A holiday with a difference for us – on land. Mum and Dad decided to take the direct flight to Perth, so we agreed it might be fun to tour Margaret River in a campervan. Pete and I flew to Perth on Sunday, and mum and Dad arrived Tuesday. We picked them up in the van, had our last night at the Airbnb in Perth, then we left Perth on Wednesday morning heading south. A quick stop at a shopping mall to stock up on necessities, then we were on the open road.
We decided to call our van, a giant 6 berth Maui Mercedes, Pilgrim of Fremantle, because she rattled just like Pilgrim under engine! Mum and I sitting in the “lounge” could not hear Pete and Dad sitting in the front as we drove, nor could we hear the music! However, we had great views from the big side windows, so could chat and watch the scenery. We had not really planned on where to stop for the evening or which winery we may visit, as it was impossible to hold a conversation between front and back, so we pulled over at Mandurah, pulled out the awning and outdoor setting, made a cup of tea and discussed our plan.
As we sat enjoying our tea with last nights left over deserts, fellow “vanners” popped by complimenting our strategy! We made good use of our time, deciding on a site, booking it, then agreeing we would stop at a winery that looked good before we got to our site. We booked a Big 4 that had good reviews and farm animals to feed, which turned out to be a great site. Departing Mandurah, we were passed by a convoy of 4 identical Maui vans, who of course ended up at the same site as us! The scenery became progressively more rural and we were soon seeing signs for wineries. Pete pulled into one which was closed up, but then found Capel Vale. We were the only visitors, and had great service, learning a lot about the different regions in this area, as well as tasting some great wines. We bought some red and some white for our dinner, then pushed on the last 20 kms to the camp site.
It started to rain as we pulled in to our bay, so we pulled out the awning, checked out the amenities, then headed to the camp kitchen. At 1700 the farm animals were fed, and as the only campers not minding the rain, we helped feed a donkey, two goats, two pigs and two gigantic Hereford bulls called Peanut and TBone! Dad lit the wood burning stove in the camp kitchen and we barbecued our lamb burgers, which we ate with salad and the wine we had bought earlier. Even though it was raining, we were cosy and well fed in the camp kitchen, seeing little of other guests who all kept to their vans.
It poured with rain all night, but started to ease up in the morning, and by the time we were ready to head out to some wineries the sun was spending less time obscured by clouds. The winery in walking distance was unfortunately closed, so we stowed our stuff, and headed out in trusty truck, Pilgrim! Our first stop was at a Providores, whereas well as wine tasting, we tasted locally made olive oils, vinegars, chutneys and jams. We bought a couple of extra wines to keep our van hydrated, and got a lunch stop recommendation.
Our lunch destination was Hayshed Hill, for lunch at Rusticos, where we had a fabulous long lunch of a six course tasting plate menus with matched wines. Pete took on designated driver duties, which was appreciated by all. At around 1600 we eventually rolled home, fully sated, and all instantly went into snooze mode.