04. – 08. September 2010
I took a five and a half hours flight across the whole continent, for an extended weekend trip to visit my cousin in Perth. It was a lovely trip, I enjoyed the days in Perth and Fremantle, and then of course our trip down to the Margaret River area.
As people say, Perth is the remotest city in the world. You take a look at the map, and to the left (westwards) there is water (the Indian Ocean), to the right (in eastern direction) there are a few hills, and then: the vast open outback, for thousands of miles in all directions. Perth itself is a very pleasant city, not too big, still well-sized, sitting on the waters of the Swan River which widens up as it reaches the city. As in all Australian cities close to the sea people enjoy an outdoorsy kind of life-style and they have every reason to do so. The magnificent parklands of Kings Park sit elevated above the city and the Swan River; when we took an extended walk (or better: photo excursion) in the park the native Kangaroo Paw plants were fully blossoming.
We took a two-days drive to the Margaret River area, and I have to admit that I was very positively surprised. It was the beginning of spring when we were there, everything was lushly green, for some funny reason the landscape and scenery reminded me of the area where I grew up in northern Germany. Black-and-white Friesian cows were grazing in the meadows, small little farmhouses sat along the road. But again, this is Australia, a different world, and colourful green-blue-red parrots were flying through the air and when dusk set in kangaroos came bouncing out of the bush, hopping alongside or across the road.
Closer to the town of Margaret River you find an abundance of vineyards and wineries, and we did stop and had our tastings. Beautiful Semillon-Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, Cab Sauvs, Shiraz’, Rieslings and other wines were on offer; and as usual, the same grape variety gives different wines with different aromas at each different winery. It was a journey of indulgence, accompanied by visits to a cheese factory, a venison farm, and the renowned Margaret River Chocolate Factory. I was in heaven!
The great thing about this beautiful area is, that it is so close to the ocean. A few minutes drive and you hit yet another beautiful beach. At one beach we noticed flowers laid down at the top of a staircase leading down onto the beach. We realized this must have been the beach were only a couple of weeks ago a surfer was killed during a shark attack. I didn’t feel at ease when I thought about it. I looked out on the water, the surf was good, maybe a bit rough, probably ideal conditions for an experienced surfer. Knowing that near the coastline somewhere in the water there were the Great White sharks was not a very comforting feeling. But I guess that’s nature, here you get it all, the beauty and the beast.