Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First Weekend: First Great Southern Roadtrip

After a pretty work-intense, but not-that-bad-manageable first week of work, Friday finally arrived. We were presented with a variety of different options to start the weekend: pizza with Hunter and his family – a chance to get to know them outside of work; a night at the Rocky Gully Pub for a ticket-per-beer raffle and $10 burgers; or a trip to Denmark on the coast, about an hour away, depending on when we get out of work. By the time we got out of work and had our daily internet dose, we decided on the homemade pizza and would leave for Denmark the next morning. It was a good decision. The pizza was delicious and the hospitality was even more welcoming.

We left the next morning in our dinky car. I can’t complain, as we are lucky enough to have any sort of transportation out of this remoteness. The drive there wasn’t too bad, pretty straight forward, but our dinky little car was a bit of concern. It didn’t like to go above 100km (speed limit is 110km) and kept veering to the left. Talk about high-performance-vehicle-coughmonkeymiacough. It took us about an hour to get to Denmark and we were both pretty enthralled with the fact that we were in civilization again!

 Denmark seems like a nice town, pretty small with a  main street running through it, but a bit lively. The shops all seemed to be pretty eco-friendly: cafes with free-trade coffee, award winning bakeries, environmental agencies, boards with notices of shared-lifts and food drop offs, sustainably sourced and organic food stores…We had been told that Denmark was a bit alternative.  I like it.

It was drizzling rain, overcast and chilly, so we decided to skip the beach, obviously, and head towards the wineries, obviously. We followed the tourist scenic road signs with no clear direction of where it was going to take us, but we were on a loop road that seemed dotted with vineyards. We stopped at one called Kerriview (apparently, Frankland Estate used to own them, “disastrously - it was like making wine in the Sudan. But, we do still grow the grapes for their Pinot Noir”). The inside seemed like a safari lodge with a nice but typically-Australian-expensive food menu. We tasted their wines:  their bubbly was good, but there was no production facility on site and most of the wines were made elsewhere – in Frankland and in Swan Valley. That sort of lost its appeal of visiting a winery, and Felix thought the vines outside were probably just plastic for show.
  We next drove along the loop road onto Harewood Estate as I had thought I had heard of them and they were definitely acclimated with lots of awards. The wine maker, James Kellie, used to work at Howard Park/Mad Fish and is also the wine maker at Moombaki. I was driving so I didn’t taste too many and the lady informed us of a meadery where we could have a honey tasting so we set off to find that. We came across another winery (Duckett's Mill - apparently also James Kellie) with a sign for fudge and homemade cheese and since I was driving of course I veered towards the cheese. I LOVE CHEESE. The cheese was all made on site from local cows’ milk. They had their own label jams and mustards, a huge display fridge of different types of cheeses, cured meats, pates, and vacuum-sealed roasted vegetables. We tasted the cheeses on offer and decided to buy a Morroccan marinated feta along with a small bit of hot chorizo, slices of smoked kangaroo, and an emu pate – how very Australian!
We never found the meadery and ended up around the loop back in Denmark so we decided to check out the ocean. Despite the weather, it was a successful first road trip, filled with things that we like: a perfect outting! I feel as though although we may have missed a couple things we wanted to see, but we saw a lot and there are more weekends to go back. 

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