Friday, 26 November 2010
Wildflowers and Vineyards
Location: Western Australia, Australia

Leeuwin Estate Concert
In the last twenty years, Australia's sophisticated wine industry has given a cosmopolitan veneer to this remote and beautiful corner of the worldo with its dazzling landscape of stunning surf beaches, manicured vines, and awesome forests. Prestigious wines produced by the Vasse Felixo Cape Mentelle, Cullens, and the venerable Leeuwin Estate are world renowned. The latter hosts the Leeuwin Estate alfresco concerts, a heralded summer event in January attracting world-class performers and evergrowing crowds. Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, the Margaret Valley area is also graced with the annual spring wildflower season in September and October, when the countryside is filled to the horizon with a kaleidoscope of color. More than 1,000 wildflower species have been identified, including almost 70 species of orchid.

Happily, Cape Indge, one of Australia's most tasteful and relaxing country retreats, is located right in the middle of the region. The Dutch Cape-inspired main house is surrounded by rolling lawns and magnificent gardens, and overlooks a lovely lake, where guests can swim or paddle about in a canoe. Morning wake-up calls come from a chorus of kookaburras-so no one misses the gourmet breakfasts in the sun-drenched glass conservatory. It's a short drive to Margaret River, a delightful town full of antiques stores and crafts shops. Local restaurants with young and innovative chefs make this a culinary corner of Australia to be reckoned with.


WHAT: site, event, hotel. MARGARET VALLEY: 250 miles/402 km south of Perth. LEEUWIN ESTATE CONCERTS: tel 61/9-430-4099, fax 61/9-430-5687; info@leeuwinestate.com.au; www.leeuwinestate.com.au. GOURMET TOUR OF AUSTRALIA: offers 6-day bicycle tours of the area departing from Perth; tel 61/3-5777-3503, fax 61/3-5777-3896; howqua@mansfield.net.au; www.gtoa.com.au. COST: $1,800 per person, all-inclusive. WHEN: late Sept. CAPE LODGE: in Yallingup, tel 61/8-9755-631l, fax 61/8-9755-6322; stay@capelodge.com.au; www.capelodge.com.au. COST: doubles from $125. BEST TIME: Sept-Oct (wildflower season).

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