It’s late on Thursday evening. Six past eleven, to be exact. The world seems quiet; inky black except for the occasional headlight beam from the highway. The skyline, once illuminated by clouds of rich crimson, has become embedded in a dense cloud of onyx. The air is heavy, thick with the scent of grass and scorched eucalyptus.
Despite being thirteen days into autumn, it was hot today. Yesterday was even hotter, a humid 37 degrees Celsius, or 98 degrees Fahrenheit (if you’re from the northern hemisphere). Even now, I can hear garden cicadas droning a final ode to the sweet heat of Australian summer. They’re working in well with the ice-cube percussion from my depleting water glass.
Despite our recent uncharacteristically warm autumn weather, I’ve dedicated this particular post to the ‘official’ last days of summer that occurred two weeks ago. We spent four days at the seaside village of Gracetown (above) enjoying warm sunsets, cooked breakfasts, wine tasting and dips in the pristine blue sea.
If you’re a regular reader of The Mess, you might remember some previous posts about Gracetown, Margaret River and the south west region over the past twelve months. You could say that I’m a little bit in love with the rolling fields, artisan produce, deep red wines and friendly country folk. The rest of this post simply contains photographs and notes from our end-of-summer trip; however, if you’d like a bit more background to the region itself, click on the three links below:
- The Mess Guide to Margaret River
- South West Rambling
- Buttermilk Corn Fritters (recipe plus adventures in Dunsborough)
Any south west adventure always starts with a visit to Yallingup Woodfired Bread, a traditional wood-fired bakery that creates certified biodynamic sourdough, rye and fruit loaves. Owner Gotthard Baue is a truly passionate man who takes pride in his work (take a look at this video for an introduction to Gotthard and the bread process itself).
During this trip, we bought two loaves of sourdough and a dense and sticky rye ‘rock’ loaf that was divine with cheese. Some of the best bread on the planet, I’m certain.
Upon arriving at our house in Gracetown, we happened upon this little guy:
He’s an Australian wolf spider. After relocating him from the bathroom wall to the garden, we took some photographs like the one above. I think he’s cute.
Overseas friends: wolf spider bites are non-lethal despite often resulting in a mild case of nausea, headaches and localised pain. Don’t let stories of spiders scare you off visiting Australia and/or the south west region.
The restaurant above is Morries Anytime, where we stopped twice for coffee, cake and morning eats.
Manager-cum-barista Alex Brooks makes arguably the best flat white in the Margaret River region whilst head chef Rosie Griffiths serves up nourishing, creative cuisine that showcases the best of the south west’s fresh produce. Love this place.
Right near Morries is the Margaret River Fudge Factory with its spinning wheel of chocolate goodness. Beware the taste test boxes. You may never leave.
Pictured above is the Margaret River Farmers’ Market, a beautiful one-stop location for fresh, organic local produce, artisan cheeses, biodynamic meats and a range of other wares in the heart of the town centre. Open every Saturday from 8am – 12pm, this market has fast become a fresh produce hub for locals and tourists alike.
*For some reason I just had to take a picture of this ink-scrawled face.
One of my favourite stalls was that of the Margaret River Bakery. I’m in love with their danish pastries, baguettes and cakes. They also have a fixed location at 89 Bussell Highway where you can sample their wonderful cooked breakfasts, snacks and coffee. Go there. Your stomach will thank you.
It’s tempting to end with a cliché by saying that ‘all good things must come to an end’. But instead, I’ll just finish with a photograph of Gracetown as the sun dipped below the horizon.
We returned to Perth late on Monday evening after a stop-off for dinner with Elissa in Bunbury. A great end to a beautiful weekend.
Goodbye, Australian summer. Until we meet again.