Thursday, 20 January 2011

Australia Day 1 proper! - Jan 19th

The Wine Tour
Wow! Australia is so different again. It is really hot and dry here, almost all year by all accounts and they have plenty of eucalyptus and palms growing. What did surprise us this morning is that there is also a big wide river here in Perth and also plenty of waterholes or billabongs beside homesteads, or vineyards.  Speaking of which this is the day of the wine tour on a VERY pink bus! At first we were the only two on the bus as the other customers had a flight delay, but they joined us at the coffee stage. The first wine tasting (of 45 glasses in total, thereabouts) was at about 10:30 in the underground cellars at the Water's Edge . So called after the founder Thomas Waters, coincidentally on the edge of the Swan River. A great explanation of some wine basics for plebs such as us.  Our next stop was the winery where they name the wines after Fish….. Yes, very surreal, but you will never forget a “Fishtail Wines” I can particularly recommend the Whitebait, Pink Salmon and Red Snapper.  Time for a change and for our other customers to catch us up. Coffee tasting.  Why do “Starbucks” not come here to see what coffee should taste like? Really great coffees here on offer and we particularly liked the coffee syrup “Iced Coffee” to mix with cold milk or pour over ice-cream. Truly scrummy.
Then on to Cape Lavender where we tasted Lavender tea (not keen on that) then scones with lavender jam and cream (better) and finally Lavender flavoured wines (most acceptable). I must say I was not the only one who thought their scent glands had been transported back to their Grandmother’s house. Ann was wearing a lavender dress and blended in well.  Then on to Charlie's Wines where we were treated to a full range of delicious wines and where most of us purchased some bottles. We then had a great lunch at the Pink Bus HQ, met the boss and were treated to even more wine tastings by a very jovial wine waiter.
Now the time had come for some culture and history so we visited an Aboriginal Art Gallery, where we had a talk about traditional life and weapons hand crafted and on display. Did you know the boomerang is designed to damage the legs of prey, first and foremost. Then you catch the lame victim and dispatch it with a club to the back of the neck. Great Art on display and also ethnic jewellery. Off to Elmar’s Brewery for some beer tasting.  All brewed on the premises with German ingredients to German Standards. Apparently the biggest Brewing Kettle in the southern hemisphere. I liked the darker beers, as they were closer to UK beers. Our final stop was the chocolate factory where we could sample the three varieties, dark, milk and white chocolate buttons as we entered the store and could see through the windows some of the processes going on. Some very strange things on offer as can be seen from the photos. Here the group disbanded and we were returned to near Debbies house by about 5pm.
We ate a Chinese takeaway under a full moon, ate chocolates and drank wine….. the end of a very memorable day. Photos here

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