Through author Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling novel, ‘Eat Pray Love’ and its film adaptation starring none other than the gorgeous Julia Roberts, many have been inspired by her journey to three of the world’s most remarkable places; Italy (eat), India (pray) and Indonesia (love). But unlike Ms. Gilbert, many of us do not have the luxury of a book deal or the ability to run away for a year long break just to find ourselves. Given that short vacations are usually the order of the day, the first place that usually comes to mind when I truly need to find my balance, is Perth and the surroundings of Western Australia. The state’s extraordinary and vastly diverse regions provide a perfect opportunity for any visitors to embark on their own version of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey, especially for a romantic getaway, all within a single country.
For an unsurpassed culinary adventure, venture into the South West of Western Australia where the famed Margaret River, an easy three hour drive south from capital city Perth, lies.
Chosen as one of the top ten regions in the world in 2010 by Lonely Planet, Margaret River is the perfect location to indulge your gastronomic senses with locally produced sweet treats including chocolate, fudge, cheese, yogurt and ice cream to tantalise your tastebuds. Stop over at the Margaret River Providore and browse its spectacular array of products such as homemade jams, wines, oils, and sauces made from produce in its own vineyards, organic olive grove, orchard and vegetable. Or have a meal with the very same ingredients in its cafe.
The region has over 90 cellar doors and over 200 vineyards, one is spoilt for choice. A few of the most beautiful ones to enjoy a romantic meal are Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate, Cullen, Clairault and Xanadu where the flavours of the freshest local produce are perfectly paired with some of the world’s most outstanding wines. Bon Appetit!
After sampling the delicious delights of Australia’s South West, make your way up to Australia’s only monastic town, New Norcia. Just a two hour drive north east of Perth, New Norcia is a tranquil and spiritual town reflecting monastic, Aboriginal and European heritage. Join a town tour to get a look inside the 160 year old monastery or share in the daily rhythms and routines of the Benedictine monks by staying at the Monastery Guesthouse. I’m not too sure about what the abstinence rule in this little hamlet is, but all couples, regardless of their beliefs, will find themselves stilled by the soul of this tranquil community. Time out for some peace and quiet perhaps?
Alternatively, if you are heading back to the state’s capital, drop by the Fremantle Prison. This former high security prison’s Anglican Chapel is one of the finest and most intact of early prison chapels in Australia. Its foundations were laid in 1855 by inmates, and the chapel was completed and furnished by 1858.
As the centrepiece of the eerie Main Cell Block that faces west over Fremantle, the chapel dominates and anchors the entire prison site. And believe it or not, it is now one of the more unique places for couples to tie the knot. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “lifetime imprisonment” doesn’t it?
Finally, complete your ‘eat, pray’ journey by falling in love in (or with) the beautiful Coral Coast. I embarked on an ultimate 10-day road trip to discover the region back in 2001 and never regretted a moment. Some of the pictures featured above were from that said trip.
Embrace the sights at Pinnacles, one of Australia’s most unique landscapes marked by towering limestone spires and Shell Beach, one of only two in the world, formed from billions of tiny shells. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind dolphins crashing your romantic early morning date along the shores of Monkey Mia.
For the more adventurous couples, may I suggest an exploration to the magnificent Murchinson River georges of Kalbarri National Park and spend the day either relaxing on a river cruise or packed with daredevil activities from abseiling to sandboarding. Then finally, wind down under the twilight sky at an outdoor cinema watching the latest Hollywood releases before snuggling up together in a cozy tent underneath the stars.
For further reading:
I’ve previously written travel tips post, 5 Fantastic Ways to Spend Your Day In Perth, and a guest post on 10 Things to Do in South Western Australia via Cumidanciki.com
For my food related posts and restaurant reviews on Perth and Western Australia, please click HERE.
You may also want to visit the official Tourism Western Australia website for more information on each region, accommodation and restaurant to help plan your own unique ‘eat, pray, love’ journey. Photo credits: St. Ildephonsus College Chapel and Romancing Wine shots were featured with the permission of Tourism WA.