Well, considering that we still couldn’t leave the south-west as Jarrad’s broken ankle makes it too difficult to hitch up and drive, we may as well explore the region a bit.
I went to a winery with my cousin-in-law while Jarrad and ten-year-old Peter stayed at the campervan. It was peaceful for a ten minutes or so, as we sampled a few of the wines and the kids jumped off a dead stump outside. Then nine-year-old Susan decides that one of the roses was pretty and picked it, and after being reprimanded the behaviour went quickly down hill from there. We leave. We give up the winery attempt for the day, and go to a playground.
Jarrad and I have a rare day with only the toddler, because the older three kids are at a school for a few weeks. As Jarrad’s ankle means we are in one place for a bit, we figure the kids can have some time to play with other kids at a local school. We drop the kids off, and head to have a look at the local wineries. In the name of getting some good photos, of course.
Well, this next attempt is actually a bit of a flop. Not only are most of the wineries closed, the ones that are open seem to be just a cellar door. There is no attempt to seduce the passing tourist trade. No landscaping, and they just aren’t that pretty. We give up trying to find a nice winery after two hours of driving around looking for one.
We try again a few days later. We drive an hour further south into the Margaret River region. We have to keep an eye on the time, so that we are back in time to get the kids from school. That feels weird, as I’m just not used to having to think about school pick-up times. Jarrad picks out a few that sound like they might be quite pretty.
The first winery we head to is owned, built and designed by an architect. It’s a rammed earth building. The gardens aren’t particular spectacular, though there is a pretty water feature next to the staircase leading to the winery.
I try two a sip of two different wines, that are both nice. Jarrad, as the designated driver, is more interested in taking photos. From the verandah we can see across wineries to the ocean. Edmund finds a toy car they’ve got in a corner toy box, and pushes it along the tiles between our legs as we enjoy the view.
We head along the road to another winery which has a restaurant where we have lunch. The sight from the driveway is impressive as the winery’s landscaping is gorgeous. A large lake is just outside the restaurant, and on the other side there are shallow waters on either side of the footpath. Edmund tries to count the goldfish swimming around.
The food is so expensive that we choose to just share two entrees rather than getting a main meal. The entrees are so large that we are full when we finish them, and the dips that are served are delicious.
Edmund heads briefly for their playground, which although small is pretty cool for a little kid to play on, before he follows Jarrad across a small bridge to an island where a few other kids are playing with their parents. I follow him, finding a large stained-glass gazebo in the middle. Each side tells the story of the culture and making of alcohol throughout the eras.
We head further down the road to the third winery Jarrad had planned to visit. Instead, I spy a chocolate factory, and we head in there. There seems to be no one around for a second, but there are displays including samples with an invitation to try. We notice a tour that has just started and listen. The tour guide is talking in such a monotone voice that it’s impossible to concentrate on what he’s saying. We fidget and wriggle, then notice that it’s close to school pick-up time and head back to get the kids.
It’s definitely a lovely, lush green part of the country. As we head up the road, we notice another winery with a large outdoor playground like you’d expect at a fast food place. They definitely put a lot of effort in to the presentation of the wineries in Margaret River.