Day 11:

8 July 2010

The stars last night were absolutely amazing!  We could see planets as bright shining dots in the sky and could see stars all the way to the horizon and, again, the Milky Way.

We awoke naturally at 6:00 a.m.  The time changes we've experienced as we've crossed the country have helped our arising time.  The time zone in WA is two hours behind Sydney.

Highway 1 has a very diverse landscape at every turn    Stretch of Hwy 1 with Stirling Range of Mountains in the background

Today we made it to Margaret River, Western Australia's wine region.  Recommended wineries include Margaret River's oldest, Vasse Felix, as well as Leeuwin Estate, Hay Shed Hill, Cape Mentelle, and Cullen Mangan (wines from all of these are available on for a bargain (less than 1/3 the price) in the States).

In an attempt to get there more expediently, we decided to divert from Highway 1 (I know...) and venture on virtually unrecognized roads...unrecognized by our GPS.  When the petrol tank said we only had about 103Kms worth of fuel remaining, Rob said "uh...the one challenge is where the next petrol station is...we have about 146Kms to go.  We were fortunate enough to find Rocky Gully's Ampol (Caltex) with about 80 kms to empty (phew!).

Jenna mailing letters to her friends, Devon excited to have a break and Sydney was asleep in her car seat

After filling the campervan up with diesel and stuffing our gobs with Mrs. Mac's meat pies and "M" iced mochas, we started the trek through the winding country roads to Mount Barker, then to Nannup and finally to Maragaret River.  We saw many a sheep, lamb, cow, bull and even a few packs of wild emus (okay, they were fenced in very tame emus, but still...).

Rob enjoying a Mrs. Mac's Meat Pie from the Rocky Gully petrol station

We arrived at the Vasse Felix Winery at 4:45, just 15 minutes before they closed.  We managed to taste a number of their wonderful wines and purchased six bottles before departing for the Gracetown Caravan Park down the road.  It was bucketing rain when we arrived at the winery and, as we haven't been stuck in much rain thusfar, only Jenna was prepared with her pink  umbrella, so we all got a bit wet, but still were all thrilled to arrive before closing.

The Stirling Range of Mountains reminded us of the foothills near Boulder, Colorado

Narrow, wet roads made the driving a bit slow, but we still covered 645 Kilometres today!

After a LONG day of driving, five back packs enjoyed a break at the Vasse Felix Winery in Margaret River, WA

Vasse Felix has very tidy vines and lovely pieces of art on their grounds

Tomorrow, we hope to get to Fremantle and Perth.  Best news of the day is that we are a day ahead of schedule!