Sunday, April 3, 2011

Margaret River - Surf the Seas, Drink the Wine and Splunk the Caves

Margaret River is probably the one of top tourist destinations in WA.  There are 95 or so wineries, dozens of breweries, plenty of galleries,  hundreds of caves, and THE best surfing waves Western Australia has to offer.  Margie is a Top 50 surf destination in the world and this week she was host to the Surf Pro world circuit.  On Sunday, we watched some excellent local and international amateurs trying to get one of four wild card spots to enable them to compete with the pros during the week.

Surfer's Point, Margaret River

If an 'old man' with a grey beard can do it.

So can I!
Hey, there's a prairie boy body boarding on some foamy surf!?  Too bad the little girl in the shot actually out paced him!  Caleb and Jackson enjoyed body boarding as well, but Becky was the one that wouldn't come in until after the sun had set.  I think we might of found our favorite beach - Red Gate Beach, Margaret River.
Walker family at Red Gate Beach.
We must thank John and Annette, a generous Canadian exchange couple, who open their home to us and showed us such wonderful spots.

We drove to Hamelin Bay to see rays that come to scrounge leftovers after the fishing boats come in and fisherman clean their catches.  There are 3 types of rays that some in and they swim right up to the shore line in mere inches of water and within touching distance of the wading photographers. Hamelin Bay is much calmer than Margaret River beaches, so swimming is nice and easy.

Jewel Cave.  The area around Margaret River has many, many caves, with about 10 open for public exploration.  Jewel Cave was highly recommended for us.  It had a tour guide and an easy 2 km boardwalk underground [the 1000 or so stairs were not mentioned though - huff and puff] with spectacular cave formations and stalactites and stalagmites.  Well worth the trip.

So many formations - these are stalactites
and if this photo is upside down - stalagmites!

The camel - can you see it sitting?
Straws - so delicate and only grow 2mm every 4 years.
The orinigal cave opening and 3 types of tree roots.


The Karri tree forest on the scenic drive from the town site to the caves was again spectacular.  The Karri trees are a fast growing hardwood tree that was logged extensively in the past, but are now protected as they are only found here in the southwest.

Friendly Giant - "Look up, Look way up, and I'll call Rusty!"

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