I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to a place I’ve dreamt of visiting since I was a kid: Australia. I’m not sure if it was the exotic wildlife, the beautiful beaches or simply the fact that it was the furthest place away I could imagine, but I’ve always felt drawn to this country. And better yet – one of my good friends from college is from Perth and generously offered to host me!
I met Hayley in college when she was studying abroad at New Paltz. I had just transferred there myself, and was new to the radio station. Since neither of us knew anyone, we were paired up to do a radio show together. This resulted not only in a kickass radio show, but also a great friendship that has involved meet-ups around the world for the past 7 years!
I honestly didn’t know too much about Perth before going, nor did I do a whole lot of research. But Hayley and her boyfriend, Tom, planned an amazing week for me.
First up on the list? Road trip to Margaret River! If you’re at all familiar with Australian wine, then you’ve likely heard of this region before. But if you’re not, it’s essentially the Napa Valley of Western Australia, located about three hours south of Perth. Not only is it a beautiful area to drive through, but you stumble upon wineries and breweries every quarter mile or so. My kind of weekend away!
We headed out on Saturday morning, and slowly made our way down the coast. Our first stop was Eagle Bay Brewing Company, where I was able to eat a burger the size of my head (my first burger – enormous or otherwise – since leaving the US) and sample their beer.
The beer was decent, but something tells me this venue is best experienced in the summer (whereas I had chosen literally the coldest time of year to visit Perth). The back deck area is enclosed with large plastic sheets, so it was a little drafty. Still in all, burgers and beer are always good by me.
Before continuing on the booze train, we stopped off at Sugarloaf Rock. This scenic vista was actually my first glimpse of the Australian coastline, and it was pretty mind blowing. I could not get over the size of the waves crashing over the rocks, and the fact that people willingly go into that water to surf and swim. Between the waves, the strong current, and oh yeah, the sharks, I’m actually not sure if I’d want to go swimming there!
We continued down the coast (thanks for driving, Tom!) and stopped off at a winery called House of Cards. In addition to the fact that I loved both the name and the logo (which accounts for about 78% of how I choose wine in a liquor store), I really enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s usually my go-to wine, and Margaret River is an excellent region for it.
And finally, we made it to the town of Margaret River (which is the name of both the region and the main town there). Hayley and Tom had rented a cottage for the weekend, which was situated just a 10-minute walk from the center of town.
We headed into town to – where else? – a wine bar! Swings Taphouse is apparently a relatively new spot in Margaret River, and between the delicious wine and roaring fire, it did not disappoint.
We ended the night at Morrie’s, which was both cozy and dimly lit so I don’t have any photos to share. But we made it an early night anyway, since we had to be up bright and (sort of) early for our Wine for Dudes tour the next day! To be continued…