I had dreams of watching the sunset over the ocean whilst I was in WA. In Sydney we see the sunrise over the ocean but it sets out west. You kind of feel ripped off when you don’t get a dusk time as there are dirty big mountains sucking out the light.
I wanted a room with a view of the Indian Ocean and I wanted to see the sunset over the sea.
We had 3 weeks to explore WA and we wanted to see as much as we could without being too hectic to enjoy some down time. We had a two year old with us so we couldn’t push the pace too much. So having done the majority of the driving around the south western area we wanted to sit for a few days. We booked 4 nights at Smiths Beach Resort.
We checked into Smiths Beach Resort into a Beach Shack. I couldn’t help but think this was no different to a caravan park. The Shacks or cabins are just that, caravan park cabins. They are squashed in like a trailer park as well. Having spent an afternoon in one of these cabins and listening to the boys go to the toilet through the paper thin walls, I marched to reception to request the availability of an upgrade. We were travelling out of high season so there was a villa available. We could have opted for a beach house, but given there were my husband and I, his mate and our son, it wasn’t really required.
The villas are amazing. They have so much space and if you were sharing, you would absolutely have privacy from each other. If you are baulking at the extra money over the shack it is the equivalent of flying with the luggage and flying business class.
We travelled in April and the pool was far too chilly for swimming. My son who is normally not afraid of cold water was out in about 5 minutes. The beach too was very cold. If you are travelling between April and December you are best to prepare yourself for walks and afternoons in front of the fireplace.
The resort is a member of The Small Luxury Hotel of the World group and careful consideration has been made to ensure minimal impact on the environment has been made. All accommodation other than the shacks have floor to ceiling windows. You will see the amazing sunset photo I took lying in my bed! The view of the beach and the sunset is breath taking.
The resort has one restaurant, Lamonts, and we thought our meal there was really great. It was expensive in comparison to the other restaurants in the region. Refer to review below. The small Gourmet Deli had an array of cheeses and treats to help make the sunset viewing perfect. Accompanied by wines collected on our winery tours, what more could you want. We ate at nearby Yallingup Caves Hotel one lunch and whilst the food was not amazing, the atmosphere was fun and the restaurant was spacious and quirky. We loved it.
There is so much today in the nearby region that you will find a week is not long enough to explore the whole area. Really? I hear you ask. I know it’s a small area and surely you would see everything in this time. You would think wouldn’t you? There really is a lot to do.
Locally there are galleries and artists, there are cheese makers and chocolate makers, their are both breweries and wineries. At Smiths Beach Resort you are situated on part of the Cape to Cape track. In the right season there are whales to be watched.
To the south at Cape Leeuwin, three oceans meet. There are freak waves and it’s busy out there. In the breeding season it is not unusual to see 200-300 whales in the waters off the point. I checked this fact and it seems it wasn’t a local telling me a story, it is actual fact.
The area has a number of caves. Some have tours or guides and others are ‘do-your-own-thing’ Unless you are really into spelunking you may find that one cave visit is enough.
Eagle Bay Brewing Company is a working sheep and cattle station but the brewery is run by the fourth generation siblings. It is rustic and has rolling green lawns overlooking Eagle Bay. The food matches the spot and the service is good. There is a playground for the kids and it is idyllic to spend an afternoon here in the sun overlooking Eagle Bay.
Aravina Vineyard is more rolling green lawns and idyllic locations for long lunches. This place has only been on the map for a short amount of time but they are definitely set for years of success. The ethos behind the restaurant is to source locally grown produce and highlight it. There is so much space in WA that it is sometimes hard to imagine why a restaurant wouldn’t want their own garden. The produce is the highlight and the collection of sauces and produce to take home is packaged in a fun and fresh way. I don’t think you would be disappointed if this was your one and only choice. They have a children’s menu and they are more than happy for the children to run around on the lawn.
Lamonts is located at Smiths Beach Resort. It would seem Karen Lamont is quiet the chef in the area as she has about 3-4 restaurants located in and around Perth city. The food was simply delicious. They cater for children with both a menu and colouring in pencils. The all day brunch menu was a welcomed bonus for me who was sick of cooking and preparing three meals a day on our adventure. You are able to book a masterclass with Karen through the resort. If anything, the restaurant could have a better outlook but it is stylish and causal in a sophisticated way.
Little Fish was the highlight of my visit. I don’t actually think this is because the food was more amazing or the service any better than anywhere else we went. It may or may not of been as this was the one restaurant we ordered a car to collect and drop us home and a babysitter to look after my son whilst we enjoyed a lunch in the Western Australian sun. It my of been the conversation. I remember tears, not of joy or of sadness particularly, but of simple emotion as we connected and enjoyed our life. The marron were divine and yes, they are worthy of travelling to WA to experience. It’s off the beaten track so only serious foodies or locals will be there. It is worthy the effort required to find it. They do have a children’s menu should you not want a babysitter. The view is rustic and enjoyable.
Personally I think all you need to know is that the word Yallingup – the township that Smith Beach Resort is built nearby is the aboriginal word for “place of love’ It is that indeed. White sand beaches, no crowds, great surf and plenty of nearby things to see and do without too much excitement is definitely worthy of 4-5 days.
Would I return? Absolutely, especially as our family grows. It’s a lovely relaxed place of great beauty.
TIP – be prepared that nothing is within walking distance.