Rough landscape, untouched nature, hardly any tourists – solitary vastness is probably the best term to characterise the South of Western Australia. The distances between locations and the possibility of driving for several hours through isolated areas without seeing another face created a perfect opportunity for Jacky Westermann to escape buzzing Perth and explore a new part of Australia…this is part one of three on Jacky’s three day trip.
After intense planning and consulting of travel books, brochures and information sheets, I finally arrived, my friend Nick dropped me off in Fremantle so I could pick up my car for the next few days. Side note – Fremantle is definitely worth a visit. An artsy town with a lot of restaurants, cafés, bars, galleries showing off the great lifestyle – and don’t forget the Little Creatures Brewery.
Anyways, after stocking up on some goods that would satisfy my expected hunger and thirst, I started driving south. Obviously, I had to get used to driving on the other side of the road, since it had been a while – and I’ll admit, I worked the windscreen wipers accidentally more than once when I meant to indicate instead…shh.
The first spot worth stopping along the South Coast is Busselton. At first, I planned on staying here for the sunset so I could take breathtaking pictures, but the weather thwarted my plans. Nonetheless, the Busselton Jetty is great for a long walk; it is, after all, the longest jetty in the Southern hemisphere.
Since I did not get to watch the sunset, I decided to make my way to my accommodation for the first night. On my way I passed a sign indicating the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Originally on my agenda for the next day, I now had spare time to make the visit. I love chocolate and I was super-excited to taste it in a place I had heard was good. And how disappointed I was once I had arrived and entered the holy chambers of the factory…or, to be precise, a huge selling room with a tiny window offering a view of the production kitchen (a small part of it, anyway)! Other than that, it was all about the product selling. Any form of chocolate creation you could imagine was sold for exorbitant prices and, obviously, the place was humming. Busloads of tourists strolled around, loading their shopping baskets. Next to the cashier, three bowls allowed a taste of the famous product – white, milk and dark chocolate drops (for free, wow). I added my amount to the yearly turnover by buying presents for the loved ones at home, as well as some for my lovely hosts.
After a disappointing thirty minutes I was back on the road – or, even better, back on a path into the woods. I thanked myself for leaving Busselton early; it would have not been fun to drive in the dark on the small path leading to the Wharncliff Mill Retreat, my destination for that night. The retreat is a fantastic venue deep in the Australian Bush. Surrounded by nature, one can have an absolutely peaceful time. I spent my late afternoon and night reading and chatting with fellow campers around the bonfire.
What will tomorrow bring? I wondered.
Photo credit: Jacky Westermann