Monday, December 15, 2014

Western Australia Day 1: Fighting the 'Monday Blues' with Blueberries @ Denmark

A red-eye flight on a budget carrier to Perth was the gateway to our year-end family getaway in Western Australia. The kids were looking forward to this for some time now. It would mark the end of Daddy's reservist duties and Mummy's overseas trip, and be the platform for some quality time together. Unfortunately, Daddy fell really sick the night before, and we were concerned that instead of an enjoyable time together, Monday might bring with it the blues.

Taking a 'We-fie' and putting it up on the 'Social Tree' in Terminal 1,  a photo time-capsule from the present till 2080!

Daddy's condition was on the upswing, and by the time we arrived at Terminal 1, we were good for some fishball noodle soup at the 24 hour food-court, followed by a go at the playground.

It's close to midnight, but these bundles of energy had to give this a go.

We tried to catch a short nap at the Snooze-Lounge at level 2 before our boarding at 1.50 am, but the kids were just too excited to get onto the plane, opting to keep themselves busy with some stickers and markers we brought along in case they couldn't sleep on the flight. The adults, however, and no problem falling asleep.

It's difficult to get quality sleep on a budget airline sitting almost upright for 5 hours, but the kids finally settled down and slept for most of the flight. We were awakened by the pilot's announcement that we were making our approach to Perth. Daddy rushed to get all the disembarkation paper work filled out.

The arrival was smooth and the queue was relatively short. This was perhaps few carriers came in so early, and we had nothing to declare. Mummy brought the girls to get some hot ham and cheese toasts, a couple of small breakfast pies, a hot chocolate and some bottled water for the long drive ahead. It cost us a little too much, and let's just say it was a good reminder not to buy breakfast at the airport in the future.

We drew our chariot for the 14-day road trip from the Budget car rental counter that we had booked in advance - a silver Hyundai Elantra with a booster seat for the 5 year old - along with a GPS to take us to our first playground: Eden Gate Blueberry Farm!

It was a 4.5 hours drive to Eden Gate Blueberry Farm from Perth and Mummy and Daddy shared the driving duties. The girls caught up on their sleep and the adults had some quality chat to keep each other focused on the roads.

The farm is run by 70 year-old Andre, who taught us which blueberries were the right ones to pick (which was important because we didn't want to get the freshest sour blueberries in WA), and even played tunes on his electric guitar as we went picking our berries.

Some of the bluest berries were hard to spot as they were less conspicuous that their unripe counterparts.

These are not ready to be picked yet. Mid-December is supposed to be peak season, but in ten years of growing blueberries, Andre commented that he had never seen such a wet and rainy summer. This affects the maturity of the berries as they need sun to turn blue. Hence, there were many 'unready' berries on the plants.

These are what we're looking for!

The girls had a kick out of filling up their buckets with the freshest blueberries they'll ever get to eat!

Some of the other goodies to look out for are Blueberry Port and Blueberry Jam. Since we were not really into alcohol, we got ourselves the jam to go with bread. Looking forward to the breakfast already! 

And how about a tub of blueberry ice-cream?

The man with the richest blueberry muffins we could find! Not only were they freshly made...

They looked fabulous and you can see from the proportion of blue in the muffin that they use twice the 'recommended' amount of blueberries in the baking, and...

The blueberries embedded in the muffin are so fresh their still round, firm and juicy!

Taste test: passed with flying colours!

Sharing a tub of homemade blueberry ice-cream... who says you can't have ice-cream on a cold day?

The jams come in some very original flavours.

20 minutes away from Edens Gate was the only accommodation in Denmark that we could find that would take us for a single night Thirtyone on the terrace. We were pleasantly surprised by the comfy feel and modern touch to vintage architecture. They also have dedicated parking lots for tenants, and is conveniently situated in the city centre opposite an IGA supermarket and local eateries.

Choose your bed!

The toilet is simple.

What's blueberry jam without bread? IGA solves the problem.

The staff at 31 on the Terrace recommended Madfish and Chips around the corner for a generous and tasty serving of fish and chips.

We got ourselves a 'Dinner for Two' and topped it up with a vanilla milkshake.

Calamari rings, fired prawns, shrimp rolls, fish and chips. Yum yum!
It had been a long day, and there was more to look forward to tomorrow as be make our way to Busselton. We made sure the kids turned in early to get enough rest from ten hours of travel on plane and on the roads. They had one last request before brushing teeth: "Can we have some more blueberry ice-cream?"

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