With his melodious playing, George Walley, my guide and local elder here in Western Australia, is perfectly rounding off a tour of the local spiritual land.
He has taken me to see the living fossils that form egg shapes on the coastline near Mandurah, an hour south of Perth.
Called thrombolites, the orbs were thought to be eggs laid by a giant snake, part of a creation story told by local aboriginal people.
George tells me: “Every time I come here I feel like I am visiting an old friend.”
It’s a spiritual moment during my road trip to the wine-making region of Margaret River, three hours south of Perth, in the south west of this enormous state.
Locals know that land is the key — whether it’s mastering the waves to surf, tending the vineyard’s fertile soil or adding aboriginal herbs to their cuisine.
Indeed, the homemade muffins George hands me – to go with local jam – are infused with bush spices.
Yet, the culture of the land is not something tucked away for aboriginal elders.
It can also be found in high-end restaurants across the state, including the new Yarri eatery in Dunsborough half-way between the wine region and the city.
And on my tour everyone seemed to understand the connection with the land, including Sean Blocksidge, my guide along Margaret River.
Having managed a vineyard in the area for 15 years before setting up his tour firm, his knowledge of the region is second to none.
The exclusive (but reasonably priced) tour provided by his Margaret River Discovery Company takes a maximum of six guests to beauty spots in the region.
As he untied three kayaks and pushed them out into the Margaret River, he told my group: “This part of the river is so secluded, hardly any of the locals know about it.”
The water is a clear, luminous green with only bemused kangaroos watching from the riverside for company. “For me, coming here,” said Sean paddling down stream, “is like having a massage for the soul.”
As well as exploring the region’s wilder sides, the tour included a feast of a lunch, full of local produce — in the barrel hall of a local vineyard, where you could sample plenty of the local wines.
After buying two bottles of award-winning red, I headed off afresh with the group on an hour-long trek that culminated on the cliff tops overlooking the vast ocean.
This south-western point of the territory has some of the most spectacular scenery, which can be enjoyed on coastal trails, or by car.
Then I headed back to Margarets Beach Resort, a ten-minute drive from the main town, for a spot of relaxation.
The four-star apartment-style accommodation overlooks the stunning coastline, and is a short walk from the pristine Gnarabup Beach.
If it’s stunning beaches you’re after, make time for Eagle Bay. Set at the start of the Meelup Regional Park it features white sand and is a perfect stop-off point heading up to Perth.
In Perth itself, the best way to explore the city centre is by foot with all the historical, cultural and foodie places all within easy reach, and the central Elizabeth Quay the new focal point.
For the more adventurous, Segway tours run through the city and up to the Kings Park — a huge botanical garden that overlooks the city — and the Swan river that runs through it.
My base was the newly-opened Westin Perth, a 5* hotel right in the city centre.
The rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views, and just a short walk from the restaurants and bars of the quayside and old town.
After days on the road, followed by the bustle of the city, I headed to Rottnest Island just off the coast.
GETTING THERE: Singapore Airlines flies from Heathrow to Perth via Singapore from £715pp in economy.
STAYING THERE: Margarets Beach Resort apartments are from £96 per night.
See margaretsbeachresort.com.au. In Perth, The Westin has rooms from £117 per night.
As a nature reserve, cars are banned, so the only way around is by bike — a great way to take in the awe-inspiring local scenery.
The island is also filled with cute little marsupials called quokkas, dubbed “the happiest animal in the world” because of their smile.
Naturally I took a selfie with one, being careful not to touch it and land myself a hefty fine.
Taking the Rottnest Express ferry back to the mainland, we docked in the port of Freeman – “Freo” to the locals.
Some 45 minutes from Perth city centre, it is rich in history with a real colonial feel.
The historic prison sits bang in the centre of the old town, which is now a vibrant hipster magnet, with cool coffee cafes, book shops and vintage stalls dotted around the area.
. . . And of course, market stalls selling aboriginal herbs and spices.
Top views on flying stop in Singapore
IF you’re a sucker for punishment, there are now direct flights to Perth. But why would you chose to sit in an economy seat for an entirety when you can get a free second holiday out of your trip?
Singapore Airlines offers daily connections to Perth from its Changi hub, and with flexibility to stay over in the city, or even hop out and explore for a few hours between flights.
After touching down in Singapore on one of Singapore Airlines’ new A380R aircraft, I was handed a Singapore Explorer Pass. For around £35 this allowed access to more than 20 attractions in the city as well as providing vouchers to spend on everything from Chinatown street food to Segway tours.
Less than hour after landing, I found myself wandering around the city’s Sky Gardens before getting access to the Majestic Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre stunning nature park formed on reclaimed land near the Marina Reservoir.
Sentosa is packed with fabulous beaches featuring trendy bars, restaurants, museums and attractions as well as some high-class hotels. There’s even the chance to play a round of golf or stroll through nature.
If you have time to spend a day or two in this fascinating country, head out further.
With the Explorer Pass you can get back to nature on a river safari or take to a kayak at the city’s Ola Beach Club.
With my mini-mini city break over, a short hop on the metro found me back at the airport.
There, I was ready to head on the (relatively) short five-hour journey to Perth on Singapore Airlines’ new Dreamliner 787-10.
Time for forty winks before my next adventure.
Then after a short stroll the imposing Singapore Flyer beckoned. This huge ferris wheel offers panoramic views of the city.
For more sky-high sight-seeing, the pass also allows access to the cable car to Sentosa, an island linked to Singapore by a short causeway.
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