Archive for the ‘Western Australia’ Category

Aravina Estate

Even if you’re not a wine drinker, it’s still a good idea to visit a vineyard restaurant at least once while you are in Margaret River, or any other wine region around the world for that matter. As I can’t drink wine for the moment, it hadn’t really crossed my mind to put a vineyard restaurant visit into our itinerary, but it was great that we eventually did get the chance to visit simply for the views of the sprawling vineyard grounds. It’s one thing to walk through the vineyards (which itself is a lovely thing to do), but there’s a different experience to be had sitting and enjoying the views from a slight distance.

Aravina Estate (2)

Aravina Estate is popular as a wedding location and we bumped into a wedding entourage when we were there on a Friday afternoon. Sorry no blue sky picture for you since it had rained earlier in the day. Can you believe it, for the 5 days that we were in Margaret River, it had to rain on the day that we were going out to sea? So glad to have this beautiful lunch to look forward to.

Aravina Estate - French bread and butter

Warm crusty bread and French butter to perk me up and forget about my soggy shoes.

Aravina Estate - Citrus cured ocean trout, oyster cream, apple, burnt cucumber, celery (1)

Citrus cured ocean trout, oyster cream, apple, burnt cucumber, celery

As you can see, all the dishes are beautifully plated and well curated, with ingredients sourced locally as far as possible. Loved this deep pink ocean trout, the slivers disappeared far too quickly! Didn’t detect any citrus taste but I did notice that the trout was not as salty as when smoked cured. The sliced apples and puffed grains help to add a little crunch.

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Afternoon Tea at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort

When in Margaret River, wine is not the only beverage available. One can partake in the fine activity of sipping a spot of tea and having a few nibbles to go along, if you visit the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort near the Naturaliste Lighthouse. In fact, from now until 20 December 2015, you can enjoy their limited edition High Tea while enjoying a natural spectacle, the migration of the whales. They have a cute name for this too, it’s called Humpbacks and High Tea at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort. Makes me wish I’d bought a humpback whale soft toy to cuddle while writing this piece.

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort - Swimming Pool facing the ocean

The views!

If you’re wondering, yes I did spot quite a number of water spouts in the distance, which does indicate that the whales are out there. I didn’t even have to use the binoculars thoughtfully provided by the hotel to spot the water spouts. Unfortunately none came up close during the 2 hours that I was enjoying my afternoon tea. Not that I spent 2 hours watching for whales though, I quite forgot about them after the decadent 3 tier afternoon tea set was served.

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort - Three Tier Afternoon Tea (1)

Tadah, the 3 tier afternoon tea set

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Margaret River – Olio Bello Olive Farm + Cafe

When in Margaret River, it’s not just vineyards that you can visit. If you’re a teetotaller or just want to see more of what Margaret River has to offer, check out Olio Bello Olive Farm and Cafe. Apparently the hot summers are great conditions for the olives to grow and you will notice olive platters on many a restaurant’s menu.

I happen to love olives and had been gorging on them (like an entire platter to myself for 2 consecutive days since the Partner doesn’t like olives although he loves olive oil) so it made sense to visit the olive experts and see if I could stock up on olive oils and olives.

Olio Bello employs sustainable, organic food and farming systems, and everything that is grown on the farm is untainted by synthetic chemicals or fertilisers. Commercial olive oil makers use heat and chemicals for faster extraction of the oils from the olives, but not so for Olio Bello. Their extra virgin olive oils are unfiltered and allowed to naturally settle in stainless steel vats over a longer period of time.

Olio Bello Olive Farm (2)

You can visit their 10,000 olive tree grove to roam around on your own. I don’t think they do official tours on a regular basis, but if there’s a truckload of you arriving, they just might show you around the place.

Olio Bello Cafe - Augusta crumbed whiting, salad and beer battered chips $27 (1)

Augusta crumbed whiting, feta salad and beer battered chips $27

I highly recommend that you stop for lunch at the Olio Bello cafe like we did. Their fish & chips use Augusta whiting (a type of fish sourced from Augusta, which is like a 1/2 hr drive from Margaret River town) and it was simply delicious. We tried whiting in a couple of other places, but in my opinion, Olio Bello serves the best version. The fish was tender, piping hot and crispy. Dip that in the olive oil based mayo and you have a match made in heaven!

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6D5N in Margaret River, Australia!

If you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s because I was having a wonderful time in the land down under, specifically in the Margaret River region! When I first told people I was going to stay 5 nights in Margaret River, they were incredulous. Most Singaporeans only spend 2 or 3 days in Margaret River, and so did I back in 2010 when I first visited.

However this trip has surpassed all expectations and when I look back, I can’t imagine how the holiday could have been any shorter! There’s so much to do, so much to see, so much to eat and drink, and not forgetting finding time to actually relax by the beach or resort.

Margaret River Restaurants

Feasting breakfast, lunch and dinner!

One of the biggest highlights of our trip has to be the 2 beautiful beach resorts that we stayed in. We stayed 2 nights at Smiths Beach Resort and 3 nights at Injidup Spa Retreat. They are very different in character, Smiths Beach Resort having a more modern look and near to the surfing beach while Injidup Spa Retreat, as the name suggests, exudes a cosy and secluded feel, as if it’s just you and you alone facing the huge ocean.

Smiths Beach Resort

Smith Beach Resort Ocean View Villa – Check out the extensive balcony space, and the big bath tub!

Injidup Spa Retreat

Injidup Spa Retreat – Your own plunge pool where you can watch the sun set directly in front of you! I would just love it if my house looked like this!

It was just amazing to be so near to the beach, and to be able to see the blue waters from our balcony. I would highly recommend paying a little bit more for this privilege because nothing beats waking up to the sounds and sight of the ocean while in your pyjamas and eating breakfast. In fact, I kinda regret packing my itinerary so tightly with activities. I should have spent at least 1 day doing nothing and lazing in the resort. I did at least manage to squeeze in a massage session at Injidup’s onsite spa, which was so heavenly I very nearly cancelled my whale-watching plans to have another go at it.

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The hotel I stayed in Perth provided a complimentary cooked breakfast each morning. Whatever the other side dishes are, the eggs are always the most eggciting part for me. I like mine sunny side up, whites crispy on the edges and yolks still runny. YUM YUM YUM! The Partner on the other hand likes his cooked to the core, in the form of omelettes or scrambled eggs.

The 3 days I was there, I would always specify 1 sausage and 1 hashbrown. But each time, a pair would arrive. This is despite the waitress dutifully scribbling down every word I said. I wonder if it is because the waitress is Chinese, and when I say “one”, she understands it as “one portion”.    

Eggmazing! Eggmazing! (2) Eggmazing! (3)

Eggmazing! (4)


Mantra on Murray

297-305 Murray Street, PERTH, WA, 6000, Australia

Tel: +61 7 5665 4450

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