Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Greater Perth 6D6N Itinerary

As usual, I'll start my travel blog with a very simple itinerary update. I shall have separate posts later for all the wonderful places and restaurants in more detail.
Below shows the self-drive itinerary for our 6D6N trip (of course, I am not counting the flight travelling time). All the stated cost are in AUD, and for 5 pax, unless stated other wise.

12th May 2015 (Tuesday, Abundant sunshine)
Driving route: Perth - Mandurah - Lake Clifton - Busselton - Margaret River
Our Places of Interest: Mandurah Marina, Lake Clifton Thrombolites, Bunbury Farms Market, Busselton. 
Stay: Waterfall Cottages, Margaret River
Breakfast: Greenhouse, Perth CBD
Lunch: The Equinox, Busselton
Dinner: Home cook
Expenses: Avis car rental (Houden Evoke) for 6 days - AUD 437.34; Greenhouse breakfast AUD 86.50; Groceries at  Bunbury Farms Market - AUD 83.00; Lunch at The Equinox - AUD 138.00; Waterfall Cottages (Family Cottage) for 2 nights - AUD 550.00

We arrived at Perth International Airport 5:35am. By the time we got ourself a Telstra SIM card (make sure you get Telstra and not anything else as this is the one that you can get signal out of Perth city), went through the immigration, got our luggage and finally hopped on our rental car from Avis, it was almost 6:45am. We drove to Perth City for breakfast before we start our trip to Margaret River. (Note: Parking charges in Perth City is crazy!! It cost AUD4.20 per hour!) I decided to go to Greenhouse for breakfast since not many restaurants/cafes open at 7am, and Greenhouse seems like those types of cafes that I'd enjoy. Verdict: we love it.

We then had a brief stop at a beach near Mandurah, our first encounter with Indian Ocean. We took tons of photos there, then continue ride around Mandurah Marina and Mandjar Bay.
Meeting the Indian Ocean for the first time

Driving along National Route 1 (Old Coast Road) between Mandurah and Bunbury, you will see the sign of Lake Clifton Thrombolites. Please make sure you turn in and take a look at these living fossils. There's a simple wooden platform so that you can walk to the lake and get closer to the thromblines without causing a threat to these living relic from the earliest days of life on our planet.

Though Bunbury Farms Market was not in our original plan, when we passed by this place along Forrest Avenue, we knew we must turn in and have a look! We ended up spending hours in this lovely place. We couldn't resist and ended up buying fruits and vegetables and meat and other groceries for an unplanned-homecook-dinner.

We continued our journey to Busselton. Didn't go for the Underwater Observatory as plan, but spent hours enjoying lunch at The Equinox and park nearby.
The magnificent fig tree in front of Equinox

I knew sunset would be around 5:30pm. So after Busselton, I ensured we drove straight to Waterfall Cottages so that we could reach before dark since this little cottage is situated in a forest close to Margaret River town.  When we were busy unloading our luggage, some ducks came visit, maybe out of curiosity.

The family cottage that we booked comes with a fireplace, a living area overlook the lawn (huge glass window!), a kitchen that's fully equipped with all necessary utensil. My mum cooked a feast on the first night and everyone went to bed early.

13th May 2015 (Wednesday, Brilliant sunshine and warm)
Driving route: Margaret River - Augusta - Margaret River
Our Places of Interest: Margaret River Town, Voyager Estate, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Baranup Drive
Stay: Waterfall Cottages, Margaret River
Breakfast: Home cook
Lunch: Voyager Estate, Margaret River
Dinner: Muster, Margaret River
Expenses: Estate Tour at Voyager Estate - AUD 175.00; Lunch at Voyager Estate - AUD 162.00; Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (Adult: $8 per pax, Aged pensioner: $7.20 per pax); Dinner at Muster Bar and Grill - AUD 182.00

Everyone woke up early. We prepared simple breakfast and enjoyed the companion of birds and cockatoos in the garden. Before heading to Voyager Estate, we visited Margaret River town to enjoy a sunny autumn morning.

The Estate Tour by Voyager Estate is definitely one of the highlights of our 6 days 6 nights at Greater Perth. Our fantastic guide, Linda, told stories about almost everything in this magnificent property, and the tour ended with wine tasting (3 whites, 3 reds). We love this place so much, we decided to have lunch at their restaurant and it was perfect!

After wine drinking session for En and papa, I became the driver and we went straight to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. (Driving from Margaret River to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the only stretch of road that I drove during this trip. Oh, and I love the car we rented.) We were lucky. It's a wonderful sunny day. It was a pleasant drive, cruising among the woods.

The fake-looking-great-blue-sky!
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is situated at the extreme south-western most point of the Australian continent, and the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Great Southern Ocean. Entrance fee is AUD8 per adult, and senior above age 65 get discounted price of AUD7.20 (and my aunt suddenly wished she's older). The entrance fee is inclusive of a personal electronic audio guide system each, and it allowed us to listen to the commentary at our own pace. Well, to me it's just a lighthouse so I didn't really listen to all the tracks. I'm more interested on the view. I love the sparkling blue sea and how the white lighthouse stand out under the sunny blue sky.

Heading back north, En drove again. He purposely drove through the Boranup Drive to enjoy the majestic Boranup Karri Forest. Both of us love this but definitely not the seniors.

By the time we reached Margaret River, it's already 6pm. We headed to Muster for dinner and we sure made the right choice. They served one of the best lamb we had!

14th May 2015 (Thursday, sunny and warm)
Driving route: Margaret River - Rockingham - Perth
Our Places of Interest: Margaret River Chocolate Company, Bettenay's Nougat Company, Margaret River Cheese Factory
Stay: A Charming Home from AirBnB, Dianella, Perth
Breakfast: Home cook
Lunch: Late lunch at Rustico Tapas, Rockingham
Dinner: Home cook
Expenses: tapas at Rustico - AUD 111.00; Fuel - AUD 96.30; Groceries at Woolworths - AUD 43.40

Again, we cooked, and we had breakfast in the garden. We just love the fact that birds and cockatoos eyeing for our breakfast nearby, hiding in the trees and bushes. Of course, we ensure we left some breadcrumbs for them.

After breakfast, again, we went to Margaret River Town for a short stroll. Mum and aunt needed some shopping time while the rest enjoy the sunny autumn morning.

We then headed north, back to Perth. On the way, we stopped at Bettenay’s Nougat Company to sample some nougat and alcohol (Nougat liqueur and honey liqueur!), followed by Margaret River Cheese Factory, and Margaret River Chocolate Company. We couldn’t resist the chocolate aroma so we had another break here for hot chocolate, scones and brownies.

Margaret River Chocolate Company

By the time we finally reached Rockingham, it was almost 4pm. We had our late lunch at Rustico. They serve some of the best tapas that I've ever tasted. The waitress who served us was very friendly and well trained. She spend time explaining the menu, and she asked if we want to make sure all the tapas come in 5 small portion for everyone. We had great time here, enjoying the Spanish music and sampling some of the greatest food they could offer.

The park nearby is a gem too. The beach is clean, the greenery is splendid. We enjoyed a stroll after our late lunch, and took tons of photos there since everyone loves the tress so much.

By the time we reached Dianella, it was already dark. Luckily our landlord from AirBnB was kind enough to leave a light on for us. The simple 2 bedroom house that we rent have everything a home need. After unloaded our luggage, we went to Woolworths nearby for groceries shopping. Cooked a simple meal and everyone rest early after the long drive.

15th May 2015 (Friday, partly cloudy)
Driving route: Perth - Hillary Boat Harbor - Lobster Shack - Nambung National Park - Lancelin - Perth
Our Places of Interest: Hillary Boat Harbor, Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park, Lancelin Sand Dune  
Stay: A Charming Home from AirBnB, Dianella, Perth
Breakfast: Home cook
Lunch: Lobster Shack, Cervantes
Dinner: Jamie's Italian, Perth
Expenses: Lunch at Lobster Shack - AUD 115.00; Entrance fee to Pinnacles Desert - AUD 12.00; Sand Surfing Board Rent - AUD 10.00; Dinner at Jamie's Italian - AUD 135.55

We setup breakfast table at our backyard. Lovely windy morning for hot soup, hot coffee and a huge bowl of spaghetti.

Must be great staying in this neighbourhood
After breakfast, we drove to Hillary Boat Harbour for a brief stop (we just have to squeeze every opportunity to get close to the Indian Ocean!) and also to explore the housing area nearby.
My dad met a 75 years old uncle at the beach and they had a long chat! Uncle told my dad about his daily exercise ritual, and how he loves Penang. He gave advises about Perth and Fremantle (must visit the brewery and try all the free beer samples, he strongly recommended. haha!). Too bad we didn't have much time to continue to chit chat with him. We have to drove for another 2 hours to reach Cervantes.

Cervantes is a very small town by the beach. Nothing much to see so we headed straight to the Lobster Shack. Luckily we reached early. There was a huge tour from Hong Kong before we arrived, and there were a few more tours from various countries after we placed order. If we were to arrive 10 minutes later, maybe we would have to wait for at least an hour before our lunch.

Those files!!
After a simple lobsters lunch, we finally got to our main target of the day: the Pinnacle Desert at Nambung National Park. The park is very well maintained, and the thing that we like most is that you can basically drive through the Pinnacle desert at your own pace and stop at any where you like if you found anything interesting. Besides, the tourist information center is very informative. The only complaint: TOO MANY BUSH FLIES!!!! The bush flies were so annoying that I ended up prefer to drive through Pinnacle desert rather than walking that not-too-long-not-too-hard-track.

On our way back to Perth, we stopped at Lancelin for sand surfing. You can go to any shops at Lancelin (not so many to choose from anyway), and rent a sand surfing board with the price of AUD10 for 2 hours (with AUD50 deposit).

Since we had less than 1 hour to experience sand surfing, we decided to rent only one surfing board and take turn to try out. We had great fun but how I wish we could spend more time here, and how I wish we had sunny blue sky for the photo session :)

We ended our day with a great meal at Jamie's Italian at Perth city, and an hour of shopping at Murray Street.

16th May 2015 (Saturday, rain)
Our Places of Interest: Fremantle Market, Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, King's Park, Watertown Brand Outlet Centre
Stay: A Charming Home from AirBnB, Dianella, Perth
Breakfast: Fremantle Market
Lunch: Kailis' Waterfront, Fremantle
Dinner: Home cook
Expenses: Breakfast at Fremantle Market - AUD 47.00; Lunch at Kaili's - AUD 64.00; Groceries - AUD 37.60

We woke up early to a gloomy raining morning. But this couldn’t stop our spirit. We got our water repellent jackets ready and drove straight to Fremantle Market. We arrived at 8am. The market just opened. Many stalls yet to ready for business so we decided to grab whatever we could for a simple breakfast before start exploring this place. And to me, the best tasting coffee of our trip is in the yard of Fremantle Market! After breakfast, Mum and aunt shopped for almost all their souvenirs here while Papa and En enjoyed their guy-time at Cappuccino Strip.

We left Fremantle market around noon and ride around this lovely port city. When the rain finally stopped, we stopped at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. We immediately fell in love with Kailis’ Waterfront Restaurant! Even though everyone still very full, we insisted to have lunch here and we were all amazed by the excellent fish and chips!

After lunch, we drove to King’s Park. My original plan was to picnic at King’s park (I even have my picnic mat ready in the car boot) but it was wet and windy and cold. Worse still, my dad and aunt left their winter jackets in the room!! We ended up just had a brief stop to snap some photos, and jumped back to our car for heater and drove to Watertown Brands Outlet Centre nearby instead.

Watertown Brands Outlet Centre closed at 5pm sharp. When we left the place, mum said she wanted to cook. Unfortunately, Coles, Woolworth and most of the supermarkets we know already closed! With the help of Google, we found IGA and solved our groceries problem.

17th May 2015 (Sunday, rain)
Our Places of Interest: Caversham Wildlife Park
Stay: A Charming Home from AirBnB, Dianella, Perth
Breakfast: Home cook
Lunch: Hungry Jack
Dinner: Home cook
Expenses: Expenses: Caversham Wildlife Park - AUD 115.00; Lunch at Hungry Jack - AUD 39.10; Fuel - AUD 100.00

Again, woke up to a gloomy raining morning. We visited Caversham Wildlife Park after breakfast. It was fun to meet the koalas, feed the kangaroos, touch wombat and friends, and play with the farms animal. However, the weather was quite bad. It rained most of the time when we were in the wildlife park.

After the wildlife park, the rain just won't stop! We gave up, and decided to just 游车河 along the rivers. Went back to Dianella and cook up a feast.

Rain rain go away.....

18th May 2015  (Monday, rain STILL)
We woke up at 4am, left Dianella at 4:45am, reached airport at 5:15am and ended our short trip down under.

Detail itineraries:
3D2N Margaret River
The Voyager Estate
Day Trip to Nambung National Park
A day in Fremantle
Caversham Wildlife Park

Waterfall Cottages at Margaret River
Airbnb accommodation at Dianella near Perth

Other itineraries:

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