SQTalk  

Go Back   SQTalk > General > Trip Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 30th December 2018, 03:00 PM   #31
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

The sky was a cloudy blue, and the weather was unseasonally cool and mild for summer in the week that we were there.

Jacaranda trees were in full bloom...



We decided to take a quick orientation stroll through the city before driving out to Margaret River.



Perth these days is a lot busier than it was 10 or 15 years ago, but the whole city still had a relaxed, unhurried vibe about it...

The city centre had several tree-lined pedestrian-only shopping streets...



The were the obligatory streets lined with luxury boutiques, but we gave those a miss...that wasn't why we were here...



The city skyline...



...and bustling business district...



Perth city is located along the banks of the Swan River...walking along the river was very pleasant...



Not far from the CBD, a must-go landmark was Kings Park and Botanic Garden, a large park on a hill overlooking Perth and the Swan River...



While Perth was a very walkable city, there were other ways to get around as well...

There was an open-top tourist bus...



...and a Segway tour, with everyone on the tour properly kitted out in helmets and high-vis...(They take safety very seriously in Australia...)..



Perth was also a very cyclist-friendly city, with bike lanes everywhere...



...and even a high tech counter tracking bike use in the city...


Last edited by yflyer; 1st January 2019 at 09:45 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 03:01 PM   #32
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

After a pleasant couple of hours walking around the city, we headed back to the Four Points for a midday checkout...



Hertz had a rental location at 475 Murray Street, just a block away from the Four Points...



I had booked an SUV and was assigned a metallic grey a Volkswagen Tiguan...a very comfortable car for a long drive.



This car had NSW plates. Did that mean someone actually drove the car across Australia from Sydney all the way to Perth, a distance of 4000km? Mindboggling, but apparently some folks did this in as quickly as 4-5 days...

Our drive from Perth to Margaret River was a short spin by comparison...approximately 288km...



This would take us about 3 and a half hours of driving time, not including a brief lunch stop at Cicerello's in Mandurah...


Last edited by yflyer; 9th January 2019 at 06:42 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 03:32 PM   #33
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

The drive was a pleasant one...with Google Maps on my iPhone providing very precise navigation instructions (Just remember to bring your own phone mounting kit for hands free operation...)...

As we drove south, the weather got colder, cloudier and wetter...and by the time we arrived at Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping, just north of Margaret River, it was completely grey and overcast, with a mild drizzle, and temperatures as low as 19-20 degrees...



Driving slowly into the Olio Bello estate, I stopped the Volkswagen to wait for a family of ducks to cross the gravel track...



...before driving up to our accommodations...



There were just six "safari-style" bungalows, with 4 bungalows along the lakefront, and 2 set just a little further back...



Inside, the decor was warm and sophisticated...



Through the full length glass doors, beautiful views of the lake just metres away...


Last edited by yflyer; 31st December 2018 at 08:53 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 04:15 PM   #34
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Overall, these were stunning accommodations...

The large king bed looked soft and inviting...



A sleek designer sofa/bed two-seater combination...



The walls and tented ceiling of the bungalow were canvas...



...if desired, the canvas sides of the walls could be fully unzipped and rolled up to leave only a thin floor-to-ceiling mesh...



Sink, mini-fridge, kettle and microwave...needless to say there was full electrical power in the bungalow, not to mention fan and combination cool/heat air conditioning...



Microwave...



The kettle was a Breville, no less...



There was also a full range of plates, crockery and cutlery.

A proper bathroom...



Olive-themed toiletries...



Shower...



Nice touches, in keeping with the Olive theme, included fresh Olive sprigs on the bed and elsewhere in the room as decorative accents...



There was a complimentary bottle of Olio Bello extra virgin olive oil on the table, and a loaf of bread.



There was also a full mini-bar with soft and alcoholic beverages. The concept here was that anything with a price tag on it was chargeable, anything without a price tag was complimentary...

That evening, we took a short drive into Margaret River town, and picked up some ready-to-eat food from the Coles Supermarket there, and brought these back for dinner in our cabin before turning in for the night.

Last edited by yflyer; 31st December 2018 at 10:19 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 04:19 PM   #35
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

We slept very well in our cabin. The large King bed, with soft white sheets and duvet, was supremely comfortable...

As I awoke in the early dawn hours the next morning, I was stunned to hear, all around me, the beautiful sounds of insects, birds and nature, coming through the thin canvas walls...

This was just priceless, waking up to nature's own alarm clock...and for me, lying in bed listening to the music of the forest around me was the defining moment of our vacation...one that set it apart from other holidays.

In the darkness, I reached for my iPhone and captured a short recording with a few seconds of those magical minutes at dawn...the video is dark, but if the volume is turned up slightly, some of the insect and bird/animal calls I heard are audible as I panned my iPhone around the dark room, with the early morning sunrise shining through the canvas walls of the cabin...

Last edited by yflyer; 30th December 2018 at 05:47 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 04:38 PM   #36
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Our package included a packed light breakfast, which comprised juices, milk, granola, dips and muffins, which were placed in the refrigerator the day before.



The savoury parmesan, tomato and zucchini muffins were especially delicious...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th December 2018 at 05:37 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 04:48 PM   #37
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Despite the cold, wet first day, the weather for the remainder of our time at Margaret River was bright and sunny...



In the bright sunlight, the flowing canvas roof of the bungalows could more easily be seen...





The lakeside glamping site was right in the middle of the Olio Bello Olive farm, close to the sprawling olive tree plantations, and next to the Olio Bello Cafe.



The cafe serves a hearty lunch menu, including delicious pastas between 11.30am and 4.30pm.





There is also a shop where a huge range of Olio Bello farm produce, including their superb extra virgin olive oils, are available to taste and purchase...




Last edited by yflyer; 31st December 2018 at 08:40 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 05:06 PM   #38
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

We headed out for a personalised guided tour of the Margaret River region the day after we arrived.

When we returned to Olio Bello after the day long tour, it was dusk...with the setting sun bathing the lake side in fading light...







There were a couple of suggested walking routes around the olive plantation...we decided to head out on the shorter of the two that evening...



...where we took in dusk views of the beautiful estate...





The following morning, we were more adventurous, and headed out for another walk, this time taking the longer route through the olive farm, where the scenery was more varied, even dramatic, with a short stretch that could pass for the dark forest setting of a Grimm's fairy tale...



But for the most part, it was a pleasant walk through olive groves in bright late morning sunshine, helped in part by GPS and Google Maps...



...which had an amazingly accurate satellite photo of the whole estate that corresponded quite well to what we saw on the ground...



At one point we spotted some animals in the distance...what were they? No-one mentioned livestock on the premises...



Miss yflyer no.2 had a pair of binoculars with her...

"They look like sheep..." she said...



Ok...sheep were probably docile (As far as we knew), and they were quite far away...

Further on, we did encounter a fox crossing the trail about 50m up ahead. The fox was probably more afraid of us than we of it...

We did know there was a fox on the grounds...the previous day Miss yflyer no.2 had helped one of the Olio Bello team members coax several heritage chickens back into their pen..."Because there is a fox somewhere on the grounds..." she was told. The fox had been terrorising the ducks and chickens...

The fox disappeared into the bushes too quickly for me to snap a photo. This was a huge estate...to actually catch a glimpse of the fox was like striking lottery!

Last edited by yflyer; 30th December 2018 at 10:21 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2018, 05:34 PM   #39
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Overall, we found Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping to be a wonderful place to stay. The bungalows are very new, having been open only since February 2017, and are very beautifully styled.

As far as comfort was concerned, our accommodations were 5-star quality. Indeed there was a sophistication and refinement in the design and decor of the bungalows here that many luxury hotels would be hard pressed to match.



Note that these glamping accommodations are part of an operating organic olive farm, so there is fairly minimal service staff interaction...self-check-in is an option, and there is no concept of room service or 24 hour front desk. In fact, there isn't even a phone or TV in the room.



There is wifi provided on a complimentary basis, but it is not very fast. There is good cell phone coverage in the area, so if you need fast internet connectivity, it is probably preferable to activate a mobile data-roaming package for your phone, or buy a prepaid 4G data SIM card for use with your phone or a wifi dongle.

That said, all that connectivity might defeat the purpose of camping by a lake...



This is not a full facility / full service resort. There is housekeeping to refresh your room, but you will not be waited on by butlers, bellboys or concierges. Those roles did not exist here...

The flip side of this was that everyone we met at Olio Bello, whether in the cafe, shop or working on the farm, was ultra friendly. The service concept was very Australian: casual, and DIY, but very warm and sincere.

And there are only 6 bungalows, so needless to say every interaction was personal, and done with guests in mind.

We had a wonderful 2 days here...a huge thumbs up for Olio Bello...

Last edited by yflyer; 9th January 2019 at 06:53 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 10:36 AM   #40
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

During our stay at Olio Bello, Mrs yflyer had arranged for a private guide to bring us for a day tour of the region. Our guide for the day was Hank, owner and operator of Margaret River Exposed.

Having grown up and lived in Margaret River, Hank knew the region inside out, and after many years in a corporate setting, decided to do something different, which was to indulge in his love of nature, photography, and the region, by bringing visitors around on private tours in his strikingly painted Land Rover.



Mrs yflyer knew how much I loved scenery, and Hank was the perfect guide to show us around some of the most scenic spots in the region.

Although the main focus of our tour was sights and scenery, we had also requested to include a couple of wineries in the tour as well (So that both Mrs yflyer and I could taste the wines, rather than one of us having to be the designated driver...).

As it turned out, Hank was also just the man to introduce us to the wineries and vineyards, because he had worked in the local wine industry for many years during the wine boom years. The boom had since since tapered off, with some of the smaller players at risk, although the established big name wineries were still powering along, and quality of the wines here was still superb. Rather than bore us with just large corporate winemakers whose wines could be found retailing in Singapore and all over the world, Hank introduced us to several boutique wineries that were simply excellent.

Last edited by yflyer; 10th January 2019 at 01:24 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 11:04 AM   #41
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Kangaroos were not explicitly part of the tour itinerary...they didn't have to be. They seemed to be everywhere...



...and not just one or two: there were whole fields full of them...



Our first stop was Main Break at Surfer's Point in Prevelly.



This was a well known big wave location, with year-round waves of up to 7+ meters...



This was where world class surfers came to compete in championships, although the 2018 event was called off because of shark attacks.

The date of the 2019 surfing championship has been moved to a different date when shark activity was less likely...





We were lucky that day. The waves looked gigantic. Surfers were out in force...





Hank had a Nikon DSLR with him, and also took the opportunity to capture a few shots of the surfing action...


Last edited by yflyer; 10th January 2019 at 01:26 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 11:40 AM   #42
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

Just to the north of Surfer's Point was the mouth of the Margaret River, where the river flowed into the Indian Ocean...



The vegetation, and many properties in the area, including this historic building, were ravaged in a forest fire in 2011...



Many stretches of scenic beaches along the coastline...

Gnarabup beach...



Hamelin Bay...





At Hamelin Bay, there were sometimes stingrays in the shallow water off the beach, and visitors could wade into the water among them, but nature is unpredictable, and none were in the water on the day we were there...



A stunning coastal view on a trail off Conto Road, in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park...



At one point Hank drove us off-road, deep into the forest...



...to a spectacularly scenic spot where an entire valley was covered with Grass Trees....



"That is going to be my next computer desktop background...", I told Hank...

"Interesting you should say that, because that is exactly the scene I have on my computer too!" he replied...

Last edited by yflyer; 10th January 2019 at 01:29 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 11:48 AM   #43
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

The first winery we visited was Leeuwin Estate, one of the 5 founding wineries in Margaret River, and among the best known wineries in the region.



Leeuwin had an impressive tasting room...



...where Mrs yflyer and I sampled their full range of wines...



...including their highly regarded Art Series...



The Leeuwin grounds had a large grass field and outdoor stage where events and concerts were occasionally held.



There is also a restaurant on site which came highly recommended, but which we did not have the opportunity to check out on this trip.

Our tasting here was a very enjoyable mini tour of the wines Leeuwin had to offer, but while it was good to visit the winery itself, Leeuwin wines could be found retailing in Singapore too.

We wanted to try something different, and that was where Hank's guidance and expertise was priceless...

Last edited by yflyer; 31st December 2018 at 01:58 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 03:00 PM   #44
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

For our next winery stop, Hank brought us to Fraser Gallop Estate...





Fraser Gallop is a fairly new winery, first established in 1998. While they are a much smaller estate than the likes of Leeuwin or more established wineries, the passion and commitment of owners Nigel and Dorothy Gallop to create top quality wines was very apparent.

The wines are made entirely on the estate, from vineyards planted with Cabernet, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other Bordeaux red grape varietals.

They have a star winemaker Clive Otto, who spent many years at Vasse Felix before taking on the chief winemaker role at Fraser Gallop.

We tasted their range of wines in pairs...first their estate bottling, then their premium "Parterre" bottling...



Their "Parterre" Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine inspired by the wines of Bordeaux, where the focus is to make premium wine with nuance and complexity, that best expressed the nature and character of vineyard, and its location and terroir.



They also had a top-end bottling, "Palladian", which was not available to taste that day.

Regardless, we were so impressed with the wines we tasted that we headed back there again a few days later, to buy a few bottles of "Parterre", and even took a leap of faith and purchased a bottle of their "Palladian" 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.

yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st December 2018, 03:41 PM   #45
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 5,970
Default

The next vineyard that day was Cape Grace Wine, owned and run by Robert & Karen Karri-Davies...a boutique winery that prided itself in being a "Great Little Winery"...

Unlike some of the corporate wine giants in Margaret River, whose huge, sometimes over-the-top, visitor facilities were clearly designed to wow guests, Cape Grace seemed to have a different set of priorities...

You entered the tasting room through a large unassuming green warehouse...



When we arrived, we were greeted by a barking Jack Russell Terrier, Rusty, who, amazingly, led us through the wine storage area, past a Basket Press and cartons of wine...



...to the tasting room, before heading off behind the counter to fetch Karen, the owner...



Co-founder Karen Karri-Davies, who was such a warm and engaging host, introduced us to their range of wonderful wines...



The wines at Cape Grace were handcrafted, single vineyard wines, made with organic principles, and using the basket press we passed on the way in...



Cape Grace makes just 1500-2000 cases of wine a year, sold mainly either via mail order, or at their cellar door.



Judging from the awards and accolades these wines received, perhaps bigger wasn't better: these were very impressive wines indeed.

Apart from Karen and the wines we tasted, the other star of the winery was Rusty, their Jack Russell terrier...



"All he wants is a belly rub...", Karen said...



"He's featured in the book Wine Dogs of Australia", Hank pointed out...

I thought Hank was joking when he said that...but then I spotted the aforementioned book on a table nearby, conveniently bookmarked to the appropriate page...



Yep! There was Rusty!



We picked up a couple of bottles of their Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as their new Malbec bottling...a very unusual varietal for the Margaret River region, and another indication of the level of inspiration and passion that went into the winemaking here...

I would definitely include Cape Grace on the list of wineries to visit when travelling to Margaret River!

Last edited by yflyer; 1st January 2019 at 11:23 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +8. The time now is 11:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Techadmin: Luke | Hosting: www.lomag.net