Monday, 28 April 2014

and New Norcia - Part 1

New Norcia - Western Australia Part 1

After booking several days off work to head to Sydney, some things changed and we had to put that holiday back a few months. So we decided to check out New Norcia instead. I have been wanting to check the town out for years and it is only a short drive away from Perth that staying there for 2 nights was an easy decision to make.

New Norcia is now a very small Benedictine Community just 132km north of Perth. New Norcia is famous for it's bread as well as its wine, olive oil and honey. There is also an ale associated with the town. Over the years, with the drop in the number of monks, some of the production has been outsourced, but the nut cake, biscotti and pan chocolatti and the bread found in the town, are still produced by the monks in their wood fired bake house.

We headed off mid morning on a Tuesday and made our way to the Gravity Discovery Centre, Gingin. At 15º, the centre has the most leaning tower in the world, dubbed The Leaning Tower of Gingin.

Some of the exhibition.

The leaning tower.

The main point of the tower is to climb up and drop water bombs down shoots at the top. It shows the effects of gravity to big and little kids alike.

Water bombs exploding on impact.

Me and my waterbomb.

Unfortunately mine was too big and hit the side of the tube, exploding as it exited.

The view from the top.

The discovery centre.

From here we drove through Gingin and stopped at a little park to have a short wander around.

Replica water wheel at the park.

The River cutting though the town.

A cute old church by the  park.

The next stop was Bindoon Bakehaus for lunch. It was a late lunch, around 2, and a lot of the pie varieties were already gone. We both had a chicken and vegetable pie each and I went for a Banoffee Cream Pie for lunch dessert and my plus one had a custard eclair.

My pie.

My cream pie.

We then made our way up the Great Northern Highway to New Norcia, where we checked into the New Norica Hotel. Built in the 1920's and designed by one of the monks of the time, New Norcia hotel is a cute, old fashioned pub with a great atmosphere. We settled into our room and relaxed reading a book while a staff member played on the piano in the lounge downstairs. The music resonated through the hotel while the birds outside sung to their own tune.

The view from the main balcony.

Looking down the main balcony.

There are 3 balconies to the hotel as well as a long verandah downstairs. Our room came off the front balcony.

The hall upstairs.

All rooms are upstairs with a small sitting room and communal bathrooms for men and for women. We headed down at around 6.30 for dinner in the pub.

Garlic pizza with mozzarella.

My chicken Parmigiana.

His battered fish and chips.

We were really quite full that we couldn't even contemplate ordering dessert! We retired to our room to read more of our books and relax.

I woke up early the next day and headed out on the balcony to see the birds and the sunrise.

The birds fill the trees.

Th sun rising over New Norcia.

I sat enjoying the warmth with a cup of tea before breakfast.

For everyday except Saturday, a Continental breakfast is served in the dinning room. Several cereals as well as fresh bread from the Monastery is on offer with fruit, yoghurt and tea and coffee. On Saturdays a cooked breakfast is available.

We then took a little wander around the hotel before we went on the tour of the town.

The lounge room downstairs.

The impressive staircase.

The front of the Hotel.

We headed down the hill to the Museum and Gallery to book our walking tour of the town. We wandered around the gallery and had a look at the souvenir shop before our tour started.

The first stop on the tour was the location of the old cottages which were housing for the local aboriginal people. They have all since been removed, but an information building has been constructed near by. Next we moved to the Abbey church. As you walk around the town you will notice the wide variety of architectural styles portrayed. Many of the older buildings were designed by the same monk.

The church.

The painting which saved the monks and the fledgling community from fire.

The walls of the church are covered in 'sgraffito'.

Sgraffito from the 1960's.

From the church we walked across the road to have a look at the monastery. If you want to see the monastery from more than the other side of a gate you can book to stay in the guesthouse or attend prayers with the monks.

The avenue from the church to the monastery.

The monastery gates.

The monastery courtyard.

After looking at the flour mill and St Mary's we headed over to St Ildephonsus' college, which was a boarding school for boys.

St Ildephonsus

Inside St Ildephonsus chapel.

From here we walked past the grave yard and to St. Gertrude's, which was a female boarding school. In recent years it's chapel has been used for choirs making recordings.

St. Gertrude's.

The chapel.

This was the last stop on the tour and we hurried back to the hotel for lunch.

His beef burger.

My ploughman's lunch.

Again, we retreated to our room for a few hours for just a little more relaxing before our afternoon adventures started.

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

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