Coffee Works

Experience : The Coffee Works, Mareeba

Coffeeworks

 

Coffee-lovers and connoisseurs rejoice!  We have found the perfect place where you can get your gourmet caffeine and chocolate fix and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of coffee.

 

The Coffee Works is owned by Annie and Rob Webber, boutique roasters and chocolatiers who started off running a small market stall in 1988.  Nearly three decades later, the Coffee Works has exploded to include a café, colourful gift shop and the Coffee World Experience – the ultimate coffee extravaganza.  A ticket into Coffee World gives you unlimited all day tasting of various blends and single origin coffee, tea, decadent chocolates and liqueurs, as well as entry into the museum, where you can spend hours browsing through the massive collection of coffee history and paraphernalia.

 

Coffeeworks

 

The Museum

The Coffee World Museum displays over 2,000 items that were collected by Rob and Annie or purchased in 2005 from Ian Bernsten, an Aussie entrepreneur, writer and inventor with a serious passion for coffee.  The items on display include items that are one of a kind, the last of its kind or seriously rare stuff, making it the biggest and most significant collection in the world.

 

Learn about the discovery of coffee and how it evolved to become a beverage, the origins of percolators, plungers and espresso machines, and how coffee spread around the world to become one of the most favourite and influential beverages ever.

 

Coffeeworks

 

The Coffee

We had a big day ahead of us and were glad to have a huge variety of coffees on tap.  We started off with Coffee Work’s Aussie selection, from mildest to boldest, and then moved along to their Single Origins, blends and flavoured coffees.

 

Our favourites included Black Mountain, their smooth signature blend with lush chocolate flavours and a full mouth feel, as well as Annies blend, because of it’s delicious sweet smell and silky chocolate flavours.

 

We also sampled the coffee and chocolate liqueur.  All three flavours were lusciously sweet and perfect for drizzling over ice cream or cake.

 

Coffee Works

 

The Chocolate

Coffee Works caters to the chocolate freaks as well with an awesome range of yummy chocolates.  All of the flavours are gluten free and the dark varieties are dairy free as well.  You can even watch the chocolatiers in action.  What a sweet job!

 

Our favourites were the Caffeinator chocolate bark encrusted with coffee beans, the lemon myrtle flavoured chocolate for its fresh but mellow tang, the coconut bark for its textured sweetness and the lime and pepper chocolate for its balance of sweet, savoury and peppery smack.

 

Coffeeworks

 

The Essentials

Coffee Works is located at 136 Mason Street in Mareeba, but you can also find them at Rusty’s Market in Cairns, as well as the Yungaburra Markets and Port Douglas Markets.  If you can’t make it to those destinations, no matter – Coffee Works will roast and post to any destination in Australia, and the world!

 

www.coffeeworks.com.au

1800 355 526

 

Coffeeworks

 

 

Pulp Kitchen

Eating Out : Pulp Kitchen, Palmerston NT

Pulp Kitchen

After a successful morning of op shopping, our tummies were grumbling so we made our way to Pulp Kitchen in Palmerston for a feed.  We had driven past this place a few times and really liked their image.  Following their play on the Pulp Fiction theme, they have Jules and Vincent stenciled on the walls inside and outside of the building holding ketchup and mustard guns.  It gives the place a trendy look, and was one of the reasons why we wanted to try the place out.

 

Inside, there’s a huge open kitchen with heaps of staff and there’s plenty of seating inside and out.  The menu consists mainly of burgers and breakfast, but you can also get fish and chips, gyros and milkshakes.

 

We started off by ordering coffee.  Dave’s macchiato was strong, smooth and chocolaty and a little bit of sugar really set it off.  It had just the right amount of milk but was served so hot that Dave had to let it sit before he could drink it.  Juz’s Soy Latte was weak and the foam was really bubbly.  It wasn’t impressive at all and her expectations for the food plummeted.

 

 

Dave got the Ahhh-Yummm Burger, which consisted of slow cooked beef, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and pickles on a fresh focaccia bun.  The beef was super sweet and tasted great but was so juicy that the bottom bun got soggy so Dave left it on his plate – well, it wasn’t really a plate, it was served in a cardboard tray.  Regardless of the crockery and sogginess, Juz felt a little pang of food envy.

 

We got some chips to share and they were also served in a cardboard tray but this was apt.  The chips were well cooked and seasoned with chicken salt.  We tried to add a bit more salt but the shaker’s contents had fused from the humidity and nothing would come out.

 

Juz’s Eggs Benedict was awesome.  A big slice of toasted bread topped with juicy ham-off-the-bone, two perfectly poached eggs and tonnes of smooth, creamy hollandaise sauce with just the right amount of tang.  Everything was delicious and the plate was almost clean when she finished.

 

We didn’t quite know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised with the quality and value of Pulp Kitchen.  The staff genuinely want to please customers and produce great food and drinks. If we’re in Palmerston during breakfast or second breakfast time again, we will definitely visit Pulp Kitchen again.
Pulp Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Roma Bar

Eating Out : Roma Bar, Darwin NT

Roma Bar

We had heard mixed reviews about breakfast at Roma Bar but after we heard that they do thick cut ham on their eggs benedict, we had to give it a try.  From the outside, the place looks like it might be a bit daggy and run down but surprise, surprise, it was actually quite trendy.

 

They had an outside eating area with tables that overlooked the street, as well as a big bench made of polished wood that had been roughly cut.  It was bright and spacious inside the café, with another gorgeous wooden table surrounded by stools.  The chick behind the counter was exceptionally friendly and energetic.  We ordered two coffees and two eggs benedicts, and took our number to a table outside.

 

Roma Bar

 

Before long, our coffee arrived.  Dave’s macchiato was cascading and had clear layers of froth, milk and dark coffee.  Juz’s latte looked nice and strong, and the soy milk was frothed really well.  Both were deliciously smooth without any bitter or burnt taste.  Considering that we didn’t specifically ask for strong coffee but we got it anyway, we knew we were at a quality establishment.

 

Roma Bar

 

Our breakfast arrived shortly afterwards.  Two muffins topped with wilted spinach, ham cut straight off the bone and poached egg with a dishlette of hollandaise on the side.  This was unusual, and after we tasted the hollandaise, we understood why.  The sauce was really thick and packed with a super tangy punch, so the side serve gives the diner an opportunity to add tang to taste.  We loved the tang and the dishlettes were empty at the end of our meal.

 

Roma Bar

 

We really enjoyed our breakfast at Roma Bar.  The staff were super friendly, the coffee was magnificent and the thick ham on the eggs benedict is a great way to stand out from the crowd.  We will definitely go back again, perhaps to try the Indian breakfast of dahl, yoghurt and roti, or the flamenco breakfast.

 

9-11 Cavanagh Street, Darwin

Phone: (08) 8981 6729

http://www.romabar.com.au/
Roma Bar on Urbanspoon

Jamaica Blue

Eating Out : Jamaica Blue, Casuarina NT

We were due for another café breakfast and chose to visit some place close to home so we ventured to Casuarina Shopping Centre to break our fast at Jamaica Blue.  This franchise is run by an Australian company and has been around for about 20 years.  They take pride in serving great coffee and food made from locally sourced ingredients.  We hadn’t visited a Jamaica Blue outlet on our travels before and we thought this was the perfect time to do so.

 

We found a table that overlooked the food court below and ordered our coffee and breakfast.

 

 

Our first round of coffee was made with the signature blend.  It was smooth and easy to drink.  Juz was especially happy with her soy latte because Jamaica Blue now uses Australian Grown organic soy and to celebrate, they don’t charge for soy anymore!  Dave thoroughly enjoyed his macchiato.  It was nice and strong, with an acidic tang that was subdued with a sprinkle of sugar.

 

We both ended up ordering the same thing for breakfast – it just sounded too good.  A croissant topped with egg and bacon, and served with a side of hollandaise sauce.  Dave went with scrambled eggs while Juz got her eggs poached.  Everything was just divine, especially the hollandaise sauce, which was smooth and creamy with just enough tang.  The croissant was a bit decadent but the buttery flavour went well with everything.

 

The second round of coffee was two macchiatos made with Wallenford Estate Single Origin Mountain coffee.  This full-bodied coffee had an earthy smell and an intense and pungent flavour.  If you are a coffee connoisseur, then this brew will keep you busy.

 

This breakfast was probably one of the best we’ve had in a long time and we will definitely go back for another round.  The coffee is great and that hollandaise sauce – wow!

 

Jamaica Blue

 

Jamaica Blue on Urbanspoon

 

Ducks Nuts

Eating Out : Ducks Nuts Bar & Grill

If the breakfast at Ducks Nuts was anything like the name, it could potentially be our regular breakfast spot so we had to give it a go. When we arrived, it was so busy on the outdoor veranda that we were seated at a table deep inside and the blue-eyed waiter took our order for coffee.

 

Dave’s macchiato didn’t last long while Juz savoured her soy latte. Even though it had a thin head of foam, it was creamy and smooth with just the right amount of nuttiness and caramel flavours. One of the best coffees in Darwin.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

We ordered our food soon after and waited for it to arrive. We watched as the plethora of waiters and waitresses bustled about, collecting plates and delivering coffees, but we didn’t see many meals coming out. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes before a plate of food came out, and it was another 15 minutes before our breakfast arrived.

 

Dave’s Big Breakfast looked fairly standard. Two poached eggs with grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, hash browns and beans with some bacon and two slices of sourdough toast. While everything was fairly satisfactory, the beans tasted like they were fresh out of a can.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

Juz got the Eggs Benedict on a slice of sourdough toast instead of the typical muffin. It sat quite pretty on the plate with a decorative zig-zag of balsamic glaze to fill up the rest of the plate. The tangy hollandaise sauce and gooey poached eggs sat on bacon instead of ham and added even more richness to the plate. The balsamic glaze was a nice touch aesthetically and was also great to mop up with the bread.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

While the experience overall was good, the beans and long wait were quite disappointing. It would have also been nice to sit outside and people-watch instead of sitting inside next to the bar with the rows of spirits and liquors visible. There are some things you shouldn’t be exposed to at breakfast time. We’ll definitely be back for more coffee though!

 

Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

Fiddler's Green - the big breakfast!

Eating Out : Fiddler’s Green, Darwin NT

Juz had covertly planned a big weekend to celebrate five years together.  It included accommodation in the city, drinking craft beer and dinner at Fiddler’s Green.

 

When we arrived at the Waterfront, it was clear to see that the Irish pub was super busy.  Most of the tables inside and out were occupied but the hospitable host showed us to a table inside at the back.  As we considered the menu, Juz went to the bar for the first round of drinks.

 

She chose the Coopers Sparkling Ale for Dave because she remembered that he liked it a lot when we were at the brewery in Adelaide, while Juz settled for a bottle of mango beer from the Matso’s Brewery in Broome.  These went down a treat while we picked what we wanted.  Dave went with the scotch fillet cooked medium and topped with béarnaise while Juz got the chicken schnitzel special.

 

 

By the time our meals came out, it was time for another round.  Dave went up this time and got Juz a glass of refreshing pinot gris while he got a 500ml stubbie of Hobgoblin from the Wychwood Brewery in England.  This full-bodied ruby ale is rich with toffee and chocolate flavours with some mild bitterness and a gentle fizz.

 

Dave’s scotch fillet looked incredible, especially with the generous serving of béarnaise over the top.  He had asked for a medium steak and got a medium steak, which was immediately impressive.  It had a smoky, flame-grilled flavour, and the delicate béarnaise provided additional moisture and a little tang.  The chips were crisp but needed seasoning, and the salad was fresh and flavoursome with a creamy balsamic dressing.

 

Juz’s chicken schnitzel special was topped with tomato chipotle sauce, mushroom, bacon and cheese, served with a side of chips and salad.  While the tomato sauce tasted a little like BBQ sauce, everything else was thoroughly tasty.  The chicken schnitzel was a good size, cooked fresh, and the mushroom, bacon and cheese went really well together.

 

We were really impressed with the friendly, jolly atmosphere and the casual but proud staff.  When Juz asked the manager about the quality of the steaks, she received a response that was quite a surprise – that he trusted his cooks and the quality of the meat they used.  Dave’s steak proved this to be true.  We were convinced that this place had more to offer than average food and drink.

 

Two days later, we went back for breakfast.  Once again, a friendly host showed us to a table and we quickly chose to share an Irish Breakfast and an Eggs O’Benedict.  In the time it took for Juz to go to the bar for a bottle of water, our breakfast was on the table.

 

The Eggs O’Benedict was the typical muffin slices topped with poached egg, cooked ham and hollandaise sauce.  They nailed everything – freshly toasted muffin with gooey egg, savoury ham and subtly tangy hollandaise – and the microgreen garnish provided the perfect touch of alkalinity to break through everything.

 

 

The Irish Breakfast included bacon, fried egg, Texan toast, baked beans, black pudding, potato pancakes and a cooked tomato.  It looked like a typical big breakfast, except for the black pudding – which just looked like really dark sausage slices.  It tasted good, considering it’s made from blood, and the potato pancakes were just little hash browns flavoured with chives.

 

Despite all the good things about Fiddlers Green, the only disappointment was our coffee – Juz’s soy latte was weak and the milk was badly frothed, and Dave’s macchiato was watery and weak.  Other than that, the service, the décor and the food were all fantastic.

 

 

Fiddler's Green on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

$100 Day

$100 Day : Perth

$100 Day

 

Perth is such a beautiful city and we were determined to experience as much as we could during our $100 Day.  The original plan involved catching the train in, but due to the Kwinana Freeway widening project, the entrance to the carpark for Bull Creek Station was closed and we were sent on a deceitful detour to NOWHERE.  After a few laps of the ‘burbs, we decided to drive in and figured that the money we would have spent on public transport can be contributed to petrol.

 

We drove into the city and started with Northbridge before heading into the concrete jungle…

 

1. Parking in Northbridge

$3.00

2. Walk around Northbridge and Perth Cultural Centre

Free

3. Visit the WA Museum

Free

4. Drive to Kings Park and explore the gardens

Free

5. Catch a CAT bus into the CBD

Free

6. Lunch at Mama Tran

$22.00

7. Window shopping at the Perth Malls

Free

8. Two lattes from Standing Room Only

$7.60

9. A bienenstich from Miss Maud’s Pastry Shop

$2.80

10. A pint of Swan Draught at the Grosvenor Hotel

$9.50

11. Two tickets to the Perth Mint tour

$30.00

12. Check out the Bell Tower

Free

13. Catch the CAT bus back to Troopy

Free

TOTAL SPEND

$74.90

 

As you can see, we spent less than $100 and had an awesome time exploring the city.  When we got to Northbridge, we found a limited parking spot and figured we could walk around within the allotted timeframe.  If we wanted to experience Northbridge properly, the best time to come back would be in the evening anyway.

 

The Red CAT bus service into the city from Ord Street was clean, air conditioned and punctual!  By the time we got into the CBD we were famished and Juz’s heart was set on pho.  We found Mama Tran but it didn’t meet her standards, even though it was tasty.  The assembly line style service didn’t appeal and Dave’s serving of pork with rice was very small and unsatisfying.  This would never happen at Pho Hung in Preston VIC.

 

 

We made our way over to the eastern end of the city via the Perth Malls and got a coffee from the highly recommended Standing Room Only.  It was another small shop that is designed to pump out take away coffees for busy city livers/workers.  Dave spoilt himself to a sweet treat at the pasty house in Miss Maud’s Swedish Hotel and a pint at the pub before we went on the Perth Mint Tour – the most expensive thing of the day.

 

For a full city profile on Perth, go here…

 

Fremantle street art

City Profile : Fremantle

We hit Fremantle before checking out the Perth CBD for a few reasons.  A – we were staying only 6km away, B – we weren’t ready to brave the innards of the city just yet, and C – we heard there were great places for coffee!

 

 

Sure, Fremantle is home to a plethora of cafés and the Cappuccino Strip, but it also has microbreweries, pubs and restaurants, heaps of shopping and Western Australia’s largest collection of heritage listed buildings.  There is even a bus dressed up like a tram offering ‘tram’ tours (LOL), which is the only reminder of when Fremantle had trams between 1905 and the 1952.

 

Affectionately called ‘Freo’, it was named after Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer who took formal possession of the mouth of the Swan River in the name of His Majesty King George in 1829.  Over 180 years later, the area is now a city with a vibrant, youthful culture with a love of beer, live music and festivals.

 

Araluen Chilli Festival

As soon as Juz heard about the Chilli Festival coming to Fremantle, she was keen on finding her own space coyote.  There was live music and pie making competitions, spicy jams, sauces, preserves, oils, beer and tonnes of food stalls serving up jumbos, paellas, seafood jambalayas and chilli con carne.  You could even get chilli ice cream!  Juz went with a bowl of creole chicken and chilli beef stew before wandering around the festival with swollen lips and a fire burning deep down inside.

 

 

Entry to the festival was $15 for adults and you got a few vouchers on entry, like a free tasting paddle at the Monk Brewery – SCORE!

 

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

Fremantle Markets

Established in 1897, the Fremantle Market Hall is a busy and colourful place to stroll around on a Saturday morning.  There are heaps of stalls displaying all sorts of fantastic stuff like fresh, local produce, nuts, cheese, knick knacks, clothes, free trade stuff, coffee, lollies and souvenirs.  Street performers and buskers are usually out and about on the weekend, and this is where the great John Butler started out before forming his trio in 1998.

 

The E-Sheds down near the harbour had a completely different atmosphere; sterile, quiet, almost forgotten.  We checked out the CY O’Connor statue and purchased a new picnic bag and cutlery case for $4 but that’s about it.

 

 

Round House

This is the oldest permanent building in Western Australia.  It was opened in 1831 and acted as the first prison for colonial and aboriginal prisoners until 1886 when the Convict Establishment (Fremantle Prison) started accept inhabitants other than convicts.  The Round House was then used as a police lock up until about 1900.  Since then, it has been the home for the chief constable and his family, as well as a port storeroom.

 

Every day at 1pm, they shoot a canon, which is also known as the Time Ball, and mariners, locals and tourists can set their watch to the daily blast.

 

Shipwreck Museum

This is a fantastic place to learn about all the shipwrecks that happened along the western coast of Australia and is an archaeological goldmine.  The galleries exhibit original timbers from the infamous Batavia, a 17th century Dutch ship which sank in 1629. Also on show are various kinds of booty that were left behind, including silver coins, pieces of furniture, crockery, glassware and even intact food jars and bottles with the original foodstuffs inside!

 

The Shipwreck Galleries are open daily from 9:30am and entry is by gold coin donation.  There is a great gift shop at the entrance where you can purchase replicas of coins found at the wreck sites.

 

 

Fremantle Prison

The Fremantle Prison was originally known as the Convict Establishment and was built by convicts in the 1850s.  It was used as a prison until 1991 and is now open to visitors.  The best way to experience the Fremantle Prison is with a tour, and there are four to choose from.

 

It truly is a must see, must do attraction when visiting Fremantle.  The site is drenched in history and fascinating stories. Check out our post on the Fremantle Prison.

 

Didgeridoo Breath

If you’re interested in learning the didgeridoo, check this place out.  The atmosphere is super-welcoming, they have a huge selection of instruments and they offer free didge lessons!  Check out our post on Didgeridoo Breath.

 

 

Galati & Sons

Fresh food doesn’t come cheap in Perth so we thought ourselves super lucky to find this place.  Cheap fruit and vegetables, cheese, Italian groceries and spices, as well as cannoli, tarts and pre-made meals.  WIN!

 

FOOD & DRINK

Little Creatures

Fremantle’s #1 tourist destination – check out our post on the Little Creatures Brewery!

 

Cappuccino Strip

If you’re looking for a place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon, the Cappuccino Strip would be the best place.  Pick a café or restaurant and sit outside while you sip on your coffee, enjoy a meal and read the paper.  If you have a hot car, this is the place to cut laps and show off your sick stereo.

 

We sat down at Gino’s and had a coffee while we watched masses of people walk past – youngsters with bare midriffs, couples walking their dog, sight seers, tourists, quirky locals – it is truly a mixed bag in Freo.

 

 

 

Grumpy Sailor

This was the first place we went to for coffee while in the Perth area.  The recommendation demanded that we have coffee and a bagel, so we had to comply.  We entered the relaxed bookshop with the embedded café, approached the counter and advised the bearded barista that we were sent for coffee and bagel.  He recommended the cream cheese and Nutella bagel, with the promise that it will “change our day”.

 

The coffee and bagel were enjoyed outside on the terrace right amongst the chilled out atmosphere.  The coffee was delicious – smooth and creamy without any hint of bitterness.  We can’t say that the bagel changed our day, but it was definitely divine – chewy and moist with a great combination of cream cheese tartness and sweet Nutella. YUM!

 

Blink Espresso Bar

Quite possibly the smallest shop in Fremantle, this was another strong recommendation that we had the opportunity to fulfil.  Forget about going into the place – there isn’t enough room!  All there is between the colourful walls is one energetic man and his tools to make you a fabulous cup of coffee.

 

Monk Brewery

Located towards the end of the Cappuccino Strip, The Monk Brewery is a popular stop to hang out with mates while drinking pints of craft beer.  There was a bit of a line to go in and we found that they use the scents of an outdoor kitchen cooking seafood paella to lure hungry patrons in.

 

 

They have a tasting paddle with eight beers, including a seasonal one, and all their beers are paired with menu items.  We were lucky enough to score a voucher from Juz’s entry to the Chilli Festival and got a free tasting paddle.

 

  • Mild – 3.5% a bright golden lager with mild hops and a crisp clean taste.
  • Kolsch – 4.9% fruity, sweet entry with a slightly hoppy taste and subtle bubbles.
  • Wheat – 6.0% a cloudy beer that’s fruity and yeasty without too many bubbles.
  • Pale – 6.0% a deep golden colour with yeast and smooth, lingering bitterness that comes from 100% Australian hops.
  • Chief – 6.3% voted the best ale at the 2012 Perth Royal Beer Show, this tropical, full flavoured beer was smoky and had plenty of hoppy bitterness.
  • Rauch – 5.3% a deep orange colour with strong smoky characteristics and fruity flavours with toffee.
  • Porter – 4.7% a rich, dark ale full of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel, with mild bitterness and carbonation.

 

Sail & Anchor Hotel

Opposite the Monk Brewery is a great little microbrewery pub brimming with beer love.  They have their own selection of beers, like Monkey’s Fist Pale Ale, Cat’s Shank Kolsch and Lark’s Foot Golden Ale, but they also make Brass Monkey Stout and have a variety of other local beers on tap.  The walls are covered in beer propaganda and you could spend hours in there looking at them all and having a giggle.

 

 

We went in for their $15 lunch specials and sat down to a steak sandwich and seafood basket. While we were disappointed that the parma wasn’t included in the lunch special that day, we were thoroughly impressed with the tenderness of Dave’s steak and the juicy freshness of Juz’s calamari rings.  Their chips were also great – fluffy and crisp with no icky bits.  The Sail and Anchor also do weekly food specials like Parmagedon Mondays, Hump Day Pizzas and Nice Rump Thursdays.

 

Moondyne Joe’s Bar & Café

Named after the notorious jail-breaking bushranger, this great pub is tucked away at the end of Wray Street and has a traditional, relaxing atmosphere with some old school charm. The Governor’s Bar is the perfect place to chill out with a pint and a meal, or have a lively evening while keeping up with the footy in the sports bar.

 

 

If you’re budget conscious, check out their $12 Steak Night on Tuesdays – a big, juicy scotch fillet steak cooked how you want with your choice of sauce and a side of chips and salad.  We say YES to hot beef injections!

 

Clancy’s Fish Pub

If you want to steer away from the pub scene and find something a little more open and artistic, check out Clancy’s Fish Pub.  Great for after work drinks with mates on the veranda or a day with the kids playing on the lawn out the back, there is something for everyone at Clancy’s.  They have a great selection of beers on tap, including White Rabbit White Ale, and the menu features all the pub classics and then some.

 

 

Information & Accommodation

Fremantle Visitor Centre8 William Street, 08 9431 7878

Woodman Point Holiday Park – 132 Cockburn Road, Munster, 08 9434 1433

 

Fremantle CAT Buses

There are two free bus services that circulate around Fremantle – the Blue and Red CAT buses.  They run every 10-15 minutes and go past major attractions like the train station, Arts Centre, E-Shed Markets, the Cappuccino Strip and the Shipwreck Galleries.

 
 

 
 

The Breakfast Plate

Eating Out : Louis Baxters, Subiaco WA

We had a morning appointment just north of Perth so we decided to stop into Subiaco for some coffee that was highly recommended via Twitter by the locals. Louis Baxters is a funky little café at Subiaco Station and was opened in 2011 by Eamon and Laki – mates who met on the set of Celebrity Masterchef.  Eamon was the contestant that eventually won the competition while Laki was a senior producer.  They both love great coffee and food and after a lot of planning, they opened up the café and named it after their pets, two French bulldogs called Louis Pierre Baker and Baxter Sullivan.

 

As soon as we arrived, we fell in love with the place.  A great, artistic atmosphere demonstrated by a great street art style mural on the wall, surrounded by warm wood and textured black and white walls.  Not sure what it is but you can always tell if a place makes good coffee – there’s something about the people behind the counter and the décor. We had a feeling that we were in for a treat.

 

 

We ordered our coffee and sat down with a menu.  Our intention was to just come in for coffee but the lure of food was too great.  Our coffee arrived shortly afterwards.  Dave’s macchiato came with a little glass bottle of heated milk, and it was satisfactorily strong with a great, robust flavour.  Juz’s soy latte was super silky and didn’t require any sugar.  The microfoam was smooth and creamy, while the coffee was full of nutty flavours like walnuts and hazelnuts.  Louis Baxters use Campos Coffee, an Australian specialty coffee roasting company from the eastern states.

 

We decided to share a breakfast plate and get an additional egg for protein’s sake.  It came out on a wooden chopping board with two thick pieces of toasted and buttered ciabatta bread, two hard boiled eggs halved, two slices of thick ham, a dollop of avocado feta mash and freshly sliced tomato.  We found this breakfast to be the perfect summertime feed because it was cool and refreshing while still being filling, and it wasn’t laden with fatty cheese or sauces.  Simplicity at its best.

 

 

After our breakfast, we got a cup of cold brew coffee – a coarse grind from Kenya that was cold stone filtered for 12 hours.  It smelt sweet, like coffee liqueur and had a full bodied flavour that strongly resembled raw cacao beans.  It was strong with a bitterness that moved up into the nose – like the bitterness of a very dark chocolate.  We loved it!

 

Louis Baxters is a great place to swing past for your morning coffee or to sit down for breakfast and the weekend paper.  It has a great combination of atmosphere, food, service and passion – something that is not found very often, and the coffee made here is on par with the standards in Melbourne.

 
Louis Baxters Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

The Bunbury Lighthouse from the Marlston Hill Lookout Tower

City Profile : Bunbury

In 1803, French explorer Captain de Freycinet sailed past the area but it wasn’t until the 1830s that Governor James Stirling led an expedition from the Collie River to the Darling Range and properly explored the area.  He set up camp at Port Leschenault, which was renamed Bunbury in 1836, and the first European settlers arrived in 1838.

 

Initially, Bunbury grew full of convicts that created a workforce to expand the economy.  By 1900, the timber industry was strong, cutting wood for railways and the gold rush in Donnybrook, and Bunbury soon developed into a town.  The Port of Bunbury became busy with exports of wool, timber and grain, and other industries such as whaling, farming and mining.

 

In the 1980s, the direction of Bunbury shifted to relocate the industry away from the CBD and build a beautiful city around the natural waterways.  The railway was considered an eyesore, so they built a new train station 4km south of town and the old railway station is now the city’s visitor centre and major bus terminal.


The Bunbury Lighthouse started with humble beginnings in 1841 as a storm lantern erected on a wooden keg.  Thirty years later, a square, wooden lighthouse was built but was replaced in 1903 by a steel structure about 9 metres tall.  In 1959, they extended the lighthouse by another 6 metres before adding a flashing light at the top four years later.  It wasn’t until 1971 that the current lighthouse replaced the old structure.  It stands 27.4 metres and has a great black and white chequered pattern to make it highly visible for kilometres.

 

We got a great view of it from the Marlston Hill Lookout Tower that is accessible via a spiral staircase.  The lookout provides 360 degree views of Bunbury, the marina, Leschenault Inlet, the Indian Ocean and Koombana Bay.

 

Koombana Bay Beach

 

Koombana Bay is a great place to spend the day with family and friends.  It has a great beach with safe, calm waters, BBQ facilities and a kiosk.  It’s also a quick 10 minute walk to the Marlston Waterfront, which is a mini version of Melbourne’s Docklands.  There’s a brewery, taffy factory, café and a few restaurants where you can enjoy a nice dinner while overlooking the bay.

 

While we were in Bunbury, we stopped at Cafe 140 for a coffee.  It was a really colourful place, vibrant, dynamic and BUSY!  There was a queue to order but they smashed out the coffees and before we knew it, we had a latte in hand with a little almond biscuit on top.

 

Nearby, there are two cheese factories, and because Juz simply cannot help herself, we visited them both.

 

The Old Cheddar Cheese Company

About 30km south of Bunbury is Ludlow and The Old Cheddar Cheese Company.  They specialise in making rich, creamy cheddar cheese and add different herbs and spices to make a great variety of flavours.  The award winner is the Original Creamy Cheddar, a full flavoured, tangy cheese that’s super creamy and delicious.  The flavoured varieties include garlic and chives, cracked black pepper and chilli.

 

 

Ha Ve Cheese

About 30km north of Bunbury is a small town called Harvey, and at Ha Ve Cheese, they made a whole bunch of different sorts, like soft while mould cheeses, Romano, fetta, blue vein and flavoured savoury cheeses.  All cheeses are suitable for vegetarians and are Halal certified and free cheese tastings are available.

 

  • OMG Triple Cream Brie – gooey and creamy with a hint of chalk in the centre, it was tart and creamy with a wonderful salty tang.
  • Haloumi – squeaky and firm, we got some for our BBQ lunch the next day.
  • Natural Savoury – firm and full of flavour, like a fetta.
  • Romano – creamy, salty, full flavoured and very mature!
  • Harvey Blue – briney and soft with a gently spicy mould.

 

They also offer ice cream, local produce like sauces, pickles and preserves, and if you truly love cheese, you can enrol in their cheese making course.  After our cheese tasting, we went outside to meet their camels.  Juz got a little bit too friendly with one of them.

 

 

Information & Accommodation

Bunbury Visitor Centre – The Old Station, Carmody Place

Dolphin Retreat YHA – 14 Wellington Street, 08 9792 4690

 

 

The Albany Centre of the University of WA

City Profile : Albany

We love Albany.

 

It’s a big town that has still retained a simple country feel to it and is filled with great, friendly people beaming with community spirit.  It’s a popular holiday spot that attracts a lot of visitors to enjoy the great beaches and vibrant atmosphere.  As we drove through town, we noticed lots of granite rocks sticking up all over the place, dividing properties and providing shade in parks.  The landscape is quite hilly, with two mountains in town – Mount Clarence with the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial to the east, and Mount Melville with walking trails and an observation tower to the west.

 

 

The main strip of York Street is capped with the marina and Princess Royal Harbour, and Dog Rock Shopping Centre at the top end, complete with major supermarkets and clothing brands.  The town hall stands beautifully next to the modern library and also features Western Australia’s oldest canonised church, St John’s Anglican Church.  To the east of town is Middleton, with a great swimming beach and several cafes and restaurants.  Three Anchors is a great place to sit down for lunch and they make a ripper coffee.  Albany also has its own coffee roaster – The Naked Bean.  Check out our post on The Naked Bean.

 

Albany sits along the coast of the Great Southern region of Western Australia.  It was first sighted in 1627 by Dutchman Peter Nuyts but the area was claimed as British ground by George Vancouver in 1791 and the bay was named King George III Sound.  After that, there were plenty of expeditions through the area so the British Government ordered a settlement to be founded to prevent the French from getting their piece of WA.

 

In 1826, the Brig Amity set sail from Sydney under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer and carried a party of convicts and soldiers, a doctor and storekeeper to King George Sound.  Almost 2 months later, the Brig Amity arrived to set up camp and Lockyer named the settlement Frederickstown, but 5 years later, it was renamed Albany.  It grew into a fishing and whaling town with plenty of agriculture and a busy port that serviced the fortune seekers heading to the Goldfields.

 

 

Albany’s whaling station was the last whaling station to stop operations in Australia, closing down in 1978. The whaling station was converted to into a tourist attraction called Whale World that features interactive displays, a 3D whale movie and full skeleton of the last whale taken.  It’s a $30 entry fee so it’s great for people who love learning about the whaling industry.

 

Points of Interest

WA Museum and the Brig Amity replica

The WA Museum is a great spot to learn about the history of Albany and the surrounding area.  When we visited, they also had a great lighthouse exhibition with an artistic light gallery at the end. Entry is by gold coin donation

 

 

Patrick Taylor Cottage is nearby and is the oldest surviving house in Western Australia.  It was built in 1832 by Patrick Taylor, a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Albany to not only become a farmer but to also improve his health.  The cottage has eleven rooms and is surrounded by an English country garden.

 

Towards the water is the Brig Amity replica, which is also visible from the road.  There is the option to go inside and check out the guts of the vessel for $12.

 

 

The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill

Western Australia’s oldest farm, it has been called the Old Farm for over 100 years now. Established as a government farm in 1827, before the Swan River colony, it played a major role in sustaining the first European settlement at King George Sound.

 

Over the years, the farm has had several owners and even fell into a state of disrepair.  The property was purchased by the government in 1956 as a historic monument and it was transferred to the National Trust in 1964.

 

 

There is also a lovely grassed area onsite complete with a stage and small orchard. It would be the perfect place for a wedding or even live music on weekends with some friends and a bottle of wine.

 

Boatshed Markets

A great place to experience Albany’s community spirit, the Boatshed Markets are held every Sunday from 10am to 1pm.  There’s plenty of parking and with local produce, live music, cooking demonstrations, fresh fish and wine tasting, it’s a great way to spend your morning.

 

 

We sampled a huge variety of Luscious Liquids honey as we had a chat to the lady behind the counter. We walked away with a jar of Wildflower honey and a piece of raw honeycomb. Delicious! After lunch, we shared the honeycomb with a lovely family we had met a few days earlier in Esperance. We all ate so much honey that we were buzzing for the rest of the day!

 

White Star Hotel & Tangle Head Brewery

We were keen to visit the local brewery, which was situated at the White Star Hotel.  Tangle Head Brewery started 6 years ago and offers a great range of beers.

 

 

  • Brewhouse Special (German Wheat Beer) – 5.2% golden beer with yeast, fruit and honey.  It was very clean and delicious.
  • Southern White Ale – 5.1% lightly coloured with banana on the nose.  The base is German wheat beer (hefeweizen).  There was also refreshing citrus.
  • Tanglehead Pale Ale – 4.8% a rich caramel colour with honey and caramel.  There was a slight hoppy finish.
  • Limeburners Stout – 4.3% dark black colour with a creamy froth, it smelt of honey, coffee and chocolate but the oatmeal stout was like charcoal – thick and smoky.
  • Ginger Beer – 3.5% very pale and fizzy, it was sweet with a slight ginger burn.

 

Tom, Bella, Dave & Juz enjoying Tanglehead beers!

 

Torndirrup National Park

A short drive from Albany is Torndirrup National Park, a 4000 hectare coastal sanctuary with heaps of rock formations and granite outcrops.

 

Stony Hill Heritage Trail is a quick 450m circuit around one of the highest points in the park and it provides great views of the southern ocean and the surrounding coastline.  The Gap and the Natural Bridge are within walking distance of each other and demonstrate how the constant battery of waves can wear down the rock.  The Natural Bridge is expected to collapse at some stage so make sure you go down and check it out before it does.

 

 

There is no entry fee to enter the park, camping is not allowed, and just around the corner is the Albany Wind Farm with 18 wind turbines that produces about 80% of Albany’s energy requirements.

 

Information & Accommodation

Albany Visitor Centre – Old Railway Station/55 Proudlove Parade, 08 9841 9290

Albany YHA – 49 Duke Street, 08 9842 3388

BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park – 28 Flinders Parade, 08 9841 3593

 

 
 

LOVE COFFEE!

Experience : The Naked Bean

We just luuuuurve coffee and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit The Naked Bean in Albany!

 

The Naked Bean started 12 years ago with a small 1kg roaster.  They would roast their own coffee to use in their little corner café downtown in Albany.  Over time, coffee roasting took over and eventually they had to move into a warehouse to store all the bags of bean that they imported from all over the world.

 

The warehouse also doubles up as a café where you can sample their signature blend – Naked Espresso coffee.  It’s a delicious, full-bodied coffee that’s smooth and rounded, and if you purchase a Naked Bean keeper cup, you get a coffee for free!

 

 

They now use a 30kg roaster and make several espresso blends, single origins like Colombian Supremo and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, organic single origins and two decaffeinated varieties. The Organic Espresso is their award winner, earning second place in the Golden Bean competition.

 

The operations of the warehouse are viewable from the café and we were given a wonderful roasting demonstration in the big, red 30kg roaster.  Once the beans are roasted, they are released from the roaster and stirred to cool down before being sucked up and stored.   During this ‘sucking’ phase, any ‘non-coffee’ objects are discovered and removed from the batch, and they have found some pretty kooky stuff.  Once, they received Colombian beans with bullet casings in them, and other beans contained stones, nails and buttons!

 

The Naked Bean is open from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and is located on Sanford Road in Albany.

Phone: 08 9841 4225

Website: http://www.thenakedbean.com.au/

 

Sunset at Tanker Jetty

Supertown Profile : Esperance

Salmon Beach

Western Australia’s #1 holiday destination!  How can you go wrong with some of the best beaches in Australia, with the whitest sands and bluest waters? Esperance is truly a town of the coast.

 

In 1627, Dutch explorer Pieter Nuyts aboard the Gulde Zeepard passed through the Recherche Archipelago but credit for the discovery of the area is given to the French, when L’Esperance and Recherche sailed through the area and sought shelter from a storm in 1792.  In 1802, Matthew Flinders sailed through while mapping the area, naming Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove in the process.

 

The early settlers were sealers and whalers who survived on kangaroo, geese and fish, but Edward John Eyre was the most famous explorer to pass through the area on his way to Albany.  In 1863, the Dempster brothers drove their livestock into the area and took up the first land holding.  With the discovery of gold up north about 30 years later, Esperance transformed from a sleepy town to a busy port that shipped in thousands of fortune seekers from distant lands.  By 1897, there were four hotels, a brewery and two newspapers amongst the town of tents, with the poor folk sleeping on seaweed on the beach.  Farming started in the early 1900s.

 

 

With a population of 14,000 people, it’s not too overcrowded, and there is plenty of fishing, surfing, sailing, sunbathing, kite surfing and other water sports that can be enjoyed.  The area is very lush and clean, and it could quite possibly be WA’s cleanest town due to the strict littering laws in place.  Despite the country town feel, it’s still fully stocked with fast food joints and major supermarkets, but there are only a couple of crappy, dingy pubs, some with skimpies.

 

The foreshore is lined with Norfolk Island pine trees and the port is one of the deepest in southern Australia, capable of handling Cape and Panamax class vessels up to 180,000 tonnes!  The industry is visible from the beach, which also displays a stunning sunrise if you’re up early enough.

 

Next to the Esperance Museum is one of the original wind turbines on display.  The Salmon Beach wind farm was Australia’s first wind farm and it started operation in 1987 but was decommissioned after 15 successful years.  In 1993, the Ten Mile Lagoon Wind Farm was connected to the Esperance grid, with nine 225 kW wind turbines contributing to the town’s power supply, while the Nine Mile Beach Wind Farm was constructed in 2003.  These two wind farms now run parallel with the Esperance gas turbine power station and have saved 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year they have been operating.

 

 

Esperance is also one of many sites to cop Skylab debris.  In 1979, the space station Skylab entered the earth’s atmosphere, broke into pieces and crashed at various sites in Western Australia.  One of those sites was Esperance and they ended up fining the United States $400 for littering! The fine was paid 30 years later when a radio show host from California raised the funds and paid the fine on behalf of NASA.

 

 

If you’re planning to pass through Esperance, it’s probably best that you organise accommodation as it is not a RV friendly town – no camping or 24 hour parking allowed in any places.

 

Places of Interest

Recherche Archipelago

This 270km string of 105 coastal islands and 1500 islets is the largest group of islands in southern Australia and were first explored by the Dutch in 1627, but it was Matthew Flinders who charted the area for the first time in 1802.  It has a colourful history, setting the scene for the shipwreck of the Sanko Harvest in 1991, which is now the second largest shipwreck that can be dived in the world.  The Archipelago was also frequented by Australia’s only recorded pirate, Black Jack Anderson, who pillaged the area in the 1830s until he was eventually killed by his crew.

 

The Recherche Archipelago is an important aquatic wilderness area that provides a sheltered habitat and breeding ground for a variety of animals, such as seals, penguins, rock wallabies and seabirds.  The area is great for divers and snorkelers and provides a great bounty of abalone, rock lobsters and pilchards to the commercial fishing industry.

 

 

Great Ocean Drive

Enjoy a scenic 40km drive along the coast, past Pink Lake and the Nine Mile Beach Wind Farm.  The views are absolutely beautiful, and include white sand beaches framed by rocky cliffs with the Archipelago visible in the distance.

 

Twilight Beach is a feature of the Great Ocean Drive.  It was voted most popular beach in Australia in 2006 and is a great swimming beach with clear waters, gentle waves and soft white sand.  There are two offshore rocks that protect the beach and there are toilets and outdoor showers are nearby.

 

The Nine Mile Beach Wind Farm was installed in 2003 and is one of Australia’s most advanced wind/gas powered systems and produces more than 25% of the local community’s electricity.  There are nine towers, each stands 46m high and has three 22m blades.

 

Pink Lake

Well… we got there and the lake wasn’t pink, but that was because we were in the right place at the wrong time!

 

Pink Lake is a salt lake that turns pink when the conditions are right.  The green algae in the lake loves salty conditions and when the water reaches a state of high salinity, high temperatures and lots of light, the algae collects beta carotene, a red pigment that is also found in carrots and sweet potatoes!   Halobacterium also exists in the lake and is pink in colour.  The shades of pink that beautify the lake depend on the balance between Dunaliella salina algae and Halobacterium.

 

Tanker Jetty

Due to foreshore redevelopment, the Tanker Jetty was closed, but we did get to enjoy it during a 5:30am sunrise.  Another feature of the Tanker Jetty is Sammy the Seal, a bit fat blob of a mammal that lingers around the coastline to catch the off-cuts of a fisherman’s catch.  He must have still been sleeping when we came past but we got to see photos of him.

 

 

Mermaid Leather

A tannery that makes leather out of fish and shark skins.  The story of this place is incredible.  Check out our post on Mermaid Leather.

 

Esperance Stonehenge

Kim and Jillian Beale live about 12km from Esperance and their backyard has a complete full-scale replica of the original Stonehenge in the UK.  What does your backyard have other than a Hills Hoist and weeds?

Check out our post on the Esperance Stonehenge.

 

Alimento Café

We really needed a coffee and didn’t want to settle for a long black because we didn’t trust the person behind the espresso machine.  We decided to seek out the best place in Esperance for coffee and while there were a few suggestions, we chose a place that had people lined up out the door.

 

Alimento Café sits humbly without any frills in the centre of town.  Inside is an orange, mustard and chocolate brown décor and a matriarchal woman with a mop of curly hair works behind the counter.  We had faith, and ordered a soy latte and strong latte in a mug for $10… that’s right, $10 for two coffees.  Our expectations were high.

 

 

While we waited for our coffee, we got our first glimpse at a Western Australian newspaper before being presented with two huge mugs of delicious coffee topped with creamy microfoam!  No sugar required – these guys sure know how to make the perfect cup!

 

INFORMATION & ACCOMMODATION

Esperance Visitor Centre – Dempster Street, 08 9083 1555

Blue Waters Lodge YHA – 299 Goldfields Road, 08 9071 1040