Sunday, January 13, 2013

Australia, Part 3: The CBD and Wine Tour

  We were able to really enjoy the central business district of Perth one day. Patrick worked on the fringe of the CBD (Central Business District) and we grabbed bahn mi sandwiches to eat in Kings Park before we walked downtown. During the day, the city is pretty busy, but it definitely slows down at night when everyone goes home to eat and be with their families. There are more restaurants staying open past 5 or 6pm but nothing close to what we have in America.

 We got up close and personal with the Swan Bell Tower which is really cool. Perth is known as the city of the black swan and so there are black swans everywhere. The swan bells were the millennium project for Western Australia and it is a beautiful architectural piece that you can see from all different areas of the city.

Featured in House Hunters by HGTV when a couple bought in Perth

Time Capsule for 2100
Swan Bell Tower

  We walked all around the city and peeked over into an area called Elizabeth Quay that is being built near the river downtown. They are going to flood a portion of the city to have more waterfront properties and buildings. I think it's supposed to be ready at the end of 2013 sometime and it looks pretty cool though I'm interested to see how they will be able to move a major road around it all.
Drawing of what Elizabeth Quay will look like

Not sure if this road will still be here or not in late 2013

Bell Tower
Kangaroo statues near Elizabeth Quay 
  Another day, we went down to the river to hop onto a ferry to start our wine tour in Swan Valley. We saw Perth by the waterway which was pretty cool. There were also some impressive houses along the river that I would gladly take if the owners wanted to give them up! We saw the new football stadium they are building and the only casino in Perth. Along the ride, we also saw several dolphins who live in the river but I wasn't able to get any good pictures. Bummer!
Leaving the port with Perth in the background
New football stadium being built
Morning tea (devoured my muffin)
the casino
Really expensive houses

  We had morning tea to start our journey down the river and later, Patrick and I both had to "model" a wine we tasted on the boat. We tasted four wines and had a cheese and bread plate to cleanse our palates. Midmorning, we stopped off at a winery where we met up with another tour guide who took us the rest of the way on the wine tour.

  At first, Patrick and I were worried we had made the wrong choice because we both fell asleep listening to our tour guide (his voice was quite soothing!) as he drove around this little town of Guilford and explained the history of the town. He told us you had to have a jail, a church, and a bar for a town to become a town and then I fell asleep. Apparently, we were a little earlier than he had anticipated for our first winery, so he decided to give us that little side tour. It was pretty funny once we realized what he was doing, but man, we were worried in the beginning!

  The first winery was called Pinelli Vineyards and the guy who helped us with the tasting is a fifth generation winemaker and his grandfather was running around in the vineyards as we were tasting. The next winery we went to was the largest of them all called Houghton. This vineyard was amazing and we ended up having a wonderfully rustic lunch here. I would easily go back there as the wines tasted great and the views were simply divine. You had to drive down all these dusty back roads to get to each vineyard and then they were just beautiful once you arrived.


  After lunch, we picked up some more people and loaded into the van to the next vineyard called Jarrah Ridge Wines. This was the smallest winery we went to and we just loved it. We ended up buying a case of cleanskin wines from them to ship home, but I don't think we will ever see it since it was supposed to come in December and yeah, we still haven't gotten it. Lovely. It was a great wine too! Oh well, you live and learn, I guess. They had a variety of cheeses and olives you could buy as well and if we had been staying in Perth longer, we would have bought some to enjoy.
Jarrah Ridge
  Our last winery was another small one called Charlie's Estate Wines. They had beautiful roses everywhere (apparently, roses are great indicators of soil pH and so most vineyards have them to figure out the pH and thus help produce better wines), but the wines didn't really stand out to me.

Charlie's Estate Wines
 amazing roses
  After this last wine stop, we drove to a brewery called Mash Brewery. The beer was pretty good, but the best thing was the plate of freshly baked bread we got to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yummy! We got back on the road to visit the last stop, The Margaret River Chocolate Company, where we got to taste different kinds of chocolate and ended up buying some ice cream. It was pretty delicious!! The tour ended up being great and our guide did pass on a lot of great knowledge of the vineyards and Swan Valley itself, so we were pretty pleased to spend one of our last days on the tour.
sideways tree at the brewery
Margaret River Chocolate Company


  1. Winery tour and chocolate tasting-not sure there's a better way to spend a day!