Melody
(Continued from Part 1.)

So the next day after having our breakfast at the hotel, we packed and left one of our luggage with the hotel concierge since we were to stay at The River Retreat farmstay in Swan Valley. But before that, we had some free time before meeting up with the other tourists for the local tour at 1p.m. so we visited these places.

The Swan River

Landscapes in Perth City

The Bell Tower
(Unfortunately, due to time constraint, we did not take a tour of The Bell Tower)

We had such a fun time exploring these places that we lost count of the time and nearly could not make it timely for the local tour. Needless to say, we could not afford to spend more time at some eating outlet to have our lunch so we stopped by a McDonald's outlet for a takeaway.

Fortunately, we were five minutes early before we reached the entrance of the hotel where the coach was supposed to pick us up (along with the other tourists) and then that began our journey out of Perth. We filled our empty stomachs with the McDonald's meal in the coach, careful not to spill anything and were very grateful that no one had lodged a complaint on us after the trip. We were also thankful that our groups are small and thus, make it a more enjoyable trip as I feel bigger groups are harder to manage.

Anyway, we passed by the historical town of Guildford and made a stop at the States oldest and best-known vineyard, Sandalford Wines for a wine tasting session. They have an extensive cellar and wine emporium gift store featuring stunning wine accessories and also works by local artists. Not a wine person myself, I too was captivated by the rows of various bottled wines on display and tasted two kinds of wine (one white and one red, although I could not remember their names!).

We then visited the vineyard on our own, while the others were still inside the shop tasting the wines. I have a thing for fruits so I was especially happy to have the opportunity to visit the vineyard and viewing those luscious-looking grapes.


My four-year-old daughter loves grapes so after seeing them, she innocently asked me if she could pick them for consumption. My husband and I couldn't help chuckling after hearing her remark, and so we had to tell her no and further explained to her what these grapes are for. (I have to admit I felt the urge to pick them myself upon seeing them the first time; don't you think they looked delicious?)

Our next stop was at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Now did I pique your interest at the mention of chocolates? It was a wonderful experience and an eye-opener trip for us. Being a chocolate lover, this place seems like paradise because we got the opportunity to try out two types of chocolates (the regular chocolate and the white chocolate. They were in small bits and were served in a big bowl and the visitors are free to help themselves with them).



Rows of chocolates on display

We then proceeded to watch the staff on preparing and making the chocolates through a glass window and this had also attracted a lot of other tourists (besides the chocolates that is) as I am sure most of us are very curious how our chocolates are made. I admired the staff for their nonchalance and seemed not to be bothered by the attention we showered on them during their work, because I know I probably could not concentrate having so many eyes on me.

Our next stop was at Caversham Wildlife Park, where we had a close up experience with native Australian animals and had the opportunity to feed kangaroos and take photos of the adorable koalas. This was another wonderful experience for us, and I know my daughter had enjoyed herself immensely. She was really excited seeing those kangaroos hopping around and was curious about the koalas when she had the chance to take a close up picture with them.


The kangaroos resting under the shades

Don't you think the koalas are adorable?

I just love the name of this little guy - Tasmania Devil

Emu, which I had mistaken as an ostrich initially

A beautiful peacock which shy away from my camera when I tried to follow it around.

Our final stop was at The River Retreat in Swan Valley and this is where our farmstay is. We were the only family among the group who had opted to stay overnight at this place so the coach left for the Perth city after leaving us here.

I just loved the feeling that I was being so close to nature.

We were assigned to a cottage which is fully self-contained with cooking facilities. It has a huge living room with dining area (with air-conditioner), and two bedrooms and a bathroom. There are two double-decker beds in a room, and a queen-sized bed in another. It reminds me of a chalet but this is definitely much bigger and better! When we opened the back door, we could see nothing but the wonderful greenery as shown below. It was such a quiet and peaceful place for relaxation. If you step out from the back door and walk further, you could see a playground and some farm animals lazing around at their designated premises.




After our dinner, we had an outdoor activitity where we had a little bush camp and had fun watching a native representative making billy tea. First, he set up the fire with sticks and placed a billy can of water with tea leaves sprinkled into it. When the water has boiled, he used a towel to hold the handle and then he lifted the can and swirled it round and round in circles. The purpose of doing so is to allow all the tea leaves to settle down to the bottom of the can without filling your cup with leaves. I did capture a shot of the man swirling the can at a distance (I was so afraid the tea would spill but funny enough, it didn't. I suppose one required skills and experience for doing so) but I will not post it as it is not a good shot.

After hearing him sing and taking some pictures with him, we bade each other goodbye and we returned to our cottage. It was really a fun day and we looked forward to the next day as we would get the chance to feed the animals.

[To be continued...]
27 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    Oh my goodness! That is such a great adventures of the tour you have gone to that day. I Love seeing the building and the swan River,the Landscapes and The Bell Tower. The chocolate...YUM! Always love to see how chocolate are made. And I know it always fun to watch too :) And all the animals are adorable too!

    The journey you took of today trip tour, very facination and wonderful. Sound like everyone had great time that day.

    You and husband took wonderful pictures so far! I love them :) Can't wait to see part 3 teehehe


  2. mariel Says:

    Sounds like such a great trip! I really wanted to get to the Swan Valley, but never had the time! And all that chocolate...well! Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing them with us.


  3. Melody Says:

    Julia - I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. :)

    I agree it was a fascination tour! I was the one who took all the pics; my husband was responsible for taking a video though, hehe.


  4. Melody Says:

    Mariel - We must have posted our comments at the same time! LOL.

    I hope you get to visit the Swan Valley next time! It's beautiful!


  5. violetcrush Says:

    Looks like you had an amazing trip.

    The name Swan river itself sounds so
    nice and inviting. I love being near wildlife and nature, I think it's really relaxing.

    I have seen a lot of vineyards on the way while driving out of town, but have never actually been in one. Will do it next time though.

    Thanks for the pictures Melody, enjoyed going to Perth via your blog :)


  6. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    These pictures are fabulous! Wine and chocolate, all in one day??? It doesn't get any better than that! Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I'll look forward to your next installment!!!


  7. Trish Says:

    Those chocolates...oh my!! Your trip looks and sounds so amazing. I just found out my cousin will be going to Austrailia for two weeks in March--I wonder if she'll be anywhere around here.


  8. Beth F Says:

    Fantastic photos!! And great post. I've always wanted to go to Australia.


  9. Debi Says:

    Oh Melody, I just love your travel posts so much! And your photos...how I love your photos!!!


  10. Vickie Says:

    Wine and chocolate! That would be my favorite! It's one of the things I miss about California when we moved here to Colorado. We were in the Central Coast and the vineyards there were amazing! Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles area....yum....


  11. Vickie Says:

    Melody: I just posted this blog entry over on MaryJanice Davidson's blog. She's heading over to Australia soon for the first ever ARRC (Australian Romance Reader Convention)


  12. Iliana Says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us - it's so fun to read about it. Those chocolates and grapes both looked yummy!

    That Tasmania Devil is too cute. I wonder how those animals got their name.


  13. Nymeth Says:

    You saw koalas! And Tasmanian devils and kangaroos! Your beautiful pictures make me want to go to Australia more than ever.


  14. valentina Says:

    I'm so jealous! I'd love to watch someone make those chocolates, must be very fascinating.
    And why couldn't your daughter eat the grapes? was there someone controlling you weren't stealing?:P
    I remember I did a lot of eating during the "vendemmia", the grapes harvest in september, when my grandfather still had vineyards...it was a lot of fun:) especially the juice drinking from the trucks...yumyum


  15. naida Says:

    thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! it looks like lots of fun. the vineyard looks very cool!
    oh my gosh, the Chocolate Factory!
    the animals are so cute :) and that tea making sounds interesting.
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/


  16. Melody Says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments! I'm glad you all enjoyed this post.

    Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to read about my trip. I apologize in advance if I seem to ramble too much, LOL.

    Vickie - Thank you for linking! I'm sure MaryJanice Davidson will enjoy her trip! I'm hoping that she'll post about it after her return. :)


  17. Melody Says:

    Valentina - I'm so sorry I missed your question!

    Well, there wasn't anyone around who's "supervising" but I just thought it isn't the right thing to do, that's all. I wished a person-in-charge is around so I could ask him/her about it! LOL.


  18. Trish Says:

    Love the rambling, Melody--don't apologize!!


  19. Alice Teh Says:

    I really enjoyed reading Part 2 of your trip, Melody!

    The kangaroo on the left looks as if it's posing for the camera while resting. Rather stylish, that one! LOL

    Ooooh koalas! Me likes! And those chocs!...

    Thanks for sharing with us. :D


  20. Diane Says:

    What GREAT photos; thanks for posting.


  21. Dar Says:

    Fabulous post Melody! I love that you're sharing the trip and photos with us-it's just great. The Bell Tower looks so cool. Too bad you couldn't make it for the tour-I wonder what it's like inside.

    The wine cellar and vineyard is my idea of heaven and that bunch of grapes-wow, that stole my heart. I too, love fruit. I can just imagine digging into that bunch. I bet they taste way better over there than they do by the time they reach Canada.

    The chocolate factory-I think I could smell it through the computer. Wine and chocolate-yikes. Perfect combination.

    What a wonderful trip and I'm so glad you experienced and enjoyed so much.


  22. Melody Says:

    Trish - I'm glad you don't find my rambling annoying, LOL!

    Alice - I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

    I couldn't help taking a shot of those kangaroos because of their pose! They looked so peaceful and relaxed (some of the others are hopping around and looking for food from the visitors)! ;)

    Diane - Thank you! :)

    Dar - Thanks! I'd such fun doing this post!

    I'm hoping to visit The Bell Tower again if there's a chance! I really feel bad for not doing so.

    I love visiting vineyards and orchards! I always feel like a little girl again whenever I see those fruit hanging from the trees! They're gorgeous!

    As for chocolate, they're truly heaven. Enough said! LOL.


  23. Ladytink_534 Says:

    Lovely pictures! There's a chocolate factory not too far from me that I'd love to go to one day. This one looks wonderful!!! Cute animals too!


  24. Melody Says:

    Jen - Thanks! I used to bypass a chocolate factory every morning to work a few years back... that area always smell of chocolates, LOL.


  25. Rhinoa Says:

    I love both sets of your photos but I think part two are my favourites as I love the animal ones. I would love to get to Australia some day.


  26. I am enjoying experiencing your trip through your photos, Melody. The Bell Tower reminds me of a spaceship. :-)

    The vineyards look so pretty! I am not much of a wine drinker either, but it's hard to resist trying something when visiting a winery and vineyard, isn't it? And then a chocolate factory! Yum!

    I love the photo of the koalas especially. So cute!

    I look forward to hearing more about your trip in your next trip post, Melody!


  27. Melody Says:

    Rhinoa - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed reading these posts. :)

    Wendy - The Bell Tower reminds me of a kind of spaceship too, LOL.

    I think wine and chocolate goes very well with each other, although I've already mentioned I'm not a wine person, hehe. We were so lucky we got to visit the vineyard and the chocolate factory on the same day! :P