Friday, 22 March 2013

Forget Margaret River

17 Feb 2013 

We weren’t planning to spend any time at all in the Margaret River region but for one reason or another we did.  When we arrived in the Karri forests near Pemberton we really regretted not sticking to our original plan and skipping the Margaret River. It has absolutely nothing on the Karri forests of Pemberton.

There’s something pretty magical and soul restoring to be in a towering forest and breathing in beautiful air.  It was cool and damp when we were there and just so breathtakingly beautiful, just as we remembered it from a few years ago.

In the one short day we had we visited Beedlelup Falls (which weren’t falling at all as the river dwindles to a stagnant pond over the summer months), the Heartbreak Trail that takes you on a one way track through old-growth karri forests alongside the Warren River, and then to the trout farm which we remembered fondly from Hugo catching his first ever fish/water creature when he caught a marron.

The trout farm is a lovely spot to spend a few quiet hours. We got three fishing rods, some pellets to throw out to the marron and some nets. We were told the big ones are quite smart and if they see us they will disappear quick (so we tried to disguise ourselves in the shadows).  They disappear backwards so the advice is to stick the net behind them quietly to get them as they make their escape. The trick to this though is figuring out which is the back end. We again didn’t catch a single trout but we were more lucky with the marron. Most of them were too small but Simon got a good sized one just as we were heading off.  They cooked up the marron for us, just lightly grilling it on a BBQ and it was absolutely delicious!  We also had some trout and all five us had a fabulous (although very late) lunch.

We camped that night at the Big Brook Arboretum under more towering trees (from a safe distance though) and just drank in the quiet, peace and solitude of a big forest. We were surprised when we left the following morning to discover this part of the forest is new growth, from around the 1920s or 1930s.  We didn’t even have time to check out the somewhat neglected and unloved arboretum….next time.

Oh, and one of the best things about our visit to Pemberton? Blackberries were in season!  We collected a whole basin full of them and the kids just ate and ate and ate them as fast as they could pick these – regardless of how prickly the bush is!

So learn from our mistake, skip Margaret River and head to Pemberton – a much more authentic town, with amazing forests and if you’re after wines and food, you still get a pretty good mix of that here too!

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