Few of the world’s wine regions bear such a striking combination of treasures. Tall tree forests tower over clusters of vibrantly coloured wildflowers. Fragrant scrub edges a coastline of pale sandy beaches, rounded boulders and glass-clear ocean. Inland, vines frame cellar doors, barrels of wine and some of Western Australia’s best dining experiences. At the heart of it all, is Margaret River town.
The Margaret River region’s main airport is at Busselton, which is a 45-minute drive from Margaret River town. Sitting about three-and-a-half hours’ drive south from Perth, the town itself has a small, dirt strip airport. Daily coach services are another option.
Margaret River town has a relaxed, nature-loving, artistic vibe. Its main street is dotted with diverse galleries, characterful cafes, produce providores, surf shops, a pub with a 600-bottle wine list and an excellent local ice-creamery. Most residents are deeply passionate about surfing, or wine – usually both. See many of them at the popular Saturday Farmers Markets.
Some of the region’s top surf breaks are only a 10-minute drive away; the World Surf League championships are held at Surfer’s Point each year. It’s reached by turning off Caves Road, something you’ll do if you’re visiting the premium wineries. The drive gives way to heritage winemakers Cullen, Vasse Felix and Moss Wood, as well as the newer and lesser-known Cherubino, Mr Barval, Fine Wines and Passel Estate. In all, the region bears more than 200 vineyards.
The Margaret River region’s coastline enjoys a long whale watching season, with humpbacks leaping from June to December. In the bush, wildflowers bloom on either side of the Cape to Cape Track and the local’s secret, the Wadandi Track, from August to November. The South West corner of Western Australia, where Margaret River lies, is one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots.
Beneath the region’s terracotta soils, limestone caves bear remarkable stalactites and stalagmites – walk or do a guided cave crawl through the cool, dim environments. Above ground, a variety of polished accommodation, from high end retreats to tipi glamping ensure peaceful nights.