Thursday, September 23, 2010

Perth 2010 DAY 3: Swan Valley Vineyards, Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Armies Fish & Chips

After bidding farewell to the lovable creatures of the wild, we continued our journey to our next few destinations on our itinerary.
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We have read enough travel books/guides/websites to know that Swan Valley is famous for the vineyards and wine tasting is the recommended to-do on anyone's itinerary when in the valley.
Though we are both not wine enthusiasts nor drinkers, I was quite excited at the prospect to learn more about wine making and also to explore an actual vineyard!
(I guess in a way, I am still a wine knowledge enthusiast, though I don't drink =P )

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The drive through the valley was indeed a delightful one as I was taken with the serene and lush greenery on both sides of the road. It was a stunning reminder of the wonders of nature, and I could just feel relaxation on my mind and nothing else.
It was like the world had just stopped right there; in this place which looked like a paradise to me at that point of time.

Swan Valley do remind me of our very own Cameron Highlands as well; with the vineyards, and strawberry farms taking turns in their places to greet me as the car whizzed past.

We soon arrived at our first vineyard; the Sandalford Vineyard
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This place is ranked the top of the list of vineyards in Swan Valley to visit and also, for the wine tasting and tour on the wine making process.

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I could barely contain my excitement when I snapped away and admired the neatly arranged rows of grapes beckoning from the yards as we cruised into the premises.
I have been reading and seeing these on television and have fantasized enough of them and it was suddenly a surreal experience when they were just right before my very eyes.
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I could hardly believe that I was actually in a vineyard!
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Yeah, to prove that I really was not dreaming at all =)

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We ventured into the courtyard while trying to find our way to sign up for wine making tour, hoping we could make it in time for the tour session (Dear had already reminded me to leave Caversham earlier as the first session started at 11am)
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Spotted a group of people celebrating with wines
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The main reception area of the Sandalford Wines; which is also their wine shop.
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Unfortunately for us, we had really missed the wine tour/tasting session at 11am.
The next session was at 3pm, but anyway, we were unable to make it as well as they need a minimum of five pax to start a tour and there simply was no one else at that time.
We had to forego this wine tour in Sandalford and just tour around their shop and vineyard outside to take some photos.
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The shop was just filled with crates and bottles of wines lining the shelves and at every corner.
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Big barrel
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I just love the vineyard as the background; with the plants wildly creeping around the poles and creating a picturesque landscape.
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We headed to the next vineyard after taking enough photos of the Sandalford
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The next vineyard: Lancaster Vineyard
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We did not spend too much time in Lancaster as there was a wedding reception over there as well.
Also, Lancaster was more like an open vineyard with a stall selling their wines over the counter and no tours like the Sandalford
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We headed to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory which was just located right opposite the Lancaster Vineyard
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This is a popular tourist attraction in Swan Valley as well; and a must visit for chocolate lovers!
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Its popularity was definitely proven as the place was just brimming with tourists and locals alike, all hogging every corner of the shop.
Yes, this place was more of a shop rather than an actual factory as one is greeted by rows and rows of chocolates everywhere (did I mention that this is a chocolate lovers' paradise?)
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Besides customers who were buying chocolates hoarding the counters, the other reason for the overwhelming crowd at the counter was the free chocolate tasting available in big bowls.
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The availability of free chocolates and the unlimited tasting just kept everyone going back for more; children and adults alike.
It is only a matter of how much your palms can hold!~
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There are also viewing windows for visitors/customers to take a sneak peek into the scenes behind the chocolate making in the factory
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The chocolates in the making for the day
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More chocolates...
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We left after a short while; I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of chocolate around me~

We were starving and not wanting to have chocolates for lunch, we depended on Garmin to provide us with the list of eateries available nearby, and we were led to this quiet little shop hidden in a residential area
Lunch @ Armies Fish & Chips
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It is a small place really; just a place for you to order and take away
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I liked the place, and the prices were really reasonable too.
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The breeze which blew in through the plastic sheets of curtain was just chilly.

We ordered the Grilled Basa fish (AUD$7.50; an additional dollar for grill)
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It was served in this boxes; because this place is really only for take-away.
The fish was quite nice; albeit a little too thin in the fillet.
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The Grilled Emperor fish which was more expensive (most expensive on the menu) was really good.
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The fillet was thicker and more juicy and tender.
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We enjoyed our simple and economical lunch!~

To be continued...

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