25 Nov 2016

The Southwest of Australia

The funny thing about where we are is that it doesn't have an official sort of name. It's the Southwest, the Margaret River area, the Naturaliste Peninsula, the wine region of Western Australia... but it's so distinct and wonderful. It is so vastly different from the Australia that I've come to know. It's lush, green, wet, highly vegetated and, above all, mild. That being said, it is spring/early summer so it's going to be a bit cooler now than later but it's lovely. There are rolling wheat hills, vineyards, orchards, karri forests, farmlands, adorable rural centers with lush artisan coffee shops, festivals and farmers markets, wine tours and chocolate tastings, olive oil in every possible form!

This is an 'anywhere' land in that it could be anywhere in the world. We could be in the countryside of the UK, the verdant sheep hills of Ireland, the national parks of New Zealand, the pine forests of Northern Alberta (albeit non-native here), the redwood forests of Oregon, the vineyards of the Okanagan, the rain forests of the Canadian West Coast, the brooks of Southern Ontario, the olive groves of Italy... it's endless!

And yet it is so far off the radar of anyone that isn't Australian. Or even any Australian that isn't Western Australian. It's so far down on the modern tourists list that it's nearly free of tourists! We love it. It's like finding the most beautiful and best kept secret in Australia and we don't have to share it with anyone. 

It's also a completely different region for plants and animals. There are full-size kangaroos, hundreds of flowers, brightly coloured birds, giant trees... the biodiversity is endless. Indeed, it's one of the most biodiverse places in the world. There are an estimated 8000 plant varieties in this tiny region, making up two thirds of Western Australia's total plant taxonomies. AND over 80% of the plants are endemic, meaning they're not found anywhere else at all. This is an area of about 150x150km... compare that to Western Australia which is about 1500 x 2500km... 

We are in a very special place.

Here are just a few photos from around the place showing some of the amazing scenery!

More to come later!

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