Wine tasting . . . that is what brings us to this little town, not a bustling one, despite its name. But Busselton, nearly four hours south of Perth, “in the West”, as they say, is the gateway to the wineries of the Margaret River Valley. It’s also a perfect spot from which to launch oneself onto the rocky coastline of the southwestern part of this continent.
One of the best parts for us is that we managed to snag a three-bedroom time share condo right on the Busselton beach . . . the only cost was the $150 Interval International exchange fee. Now THAT speaks to some strange convergence of planets, grapes, sand, and our best intentions for our Eclipse 2012 trip. More on that plan later.
So launch ourselves we did, indeed. Each morning we walked on the beach. Nearly each day we lined up three wineries to visit, interspersing our tasting with a picnic at the nearest set of coastal rocks, or a burger in Margaret River itself, or a paired food and wine tasting at one of the fancier wineries (Leeuwin Vineyards for that one).
Traveling with Ashley and Justin was a real lesson in meal efficiency, and we enjoyed most of our dinners at our condo, grilling steaks one night, stuffing ourselves with Justin’s tacos another, pasta on two different evenings, and always, always . . . some of the wine we had purchased after our daily tastings.
Not that we were only enologically focused . . . we did visit one brewery, where I, the non-beer drinker, began my soon-to-be-habit of ordering hard cider (YUM!). We also set out one day to see only galleries . . . no wineries. However, when we got to the Happ’s Pottery Gallery, we discovered that a tiny tasting room was tucked away across the entry from the artwork, and there we had some of the tastiest varieties of the week!
Happy campers are we . . . always a great beach with crashing waves against the surrounding rocks, always a beautiful sunset dipping below the blue waters, always a great glass of wine awaiting us, and always a decent bed to crash into when the day is done.
So goes Week One in Australia 2012 . . .