A few recommendations pointed us in the direction of a farm stay, called ‘Big Valley’ just out of Margaret River. It was an active, working sheep farm, set upon 650 acres owned and run by the same family for the past 40 years.
They had a large part of their land dedicated to backpackers that swarm in for the picking season, and stay with them for the entire season. And another large part beautifully set up and maintained for the nomads and travelers passing through wanting to explore the well renowned wine region for all its glory.
On the way there we drove through Pemberton, which is famous for its huge climbing trees. The old Karri trees were pegged about 80 years ago right to the top, theres a big viewing platform 55 meters above the ground. I think it’s one, of few bushfire spotting trees left in the world, and to be honest, I cant quite believe it’s there to be climbed with Australian, “over the top” safety standards, as there is very little safety measures in place. Just a bit of chicken wire along the outside of pegs you climb and a little sign saying ‘climb at your own risk!’ – brilliant. So I did! I climbed right to the top!! making Pon wig out just looking at me ( serious heights problem we are discovering!) I won’t lie, my feet were involuntarily shaking, I took my sweet time.. I loved the adrenalin and the challenge! It’s only a matter of time for something to go wrong ( I really hope not) and the ability to climb the tree is forbidden so I’m really happy I got took the chance and did it.
We arrived later, at Big valley.
The family were so welcoming and made a huge effort to include the kids in daily animal feeding and cuddles with the resident lamb ‘Ruby’ who was always roaming the property and chasing the owners on their motorbikes whilst attending to their farming duties.
There was the most amazing climbing tree the kids enjoyed and what felt like our own backyard to relax and play. Very spacious powered sites! It was so nice to have so much room.
We set up for a good week to explore the region, and what a week we had!!
We had a map circled by the hosts with many of the local attractions and worthy sights to see. It was almost overwhelming with where we were going to begin!
We started off with a trip south, down to Augusta. We drove right down to the most south/western point of Australia where the southern and the Indian Ocean meet. The seas looked wild and like one big washing machine. We could have paid close to $40 to walk out to the lighthouse but after the time we’ve spent on the road it didn’t seem anymore special than all the other lighthouses we’ve seen for free, so we passed on that idea and drove back towards Hamelin bay, which is popular for the stingrays that congregate there. The weather was windy and cold and the water was choppy and a tad murky. We saw nothing but a man with huge salmon in hand and sign banged freshly into the ground from the recent shark sighting. We travelled back towards Gracetown for a surf check through ‘the valley of the Giants’ which was a beautiful scenic drive amongst the huge karri tree forest. We were eager to return to Gracetown when the wind and swell turns it on, as its a haven for good waves and we are keen to see it working well.
We drove on to look around at Margaret River but due to the wind we ended up at a the local park with an amazing coffee in hand. We brought it from a hipster selling it out of his coffee combi from the carpark at Margie’s! So awesome!
Kids ‘time trialled’ it out on their scooters after we all played on the disc swing in its vertical motions we put it through. I love this quality family time we get day in day out. So many laughs, and so much time to enjoy each other’s company, sometimes doing the simplest or unexciting things but it’s still so much fun.
Nix lost his front tooth the day we arrived and of course, was visited from the tooth fairy with a sweet reward! He left his tooth in a cup of water that night which in my blindness and sheer thirst I chugged down the entire cup! somehow not swallowing his tooth. It wasn’t until I refilled the same cup and offered Raff a drink that he spotted the tooth and was quick to tell me it was there. I nearly dry reached!!! Nix on the other hand couldn’t stop laughing!
No surf again so we took to the Main Street of Margaret River to spend Nixon’s money. He had decided he wanted a crystal so we found a shop and he picked one that the lady told him was great for ‘clearing the mind’ and improving sleep and coordination. Every night there after he made sure he rubbed his smooth green rock all over his head in what he was sure was ‘mind clearing’ before school and routinely at bedtime! It was very cute and funny!
We did some shopping and finally I’ve purchased a steamer to brave these colder waters. Pon was clock watching to make the A league grand final at the pub, we had a meal and some beers whilst watching the game. I treated him to a solo last half free from kids and wife so he could concentrate with no distraction whilst I did some groceries with the kids.
The next day we scored some beautiful weather so we took off to the beach and see waves galore and offshore conditions. We met up with Ben, Stan and the girls who were staying at Yallingup, and came down to Gracetown and Margie’s for the day. Ben had been out for some time already and told us to get out there! The offer to sit the kids was kindly offered to me so gratefully I paddled out to the inner break of south point with Pon and the other 20 surfers that sit and wait for a wave this week day.
The south point was pumping!! It was solid and consistently throwing out left hand barrels. It Out of my depths so we stuck to the inner break which was fun if you could snag a wave or two. Even though there had been a few fatalities at Gracetown over the past 5 years due to shark attacks. I amazingly felt reasonably comfortable out there, not sure if it was the large crowd or the shallows of the reef. Whatever it was We were happy to experience that spot and see it for its potential amazingness. Kids were busy creating stone stacks on the beach and afterwards we took them the the Margie’s recreation center for a swim in the pool.
We did a coffee tasting at yahava coffee roasters and walked out with a bag of goodies! The Kids got a nice icecream for being so patient.
We organised to meet our friends at the local Colonial Brewrey for a night out. $10 pizzas and specialty beer and wine roped us all in. It was a spacious, stylish place with a dj pumping out some tunes. We had such a great night. The kids loved making up dance routines. Most of the breweries and wineries are so family friendly. It’s awesome.
We decided we are going to take a holiday from a holiday and fly out to Bali but I needed to renew my passport as it was due to expire. So we did a lot of running around to organise that and have it sent off quickly in order to fly out at the end of the month. The weather is turning quite cold and we wouldn’t mind taking advantage of the cheep and quick flights from Perth to relieve us from the confinement of the tin box (caravan) and give the kids a unique cultural experience within the travelling year. Hard life we have.
Mother’s Day came around, and the kids were excited to spoil me with gifts and breakfast in bed. I got a back scratch off Raff and a massage off Nix, we spent the morning at Yallingup up beach with friends. Pon got a surf whilst I sat on the beach reading the new book I was given. Afterwards we went to the Fishbone winery for a late lunch and some delious Japanese food. The kids were on there best behavior and I couldn’t have asked for more! We managed to walk out with a couple of bottles of wine before we went back to Big Valley and toasted marshmallows. We put the kids to bed and Pon and I sat up to finish the wine and talked rubbish around the warm fire. It was magic!