Shooting Buddy needed to drive his son back to Geraldton and he asked me to go with him as a co-driver. After discussing it with hubby, and him being willing to do the "mum's taxi" for the girls this weekend I agreed to go along.
Plans evolved and we decided to drive up to Geraldton to drop his son off on the Friday and then spend the weekend in Dongara where we have some good friends and drive back on Sunday. As it turned out our Dongara friends weren't there :( But we decided to stay anyway.
The drive to Geraldton was long - it's apparently 450kms north of Perth - I'm not sure what part of Perth they're measuring from as we left at 10am and arrived about 4pm and only stopped once.
However, after dropping Shooting Buddy's son off we did a bit of shopping and headed to Tides for dinner. We sat on the balcony and sipped sparkling wine while watching the sun set. The tasting plate went down a treat followed by entree sized serves of the main course. I had the Prawn Tagliatelle and SB had the Mini Surf and Turf without the Surf. They were amazingly accommodating (see Surf & Turf minus Surf) even though the restaurant was full. We also got a Sicilian Salad (Pumpkin, Red Onion, Tomato, Crumbled Feta, Lebanese Cucumber & Roasted Capsicum) which we struggled to finish.
Being full we decided to skip dessert and head back to Dongara for the evening.
On Saturday we headed up to the historic Greenough townsite, via the local rifle range - however there was no one there and no signage as to when there would be.
At the Greenough museum / shop we sat down to a delicious (and total unhealthy) breakfast of scones while enjoying the scenery.
View while eating breakfast
We then headed up the road to Geraldton to the tourist information centre as we had heard of a winery in the area that was worth a visit.
After a bit of investigation we found out that the winery was the Chapman Valley Winery. It is West Australia's northern most winery - oh and they serve lunch - so off we headed, 30kms or so north.
I haven't travelled north of Geraldton by car ever. I was totally amazed at the scenery we found once we entered the Chapman Valley. I took a number of photos but I don't think they do the scenery justice:
View from Mills Lookout
Looking to the right of the Lookout
On the way to the Winery we stopped off at the Lavender Farm, which seemed really nice but we were in the mood for "something different" - especially as there were LOTS of people there.
When we got to the winery we were pleasantly surprised to see that off the dozen tables scattered around only 3 were occupied. We entered the cellar door and got chatting to the owner while trying the wines. They had four wines on offer - two white and two red. Unusually I liked all four of them! SB likes sweet wines so wasn't keen on the reds. In the end we decided to get a bottle of the Classic White and the Classic Red (with the intent to drink the white and bring the red back). We ordered a "Grazing Platter" to go with the white and found ourselves a shady table to sit at.
About three hours and two bottles of wine, lots of water and coffee later we decided to head back to Dongara. We did stop at the Lavender Farm for another coffee (and a piece of cake) on the drive back.
- We decided to skip dinner and go for a walk in Dongara instead!
Sunday morning started out as a repeat of Saturday - with still no one at the rifle club :( We went back to the shop at the Greenough Historic village as I had seen something for Miss 7's birthday present and decided to go back to buy it.
However, this time instead of heading north we went East towards Mingenew.
The first town we drove through was Walkaway. It's a very pretty little town and is just on the edge of a HUGE windfarm. Some of the towers are right next to the road - which made me feel a touch nervous.
Rather than go directly to Mingenew we decided to take a side trip to Coalstream on the way.
I had been at Coalstream in January. This is what it looked like then:
and this is what it looks like now ...
Facing the other direction, we had this in January:
and this today
The yellow are wildflowers - here's few more pictures of wildflowers that we came across (it's the start of the wildflower season):
After the detour through Coalstream Park we drove to Mingenew then down through Three Springs, Carnamah and down to Bindoon.
The last time I was in the area was at the beginning of May before any rain had fallen in the area. It was wonderful to see green grass, healthy wheat and canola fields and water actually laying on the ground in many areas.
After we went through Bindoon we took another detour through the Chittering Valley. When I drove through there in May it was drier than dry. Now it was totally luscious - it was really amazing. I can see now why people live there.
Eventually we arrive home after a very restful weekend! Looking forward to getting back "up north" with the family in the October school holiday and hopefully camping at Coalstream for a couple of days for a really good look around.