Last week, to celebrate our partner visa finally being granted by the Immigration Department, I took Friday off work and spent the weekend down South with Emma. Though not known for my exuberance, even I got excited for this, our first real getaway as a couple, and my first holiday of any sort since 2009(!).
Keen to get the most out of every day, we hit the road early on Friday morning. The plan was to hit up Bunbury and Busselton on the way down to our accommodation in Yallingup, breaking up the 265 km, 3.5 hour journey a little bit.
As I drove along the highway competing with Emma to spot cows, I enjoyed the little things. Not being at work. Not dealing with traffic. The technological marvel that is cruise control. Up to a certain point, a nice long drive really can help you relax. Beyond that point lies the cramping of lower backs and the desperate need for a coffee fix, so thankfully we soon made our first stop in Bunbury.
We had a little wander around and Emma dragged me reluctantly into the Visitor Centre. My worst fears were soon realised when we became inundated with maps and flyers, however there was one positive, as the woman at the counter directed us to the best café in the area. We stopped by at Café Fez for a precious, precious coffee. What would I do with out coffee? Sorry to disappoint the Jedi’s among us, but at the next census my religion will definitely be ‘coffee’. Café Fez was pretty nice, and is clearly a favourite for the locals. The place was absolutely teeming with people compared to the otherwise quiet coffee shops. Feeling sufficiently recharged, we did some more walking and I climbed the Marlston Hill Lookout Tower for some fresh air and a nice view of the town… city… whatever, I still think of it as a town. Anyway, it was a pleasant first stop.
On we drove to our next destination: a lunch break at The Equinox Cafe on the Busselton foreshore. Despite a plague of small children, the ocean views were lovely, with the Busselton Jetty stretching into the distance. After some umming and aahing, Emma and I both ordered the wagyu beef burger. This proved the most critical decision of the trip, and perhaps our lives. Hands down THE BEST wagyu burger I’ve ever had. This was some gourmet shit. You could really see and taste the care that had gone into creating that masterpiece of a burger. I can’t even begin to describe how mouth-wateringly good it was. And the ramekin of aioli with a dollop of tomato sauce? Genius. Unadulterated genius.
After digesting those bad boys, Emma and I went for a walk down the iconic Busselton Jetty. Stretching almost 2 kilometres out to sea, the Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, which kind of piques my interest about what they have in the northern half of the globe. In any case, the weather was absolutely perfect, and thankfully would remain so for our whole weekend.
A little tired and a little sunburnt after the jetty walk, we returned to the car and departed for the last leg of the day. Our destination was Yallingup – the “Place of Love”. Emma snoozed in the car and I missed the turn which brought us to the beautiful scenery of Yallingup Beach highlighted with the orange of the late-afternoon sunlight. It was one of the more pleasant little detours of the weekend. (Foreshadowing…)
After some back-tracking we got back on the right road and got to our accommodation in one piece. The Sienna Estate Lodge & Winery was charming and, by WA standards at least, an affordable option. Unfortunately the winery and restaurant on site were closed for refurbishment (until 2013 apparently) which meant more driving to get some dinner. A ways down the road we had some Italian at La Casina, a cute little place nestled between Yallingup and Dunsborough. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t the best, though of course that wagyu was a hard act to follow. The service though was really excellent, and I really liked the atmosphere of the place.
It was a long day of driving, but a great start to the trip. Click here for my account of Day 2.