The Retirees Home in Brisbane – Travels to the Wild West – Day 4

Next morning the weather looked as though it would be overcast but not rain so we decided that a trip to Augusta and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse would be our destination for the day with a few wineries for good measure. We started off the morning with coffee at Koffee Works alongside of Temper chocolate factory. The chocolate factory made some brave statements about being the best in the world (which we doubted) but it was worth a visit particularly for their chocolate dipped ginger and figs.

Koffee works not only sold you coffee whilst seated in your car (Yes a drive through) but roasted the beans, had bus tours visiting, a souvenir shop of all things to do with coffee and did a pretty good coffee as well. At $4 per cup it would want to be good but we found that coffee anywhere in Margaret River was $4 per cup (a bit of price fixing?). We then made a quick stop at Watershed Winery. Very modern premises and magnificent vineyards encircling the cellar door. Unfortunately, the wines did not impress so we pressed on.

We stopped in Augusta to get our bearings and make certain the lighthouse was open. Even on this fair day the place felt a bit wind swept being close to the south western most point of Australia – where the Great Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. We are on the right track so we carry on along the coast road through rough scrubby dunes and exposed rock faces to Cape Leeuwin. Opened in 1895, the tower, built from local limestone, stands 39 metres high from ground level and 56 metres above sea level. The tower has seven floors and 186 steps that keepers had to go up at least four times a day before the lighthouse was automated in September 1992.

The light was one of the last manually operated in the world, until 1982 when it was converted to electricity, replacing the clockwork mechanism and kerosene burner. Its piercing beam is as intense as one million candles and can be seen for 26 nautical miles or 48 kilometres. Apart from the tower there are the lighthouse keeper’s house and other buildings used throughout its 121-year history. Cape Leeuwin was first charted in 1801 by the great English explorer Captain Matthew Flinders RN when commanding the HMS Investigator circumnavigating and charting Australia’s coastline.

Fabulous adventure ending in sheltering outside the toilets as a sudden rain squall rushed across the Cape. We had parked amongst the Camper Vans and were confronted by the problem of too big a van in too small a space when it came time to travel on to see the stingrays at Hamelin Bay. Unfortunately, we did not research this on the internet. We stood on the beach (I had come prepared to wade into the water) looking at the rolling surf and wondering how the hell we were supposed to see the stingrays while 300 metres up the beach stood Hamelin Bay Jetty or what is left of it and apparently that is where you go to see the little Stevie killers. You can see the jetty in the distance in one of my photos.

Evan had told us that Café Borunup was worth a visit for lunch. We told us it was in the midst of the Kauri forest but we did not expect that it was just that – in the midst of the forest well off the main road. We were late for lunch but they squeezed us in following which we went to the adjacent wood crafts and antiques centre. There were some fabulous pieces of furniture there (dining table for 18 with the table top made of a solid slab cut from a tree- who has a house that will fit that table?) and some crazy steel sculptures made out of concrete re-enforcing steel. It is now getting late and we want to get back to our chalet with a bottle of wine or two visit the local supermarket for supplies and get ready for a night of cards. So we stop at Redgate Wines sample a few and decide that the cabernet merlot would do for tonight.

After unpacking the car, we walk to the village passing over the Margaret River. It looks very dormant and chocked with fallen trees and shopping trolleys. Apparently just the environment for big Marron (a fresh water crayfish that is considered a delicacy). A quick stop at the IGA, and the ice cream shop before the sun sets and we make our way home through the gloom of the evening with a chilling breeze. After dinner a few hands of cards and a bottle or two from Island Brook and Redgate.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.