Monday 29 February 2016

Monday Mural - Old World scene

A few months ago, while waiting for a friend who had an appointment, I decided to drive around and came across this mural. I parked the car and took a photo.
It was painted on a side wall of the Moondyne Joe's  Sports Bar and Bottle Store on the corner of Hampton Road and Wray Avenue in the port city of Fremantle.

The scene depicts a pub on the corner and horses and cart carrying Coopers Beer kegs (an Australian beer).
I couldn't see an artist's name...

Saturday 27 February 2016

Travelling with the family - Busselton and almost home

After leaving "Cow Town" on Sunday 13th December, we drove about 38km north to Busselton, one of the fastest growing towns in the area with about 30 thousand inhabitants.


Busselton is known for having the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, with 1,841mt. Although originally built with only 161 mt it had a couple of further extensions through the years.

The jetty was built over 150 years ago over the waters of Geographe Bay, and was refurbished a few years ago. There's a little train that rides all the way to the end, and at the end of the jetty is an underwater observatory.
The houses that can be seen on the photo are built 50mt offshore and are the visitor centre where you can buy your jetty tickets, a giftshop and a Cultural heritage Museum. Visit to these is free.

The long jetty can be clearly seen in this photo

The last time I was there was in 2008 with my daughter on one of her visits to Australia. The train wasn't in operation then, so we walked about half an hour each way and visited the underwater Observatory at the end of the jetty - I still remember it was a cold and windy August day (winter in Australia). You can see the train tracks behind my daughter and I on this next photo.

Busselton Jetty (photo taken in 2008)

The observatory is 8mt underwater accessed via a staircase and through the glass surround you can observe the fish circling the area - certainly a very interesting experience. 
Fees apply to just walk, ride or fish from the jetty, and there are fees for the train ride and for the entry to the Observatory.

Some of what we saw through the glass observatory in 2008

This time with my parents, I only managed to park the car quite far away from the jetty as there some sort of festivities taking place and the area was packed with people. We just didn't want to waste time as we wanted to be home before dark, so we just took some photos and got back in the car without visiting the jetty.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Travelling with the family - Cowaramup or Cow Town

Our 10 days away soon came to an end, and it was time to return home to Perth.
We left Margaret River via the Bussell Highway, and stopped just 12km down the track at the quirky town of Cowaramup.


Anyone driving into town would think it's named after it's love of cows, but it's actually an Aboriginal name meaning "place of the cowara bird" (purple crowned lorikeet).

In 2012, 42 life sized fibreglass statues of cows and calves were installed in the town, and in 2014 the town achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people - 1352 - dressed as cows.
Once a sleepy town, the presence of the cows has made Cowaramup a major tourist attraction for those travelling down South!  
There's even a cow-themed event in July - Deja Moo.

Don't worry I didn't photograph all 42 cows...just a few!

Dressed with glitter and Santa's hats for Christmas of course!
The "MuKau" cow wearing a Christmas coat

In the Pioneer Park on the main road, a few more cows make themselves at home.
Adjacent to the park is St. Mary's Anglican Church which was constructed in 1929.
The wooden church has a wall of remembrance commemorating many of the area's original settlers and services are held on the first and third Sunday of the month at 11,15am.

St Mary's Church
Grazing in Pioneer Park
A lovely metal sculpture, more cows and on far right a stone bridge across a small creek
I think this one is a "copy" of the Golden Lady at the Laurence wines (

With the ideal climate for Bordeaux type wine, the first grapes were grown here around 1917, with the first commercial vineyard established in 1967, the now famous Vasse Felix Estate
Other well know wineries are Madfish Winery and Howard Park.

Cowaramup started as a timber town in the 1930's, moved into agriculture with sheep introduced in 1934 and cattle introduced in the 1960's.

The town has a local produce store, post-office, bakery, fruit and vegetable shop, real estate, service station, liquor store, computer store, social club and various speciality stores selling gourmet produce such as candies, arts and crafts and gourmet treats, a restaurant and two cafes.
There's a town oval, tennis club and bowling green and a primary school, with nearest high school and university campus in Margaret River.

The town seems to be growing with new residential estates being sold - "Escape to the Country" anyone?

The only "but" was the many, many flies bugging us while we walked could be because of the cows, the real ones of course!
Truth be said in Summer you can't avoid the flies in Australia!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Yallingup and Dunsborough

There's plenty of beautiful towns within a short drive of Margaret River (see map below)


Thirty eight kms north of Margaret River, Yallingup or "Place of Love" in the Aboriginal dialect, is located on a hilltop surrounded by the Naturaliste National Park overlooking the Indian Ocean.

The inspiring scenery over the Yallingup beach is probably the reason why the area is full of art galleries. There are plenty of places to holiday from camping parks to resorts or private accommodation, but book early as it's a popular holiday area. 
The beaches are ideal for surfers and it was here that the sport of surfing in Western Australia started in the 1950's - there's even a 2,3 mt bronze statue to the surfer in a beachfront park.

Houses perched on the hill overlooking the ocean

This 2,3mt bronze statue commemorates the origins of surfing in Australia


Just 8 km away is the town of Dunsborough. From all the towns we visited, this one was my parent's favourite place! 
It's got a good shopping centre, lots of cute boutiques, plenty of hip restaurants and pubs and of course the beaches are beautiful too. The Dunn Bay beachfront is peppered with very chic beach resorts and beach houses. Wish I could afford one!

We were getting peckish and decided on a pub lunch at the Dunsborough Hotel.
Nice relaxing atmosphere, but it was full and we waited ages for our food...

After lunch we sat on one of the beaches for a short while watching some youngsters learn how to paddle surf in the shallow waters. Fun!! I should try that, I wonder if I could stay on the board for long?

If you're into lighthouses, you can visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse which was opened in 1903 (fees apply).

Paddle surfing

Statue of Pelican and seagulls at Blackhurst Park

View of one of  Dunsborough beaches - next to Blackhurst Park

I have to agree with my parents that Dunsborough was tops! Maybe we'll holiday there in future, instead of going to Margaret River...

Next post : Look forward to Cow Town!

Map from net - places we visited - Augusta, Margaret River, Yallingup, Dunsborough.

Monday 22 February 2016

Monday Mural - Waterbirds

Another mural found in Denmark, Western Australia during my December holiday.
This was in a small alley and difficult to photograph without trespassing into the house next door...

I presume the inspiration for the mural came from the waterbirds that populate the Wilson Inlet in Denmark which opens out to the sea  - Seagulls, Spoonbill bird, Black swans and Australian pelicans are some of those birds depicted here.

I couldn't spot a name for the artist/s.
If you would like to see more Monday Mural's from around the world click here.

Eastern Curlew (spotted w/long beak), Pelican

From the right -
Black necked Stork,  Spoonbill Bird (with large beak), Purple Swamphen (blue and black, red beak)

From the left - Purple Swamphen and White-necked Heron

Thursday 18 February 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Margaret River - wines (II)

I had to take my parents to one of my favourite wineries near Margaret River.
It's called Laurence wines
Located about 34km from Margaret River, at 3518 Caves Road, Laurence wines occupies an area of 100ha.

At the entrance to the estate there's a lake with a 14 mt high blue pole atop which is a 3 Metre high gold lady. "Free as a bird" represents freedom and opportunities that Australia gives us all.  A bit kitsch maybe, but impressive!

Free as a Bird with the winery in the background

Another view of the statue and garden

Another work of art nearby is of a tree with a single red apple.

Tree with red apple

The great late wildlife expert Steve Irwin is also commemorated with this bronze bird bath with cockatoos.

Indoors, the walls are covered with works of art from various Australian artists, including Aboriginal artworks.

The entry foyer and another beautiful painting

Being Christmas time there was a Christmas tree made with their beautiful bottles of wines. Above the tree you can see their wine glass chandelier, which I find "a must"!

Wine bottle Christmas tree, and wine glass Chandelier.

Does anyone need to go to the toilet  No? Oh well let's just go so we can take some pictures!!
Again, the toilets are amazing, full of works of art, beautiful mirrors, lotions and potions and very clean!

The ladies room

The beautifully landscaped gardens are a delight - with a 1000 rose bush garden, manicured lawns and rows and rows of vines, a playground for the kids and plenty of play space.

Rose garden

Rows and rows of vines

The restaurant serves light meals which you can enjoy indoors or outdoors overlooking the lakes and gardens. They also organize events and the gardens are popular for wedding functions.

The outdoor area

Another outdoor eating area
A kangaroo made of corrugated steel

The winery was started by Dianne Laurence in 2006 and they produce 9 wines, packaged in beautifully decorated bottles. Both wines and bottles have won awards.

We bought some wine, but I can't say if it's better or worse than others as I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I have to say I loved their bottles, the clear ones look good as water bottles!

The very striking wine bottles with roses

There are dozens of other wineries side by side on Caves Road, but I seem to take all my visitors to this one!  Maybe I should get a commission for spreading the word!!

Next: Other towns near Margaret River.

Monday 15 February 2016

Monday Mural - The Whales

During my trip to the South-west of Western Australia, before Christmas I spotted this mural of humpback whales on the wall of the Albany Backpackers lodge in Spencer Street, Albany.

Both the Humpback whales and the Southern Right Whales pass close to Albany during their migration, breeding and feeding in the bays of the Southern Ocean.

There are many whale watching tours departing from Albany from late May to early October.

For more murals around the world click here.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Travelling with my overseas visitors - Margaret River (I)

After our short visit to Augusta, it was time to drive about 40km to the town of Margaret River where we would stay another 3 days.

By the time we arrived the office had closed, but they had left a message on my mobile from where to pick the keys. 
It took a few tries before I retrieved them from the correct locker, as at first I kept entering the wrong "Resort" and then when I got the keys I couldn't find the correct house! I was trying the keys in an apartment belonging to one Resort, when we actually had a privatelly owned little villa in the other Resort!  How silly of me!!
We were actually surprised at the nice little house, although the furnishings could have done with a bit of upgrading, as it all looked a bit dark for a holiday home. On the upside it was close to town and quiet.

The front of the villa

The back had a nice outdoor area with a garden area running along all the other villas

While sitting outside for our first lunch my Dad saw a black "lizard" coming close to the house. He cut up a little bit of steak and threw it to him. Out of the bushes came another one! If we got closer they would run into the bushes again.

Anyway, my Mom was petrified of the lizards - King's skink and worried that they might start coming into the house searching for food, so we had to keep the patio doors closed most of the time...

The skink eating the piece of meat
Two is a crowd!

Margaret River is located in a wine producing region (mainly boutique wines), is well know for it's great produce and great food. Not far away are stalactite and stalagmite caves to be explored, as well as beautiful beaches, some of them well known to the surfing crowd.

The Main road, near the Hotel

The skate park in the Youth Plaza

 We drove around visiting some of the beaches, still a bit too cold to swim...
Prevelly Beach

Smith's Beach

Canal Rocks is great for fishing

Another view of the bridge over the rocks at Canal Rocks

Hope you enjoyed getting to know the Margaret River area.
Next post -  Wineries and surrounding areas of Margaret River.