Sometimes one of the best things about a road trip is the journey, other times it is the destination. In this case it was both of these and more, for it also meant catching up with family and friends. Two weeks after leaving the east coast of Australia we finally reached our destination on the west coast, Perth, the current home town of our eldest son and his wife. Perth is a beautiful city and I love any excuse to visit this amazing city on the Swan River, but most of all, I love the chance to spend time with Jason and Elisa. We walked in the nature reserve near their home and discovered an abundance of magnificent wildflowers. We did the same in the Botanical gardens in Kings Park which are in the heart of the city and display a fabulous array of native flowers from all the regions of Western Australia. Being late September was the perfect time, it meant the wild flowers were in full bloom.
The Swan River wine growing region is on their doorstep, so naturally we always spend a day exploring a winery or two, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and a coffee and fudge factory that were irresistible!
All the touristy things aside, it was great to simply catch up and spend precious time at their home chatting, seeing the improvements to their garden and patting my two 'grand-doggies' Peppa and Phoenix.
To my delight I also had the opportunity to catch up and have lunch with two amazing friends. One is a girlfriend I became very close to when we were both expats in what seems like another lifetime. Back in the 90's we lived in Thailand and our husbands worked together. Bringing up an Aussie family in a foreign country very different from ours, produces a bit of a culture shock and tends to bind you together forever. Whenever I visit Perth we try to get together if possible. The other lunch was even more amazing as it was with a friend I had not seen since my wedding day some 32 years ago! He had moved to Perth for work and we had lost touch, thanks to the wonders of the internet we were now back in contact and hubby and I were able to enjoy a great lunch catching up on all the years we had missed in his life. It was wonderful!
Next on the agenda was a couple of days down south in Margaret River, wine growing capital of Western Australia. Friends from Sydney coincidentally had booked a great holiday house and invited us to join them. We have been to Margaret River a number of times over the years, but like Perth, I never tire of visiting this beautiful region. The wildflowers were still in full bloom and we were lucky to spot whales not once but twice! The beach beside the mouth of the river is a well known surfing destination for the west coast and is also popular as part of the world surfing competition. It was great to see the area had been upgraded since our last visit. The local council had obviously spent quite a reasonable amount providing paved walkways and seated areas. We sat there and watched a number of whales breaching out beyond the wave breaks. In the evening we were able to sip Margaret River wine, taste Margaret River cheese while laughing with great friends on the balcony of the house, watching more whales and the golden glow of the sunset over the ocean. It was perfect. We had a day exploring boutique wineries we had not discovered on earlier visits as well as cheese and chocolate factories we had not been to before. There was no need to do the limestone caves, I think we have covered most of them on previous visits. This was a short stay after all and not the time to do any caving'
On the way back up to Perth we paid a visit to another long time friend from Thailand days. Lunch at their place meant more wonderful memories, great laughs and a fabulous walk along the beachfront at Mandurah. Returning to Perth we had one final visit to make, dinner with friends hubby worked with in Darwin and a special stop by the Whipper Snapper Whisky Distillery to pick up a few special purchases as we have a small interest in the company. It was time for a taste of the product. I admit I am not usually a fan of whiskey but found myself pleasantly surprised by the flavour. I can appreciate that it is becoming a preferred alternative for the palette of many young businessmen.
We then had one last evening with our son before heading north for the final leg of our journey. As usual it was heartbreaking to say goodbye but I know he has to lead his own life. After all it is part of the natural cycle of life for the young to leave the nest and venture forward on their own journey. It is now our time to continue our next chapter in life also. Life is itself a journey we should embrace and enjoy each and every moment we share with loved ones.
When you travel, is it the journey or the destination you look most forward to?
Next week: Geraldton, Monkey Mia, Dolphins and more wildflowers.