Wine & Western Australia

Western Australia Travel Blog

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Ferry to Freemantle

After a merry Christmas here in Sydney, I made a impulse decision to join a wino friend to go to Western Australia (aka W.A.) on Boxing Day. We arrived in Perth Wednesday night at 10pm and the air was almost suffocating in comparison to the weather in Sydney - it had been 44C that day. Perth has been described as where the desert meets the ocean and is the favorite city in Australia of a couple people I've met. The city sits on both sides of the Swan River which runs into the Indian Ocean. It is about 1.5 million people and has a lot of historic charm (settled by the Dutch I believe) and natural beauty at the same time.

Swan Bells
Another one of its distinguishing factors is that it's very, very remote. (About 4-5 hour flight from east coast).

We stayed in the centre of the city Wednesday night and spent Thursday walking around, taking it all in. I believe it only reached about 40C that day. We visited the main shopping district that has a nice pedestrian mall and the old London Court strip. We checked out the Swan Bell which is a beautiful modern looking bell tower on the water - a famous landmark for the city- and walked by a few of the other famous buildings and parks. Mid afternoon, we bought a ferry ticket to Freemantle which is a quaint and pretty little town just on the outskirts of Perth. It was about 40 mins on the ferry so we had opportunity for some great views and cold beer before the ferry arrived at the National Maritime Museum.

London Court
We couldn't believe how quiet and peaceful it was as we walked into town. Freemantle has a Victorian Port streetscape and is impressively rich in culture for a small town (it also has some of the most expensive real estate in Australia due to the booming mining industry in W.A.). After checking into a YHA hostel, we walked around town before going to the Little Creatures brewery (well known OZ beer). The brewery had a very cool bar/restaurant right in the middle of it, so we had a drink in their back terrace which is right on the water. We then had to grab a requisite fish n chips at Cicerello's right next door. Later in the evening we went to the "capuccino strip" (strip of cafes, bars, restaurants) for drinks and snacks.

On Friday morning, a contact of my friend who works for Capel Vale winery picked us up and we drove out with a group to the Swan Valley - a leafy wine region not far out of Perth.

Freemantle
We stopped at the first winery which had a nice outdoor wine tasting shed. We were met here by a well known wine writer friend and his partner. It was very cool to be in the company of such young guys (late 20s) who knew so much about wine - you would never guess. Later we were taken to Faber Winery, a small place, where the guy from Capel Vale just knocked on the door of the winemaker's house and he came out, set us up a table and brought out all his wine for us. It was so great - he had some very good wine and was happy to talk to us for a couple hours about his wine while we drank his wine and port and toured around. He was such a cool, old unpretentious guy - a real farmer type. We got to see the whole process and drink in his lab like area. No wine tasting will ever be the same.
Little Creatures
(Of course it helps when half the people your with are in the industry.)

That evening, the wine writer and his partner invited us to crash at their place so we went out with them to a BYO Japanese Restaurant with 3 bottles of wine in hand. After a long dinner we went to this swankier place called Raffles where Heath Ledger happened to be chilling (Perth is his hometown.)

The next day, we were taken up to Capel Vale for a beautiful lunch and tasting. The restaurant is all glass walls right in the vineyard. The drive to Capel Vale was very scenic (horse farms and vineyards - how could it not be) and it was interesting to talk to the guys about wine and the industry. Once back in Perth we borrowed a car from the people we were staying with and drove about 10 mins to Cottesloe Beach.

Cottesloe has a gorgeous coastline and fine white sand - it was my first time swimming in the Indian Ocean. We watched the sunset on the beach (you can't do that in Sydney, being east coast).

On Sunday we had a fab lunch at this wine bar in Perth with Champagne, oysters, tapas and dessert wine. Then we went to this cool and sunny pub for a couple drinks. Later that afternoon, we drove South and stopped for a night in Australind at this incredibly scenic B&B called Cook's Park. It was right on the water with horses on the property and super luxurious rooms.

The next morning we drove the rest of the way down to the famous Margaret River region. Some of Australia's best wine comes from here. It is similarly famous for its fabulous surf. I might add also that there were horse farms everywhere too.

Christmas in Perth
It was busy, being new' years. We visited Vasse Felix (one of the oldest wineries), Cape Mentelle and Mad Fish. We had to check out the beach too to watch the last sunset of the year before celebrating with wine and dinner back at the cottage we were staying in. The next day we drove back to Perth and I caught my flight back to Sydney.

I should also add that it was clear sunny weather the whole time we were in W.A. It is one of those special places that is just so happy, relaxed and beautiful, and so far from anywhere else.

frankcanfly says:
Ah yes.... I remember the HEAT of Perth... Had to cool off in Fremantle often...
Posted on: Jan 01, 2008
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Ferry to Freemantle
Ferry to Freemantle
Swan Bells
Swan Bells
London Court
London Court
Freemantle
Freemantle
Little Creatures
Little Creatures
Christmas in Perth
Christmas in Perth
Perth
Perth
Wine tasters
Wine tasters
Faber Winery
Faber Winery
right from the source
right from the source
Capel Vale
Capel Vale
Capel Vale
Capel Vale
Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach
Must Wine bar
Must Wine bar
Must Wine bar
Must Wine bar
Black Swans are an icon of W.A.
Black Swans are an icon of W.A.
Perth
Perth
Perth
Perth
Perth
Perth
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
B&B in Australind
Margaret River
Margaret River
Margaret River
Margaret River
Margaret River
Margaret River
Breakfast in Margaret River
Breakfast in Margaret River
Oak Barrels for sale on side of hi…
Oak Barrels for sale on side of h…
Vasse Felix Winery
Vasse Felix Winery
Bark just falls off in summer
Bark just falls off in summer
Mad Fish Winery
Mad Fish Winery
Last Sunset of 2007, Margaret River
Last Sunset of 2007, Margaret River