There’s only a couple of weeks left of autumn, and with a fine, slightly cloudy day forecast, it seemed like ideal weather to head down to Prevelly Beach for a picnic. For those unfamiliar with the Margaret River Region, Prevelly Beach is located approximately 10kms from the inland township of Margaret River. It’s the home of the Margaret River Classic (Professional world Surfing Championship), an international event scheduled to begin in ten days time. The competition will take place over a 12 day period with the top ranked 34 male surfers, and 16 top ranked female surfers in the world expected to be here to take part.
We knew there would be lots of surfing activity to provide our lunch time entertainment – there almost always is! But first, we needed to pick up picnic supplies. We loaded our picnic basket into the car and headed towards the township of Margaret River.
The Food and wine
You can’t get better food than at a Farmers Market, and as it was a Saturday morning, the Margaret River Farmers Market would be in full swing. The producers get up at first light to get their stalls packed and ready. By 8am the customers begin to arrive with their bags and baskets, keen to see what seasonal delights are on offer today. Some are locals doing their regular weekly shop; others are weekend visitors exploring the market to see what gourmet delicacies can be had on the day.
We arrived around 10am, and the coffee van was clearly doing well with people eagerly ordering their morning caffeine fix. The atmosphere was festive with buskers entertaining us, their hat, or guitar case open and ready to receive a few coins.
It’s quite a big market, with plenty on offer – and it’s all local produce. There’s veggies and fruit, meat and small goods, soaps, olive oils, condiments, cheeses, breads and baked goods….. all the things you would expect to find at a good farmer’s market.
We loaded up with a baguette stick, Cambray sheep’s cheese, kimchi, Truffle flavoured butter, watercress, apples, and of course some wine to wash it all down with. The sweet treats on offer couldn’t be overlooked either. We had more than enough for our picnic.
The picnic spot
We headed to the picnic table overlooking the Rockpools.
To the right of us lay the River mouth of the Margaret River, to the left is Fraggle Rock, and Surfer’s point. The Pro Classic takes place in the Fraggle Rock/Surfer’s Point area.
The search for the perfect wave became a way of life for surfers in the 1950s. The powerful ground swells that travel across the Indian Ocean all the way from South Africa and strike the Surfer’s Point headland became recognised for their consistency and size. With surfing creating an enduring culture driven by euphoria when catching a wave, it’s no wonder Margaret River has grown around the surfers and surfing culture.
The reef in front of the break contains many treacherous underwater caves, and surfers tell tales of near death experiences when waves have pushed them into them. Then there’s the danger of being crashed onto the reef by the pounding surf. It’s definitely a surfing area where one needs to know what they’re doing, and even the most knowledgeable can get hammered by the pounding surf if they wipe out at the wrong time.
Immediately below our picnic spot lay the rockpools. The waves crash onto a reef wall a little bit out from the shoreline, and flow through the rocks forming gorgeous little pools safe for youngsters to play around in, or for adults to wonder around exploring rock pool life.
We had everything. Surfers to watch on one side riding waves in towards the River mouth. The noise of the water crashing onto the reef wall below us, with the calm little rock pools on the beach side of the reef. And surfers tackling the bigger waves towards Surfers point to our other side.
What a delightful place to eat our lunch.
The Prevelly Beach forms part of the Cape to Cape walk, so part of the track could be walked if one wanted to. The track goes to the north across the beach in front of the river mouth with the track heading up towards Gracetown. To the south the walk follows the beach before picking up the track again and heading towards Contos. We however, weren’t up for anything particularly strenuous today, and that soft beach sand part of the the big walk is known to be quite difficult.
Instead, after lunch we walked down to the rock pools. I wandered around in the pools while Paul scrambled over the rocks to getter a better vantage point for some more photos.
Then down to the river. There’s a track that runs down the side of the river, and some canoes on the river bank a few hundred metres along the track.
The surfers held the most interest for us though, so we didn’t linger at the river for long before heading back, and around to Surfer’s Point. Ten minutes or more to paddle out through the waves, five or more minutes waiting for the right wave, and then all going well, that euphoric 30 – 60 second ride in, hopefully coming off their boards before getting pounded into the on shore reef. Then out they go to do it all over again. It’s clearly an addictive sport – that short ride in must be unbelievably exhilarating.
Good food and good wine consumed while listening to the waves crashing below us, and watching brave surfers riding humungous waves to either side of us – what a place! What a pleasure!