Saturday, 17 May 2014

and New Norcia - Part 3

New Norcia - Western Australia Part 3

The way home.

We got moving early, had our breakfast, grabbed some treats for the road and headed on out of New Norcia. To get to Cervantes on the coast, we needed to head in a northerly direction before we could go west. The drive to Moora was really scenic and the town was very cute. Although we didn't, it was just a drive past.

Amazing colours of the countryside.

Cute little church in Moora.

A photo out of the window of the car.

The orange/brown country side.

Driving through Dandaragan.

Realising we missed our turn off, we did a u'ie and went back.

We went past a wind farm as we neared the coast and pulled over for a look.


We finally made it to Cervantes and refueled the car and headed to a lake near by to see some Stromatolites. They are located at Lake Thetis and are 'living fossils'. Microbes built these lumps by the shore and are believed to be the oldest living organisms on the planet. Some are said to be over 3500 years old.


From here we headed south to Nambung National Park to check out the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles are limestone formations which stand up out of the sand, some of which tower over me. The colours were amazing. The grey skies, the yellow sand and the grey pinnacles looked brilliant together.

There is a drive around the pinnacles over the sand or a walk through them. An information and souvenir shop is also located at the beginning of the path. We chose to drive and stopped along the way get out to walk amongst them.

From here we continued along the Indian Ocean Drive and stopped in at the Endeavor Tavern to enjoy the view and have a late lunch before heading home.

The view from the tavern.

My chicken burger.

Well there it is, our mini break exploring some areas close to home. It was a prefect little escape and we saw some beautiful countryside. I can't wait to explore more of my home state and see what else I am missing in my own backyard. Although, I will not pass up an opportunity to explore the rest of the world!

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

Friday, 9 May 2014

and New Norcia - Part 2

New Norcia - Western Australia Part 2

After lunch, we rested. You cannot get enough rest in such a sleepy little town like New Norcia. Later that afternoon we headed back to the visitor centre and picked up the self guided river tour, which took in a few more of New Norica's sites.

St Josephs and the old Convent.

The Monastery in the distance.

A very dry Moore River.

The Apiary.

St Gertrude's.

The short walk takes you to the limits of the town, past an old piggery, over the Moore River and to the old Apiary, where the monks used to collect their honey. It then takes you past the olive grove, which is still in use to today and past the workshops. We walked back through the town, taking a little bit more time to look at some of the historic buildings as we went.

It was the perfect way to walk off lunch and prepare ourselves for dinner.

Beef and beer pie for me.

My plus one chose the chicken parmigiana for dinner on the second night, and since we didn't order a starter, we had room for dessert.

Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean icecream.

Banana Split Parfait.

We retreaded back to our room for some reading and a game of monopoly. The hotel doesn't have a T.V., so come prepared for some quiet time with books, cards, board games etc. I loved not having the T.V. there, but I must admit, my phone and social media still got a work out.

It was only a short trip to New Norcia, but it was a great little holiday. It was very relaxing and we ate a lot of amazing food. We still weren't home yet though. The next morning we were going to take the long, scenic route home.

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

Monday, 28 April 2014

and New Norcia - Part 1

New Norcia - Western Australia Part 1

After booking several days off work to head to Sydney, some things changed and we had to put that holiday back a few months. So we decided to check out New Norcia instead. I have been wanting to check the town out for years and it is only a short drive away from Perth that staying there for 2 nights was an easy decision to make.

New Norcia is now a very small Benedictine Community just 132km north of Perth. New Norcia is famous for it's bread as well as its wine, olive oil and honey. There is also an ale associated with the town. Over the years, with the drop in the number of monks, some of the production has been outsourced, but the nut cake, biscotti and pan chocolatti and the bread found in the town, are still produced by the monks in their wood fired bake house.

We headed off mid morning on a Tuesday and made our way to the Gravity Discovery Centre, Gingin. At 15º, the centre has the most leaning tower in the world, dubbed The Leaning Tower of Gingin.

Some of the exhibition.

The leaning tower.

The main point of the tower is to climb up and drop water bombs down shoots at the top. It shows the effects of gravity to big and little kids alike.

Water bombs exploding on impact.

Me and my waterbomb.

Unfortunately mine was too big and hit the side of the tube, exploding as it exited.

The view from the top.

The discovery centre.

From here we drove through Gingin and stopped at a little park to have a short wander around.

Replica water wheel at the park.

The River cutting though the town.

A cute old church by the  park.

The next stop was Bindoon Bakehaus for lunch. It was a late lunch, around 2, and a lot of the pie varieties were already gone. We both had a chicken and vegetable pie each and I went for a Banoffee Cream Pie for lunch dessert and my plus one had a custard eclair.

My pie.

My cream pie.

We then made our way up the Great Northern Highway to New Norcia, where we checked into the New Norica Hotel. Built in the 1920's and designed by one of the monks of the time, New Norcia hotel is a cute, old fashioned pub with a great atmosphere. We settled into our room and relaxed reading a book while a staff member played on the piano in the lounge downstairs. The music resonated through the hotel while the birds outside sung to their own tune.

The view from the main balcony.

Looking down the main balcony.

There are 3 balconies to the hotel as well as a long verandah downstairs. Our room came off the front balcony.

The hall upstairs.

All rooms are upstairs with a small sitting room and communal bathrooms for men and for women. We headed down at around 6.30 for dinner in the pub.

Garlic pizza with mozzarella.

My chicken Parmigiana.

His battered fish and chips.

We were really quite full that we couldn't even contemplate ordering dessert! We retired to our room to read more of our books and relax.

I woke up early the next day and headed out on the balcony to see the birds and the sunrise.

The birds fill the trees.

Th sun rising over New Norcia.

I sat enjoying the warmth with a cup of tea before breakfast.

For everyday except Saturday, a Continental breakfast is served in the dinning room. Several cereals as well as fresh bread from the Monastery is on offer with fruit, yoghurt and tea and coffee. On Saturdays a cooked breakfast is available.

We then took a little wander around the hotel before we went on the tour of the town.

The lounge room downstairs.

The impressive staircase.

The front of the Hotel.

We headed down the hill to the Museum and Gallery to book our walking tour of the town. We wandered around the gallery and had a look at the souvenir shop before our tour started.

The first stop on the tour was the location of the old cottages which were housing for the local aboriginal people. They have all since been removed, but an information building has been constructed near by. Next we moved to the Abbey church. As you walk around the town you will notice the wide variety of architectural styles portrayed. Many of the older buildings were designed by the same monk.

The church.

The painting which saved the monks and the fledgling community from fire.

The walls of the church are covered in 'sgraffito'.

Sgraffito from the 1960's.

From the church we walked across the road to have a look at the monastery. If you want to see the monastery from more than the other side of a gate you can book to stay in the guesthouse or attend prayers with the monks.

The avenue from the church to the monastery.

The monastery gates.

The monastery courtyard.

After looking at the flour mill and St Mary's we headed over to St Ildephonsus' college, which was a boarding school for boys.

St Ildephonsus

Inside St Ildephonsus chapel.

From here we walked past the grave yard and to St. Gertrude's, which was a female boarding school. In recent years it's chapel has been used for choirs making recordings.

St. Gertrude's.

The chapel.

This was the last stop on the tour and we hurried back to the hotel for lunch.

His beef burger.

My ploughman's lunch.

Again, we retreated to our room for a few hours for just a little more relaxing before our afternoon adventures started.

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

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