Day 4 started out pretty well. With the early night rest, kids woke up on the dot just before 6 AM. They seem to have an internal alarm clock that goes off the same time daily regardless of school holidays or weekends. Pretty amazing, I must say.
The amenities here in the tourist park are great. It has hot showers, clean toilets and well-kept lawns. Most important of all: complimentary Wi-Fi, an important feature for the workaholic me who needs to keep in touch with my colleagues on work matters.
Breakfasts are great bonding for us. Isabella would always insist on helping; be it cracking the eggs, beating the eggs, and washing the fruits. French toast is always fuss-free and kiddos love them.
We were enjoying ourselves so much over breakfast with OJ and fresh fruits, that we lost track of time so it was a mad rush to get everything packed up and ready for our Margaret River Wine Tour conducted by Tony from Margaret River Vintage wine tours. The classic all day tour is $105 AUD per person, and will feature a selection of world class wineries and gourmet food shops. For more details, click here.
Tony was a big, tall and friendly man, and has this charm around him. Kids immediately took a liking to him, wanting to play with him and tell him jokes. He did tell us that he is really good with kids. We had tastings at Watershed Wines, and Leeuwin Estate. It was great to hear first hand stories from a local about these estates, the owners and the history of the Margaret River wine region and how it actually started.
Watershed Winery along Bussell Highway started as a co-op with a lot of investors coming together to set up this winery and was nice to know that this winery is fully self irrigated. Amazing how technology and innovation changes the way grapes are grown and harvested, no longer relying on Mother Nature to dictate the quality of every year’s harvest. This is so totally new world!
Next stop: Leeuwin Estate is a second generation winery started by the Horgans who were originally cattle farmers. With the help and advice from the late Robert Mondavi (yes, the same great man who gave us new world wines in the Napa valley), the land was converted to growing vineyards with initial plantings of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and pinot noir. Particularly famous for its Leuwin estate concert series in the summer months featuring major Australian and international performances like the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985. The winery is very supportive of the arts and even has a range of wine called the “Art Series” with its vintage in each category with a painting from an Australian artist on its label. How cool is that?
One advantage about coming on a wine tour, is the privilege to sample wines that probably in the reserve list and not having to pay a fee to sample them.
We headed to Voyager Estate next. One of the wineries with absolutely the most gorgeous manicured lawns with beautiful rose bushes and shady trees.
The kids were really stoked that they can participate in the sampling as they got served non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice made from estate-grown grapes and selected during vintage and treated with as much care and attention as their wines. Available in red and white! We were quickly settled down to have a souperb lunch in the gold plate award winning restaurant. This was included the $105 that we paid and it was well worth it! I have attempted to make my own dukkah after this experience. All the food was beautifully executed.
Our lunch partners were two sisters from Perth that had joined for the tour. Over hearty conversations about their careers as mid wives, to breastfeeding and our days of studying in Perth as we enjoyed our meals.
Kids had tempura fish and pasta and the best part was an ice cream treat and a much needed caffeine fix for the adults in beautiful blue motif cups.
The scrumptious lunch was followed by an afternoon of pure indulgence through the heart of Margaret River. We then visited family-operated boutique vineyards at Bettanay’s Wines and Nougat (Tom Cullity Dr., Cowaramup) and tasted delights of olive oils from my favourite Olio Bello (36 Armstrong Rd, Cowaramup), chocolates at the Margaret River chocolate factory (415 Harmans Mill Rd, Metricup), cheese and yoghurt at the Margaret River Dairy Company (Bussell Highway, Cowaramup).
One notable place was the Venison Farm that we visited. Besides, a brief history lesson how venison farming started, we were treated to yummy samplings of salamis, hams and sausages. We also bought 3 pieces of steak for $5 AUD. It was a steal!
Kids had a blast hanging around in the grounds particularly around the lemon tree with a very interesting signage. Huge lemons for the pickings. I think they get plenty of itchy hands who would nick their lemons hence the sign. They do actually sell them in the store.
We definitely would recommend Tony to anyone interested in doing a wine tour. Having been to the Margaret River region for the umpteenth times, this was a breath of fresh air, having a local tell us the histories of the places we visited, sampling the reserves, never to have to worry about drinking too much to be able to drive. And the best part, a souper yummy lunch was included.
With the venison steaks from the farm, no prize for guessing what we had for dinner! Cooked the venison and beef steaks from the supermarket for 4 minutes each. Made a cauliflower red plum reduction with Siblings Shiraz from Leeuwin estate. Paired them with asparagus and blistered heirloom tomatoes and panfried potatoes. Why cauliflower ? This was what I had in my fridge and pantry, that’s why! I was using what I had and I really don’t have a recipe for this dish and I honestly cant remember the proportions either. But it tasted awesome!
The stove in the campervan is pretty good and it cooks food really well. This is just so important for us as a family who cooks and it is great way to save money when on a budget holiday. Everything is so fresh and it is best we can provide for the kids.
What a great end to a long and tiring day. Looking forward to a perfect start to day 5.