Albany to Denmark
08.06.2016 - 10.06.2016
It seemed our luck with the weather had ran out and we continued to get cold, windy rain. Since we had spent several nights and days in torrential rain we decided to look for a cabin or hotel around Albany just so we could become normal humans again, rather than drenched ogres living in the wilderness. We found a cosy motel just outside Albany and had the longest, hottest showers of our lives and settled in for a night or pizza, a warm bed and TV. We managed to book an AirBNB in Perth for our final weeks and a flight finally and absolutely relished in the warm comfort of a room for the night. It was bliss.
We explored Albany the day after. It is on King George Sound, a lagoon overlooking mountains and for us dark, moody clouds. The buildings are colonial and have been converted to pubs and shops along the front which is very pretty. Albany is the first settlement town in WA and has a replica of the ship that brought settlers over called the Amity on its shores. It also has a whaling past and we explored the south coast peninsular, down to natural bridge and the gap. Here the mighty Southern ocean has carved a spectacularly rugged coastline. There is a constructed platform that takes you out over the furious sea at the gap where in rough weather the waves pound the cliffs and sour upwards. The weather was bitter cold, wet and windy but this added to its ruggedness and you could really see how harsh and cold the Southern ocean is.
From here we had a short drive through very scenic green countryside and farms to a tiny town called Denmark. Here is a hub for produce and dotted around the town in its hills are wineries and local cheese, chocolate toffee and more. We had seen a beautiful cellar door called The Lake House so headed here for a wander around. It has a five star rating and its premium wines have scored a high 96, 97 being awarded the best wine in the country and is one of the prettiest cellar doors you can visit. It is a cosy cottage set on a lake, surrounded by vineyards. Inside is a cosy, timber build shop, restaurant and cellar door. They make their own wine infused preserves which you can try as well as grape seed oil products and we were greeted by a lovely man who told us what they had on offer. We decided to stay for some lunch and a glass of wine and he offered us a wine tasting so we could decide which one we liked. We assumed we would be trying a couple of wines we were interested in but he asked if we would like to try red or white. We decided on red and then he spent at least half an hour pouring us taster after taster of every red they sell, explaining the differences in how they are grown and barrelled and how they should taste. We went from cheap and cheerful wines right up to reserve bottles of Shiraz and specialist grown reds. It was amazing and we learned lots about wine and drinking wine. After picking our favourite we sat down with a glass and ordered a vegetarian tasting platter for two. When it arrived it was a huge feast and had all sorts of things on it, including lots of their special preserves, local cheese, home baked bread, frittata and spicy veggie lentil patties. We ate it leisurely, overlooking the lake and ended up spending several hours we enjoyed it so much. It was a rare treat for us and we bought a bottle of our favourite.
This area of South West WA really is beautiful, even though the weather is cold this time of year. The coastline is wild and rough and inland it is bright lush green, covered in cows and sheep. We camped in the rain again at a council run property called Parry Beach and the caretakers thought we were mad, camping along this area in winter.... Even though they had a pet chicken called clucky.