A walking group writes whilst travelling, capturing their adventures on the way.

The group from South Australian completed their ‘Margaret River’ section of the journal by joining Cape to Cape Explorer Tours on Customised 6 Day Group Tour for a memorable hiking trip which also included a tour of the wineries.

Walking group Coordinator Craig Thomas said that they “…went to Margaret River to confront part of the Cape to Cape trail and do battle with the wineries.”

“Dutifully everyone made entries in the walking group journal which has stories of our major walks. Contributions included sketches, contemplations, observations, poems and more. The group came back knowing they had worked and played hard – but very much relaxed and rejuvenated,” he said.

“The walk was an outstanding experience combining walking, relaxation, wineries and excellent tour management by the local operator.”

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours local knowledge was enjoyed and indulged.

“There were themes for each of the four days of walks where we learnt about the geology of the region, the diverse flora, the human side of the history of the region and the marine and maritime aspects. It was clear that the geology of the region was the underlying reason or catalyst for all that followed.”

“The owner of the business and main guide, Gene, was a tireless, passionate and knowledgeable leader who never missed an opportunity to share his local knowledge with us.”

“With Gene’s natural resource management background we received a very detailed explanation of the formation of the region and all of WA. He was also an experienced surfer and we learnt much about the science of wave formation and the science of surfing.”

The groups customised tour saw them staying at a local accommodation house with beautiful scenery and lots of flora and fauna.

“Day two saw us wake up to birds and kangaroos on the magnificent expanse in front of our villas and the lake, which was part of the 62 hectare estate. Breakfast was like a banquet in its offerings.”

The group experienced gourmet produce at local wineries and restaurants including coffee at Smiths Beach, Lunch at Cape Mentelle, Dinner at Lamont’s and a Degustion menu at Miki’s Open Kitchen but our own catering cooridantor was a winner with her food.

“…and again we had a magnificent dinner cooked by Ro (who had excellently prepared all our lunches and dinners).”

A non walking day was added to the tour which including relaxing to the max.

“There was relaxing at the retreat, shopping, sightseeing, visiting wineries, gourmet lunch, visiting chocolatiers and for some visiting local friends. For guidance Gene was joined by Nyree (the wine and food expert) and she ensured that we did not miss any of the special spots in the region. Whilst not being a walking it was a very full and all were happy to relax at the end at the retreat. In the evening more socialising, dining and then rest.

Water and caving actiivites were part of this tour which saw the group swimming in natural watering  holes, crystal blue ocean and descending into a local cave.

“…most had a swim in the turquoise rock pools by the beach.”

“We did some swimming, snorkelling and diving for crayfish. Gene (who was in his ‘Track’ speedos) came up with a beauty, there was much excitement and it was the focus of many photos.”

“As we walked on the cliffs we could see the schools of salmon moving along the beach and being followed by the sharks.”

“There was also a fever of stingrays in very shallow water.”

“It truly was a fitting finale for a great week.”

To join us on a customised Group Tour please click here… Group Tours

or contact us for more information

E: info@capetocapetours.com.au

M: 0459 452 038

To read Craig’s full journal please see below…

Walking Group

Margaret River Journal

March 2015

The group doing it tough on the lakeside platform at Merribrook Retreat

In late March 2015 our walking group went to Margaret River in Western Australia to confront part of the Cape to Cape trail and do battle with the wineries.

The walk was an outstanding experience combining walking, relaxation, wineries and excellent tour management by the local operator. There were themes for each of the four days of walks where we learnt about the geology of the region, the diverse flora, the human side of the history of the region and the marine and maritime aspects. It was clear that the geology of the region was the underlying reason or catalyst for all that followed.

Day one we all boarded the bus from various pick up points in Perth and by 2pm were headed to Margaret River. The owner of the business and main guide, Gene, was a tireless, passionate and knowledgeable leader who never missed an opportunity to share his local knowledge with us. We were briefed on many aspects on the bus and after about 2 hours we stopped at The Miami Bakehouse – the most awarded bakery in WA. The shop was no more than a pie cart in the middle of nowhere – but there were cars and people around it like flies. We then proceeded to the luxurious Merribrook Retreat (our base for the six nights) and enjoyed a superb authentic curry menu for dinner.

Day two saw us wake up to birds and kangaroos on the magnificent expanse in front of our villas and the lake, which was part of the 62 hectare estate. Breakfast was like a banquet in its offerings. We then picked up our lunches for the day and headed off on the trail. The first day’s theme was the geology of the region. Gene’s background was as a geologist so we received a very detailed explanation of the formation of the region and all of WA. He was also an experienced surfer and we learnt much about the science of wave formation and the science of surfing. We started at Yallingup for a 10 km walk to Injidup. Coffee at Smiths beach and on to lunch at a place colloquially known as the aquarium (a large natural rock pool) where we snorkelled with fish and ate our day packs. Dinner at Lamont’s at Smith’s beach was excellent and well enjoyed after the full day.

Day three started with another breakfast banquet and then we headed off to tackle the 10kms from Wilyabrup to Gracetown. Our guide for the day, Saul, was the flora and fauna expert and that was the theme for the day. We learnt about the enormous biodiversity of the region and that the southwest of WA is one of the 34 Biodiversity Hotspots in the world and the only one in Australia on the world register. We sampled various plants and seeds along our walk and were also cautioned on what not to eat. Upon returning to Merribrook there was much socialising with pre-dinner drinks and after a great dinner and a few wines all were ready to retire.

Day four was our day off or perhaps more correctly put, our non-walking day. There was relaxing at the retreat, shopping, sightseeing, visiting wineries, gourmet lunch, visiting chocolatiers and for some visiting local friends. For guidance Gene was joined by Nyree (the wine and food expert) and she ensured that we did not miss any of the special spots in the region. Whilst not being a walking it was a very full and all were happy to relax at the end at the retreat. In the evening more socialising, dining and then rest.

Day five saw most of the group hit the trail after breakfast. However, some stayed back to enjoy the retreat and went for a lunch at the local olive producers. For the walkers it was 13kms from Ellensbrook to Prevelly. The theme for the day was the human side and history of the region. Like many places in Australia in the early 1800’s the settlers’ stories and full of successes, failures, hardship, scandals, tragedies and the strength of human spirit to overcome. Wherever we went there was a story to be told. Lunch was at Cape Mentelle and most had a swim in the turquoise rock pools by the beach. We passed one of the world famous surf breaks at the mouth of the Margaret River before enjoying a refreshing beverage as we waited for out bus. Some more spas and drinks before dinner, and again we had a magnificent dinner cooked by Ro (who had excellently prepared all our lunches and dinners).

Day six was our final walking day and Gene was our guide. The walk was for 12.5kms from Redgate Beach to Giants Cave. It looked simple but it was to be an action filled day. The theme of the day was the marine and maritime part of the story. The walk started on the beach and at morning tea we stopped at Bob’s Hollow. We did some swimming, snorkelling and diving for crayfish. Gene came up with a beauty, there was much excitement and it was the focus of many photos. Some of the group thought the poor thing should be thrown back but one merciless member’s put it in his rucksack (like a jumbuck in the tucker bag) to be cooked for nibbles. As we walked on the cliffs we could see the schools of salmon moving along the beach and being followed by the sharks. there was also a fever of stingrays in very shallow water. Once we had completed the walk to Giants Cave we then had a caving experience. We descended about 150 metres into the cave hall and then wound our way slowly through the labyrinth and some final tight little manoeuvres to our exit. Having completed all our physical activities we returned to home base. The crayfish was cooked and eaten (by all) with drinks. Our final dinner was a degustation at Miki’s Japanese Restaurant in Margaret River and it was delicious. It truly was a fitting finale for a great week.

Day seven was an early start for the return to Perth so that those flying home could make the flight. Again we stopped off at The Miami Bakehouse for a coffee and the odd baked item. Then things got interesting as there had been a major accident miles ahead and the freeway was closed. An alternate route was determined on the way but it was longer. Time ticked away and the departure time was getting closer. Further road works and delays in the airport saw those travelling race to the counter to find the flight closed. However, once the airline saw how many were involved they were all checked in with baggage and returned home without further drama.

Dutifully everyone made entries in the walking group journal which has stories of our major walks. Contributions included sketches, contemplations, observations, poems and more. The group came back knowing they had worked and played hard – but very much relaxed and rejuvenated.

Craig Thomas

 

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