Margaret River and the South West, Part One, Western Australia.

16th November to 27th November.

After yet another amazing drive through some stunning forests we arrived at our next stop, a farmstay about 10 minutes south of Margaret River. Big Valley Campsite/ Caravan Park is actually a working sheep station that has a caravan park/ campsite attached to the homestead. It has 2 areas with 2 separate big sheds that each house an enormous well equipped camp kitchen, laundry, showers, toilets and even a family bathroom. We originally booked in for a week but ended up staying for 12 nights as there was so much to see and do and the farmstay was a fantastic place and a great (read cheap) base.

Amenities shed at Big Valley.
Late afternoon sunshine.
Ozlap camped at Big Valley.
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Abs reflecting at Big Valley.

After a day of R & R we headed south down to Augusta and surrounds. The weather started off sunny and warm, however whilst we were at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse the wind and rain came in, however we managed to take a few nice sunny photos of the lighthouse from a distance as we refused to pay the $50 entrance fee. As it was lunchtime we headed to a local cafe opposite a park which served gluten free chips (winning!!) and sat and ate while we watched the rain and wind outside. With our bellies full we then decided to do some geocahing at a nearby park and walkway along the inlet. We were successful in locating a few, but the chilly wind forced us back into the car where we took a vote and decided to head home early, but not before we called into Hamelin Bay to see if we could spot the resident stingrays. However with no luck with the sting rays we drove back to the van with our fingers crossed that the rain didn’t go through the open windows of the van as we had left them open that morning.

Approaching Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, looking eastward to the Southern Ocean.
Looking to the west of Leeuwin Lighthouse out towards the Indian Ocean.
The rain clouds rolling in.

The following day was still overcast and chilly so we decided to just explore in the car, we drove south and then west to Contos, which is an awesome part of the coastline and home to Contos campground. We had earlier planned to stay at Contos but after we had calculated the cost for 2 adults and 4 kids charged by the rangers for an unpowered site we found that it was only a few dollars cheaper than if we stayed at Big Valley.  For us it was a no brainer as Big Valley offered the creature comforts of electricity, water, showers, toilets and washing machine. We also called into a few surf shops in town to see what beaches they recommended for swimming and surfing for the kids, to which one replied Perth……..

Finally with the sun out and the weather warming up considerably we decided to spend the next few days at some beaches, with our favourite being Redgate. We had checked out the Margaret River Mouth but deemed it too unsafe for the girls with most of the surfing being from reef breaks and we didn’t fancy spending the day scraping our skin off on the reef. Therefore we spend an awesome few days down at Redgate bodysurfing, swimming and surfing whilst getting a few cool photos with Bec’s GoPro.

The walk to Redgate Beach.


Redgate Beach.
Surf at Redgate.
Redgate Beach.
Below the waves at Redgate Beach.

We also dusted off the semi decent clothes to visit a brewery or two, the chocolate factory and nougat winery. First we headed to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, where we sampled plenty of chocolate, had a coffee and of course made a few purchases. Next we went around the corner to the Margaret River Nougat & Bettenays Wines where once again sampled the nougat and made some purchases, but not before we picked the poor fellows brain about how to make nougat. For lunch we decided to stop at Cheeky Monkey Brewery, where we had a lovely lunch, Nik sampled some pale ale and the younger girls played on the playground. After lunch we headed to Bootleg Brewery where we spent the next hour and a half lounging in the sun playing mega Jenga and Hackey Sacks. Thankfully we had paced ourselves and not overindulged during the day and were then able to find the last bit of room for an ice cream from the Margaret River Dairy Company, needless to say we all skipped dinner that evening…..

Mmmm, coffee and chocolate!!!
My mob at Duckstein Brewery, plenty of wines but the brewery had been foreclosed the previous week…….awkward….
Finally a treasured family photo at Cheeky Monkey Brewery.
Mmmm, nougat at Margaret River Nougat Co.

Our next outing for a day was a drive north, firstly through the town of Cowaramup, which we still have trouble pronouncing and therefore will be refered to as Cowtown!!! Cowtown had a great lolly shop where we watched the colorful owner and lolly maker make some honeycomb. It was pretty cleverly done and we were left in no doubt that this guy LOVED his job as well as his own jokes!!! Before we left we felt it was only right that we bought some of the honeycomb that they had made, we then gave the kids $5 and waited and waited and waited and waited, well you get the picture. Apparently the choices were too much for them and they couldn’t make a rational decision so Nik and I patiently tried to guide them. We eventually left the shop, with a lot less patience than we had taken in!! There was also a geocache in town that as much as we looked and looked we could not find, so after many strange looks from passer bys we decided to call it quits and move on (or sit in the car sulking whilst eating our quota of lollies).

You guessed it Cowtown, I mean Cowaramup.
Mixing the honeycomb.
Tipping out the honeycomb onto a corn flour covered surface, hence the gluten free aspect.
Flattening and shaping the honeycomb.
Jess and her new Christmas cow.

As we turned west onto Caves Road we really enjoyed the scenic drive north and as we were passing the Yallingup Maze thought we’d call in and have an explore. We nearly choked as the lady told us how much going into a wooden maze would cost, $80!!!! Nik gave me many evil looks warning me to hold my tongue as I was disgusted at the cost, so much so that I refused to buy a coffee there, no matter how much my desire for caffeine was (for those that know me that was a dam big statement!!!) They did have free puzzles and a jumping castle out in the sitting area and cafe which we decided to have a go at, whilst still NOT ordering a single thing from the cafe, HA!!!!! We then drove further north towards Yallingup, where we spent a lovely hour having lunch and playing on the awesome playground. For those of you wandering, yes I finally got my coffee from the lovely lady at the cafe at the Yallingup foreshore, it was worth my making my stand!!!

Yallingup beach.
Swimming area and reef break at Yallingup.
Playground at Yallingup beach.
Awesome playground.
Yallingup beach playground.
Abs catching a wave at Yallingup beach.

With so much to see in WA’s southwest we woke up so excited every day, wondering about what our next day’s destination and adventure was going to be on our OZLAP…….


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