Posts Tagged ‘Margaret River’

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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Back in Sunny Singapore

I am back in Singapore! I think I need another holiday to recover from my holiday to Western Australia! I am feeling so exhausted currently, as if I had just disembarked from a 24hr flight, when it was only 5 hours. I hope it’s not because I am falling ill.

This holiday has been, for the most part, fun and enjoyable.

For the 1st time in my life, I played golf in a temperate climate. It was a totally exhilarating experience with the cold crisp air in my face, even if I did lose a few balls in the bushes and even if a few of my fingers felt frozen towards the end. I could have gone on longer if not for the fact that the sun was setting. This is so unlike playing golf in Singapore where I just want to whack the balls as fast as possible and get back into the shade. I managed to enjoy some beautiful views, such as the one on Prevelly Beach. Even the views and the sound of the gusty winds from Secret Harbour Golf Course was nice.  I especially loved the farm stay, where I had free access to all the pet farm animals, with nobody else there to rush and block my way. I hugged a sheep, I waved madly at the alpacas and I hand-fed the ostrich (whose mouth-eye coordination could really be improved upon). The farmer said that ostriches have no teeth and the bills are like ducks, except they are rougher than sand paper!@# Did you know that Alpacas always look at you when you’re taking their photos? If they don’t, then attract their attention and they’ll definitely pose.

We stayed 2 days in Perth City, followed by 5 days of driving in the South-West region of Western Australia. While we were at Perth City, we covered the City Centre, Subiaco, Fremantle, Harbour Town, North Bridge and King’s Park. Perth City has changed somewhat since my last visit 10 years ago. For one, Aherns mall is no longer there, now it’s David Jones. (OK I just googled and apparently Aherns was acquired by David Jones in Feb 2000, so that means when I was there in June 2000, they hadn’t changed the signs yet! I remember asking a staff member how to pronounce Aherns!) The city centre seems more vibrant, more people milling around, more cafes and more shops. But one thing has not changed in the last 10 years, and that is the fact that the stores slam shut at 5pm!!!!! Even the supermarkets close at 5pm (or 6.30pm if you’re lucky). Don’t the Australians need groceries? Or do they skive on the job and shop during working hours?

Once out of Perth, we drove down all the way to Margaret River, stopping along the way at Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton before finally reaching Margaret River. At Margaret River, we signed up for a winery tour that brought us to 4 vineyards as well as a chocolate factory and cheese factory. The Partner had a wild time tasting all the wines and also drinking those that I hadn’t finished. I had a wild time at the chocolate factory. After Margaret River, we made a mad dash back up to the historic town of York (1st inland town apparently), where almost the entire town comprises of buildings built in the late 1800s. I have to admit it really did feel like I’d stepped back in time, if not for the modern cars reminding us that we have not. From York we moved to Toodyay (pronounced 2 Jays), Swan Valley and finally spending our last night in WA at Burswood Casino.

In terms of accommodations, I think I’ve covered the gamut:- Hotel, Service Apartment, Golf resort B&B, cheap-ass cabin, farm-stay. I think one thing’s for sure, I’ll probably never choose to stay in cheap-ass cabins anymore. They are decent, no-frills cabins, but they do provide cooking facilities which is something I like. It’s no fun to delight in buying local produce if you aren’t able to cook it. But, if we had just paid like $30/night more, we would have been able to get a room at a nice B&B.

The Partner and I love staying at B&Bs. Each one is unique with its own character. One of the best ones I stayed at was in the Blue Mountains Sydney. The living room had a roaring wood fire going on each night and it was such a wonderful experience to sit there in the evenings playing checkers or just drinking tea. And it’s cheaper than staying in nondescript hotels! The old couple manning the Secret Harbour Golfer’s Lodge B&B that we stayed at were friendly and funny. They are so anxious for people to enjoy their stay there that they have pasted a sign in the kitchen warning people not to clean up! And I tell you, the room we had looks even better than a hotel room! Nice accommodations help add to the collective holiday experience, and after having tried it all, I know what I’ll do the next holiday.

The not so fun parts of the holiday was the driving. I am officially sick of long drives! If I have to endure long drives, I want dramatic scenery along the way (all the way) like in NZ. We’ve agreed that if we ever go back to Western Australia, we’ll book a 1 week stay at  Secret Harbour Golfer’s Lodge and just play golf there everyday. The farmland scenery was also not as nice as those in NZ and UK. Unfortunately WA has been experiencing some sort of a drought. It is supposed to rain a lot during winter, but it hasn’t, and the grass looks pretty dry when it’s not even high summer. The farms have had to harvest the hay already because the grass is dying. This is spring time for god’s sake!

Ok enough of country laid-back living. Next holiday for me will definitely have to be USA (California) or UK/Europe! Gimme some city buzz, dramatic scenery, architecture and 24hr supermarkets!

Margaret River – Prevelly Beach

Prevelly Beach Sunset

The best things in life can be enjoyed free. After our tour of Margaret River ended, we decided to make full use of the remaining 1 hour of daylight by going to Prevelly beach. Prevelly beach was practically deserted at that hour. The views of the ocean from Prevelly is breath taking, but we didn’t realise we would get an added bonus of being able to watch the sunset. Incredible.

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