CANOEING UP MARGARET RIVER

Margaret River, PassageBlue 20It is almost 10AM; we hop into our canoes and begin paddling from the mouth of the river at Prevelly beach. It is a serene, although slightly arduous paddle upstream with friends and other canoeists. The clouds hang low and the morning air smells of the sea and wild bush herbs. A small estuary marks the beginning of the wide rivermouth, closed to the ocean by a nearby sandbar. Along the way, our guide tells us the story of Margaret river; how it came to be, its early settlers and its long history. He soon gestures for us to skirt along the riverbank to examine the wild herbs that line both sides of the river.

Margaret River, PassageBlue 4Margaret River, PassageBlue 11Margaret River, PassageBlue 2Margaret River, PassageBlue 6Margaret River, PassageBlue 12Margaret River, PassageBlue 5By noon, we park our canoes by a grassy bank to learn more about the native plants and wildlife indigenous to the area. Nature has its ways of calming the mind and spirit – after all, peace is uncovered in the wildest of places. Our guide sets up a wonderful spread of both raw and cooked wild food on the ground; laid out before us are kakadu plums, grilled crocodile, slow roasted beef, smoked emu and kangaroo, wild turkey, quondong fruit leather, local olives, chutney, bunya nuts and wild chili sambal among many other appetising bush foods.

Margaret River, PassageBlue 1Margaret River, PassageBlue 19 Margaret River, PassageBlue 18Margaret River, PassageBlue 17 Margaret River, PassageBlue 16I lay slices of smoked emu, kangaroo, tomato and mango chutney, spiced mushrooms, lemon myrtle and basil pesto over two fragrant slices of tomato bread, topped with thick cubes of mature cheddar cheese, and enjoyed my lunch in the shade of a nearby tree. Kenneth makes his own little concoction of a sandwich with slices of wild bush turkey and emu, complete with generous portions of pesto and chutney. After a slow, quiet lunch we explore the nearby caves before making it back to our canoes.

Margaret River, PassageBlue 14 Margaret River, PassageBlue 13Margaret River, PassageBlue 10Margaret River, PassageBlue 7 Margaret River, PassageBlue 9It is a slow, easy paddle back to the estuary. Our guide tempts us with a little race to the finish but we change our minds halfway and decide to make the most of our remaining journey back. We clamber out, tugging our canoes across the shallow river and plod toward the shore.

Margaret River, PassageBlue 8Margaret River, PassageBlue 3Here we are, back where we first started by Prevelly beach. We had a wonderful time with Bushtucker Tours and we hope to be back sometime soon.

Margaret River is located in the southwest of Western Australia, almost 280 kilometres south of Perth. The main route via the Kiwana Freeway and Forrest Highway is a three hour drive by car. We also visited Vasse Virgin, a charming olive oil soap factory and the Gralyn Estate winery during our short four day stay in the region.

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Looking for more day-long adventures in WA? Take a ferry from Fremantle’s B Shed and explore Rottnest Island by bike.