] welcome you to the Valley of the Giants and the Wilderness Discovery Center. Please respect and care for our traditional lands.”

 

the-giants-known-to-live-for-over-400-years-are-red-tingle-trees-eucalyptus-jacksonii-that-are-unique-to-a-small-area-around-denmark-and-are-characterized-by-their-huge-buttresse

The “Giants”, known to live for over 400 years, are red tingle trees (Eucalyptus jacksonii) that are unique to a small area around Denmark and are characterized by their huge buttressed bases that can have a circumference of up to 20 meters (66 feet)!; viewed from the Tree Top Walk, The Valley of the Giants, Western Australia

 

You’re probably wondering, what are the “Giants”?  Known to live for over 400 years, red tingle trees (Eucalyptus jacksonii) are unique to a small area around Walpole and Nornalup [around Denmark].  They are characterized by their huge buttressed bases that can have a circumference of up to 20 meters (66 feet)! Some of the larger trees have hollowed out bases caused by insect and fungal attack and then fire burning out the dead wood.  The buttress provides stability to these shallow rooted trees.

The common name, “tingle”, is believed to be derived from the Noongar word for these trees.  Other types of tingle trees are the yellow tingle and Rates tingle.

 

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The Tree Top Walk was built to protect the tingle trees and their sensitive root systems and to allow visitors to experience the tingle forest from high above the forest floor; The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

The Tree Top Walk is a 600 meter (1,969 foot) loop along a raised, suspended walkway reaching up to 40 meters (131 feet) above the ground.  It was built to protect the tingle trees and their sensitive root systems and to allow visitors to experience the tingle forest from high above the forest floor.  The tassel flower (Leucopogon verticillatus) and the sword grass (Lepidosperma effusum) provided the inspiration for the design of the Tree Top Walk.  The supporting pylons are specially designed to blend with the surrounding forest, while the spans are reminiscent of the shape of the sword grass leaf.

The Tree Top Walk was fabricated off site, transported in sections and bolted together on the forest floor.  The spans were hoisted into position between the pylons using winches and jacks.  Every attempt was made to minimize the impact of the construction.  The Tree Top Walk opened to the first visitors in August 1996.

 

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The intrepid traveler and your blogger near the high point of the Tree Top Walk, The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

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Looking closely we spotted many birds camouflaged in the forest, Tree Top Walk, The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

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A huge red tingle buttressed base (the circumference of the red tingle bases can be up to 20 meters/66 feet), Tree Top Walk, The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

Growing up to 75 meters (246 feet) tall and up to 20 meters (66 feet) in girth, red tingles are recognized by their large, often hollowed out bases.  They only grow in a small area around the Valley of the Giants. The trees need over a meter (39 inches) of rain every year to thrive

 

growing-up-to-75-meters-246-feet-tall-and-up-to-20-meters-66-feet-in-girth-red-tingles-only-grow-in-a-small-area-around-the-valley-of-the-giants-and-are-recognized-by-their-large-often-hollowed

Growing up to 75 meters (246 feet) tall and up to 20 meters (66 feet) in girth, red tingles only grow in a small area around the Valley of the Giants and are recognized by their large, often hollowed out bases; Tree Top Walk, Denmark, Western Australia

 

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The intrepid traveler preparing to begin the Ancient Empire Walk through the giant red tingle trees, The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

After descending from the Tree Top Walk back to the Discovery Center, we took another hike – this time on terra firma – on the Ancient Empire Walk, amongst the red tingles.  Here we saw a number of large hollows in the tree bases; notwithstanding the removal of so much of the base, the trees were quite tall and thriving.

 

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A large hollow in a red tingle tree base , Ancient Empire Walk, The Valley of the Giants, Denmark, Western Australia

 

Eat Local: La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia, Australia

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An Italianate balustrade welcomes guests to La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia, where we were met by our hosts, Fee Menzies and Michael Whyte, owners of the estate

 

“Margaret River, just 300 km (186 miles) south of Perth, is rich in special places where the visitor may relax and unwind.  One of the loveliest is approached through old iron gates, along a winding riverside path that leads to a secluded glen, where sunlight filters through tall trees – truly an enchanted forest… the setting for a grand banquet prepared and presented by the award winning chefs of last years Tasting Australia contest.” – Alan Hill, Vogue Entertaining & Travel (Australia)

 

after-champagne-and-hors-doeuvres-on-the-lawn-by-the-river-flowing-through-the-property-we-walked-uphill-to-il-palazzo-their-home-for-a-multi-course-dinner-la-fore%cc%82

After Champagne and hors d’oeuvres on the lawn by the river flowing through the property, we walked uphill to “il Palazzo” (their home) for a multi-course dinner, La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

Set exclusively within 10 acres of private Margaret River water frontage, this forested retreat was the site of a private dinner for a small group of us from the ship, hosted by owners Fee Menzies and Michael Whyte, an engaging leader in the Margaret River wine industry. A proud recipient of the Jaguar Award for Excellence in Travel, La Forêt Enchantée is the private home of our hosts and was established in 1995 as a venue for romantic engagements, intimate weddings and private functions.

“Classical statuary, fountains and urns accentuate a passion for the Renaissance, incorporating sweeping terraces and Italianate balustrade. From beautiful marble bathrooms and granite kitchens through to fairytale turrets and wide verandahs stretching out into open sky decks, the privacy of the forest seems endless, destined to immerse the spirit…. in absolute peace and tranquility.” — http://laforetenchantee.com.au

 

final-touches-to-prepare-the-banquet-table-for-our-dinner-as-we-arrived-at-il-palazzo-la-fore%cc%82t-enchantee-the-enchanted-forest-margaret-river-region-western-australia

Final touches to prepare the banquet table for our dinner as we arrived at “il Palazzo”, La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

Our dinner was cooked by a local chef using all local ingredients.  Host Michael Whyte served special wines from his cellar that made excellent pairings with each course.  We all agreed that the evening was a magnificent introduction to Australian food, cooking, wine and hospitality – everything came together seamlessly to make a truly memorable evening for our small group from our ship.

 

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One of the beautiful rose floral arrangements on the table, from the estate gardens at La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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Our entrée (starter) course was local marron (fresh water crayfish found in Western Australia that tastes like lobster), La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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Our main course was an Asian pork stew with rice and salad, La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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An Australian version of an English trifle with fresh fruit for dessert, La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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We ended our dinner with Australian cheeses, La Forêt Enchantée (The Enchanted Forest), Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

Margaret River Wineries (part II), Western Australia, Australia

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Vineyard and winery with stainless steel tanks visible, Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

Margaret River is the only region in Australia where you can hop from award-winning wineries to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves. It is located approximately three hours’ drive south of Perth.

 

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The Cape Dutch style architecture Voyager Estate (winery) tasting room and restaurant, Margaret River region, Australia

 

On our second day of touring wineries in the Margaret River we visited Voyager Estate first in the morning.  The property is beautifully landscaped, with formal gardens on the side of the walk to the Cape Dutch architecture tasting room and restaurant, with a formal rose garden beyond.  We particularly enjoyed the Broadvale Block 6 Chardonnay and bought both the 2014 and 2010 vintages to bring back to our home on the ship.

 

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The formal rose garden on the grounds of Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

“Wine, food, family and friends come together at Voyager Estate.  Located in the famous Margaret River region in Western Australia, Voyager Estate creates outstanding wines that are skillfully matched with the finest local produce.   Founder Michael Wright settled on the Stevens Valley site because it had the ideal characteristics to create beautiful wine.  With vineyards established in 1978, Voyager Estate is blessed with the raw materials required to make great wine.  From this strong foundation, the vineyard and winemaking team, led by Steve James, apply their craft and uncompromising passion to create elegant wines that do justice to their place in Margaret River.” – ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

 

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The “VIP” tasting room at Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

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Leeuwin Estate is set on a former cattle ranch and its wood-and-adobe building with a corrugated-metal roof appears a bit dated at first, Margaret River region, Australia

 

“Leeuwin Estate, which is Margaret River’s most famous winery and is renowned for its rich and complex Art Series Chardonnays, also feels worlds away from reality. Set on a former cattle ranch, the wood-and-adobe building with a corrugated-metal roof appears a bit dated at first. The modernized interior, however, has both a farm-to-table restaurant and a gallery showing paintings by Aussie artists.

 

margaret-rivers-most-famous-winery-leeuwin-estate-is-renowned-for-its-rich-and-complex-art-series-chardonnays-margaret-river-region-australia

Margaret River’s most famous winery, Leeuwin Estate, is renowned for its rich and complex Art Series Chardonnays, Margaret River region, Australia

 

the-modernized-interior-of-leeuwin-estates-main-building-houses-the-tasting-room-and-restaurant-with-a-gallery-downstairs-showing-paintings-by-aussie-artists-that-are-used-on-the-art-serie

The modernized interior of Leeuwin Estate’s main building houses the tasting room (and restaurant), with a gallery downstairs showing paintings by Aussie artists that are used on the Art Series wine labels, Margaret River region, Australia

 

“’People like an adventure—they like to find you at the end of the road,’ says Tricia Horgan, who founded Leeuwin in 1974 with her husband, Denis. ‘And we have more than a hundred thousand visitors a year, so they figure it out.’ Many of these guests come for the summer outdoor concert series, which takes place on the lush lawn every year. The two chipper septuagenarians don’t make wine anymore, but are never far away from whatever’s going on at Leeuwin. When I stopped by for a tasting, the Horgans told me that back in the early days, they enlisted the help of a knowledgeable friend. ‘Neither of us knew anything before we met Bob Mondavi,’ recalled Tricia, of the man who put Napa Valley wine on the map. He told us what to plant and where to plant it.’” — Travel and Leisure (Magazine), November 15, 2016

 

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We had a wine tasting (5 varietals) with food pairings, followed by a delicious, multi-course lunch outside on the terrace of Leeuwin Estate’s farm-to-table restaurant whose interior is pictured here; Margaret River region, Australia

 

Moss Wood was our last winery visit of the day and we were treated to an extensive cellar tour and barrel tasting.  It was quite educational to taste two 2016 cabernet sauvignons that have been in very different barrels for just 4 months following the spring 2016 harvest (one 16 years old and the other only 7 years old).  (Northern Hemisphere readers need to remember that “Down Under” has the seasons “reversed” from the north, so grape harvesting is in roughly March and April – their fall season.)   We could actually see a big difference already in the tannins and oak that the wines had absorbed so far, with another 14 months to go.  Tasting the older vintages from bottles showed that the finished wines were very good and represent the top wines of the estate.

 

the-eucalyptus-trees-are-a-dead-giveaway-that-the-vineyards-are-in-australia-here-the-moss-wood-estate-where-we-had-a-superb-cellar-tour-and-barrel-tasting-margaret-river-region-australia

The eucalyptus trees are a dead giveaway that the vineyards are in Australia – here the Moss Wood estate where we had a superb cellar tour and barrel tasting, Margaret River region, Australia

 

Eat Local: Cape Lodge, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia, Australia

in-the-margaret-river-region-of-western-australia-we-stayed-at-the-very-comfortable-and-luxurious-cape-lodge-near-the-small-town-of-wilyabrup

In the Margaret River region of Western Australia we stayed at the very comfortable and luxurious Cape Lodge near the small town of Wilyabrup

 

During our three days in the Margaret River region of Western Australia we stayed at the very comfortable and luxurious Cape Lodge near the small town of Wilyabrup.

 

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The view of the estate pond from the patio of our room at Cape Lodge, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

“Cape Lodge is a Boutique Country House Vineyard Hotel & Restaurant in the heart of Margaret River Wine Country” and was very close to both the Canal Rocks Park at the Indian Ocean coastline and the top-notch wineries we visited, including Vasse Felix, Cullen & Moss Wood.  On our first night the four of us enjoyed a delicious dinner at Cape Lodge’s highly rated gourmet restaurant.

 

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An entrée (starter course) of “Chicken Liver Plum” (chicken liver mousse shaped like a plum and coated with a plum emulsion) – delicious!! — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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An entrée (starter course) of seared tuna — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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An entrée (starter course) of local marron (actually a species of crayfish in Western Australia that tastes like a fresh water “lobster tail”) with garnishes — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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An entrée (starter course) of “43 degree Tasmanian salmon” (fresh caught salmon from the waters off Tasmania that is cooked in a plastic bag in water heated to 43 degrees Centigrade (109.4 degrees F) in a sous vide cooker – another fantastic dish — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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A main course of pan-seared duck breast — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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A main course of fresh barramundi (Asian sea bass) from the waters off the north coast of Australia — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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A dessert course of two chocolates and a gelato — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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A dessert course of pudding with mango sorbet — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

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A most unusual dessert course of avocado gelato with fresh pear (the long, thin slice above the gelato and the wedges between the scoops of gelato) — Cape Lodge Restaurant, Wilyabrup, Margaret River Region, Western Australia

 

Margaret River Wineries (part I), Western Australia, Australia

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Vineyards, winery and restaurant (on the upstairs deck) at Vasse Felix , Margaret River region, Australia

 

We were very excited to have the opportunity to visit the Margaret River wine region, a three-hour drive south of Fremantle/Perth in Western Australia, on our second visit to Australia.  Like most visitors, our first multi-week visit to Australia a few years ago had beenalong the coast in the southeast, visiting Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  We found the recent story (November 15, 2016) by Ted Loos in Travel and Leisure magazine a very apt description of Western Australia’s wine country.

“Aussies like to say that Perth, the capital of Western Australia and a five-hour flight from Sydney, is the most isolated major city in the world.  Which means that the Margaret River wine region, which is set on a tab-shaped peninsula jutting into the Indian Ocean—and a three-hour drive south of Perth—must be as remote as it gets…

“I made the trek to “Margs”, as locals call the area, primarily for the wine.  The case can be made that it’s Australia’s best wine region because of the sophisticated restraint that vintners pour into its top bottles.  (Cabernet Sauvignon is the star grape here, followed closely by Chardonnay.)  There are nearly 100 wineries open for tastings, many of which are located north of the town of Margaret River along a 10-mile stretch of Caves Road, where dense patches of forest alternate with honey-colored pastures.  Fees are nonexistent—the winemakers are just thrilled you made it to see them.

“But Margs has a lot to offer beyond the wine.  It’s one of the most free-spirited places I’ve ever visited, and the people here have struck an enviable work-life balance. Because much of the coastline falls inside 145-square-mile Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park—a constantly shifting landscape of granite cliffs, scrubby forests, and golden sands—the beaches are pristine.  ‘Surf culture runs deep here,’ said Will Berliner, when we met at his winery, Cloudburst. ‘If there’s a big swell that day, your plumber might be late to fix your sink.'”

 

the-region-is-well-known-for-its-chardonnay-wines-and-vasse-felix-produces-a-winner-with-their-heytesbury-bottling-margaret-river-region-australia

The region is well known for its Chardonnay wines and Vasse Felix produces a winner with their Heytesbury bottling, Margaret River region, Australia

 

“Vasse Felix was Margaret River’s first-ever winery, established in 1967 — and it still delivers one of the area’s most elegant experiences.  The two-story tasting room has walls clad in reclaimed timber, and its concrete floors are painted to a dark gloss.  At the restaurant, chef Aaron Carr’s cuisine far surpasses typical winery fare; he offers a $73, Asian-influenced tasting menu that might include kingfish, served alongside eel and wasabi, or a banana dessert with miso, yuzu, and peanuts.” — Travel and Leisure magazine We enjoyed an excellent multi-course luncheon on the deck with an excellent Vasse Feliz Shiraz (syrah) wine after our wine tasting (5 wines) that was accompanied with different small bites of food designed to showcase each wine.

 

the-grounds-of-the-vasse-felix-estate-are-a-beautiful-home-for-a-large-collection-of-the-owners-australian-outdoor-sculptures-margaret-river-region-australia

The grounds of the Vasse Felix estate are a beautiful home for a large collection of the owners’ Australian outdoor sculptures, Margaret River region, Australia

 

while-the-calendar-reads-december-it-is-the-beginning-of-summer-down-under-and-the-vines-are-verdant-pictured-here-vineyards-at-cullen-wines-margaret-river-region-austra

While the calendar reads December, it is the beginning of summer “Down Under” and the vines are verdant – pictured here vineyards at Cullen WInes, Margaret River region, Australia

 

cullen-wines-was-one-of-the-first-wineries-established-in-the-margaret-river-region-australia-in-1971-and-is-certified-biodynamic-carbon-neutral-and-naturally-powered

Cullen Wines was one of the first wineries established in the Margaret River region, Australia (in 1971), and is certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered; their biodynamic garden is quite educational and is the source of many ingredients in the Cullen Restaurant on the estate

 

The family owners of Cullen Wines have a very strong philosophy in operating their estate: “The Cullen philosophy can be defined in three simple words — Quality, Integrity and Sustainability.  These values have taken us on a journey from minimal chemical inputs throughout the winery and vineyard in the 1970’s and 1980’s, to becoming certified organic in 2003, and in 2004 certified biodynamic for all wines and food grown and served at Cullen.  We search for the purest and most transparent expression of place in our wine and food.  This is manifest in the biodynamic vineyard, winery and gardens.  We give back what we take from the land through our composting and recycling systems, creating a sustainable, individual, high quality expression of place.”

 

a-view-of-the-cullen-wines-winery-building-and-tasting-room-from-the-cullen-garden-margaret-river-region-australia

A view of the Cullen Wines winery building and tasting room from the Cullen garden, Margaret River region, Australia

 

one-of-many-informative-signs-in-the-cullen-garden-which-explains-both-the-crops-grown-as-well-as-their-importance-in-the-region-historically-and-presently-margaret-river-region-australia

One of many informative signs in the Cullen garden which explains both the crops grown as well as their importance in the region — historically and presently; Margaret River region, Australia

 

after-our-winery-visits-we-drove-over-to-canal-rocks-park-on-the-coast-of-the-margaret-river-region-australia-near-yallingup

After our winery visits we drove over to Canal Rocks Park on the coast of the Margaret River region, Australia, near Yallingup

 

Canal Rocks Park, on the coast of the Margaret River region, Australia, shows subtle banding on the coastline rocks whose texture is characteristic of gneiss, a metamorphic or “changed” rock (originally granite), formed about 750 million years ago from molten rock many miles (kilometers) below the surface.  About 230 million years later the supercontinent Gondwana began to form, causing this part of Australia to collide with Greater India.  Extreme temperatures and pressures were generated deep with the Earth’s crust, altering the minerals and texture of the granite and changing it to the gneiss we see today.  Canal Rocks Park is essentially an open-air museum of the geological features and rocks of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge that visitors can experience while surrounded by the powerful forces of wind and water that have helped to shape them.  Visitors can cross the canals via recently upgraded narrow bridges and carefully clamber over the rocks to marvel at the ocean’s power.

 

the-park-at-canal-rocks-has-a-solidly-built-wooden-walkway-bridge-from-the-parking-lot-out-to-the-bluff-where-we-could-see-the-banding-gneiss-on-the-rocks-along-the-coastline-and-observe-the-canals

The park at Canal Rocks has a solidly built wooden walkway/bridge from the parking lot out to the bluff where we could see the banding (gneiss) on the rocks along the coastline and observe the canals cut through the rocks to form channels, Margaret River region, Australia

 

Perth, Australia

panorama-of-the-downtown-area-and-swan-river-perth-australia

Panorama of the downtown area and Swan River, Perth, Australia

 

The vibrant capital of the state of Western Australia, Perth rests alongside the Swan River, with parks, beaches, bike paths, and golf.  Kings Park and Botanic Garden, an expanse of natural bushland and gardens filled with native flora and fauna, is a popular site for picnics and hiking and biking.  The performing arts are well represented by the Western Australian Opera, Ballet and Symphony.  Stellar restaurants, a casino and a profusion of lively watering holes complete the picture.  As noted in our previous two blog posts, Fremantle, the nearby port city for Perth, holds plenty of appeal of its own — attractions include the new harbor side Western Australia Maritime Museum, home to America’s Cup winner Australia II and the Fremantle Museum and Arts Centre.

 

the-downtown-area-of-perth-as-viewed-from-the-ferry-boat-sailing-into-perth-from-fremantle-australia

The downtown area of Perth, as viewed from the ferry boat sailing into Perth from Fremantle, Australia

 

a-view-of-some-of-the-new-skyscrapers-downtown-as-seen-from-the-gardens-outside-the-supreme-court-perth-australia

A view of some of the new skyscrapers downtown as seen from the gardens outside the Supreme Court, Perth, Australia

 

the-supreme-court-building-perth-australia

The Supreme Court Building, Perth, Australia

 

juxtaposition-of-the-gardens-and-new-office-buildings-perth-australia

Juxtaposition of the gardens and new office buildings, Perth, Australia

 

the-downtown-area-has-a-nice-mix-of-preserved-and-restored-19th-century-buildings-and-tall-modern-high-rise-office-buildings-perth-australia

The downtown area has a nice mix of preserved and restored 19th century buildings and tall, modern high-rise office buildings, Perth, Australia

 

memorial-eucalyptus-trees-line-fraser-avenue-in-kings-park-perth-australia

Memorial eucalyptus trees line Fraser Avenue in Kings Park, Perth, Australia

 

Considered one of the world’s largest inner city parks, Kings Park (and Botanic Garden) is a sprawling paradise of 988 acres/400 hectares of beautifully manicured gardens, modern culture, and Aboriginal and European history.  Approximately two-thirds of the park is protected as bushland, creating a native biological haven.  Within the park is the Botanic Garden, home to 3,000 species of Western Australia’s unique flora.

 

close-up-of-the-downtown-area-perth-australia-taken-from-kings-park

Close up of the downtown area, Perth, Australia, taken from Kings Park

 

We enjoyed a delicious lunch with friends from the ship at Fraser’s, located in Kings Park on Fraser Avenue with spectacular views of downtown Perth and the Swan River from its hillside location.  Executive Chef Chris Taylor oversees the kitchen that prepares West Australian specialties such as carpaccio of kangaroo fillet – a delicious starter that we all enjoyed, reminding us of a nice lean, tasty beef carpaccio.

 

the-clock-tower-at-the-entrance-to-london-court-building-and-entrance-to-the-shopping-street-behind-the-building-perth-australia

The clock tower at the entrance to London Court (building and entrance to the shopping street behind the building), Perth, Australia

 

julia-childs-eggplant-and-walnut-dip-with-crackers-served-for-a-dinner-party-in-our-apartment-on-the-ship-perth-australia

Julia Child’s eggplant and walnut dip with crackers, served for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship, Perth, Australia

 

our-home-made-dinner-continued-with-a-starter-of-asparagus-tonnato-perth-australia

Our home-made dinner continued with a starter of asparagus tonnato (cooked asparagus covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavored with tuna), Perth, Australia

 

seafood-stew-with-local-ingredients-tiger-shrimp-scallops-and-new-zealand-green-lip-mussels-from-the-market-at-fishermans-bay-in-fremantle-the-port-for-perth-australia

Seafood stew with local ingredients (Tiger Shrimp, scallops and New Zealand green lip mussels) from the market at Fisherman’s Bay in Fremantle, the port for Perth, Australia

 

for-desert-we-served-a-frozen-pineapple-mousse-with-the-intrepid-explorers-chocolate-hazelnut-squares-cookies-that-won-the-prize-for-the-best-all-around-holiday-cookie-on-the-ship-for-2016

For desert we served a frozen pineapple mousse with the intrepid explorer’s chocolate hazelnut squares (cookies) that won the prize for the best all around holiday cookie on the ship for 2016; Perth, Australia