Sian Redgrave, winner of the first ever Great Australian Bake Off and Perth girl, wishes she was back down south now that her new life in the spotlight has taken her all over the world.
The words ‘down south’ are something that must be embedded in all of us Perth dwellers.
Those long lazy days of packing the car and heading to our beloved holiday getaway are treasured memories. Having recently moved across the country to Sydney to pursue a new life of cooking, food styling and writing, days away along the western coast are something I wish I could do at the drop of a hat.
My real love for travelling south of Perth began in my teenage years when my mother would drive me down to Busselton for the three-day music festival Southbound.
The poor woman always gave up her time to take four teenage girls to the music concert every January until we were old enough to drive ourselves (I’m hopeful that by taking her to Italy this year it’ll make up for the torture).
Scorching hot days, setting up tents and all the sunburn was worth it to see some of the world’s best musicians just hours from home.
Since my teenage years I have made the most of the Margaret River region’s incredible produce and food on offer. Over the years the area has become like a second home to me as my best friend’s family have a farm called Boy on the Hill.
I’ve spent many cold winter nights making homemade pasta and collecting vegetables from the garden. They produce beautiful beef and olive oil which we turn into warming, flavoursome ragus.
But my most favourite of places is Augusta. The furthest point south west in Australia, Augusta is the meeting point of the Southern and Indian oceans making for some epic marine landscapes and windswept photo opportunities.
The little town itself is peaceful and pristine and offers the perfect place to unwind and relax.
Augusta is a little quieter than the other visited towns so I find the best thing to busy myself with is eating and swimming.
On my way back to Augusta, I always make my way to the Yallingup Woodfired Bread. The bread is baked on hot stones and has the most wonderful texture and fermented flavour.
Be sure to be there around 3pm, when the loaves are straight from the oven. I once brought my own butter with me so I was able to devour a loaf as soon as I could.
Margaret River Farmers’ Markets are also a must see. From food and farm products to wine there will be plenty for you to get your hands (and teeth) on.
SIAN’S TOP TIPS
- Visit Yallingup Woodfired Bread – hand crafted, traditional woodfired
bread is baked fresh every afternoon, made from locally biodynamically grown grain, stoneground to the finest flour. Bring your own butter if you can’t wait to make the most of that just out of the oven deliciousness. Find the bakery on the corner of Biddle Road and Sheoak Drive, Yallingup. Open Monday from 4pm to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday from 7am to 6pm and Sunday from 8am to 1pm.
- Have fish and chips at Augusta’s Colourpatch Café (98 Albany Terrace, Augusta) – the whiting is stiff fresh and the perfect accompaniment to watch the sun set in this charming town.
- Try SUPping (that’s standup paddleboarding) in Flinders Bay. Just don’t forget to pack the wetsuit – it’s chilly!
After gathering up enough goodies for lunch, a relaxing picnic on the beach is my idea of happiness. Flinders Bay is a must-see, perfect for families and quiet enough to have a stretch of beach all to yourself.
The bay is quite often lovely and still so if stand-up paddleboarding takes your fancy, it’s a great place to learn. Although summer days in the bay are stunning, winter in this area is so beautiful.
For the perfect afternoon activity, head down to the local pub, The Augusta Hotel. The view from the back is breathtaking, giving you the perfect place to enjoy a drink and swoon over the Blackwood river.
Finish the evening off with dinner at Colourpatch Cafe. Making honest old-fashioned fish and chips, this place won’t disappoint, especially if whiting is frying that night.
Hopefully my next Augusta adventure isn’t too far away – Western Australia really does have the best beaches (sorry Sydney).