Last week, my wife Sandra and I decided that we would go away for a few days. The aim of the trip was to find a place that we can just do nothing. There will be no visits to anything, no wineries, no galleries, no restaurants, no cafes…just accommodation and a good supermarket if required. The only requirement was that the place had to be nice and comfortable and of course, plenty of nature (well at least some).
The result of our search was the Eight Willows Retreat….. It was fantastic. We could not have hoped for the best place. The room was top notch, the kitchen was clean and tidy and we used it for every meal of our trip. The bathroom was the same. And the place was quiet and absolutely had no distraction. Not even a cafe.
The photos of the room below are what we experienced. There was no photoshop happening. (sourced: (https://www.eightwillowsretreat.com.au).
We wanted a place where we were able to just enjoy each others company and really have a break and we found it.
When we arrived on Friday afternoon, we reminded ourselves that we will not go out unless we had to buy supplies. So we settled down to opening some local wines that we had brought down from my collection. I brought down a Pierro 2005 Fire Gully Shiraz and a Capel Vale Regional Series 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and the wife brought a dessert wine from the Wise Winery.
With one of the most important requirements of comfortable and clean accommodation sorted out, we set out to settled ourselves and started the rest of the holiday. The aim of this trip was one to enjoy the colder temperatures of the South West and we were not disappointed. We would have loved a fireplace and that would have been perfect. We had some very cold nights.
When I was booking Eight Willows, I saw a comment and it said that we should visit the Bunbury Fresh Market on our way to buy our supplies. That was a fantastic stroke of luck as when I did stop to check it out, it was a nice surprise.
This place is so well stocked and presented and well priced. The way the whole place was set up just made you feel that you wanted to buy and things are so fresh. I have driven past this place so many times and never thought about stopping. It was always the rush to get to the destination. I think this will change now.
On Saturday, the next morning was welcomed with a nice black coffee and some nice chilled morning air. We walked around the place with the camera to get some photos of the native flowers around the accommodation. Then it was back “home” for a nice warm hearty home cooked breakfast outside on the patio. This was seriously paradise. No kids, No noise, No rush, No phone calls…just the nice chilly air and the warm wither sun.
The rest of the morning we sat down and discussed life things such as family and business. It just feels like when we are home, things are just doing and no thinking and planning. In some ways when I think back, the trip turned out to be a brainstorming session. Kind of felt like it was one of those company events I read about but never done… 🙂
After doing some work in the morning, we took a trip to Cawaramup to buy some nice ice cream and honey from Gourmet Food Merchant. This has always been our favourite place to visit as they always have something you want to buy. I must say that they have a great range of things. I think most of the range is from the region and this is always the reason for us to visit. One of the most interesting items that we have bought was from the Truffle Farm, a salt mixture with some truffle. It is one of my favourite cooking items… 🙂 Spoken like a true convenient cook… 🙂
This is also the first time we took the time to walk around the town of Cawaramup, not that it takes a long time to walk around. We found a nice place that sells teas and lots of other nice things. It’s like an interconnected shop called Seven Seas Teas. Very friendly people and they have a good range of teas although we were not interested in the teas, we did end up buying a small pot. It just gives us a place to walk around and have something to do.After loitering around the town, it was to off to Howard Park. When we checked into Eight Willows, we were told that Howard Park will give us a bottle of wine if we joined their club. This is a damn good reason to visit them… 🙂 This we did and we went away with some nice photos and a free bottle of red wine… I know… its the chinaman in me….. Free is always good. But we did buy a bottle of Mad Mish Moscato.
Prior to picking up our free bottle, we stopped and took some photos. I have always wanted to take some photos of this bridge. For some unknown reason, I always seem to feel that I had no time to stop for taking photos. After hanging around Harward Park for a while, it was back home to some finger food and wine drinking. I even ignored a trip to the Grove Distillery which was literally just around the corner from us.
The Sunday morning was again a morning of doing nothing but taking on the feeling of freedom and a protein fueled breakfast. Again I spent more time working and Sandra was doing her knit work, we suddenly realised it was midday. The problem was that we were not hungry. Determined not to fall into the trap of eating out, we decided to get some fresh air and then come back to Eight Willows before we were starving and will eat anything and everything.
Fresh air meant a trip to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory for some free chocolates …again the chinaman ….. and a hot chocolate. Sandra was commenting that I had been drinking a lot of coffee lately and that I should have something else. Drinking tea was not going to help as tea has more caffeine than coffee, so hot chocolate it is for a change.
Every time I visit this place I always want to take a photo of the Kangaroo Paws out the front. In fact, I have been taking photos of the Kangaroo Paws since my first visit to this place in 1999. Not sure why but it seems to be the something I wanted to do :-), must be the bright red colour. Writing that has made me realise that I have been coming to Margaret River region for holidays since the early 1980s. Seems to be my comfort place.. :-).
After purchasing some chocolate buttons (70% Cocoa), we went back to our place for our version of “tapas” lunch and more wine drinking… 🙂 But seriously, it was a great time of talking, sharing ideas and just connecting without the hustle and bustle of a busy family life.
As we were having so much fun, we decided to check if we could extend our stay. Thinking that since we have not seen many people the whole weekend, this is going to be a no-brainer. To our surprise, the place was booked out !!!! Now that is a sign that this is a place to keep on my come again list.
Although it was a disappointment it means we had a great time and this makes us want to come back again. This has been our kind of holiday, just not rushing around and just doing the simple things in life. When we are doing our rushing around and trying to fit into a life that society seems to dictate, we forget the simple pleasure of just making a cup of coffee and talking to each other.
Life is for living and having experiences that make a difference. Sometimes, these simple things add more value to our life than a very expensive item of material.
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