Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 7 ~ The Tour of Swan Valley

Another Day of Wine & Roses.. and Honey...
68 Purple Rose, Joondalup Resort.

1. To find out more about our continuing holiday on Day 7 around Swan Valley, continue reading on.
2. To start from the beginning of this wonderful trip (Day 1 and 2) click here.
3. To laugh yourself crazy seeing how the boys did their Open Water test swim (Day 3), click here.
4. To go back to the Busselton 70.3 Race day on Day 4, click here.
5. To read about our drive from Busselton to Fremantle on Day 5, click here.

It was a beautifully bright and cold day we all woke up to.   It was all peaceful and quiet.  I heard no noise of vehicular engine, but only chirping of birds.  It was nothing that we would find back home in Singapore.  No wonder so many Singaporeans fly to Perth to play golf and to enjoy their retirements here.
Click on this image to see our house from the greens.
  "Eh, Gerard early morning went walking around the golf course already leh," said Serene when I woke up to the cold air.
Yeah.. this man must be missing his golfing days.  The greens on Joondalup was nice and smooth.

"A good golf course would have grass so smooth that you just need to place the golf ball on the green and it would roll by itself," described Gerard.
I pull on my jacket, grabbed my rangefinder and went shooting around the area.

The temperature was a nice 13 degrees.

It would have been lovely if we had been able to stay here for another couple of more days, and perhaps had the opportunity to cycle around the area and do some more exploring.  Every time we drove past Spyglass Road into Joondalup Resort, I thought to myself how nice if I could run around this neighbourhood.

All the houses around here were so nice.  There were no fences around the houses and everything was left on the front porch or the backyard.  I didn't see many people around this morning.
Click on the image to see our neighbour's porch.
Getting ready to set off was the Giant.

It was another day of drive from winery to winery, chocolate factory to coffee brewery.  Swan Valley had a Visitor's Centre where we were fortunate to have a volunteer point out which were the vineyards and factories that we should visit.
Armed with the map, we set off.
On this day we were all feeling leisurely, knowing that a whole day ahead of wine and dine awaited.  Our only regret was Jeremy had flown back home and couldn't enjoy more of this day with us, and of course we were all left to our own to navigate.

The Map of Swan Valley.
[Click to Enlarge Big Big]

Sandalford was a delightful winery.
"You guys can see that this winery is a more commercial winery rather than a family-run winery," remarked Gerard.  Yes, he was right.  After going through several wineries, I could see how a well-oiled winery at a commercial level looked and felt like, as compared with a family-run one.  And this Sandalford was certainly not-family run.  
"That day that Knotting Hill, remember?" continued Gerard. "That was most likely a family-run one."

The Australian sky was so blue that every moment it tempted the photographer to take shot after shot of it, and of the Ironman Support Crew member too.

At Sandalford Winery.  Click to enlarge.
Darric enjoying himself with the whites again.  This man loved his wine.
Click to enlarge
"Come, let's have lunch here at Sandalford, shall we?" suggested Gerard.
But the restaurant weren't open yet.  Disappointed, we decided to carry on our journey down West Swan Road.

"OK, we will visit the coffee shop next," said Gerard. 

YAHAVA Koffeeworks
I didn't know what to expect for this coffee factory or whatever it was.  I was happily simply following and taking in the nice cool air.  Hey, it wasn't every day that a simple little Singapore boy had a chance to be totally immersed in 24 hours air-conditioning-like weather everyday.  And here we were, as winter approached Down Under, and roaming about in breathing in cool, crisp oxygen.  This was enough to get me coming back to Australia again in another winter.
We drove on further along West Swan Road until we saw a small sign to our right pointing the way to Yahava.
Looking for Yahava Koffeeworks.
This was a cosy little coffee company that sold coffee beans from all over - Indonesian Javanese beans, Sumatran beans, and some other beans which I couldn't catch the name.
"Wah, this motorbike is swee! Come, take a shot of me on the bike," said Darric.

Click on image to enlarge.

There was a middle-aged man who brewed several types of coffee beans and let us sample them.  I thought I was quite a coffee person, but perhaps I was not of that calibre, as no matter how I sipped, I could not appreciate them, until he brought out an Ice Koffee Elixir.  Served cold with frothy fresh milk, its flavoured took us by surprised.  Well, at least for me, I didn't think I had eve tasted anything so nice.
We gladly bought a few bottles. In retrospect, it would have been ideal had I bought a few more because I really loved this elixir.  But it might have been a good thing too, for we busted our check-in luggage weight limits.

"Next stop, the olive grove company!" declared Gerard, and our car travelled along the main trunk road again in search of that little signboard that pointed towards Providore.

PROVIDORE Organic Olive Grove & Orchard
I had no idea what they would sell here in Providore.  In my mind, olive shop probably sold olives of various colours and sizes and tastes.  But I was taken aback by the whole myriad of colourful products they manufacture here, many olive-based: jam, sauces, and what-nots.

My iPhone

Ok lah, this place was interesting.  Everything was available for testing.  What I'd come to realise of Australia was, in most of the wine or food joints, they would prepare samples for visitors to do taste-testing.  There would of course, be signs to ask one to use a new spoon for every dish, instead of doing double-dipping on different bowls with one spoon, something that we sometimes almost made the mistake of doing, only to remind ourselves in time.

"Dar, this one is good!" said Serene.  So she bought one jar of don't-know-what-it-was.

Opposite Providore was another Margaret River Chocolate Factory, another branch of the same one we visited earlier on our trip.  A small walk through the shop discovered nothing new.  But this small walk ended up with every one of us holding another Margaret River Chocolate Factory ice cream in hand.
"I want a double scoop!" happily announced Darric.
"The rum and raisin is really good," said Gerard.

Time for Lunch ~ at MASH
MASH. Click to enlarge.

Our stomachs indicated that it was time for some nutritional replenishment.  The map came in useful as it pointed out a beer brewery cum restaurant somewhere further down.
"Ok guys, next one is a beer brewery, OK?" announced Gerard.
"ONZ! Beer is good!" said Darric
"Mixing the stout and the beer is good," said Gerard. "You get the best of both."
"Let's order one more black!" said Darric, and he did it.

Along this West Swan Road, for quite a few times I missed the turn in either to the left or right side, and had to stop the car along the shoulder, and make U-turns.  The Australian roads were wide and amply-spaced on each side, and Australian drivers were very understanding.
"Sorry gentlemen," I said jokingly every time I had to make a U-turn. "Please forgive me, this is a tourist driving here in Australia,"
Anyway, so lunch was served in MASH the brewery.  Delicious lamb and beef steaks.  And really bitter beer and stout.  I was never an alcohol person, and even less of a beer person.  But I did manage to take a few sips of the bitter concoction.

Serene cleverly bought a bottle of some Lingam (or Lingham) chilli sauce from the supermarket the day before and she brought it along wherever we dined.  These few Singaporean could not live without chilli, which was pretty hard to come by Down South here.  So delightfully, this bottle was presented on the dining table and the boys and girl simply soaked up all their food with it.
Chilli sauce, any one?

Attempt at cuddling Koala
Click to enlarge

For the records, we did kinda make an attempt to accomplish that.  Several wrong turns into wrong roads leading to construction sites, and into another parallel road, we were finally at some Wildlife Park.  But we decided that this activity should be left for another visit with the children in tow.  So we saved some money for more wine and food.  Heng ah!

The EDGECOMBE Brothers
Now this was SOMETHING.
Further down along West Swan Road, Gerard pointed out a signboard.  But this estate was situated just at one of the corners of a roundabout.  And we had to make two attempts to arrive at its unostentatious entrance.
A very apparent family-run business, we were welcome with a warm, down-to-earth greetings from one of the owners, and another gentleman who, one look at us, could tell our origin.

The first thing one of the Edgecombe brothers said when he saw us was, pointing to Serene's T-shirt:
"Hey, this one is something.  She is the Ironman Support Crew!" Really very observant, this man was.  In fact the two guys were pretty observant.
Lewis Martin is the name of the man here.
And then this moutached guys named Lewis Martin started speaking.  And what flowed from his lips were not Australian-English, but a rojak mixture of Singlish, Malay and Hokkien!
We were all taken aback, when he looked at the label of a bottle of wine and said it was "Made in Bugis". Hahaha.. now here was a real joker!

"Mmmmm... This Muscadelle is nice!" praised Gerard.
"Oh you are clever!  Yes, you even pronounced it correctly!" said Lewis.

"Go ahead! Take four bottles of the Muscadelle.  And I will bubble wrap it up for you," Lewis said in true Josephian spirit (well, he said he studies in Saint Joseph Institute in Singapore).

... and we had high tea at this nice outdoor wooden table.
"What? Eat again?" exclaimed Serene.
"Yes, let's just enjoy the nice ambience and wine and their cheese spread."

... and we had a little more than their cheese spread.

The House of Honey
Wow.. Australia hath everything!
But I'd never come across anything like this - honey of all nuances of tastes.

Click to see how Serene and I look at this pose.

"Hey, come taste this one, Blackbutt honey. It's really nice!" suggested Gerard.
And one taste, I was hooked.  Totally.  Never had I tasted any honey like this.  "Grab two bottles, Dar!" I said.

"Darric, you must try this - Jarrah honey!" said Gerard.
"Wow.. it has 37.4% antibacterial effect, the highest of them all." I said.

Photo: Serene iPhone.

By the time we finished with The House of Honey, it was almost 5pm.  And all the shops were closed.  Our tour of the Swan Valley ended when we attempted to visit a Nougat shop.  But it was 5pm sharp and the door was tightly shut.

But we had had a great day and we happily make our way back to Joondalup.