I recently escaped the hustle of the city for a short trip to the Margaret River region, in the south west of Western Australia, bringing along the newly released instax SQ1 instant film camera for my time away. Margaret River is known for its beautiful beaches, world class wineries and impressive landscapes. There are plenty of things to do, see and experience in the area.
Bringing the instax SQ1 along with my usual Fujifilm X-T10 camera kit was a nice change to my travel kit. Having an instant camera with me during my travels to capture casual moments in time was a great feeling. It allowed me to be in the moment and not worry too much about shooting & re-shooting. The square format is also not something I'm use to photographing in so it was a fun challenge composing my images.
Being a WA local, I've been to Margaret River many times over the years. Each time I visit I would end up at a few familiar places while also checking out a handful of new places. Here are some of the highlights & must sees if you're visiting the region.
1. Wineries & Restaurants
There are over a hundred wineries in the Margaret River region, so if you're into your wine then you're bound to find something you like. For this trip, I went back to an old favourite - Howard Park & MadFish wines. I also tried the wines from Vasse Felix, another well-known winery in the region. Not only did they have some lovely wines, their restaurant is a 1 hatted restaurant. We had the pleasure of enjoying their 5 course tasting menu. It's definitely somewhere I would recommend for a special occasion or if you're feeling like a treat for your tastebuds.
2. Sugarloaf Rock & Canal Rocks
Other than beaches, rock formations such as Sugarloaf Rock and Canal Rocks are both very popular attractions in the region. Sugarloaf Rock is a massive granite rock in the Indian Ocean. The towering rock is one of the most photographed rocks in the region for both sunrise and sunsets. Between July and October you might even be lucky enough to catch sight of humpback whales during their migration. Canal Rocks is a series of granite rock formations along the coastline, which forms water channels between the granite rocks. Being a popular spot for visitors, there's even a timber walkway that visitors can use to watch the rushing ocean beneath them. This is another favourite spot for photographers and non-photographers to catch a sunset.
3. Breweries & Distilleries
Over the years, a number of breweries and distilleries have also popped up in the south west region withThe Eagle Bay brewery probably being the most well-known. However, other breweries such as Cheeky Monkey, Black Brewing Co, Colonial Brewing Co and Beerfarm are just a few more examples of the breweries which serve up cold beer, have a great outdoor area to unwind in and a smorgasbord of food on offer.
4. Coffee Roasters
While I was in Margaret River, we were fortunate to stay within walking distance of Yahava Koffeeworks. I always enjoy my visits to Yahava to not only buy & try their various coffee bean blends, but to also check out their coffee related products! They have brewing accessories as well as coffee-related novelty items on offer. I always enjoy doing their coffee tasting where you get to try a handful of their beans but also in different brewing styles. It's worth checking out by anyone who enjoys their coffee or are interested in learning a bit more about coffee.
The south west coast is lined with beautiful beaches where you get to enjoy some stunning sunsets and a relaxing beach life. Many of the beaches are actually world famous for surfers. Some popular beaches for surfers and non-surfers alike are Prevelly's Surfers Soint, Injidup Beach, Smith Beach and Yallingup Beach.
6. Cape Naturaliste Walk & Lighthouse
Cape Naturalist Lighthouse is one of the most iconic sights in the region. If you climb to the top of the lighthouse you'll be rewarded with stunning ocean views that seem endless. Around the lighthouse there are also several easy walking paths that you can take to explore the flowers and plants in the area. These walks are a great alternative for seeing some of the spectacular ocean views for those travellers not wanting to climb the lighthouse.
The instax SQ1 is an easy to use and affordable instant film camera that focuses on simplicity. With only two modes to choose from – normal mode or selfie mode, you are almost instantly up and running after you switch it on. I found it simple to use with its inbuilt auto exposure as it does all the thinking for you to make sure your images are exposed correctly and the colours are vibrant. The additional real estate you get from the square format compared to the instax mini films is a nice change as well. You get to capture more details and have a better sense of the story in the image with the larger format.
The instax SQ1 is certainly a fun camera to carry around with you when you're travelling and escaping the hustle of the city. It will complement your mobile phone camera or a digital camera you have on hand with you by helping you to capture that one off moment.