By Madison Pyke (Guest Blogger)
It may have only taken me twenty-three years but I’ve finally found it. I’ve finally found that place that makes me tick; the place that makes me well up at the sheer volume of beauty that is on offer, to those who seek to find it. When I mention the location of said place, many of you will most likely roll your eyes, say ‘of course it was,’ read no further, close the page and be done with it. But for those of you who know me, you’ll know darn well that almost anything in the world makes me happy, but nothing like this – so I apologise, the competition has and will continue to exceed you. But for those of you still actually reading and somewhat interested, as I know you’re all probably sitting of the edge of your seats by now (you’re only human after all), I’ll tell you; it’s Margaret River.
For those of you who don’t know, Margaret River is a small country town located 3 hours south west of Perth, Western Australia. Located on the river itself, ‘Margs’ (as it is more commonly known), is renowned for its stunning beaches, famous surf breaks, divine wineries and may I add, exceptional chocolate factory. With an estimated population of 5000, Margs attracts more than 500,000 tourists a year; so it’s safe to say this ‘small’ country town is never quiet.
I’m currently down here on my sixth and final uni placement and was somewhat ridiculously lucky to land THE best placement of all time. So as I sit on the damp grassy knoll beside the river, I thought I would recount the time that has been Margaret River, aka Margs.
Five weeks in a chalet at the local caravan park, which is about ten paces long and five wide can teach you many, many things about yourself if you allow it. Yes the first few days may have been a bit lonely, but there are only so many times you can ring your friends and ask them to entertain you, so I had to amuse myself and take my lonely arse on frequent adventures. So here goes, here are the adventures of Mad and Madison.
Taking myself for a solo road trip was not unheard of whilst I was in Margs. One afternoon I decided to head to Prevelly (a small beachside town, located 5 minutes from Margs) to watch the sunset. Having no idea at all of the addiction that was about to consume me, I pulled up into an almost empty carpark and was in awe of the sheer beauty that was in front of me. A mess of pink, yellow, orange, purple and blue engulfed the sky and reflected in the ocean and as I sat there I realised that this was it. This was what I had searched for, for twenty three years I had been longing for that place where magic happened; and Margs you were it. To my left were a few older surfers chatting about how ‘gnarly’ and ‘joy’ that wave was as they braved the cold and stripped down out of their wetsuits, almost oblivious to the fact that they were quite literally bearing everything right in front of me; oh and did I mention it was cold?! Freezing. Cold.
And so it began, my daily trip to Prevelly and my addiction to that view, the ocean of course.
Touring to Gracetown, (a town famous for its surf breaks and giant waves) whilst that ‘once in a decade swell was on,’ may or may not have been slightly disappointing. Here I was thinking it was going to be some epic swell, where the beach would be (as my grandma would put it) ‘packed to the back teeth’ and I could finally rustle myself up that ‘Margie surfer’ I had been stereotypically aiming for… but no this was not the case. I’ll save you the suspense; there was only one surfer there, and that was me. I use the term ‘surfer’ lightly and by that I mean I had my wetsuit half pulled down and had just gotten out of the shower (so don’t worry, I most certainly looked the part) I just lacked a board and the coordination to stand up on one. Despite there being no knights in shining neoprene, there was also no ‘gnarly swell’ which I had being promised… not even a small amount of white wash.
And then there was Boranup Forest, for those of you who haven’t visited, it is an absolute must see. Driving down Caves Road not entirely sure what I was looking for, I drove into a mass of Karri trees. Karri trees being the third tallest tree in Australia engulfed me and made me feel rather insignificant; towering over me at roughly 90m high I felt like what I imagine an ant would feel like walking past a moderately size weed. I took myself, my Nikon and my (definitely not 4WD) car into the forest for a cheeky explore. Driving in Boranup whilst it’s raining, when your fuel light is on and you have no idea where you’re going, is certainly an experience. I wouldn’t recommend it, but for those thrill seekers out there, it was quite amusing and coming up with survival plans whilst I took epic photos of the forest was rather entertaining.
Which takes me back to Prevelly – surprise surprise! Today, after my tough thirty minutes of prac I found myself, back at Prev. But today it wasn’t a sunset or sunrise, it was the rain coming in over the horizon which sold me. I went for my usual run along the beach and then found myself lying on the grass, staring at the horizon when a giant whale decided to jump out of the water. Prev, you are yet to disappoint. Oh and do you know what would make you even more jealous that you weren’t hanging out with me today, (apart from that fact that you’d be silly not to) was the double rainbow that appeared as the storm came into shore. Yes that’s right, if you know what’s good for you get your butt down to Prevelly right away.
So apart from the suboptimal chilly weather and the occasional few hours of prac, Margs you have been absolutely mint. After 23 years, I have finally found my happy place. Margaret River, it may be shorter than we both wanted, but have faith in knowing I’ll be back (probably next weekend). From your adorable Farmer’s Market, your ripper coffee, your divine wineries and chocolate factory, to convincing the locals that I regularly take on the surf breaks of ‘Northies’ and ‘Bombies,’ I’ve had a ball and met some ridiculously sweet people along the way. I love you and I will sure as hell miss you, in the words of a true local; you’ve been a joy Margie.