Our first ‘port’ of call last weekend was literally situated near a port in the midst of a tuart forest.
Inn The Tuarts is a secluded Guest Lodge ten minutes from Port Geographe, where the whale boats depart, and it’s also close to the vibey town of Busselton.
Driving along the scenic Ludlow Tourist Drive through the dappled shade of the Tuart Forest National Park at dusk I pondered the fact that The Ludlow Forest is the only natural tuart forest on the planet.
This quiet road was once the main route to Busselton, but now it winds its way without much traffic through the tall trees.
“Are you sure it’s straight over at the roundabout and not right?” Dave asked as we drove along Layman’s Road. “There doesn’t look to be much going on straight ahead.”
And he was right. There isn’t much going on except for lots of bouncing kangaroos (be careful as you drive) which is why Inn The Tuarts is so lovely.
The Lodge is set deep in the forest off the beaten track, but it’s remote location bears no witness to the friendly welcome you’ll receive from owner Peter who has ancestral roots in the area.
“My grandfather, Dick Perry, was awarded an Order of Australia for his work mapping the South West forests. He was involved in forestry for over 50 years, became a world expert on WA termites, even had an island named after him, and he lived to be 100.5 years old,” Peter told me.
So in a sense, Peter and his wife Suzanne have come home to roost.
They’ve been running the guest lodge for 6 years, after owning and managing similar businesses in Denmark near Albany but they’re seasoned professionals when it comes to hospitality and our every need was catered for making sure that we did, as the sign in the dining room suggested, “Enter as strangers and leave as friends.”
“Believe”, “Laugh”, “Dream” so say the signs on the dining room tables, and as we began to relax and unwind, so we started to laugh and dream in this natural forest setting and wished we’d had more time to explore and perhaps walk the 3km forest trail or visit the National Trust Historic Homestead, Wonnerup House which is just down the road.
I asked Suzanne for the best time to visit.
“Well spring is so pretty with all the wild flowers beginning to bloom, but autumn is beautiful because of the colours. Winter is chilly and atmospheric and we have a lovely log fire burning in the winter months. Then there’s the whale season from September to November and of course summer is gorgeous because our nearby beaches are so beautiful,” she said with a smile.