Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 15 Caves, Galleries and Wineries

Today we set out to explore the Margaret River Region and we were delighted that not only were we in for a treat with the local galleries and wineries but this also led us to explore the famous caves of this area.

Our first stop was Payet Gallery which has a display of beautiful jewellery and fine art (very tempting). Then we visited the surf beach at Prevelley Park - again the WA coastline is stunning and ferocious, various memorials to surfers who rode 'their last wave' tell the story.

From there it was off to Leeuwin Estate, one of the best known and grandest of the Margaret RiverWineries. We were delighted to find there a large collection of art on display - these pieces having been reproduced on wine bottle labels over the last 20+ years.

Amongst them are works by Percival, Williams, Olsen, Boyd, Blackman and so on. Accompanying the display of artworks are pieces of furniture, mostly tables, created by a local craftsman, James Hawieson, of the Boranup Gallery. This woodwork is amazing with beautiful inlays and using mostly local jarrah.  Naturally we tasted their wines and purchased a small selection.

Leeuwin Estate Winery and Ray with our purchases
Inspired by the woodwork we headed off in search of the Boranup Gallery but on the way stopped for lunch at a tearoom attached to the Lake Cave.  Before long we had purchased the "package" three cave tours and the Leeuwin Lighthouse. Lake Cave has been a tourist attraction for over 100 years but in more recent times has become tourist friendly. We had a lot of steps to descend - and later climb back up!  (600 in all!). But it was all worthwhile once inside the cavernous spaces underground. The stalegtites (hanging "tight" to the roof) and stalegmites (which "might" grow up to the roof) were abundant and stunning.


Stalegtites with Stalegmites!!

Boranup Gallery was even better than we anticipated, not only a massive array of beautiful handcrafted furniture and wooden art but also a huge number of paintings of high quality.

Mammoth Cave was our next visit and this tour, unlike the last, needed no guide but used the technology of mp3 player and headphones to guide us though the site and back via a beautiful bushwalk. The cave is really worth seeing and as the name suggests is gigantic but also has been a gold mine for fossil hunters and scientists. (That was a further 240 steps up and down).

We managed to squeeze in a visit to Evans & Tate Winery before closing time, sampled their wine and bought a little selection which they have agreed to ship back to Albert Park together with the Leeuwin Estate bottles.

Jesus said: 'Consider the lilies of the field......'
yes they do grow wild in the fields in WA
We now look forward to sitting by that logfire in the pub lounge again with a glass of red and to plan tomorrow's activities. What a life!

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