Note: this summer I spent just over three weeks in Australia, visiting my former San Francisco roommate and one of my best friends in the world. With a home base in Perth, we explored Kali's new city, took a roadtrip to wine country, and ran a marathon (because why not?). All of my Australia posts thus far can be viewed here.
During my second week in Western Australia, Kal, Luke, and I hit the road to Margaret River, a winegrowing region about three hours south of Perth. We took their Troopie, an awesome SUV that will eventually include a bed in the back with storage drawers underneath, intended for adventures and cross-country travels (how cool, right?!). For the time being, however, we rode three across in the front, which still provided plenty of room (and opportunities for lots of chatting) along the way.
Midway into the drive, we stopped for a sausage roll at a roadside stand - the first of many during my time here. The rolls are an Australian treat that can include a variety of options - I've liked every one I've tried thus far, but let me just say that the spinach / feta combination is on pointttt.
We made it to the Margaret River region in time for sunset on the coast, and the first stop was Sugarloaf Rock in Yallingup (the view along the cape to the North from that stop is above). We hit another beautiful beach (pictured below) via a drive through Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (on the northern shore of Cape Naturaliste) before taking the Troopie on an ambitious dirt road (4 wheel drive required) to find some secluded surf spots for Luke to hit the following day.
After sunset, we grabbed an INCREDIBLE burger at Occy's, an unassuming brewery and food spot near our Airbnb in Dunsborough, then headed in for the night. In the morning, we stocked up at the local lolly (aka candy) / coffee shop combination, then piled in the Troopie and headed out in search of surf, via that same rugged dirt road (you can see the end of it - albeit a more mild, even section - in the photo below).
Coffees in hand, Kal and I hung out on the beautiful beach (pictured above) while Luke had a morning surf. It was the perfect chance to scheme about future plans (including the fact that I really need to get it together and take some surfing lessons, ASAP).
On the way back out, Luke convinced me to try driving the Troopie. In middle school, my godfather taught me to shift as a passenger, listening to the engine and waiting until he threw in the clutch. Years later, I "learned" behind the wheel of a friend's mom's station wagon in a middle school parking lot - but operating a manual transmission never stuck.
Attempting to drive a big SUV on a gnarly sand track (with the steering wheel on the right) sounded terrifying, but it was actually a blast. I was cracking up the entire time - until I reached the main road, stalled twice, and tried to turn onto the right side of the road. You win some, you lose some.
Can we just take a moment to talk about these teeny tiny koala clay earrings? (Made by Clay&Clasp, we found these at the shop at Windows Estate, along with letterpress beauties and some beautiful home goods.)
After lunch, we drove to the incredible Boranup Karri Forest (photos from that adventure coming soon), then headed back to the Airbnb for dinner, wine, and a night of card games. It poured all night, which was awesome on the tin roof of the rental - a giant, awesome renovated shed, complete with a golden retriever.
On our way out of town on our final morning, we stopped at Bunker Bay - another beautiful sight on a trip full with nonstop views. (So many, in fact, that it was really hard to pare down the photos for this post.) If you're every traveling in Western Australia, definitely stop by Margaret River - there's no question that it's worth the drive.