5 Reasons to put Margaret River on your list

Nothing like a lush birds eye view! Voyager Estate from above.

Itching to get over to Western Australia? Who isn’t. The world famous wine region is waiting for you. Here’s what you need to know when you get there:

  1. What’s in a name?

First, let’s get one thing straight. Locals do not like it when you talk about ‘the Margaret River’. For me, ‘the’ is honorific. Like the Eiffel Tower, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Empire State Building, this world class wine region deserves icon status and the ‘the’ that comes with it. Incorrect. Like proud parents, Western Australians are staunchly committed to ensuring that everyone understands how to correctly pronounce their pride and joy. So, before you set foot in some of the world’s most fertile soil, here’s a quick guide to the lingo:

  1. The Margaret River: an actual river, running through Margaret River township, down to the south and entering the sea near Prevelly
  2. Margaret River: the town, located three hours drive south of Perth, home to shops, brew pubs, bakeries 
  3. The Margaret River region: the wine country stretching from Busselton (two and a half hours from Perth) down to Augusta. Home to dozens of cellar doors, top notch wineries, restaurants, providores, designers, artisans, towering Karri forests and world class beaches

Want to look like you know a thing or two? Most of us are heading south to go to ‘the Margaret River region’, we might spend a night in Margaret River (town), and in the morning go for a paddle on the Margaret River. Voila!

Want to look like you know a thing or two? Most of us are heading south to go to ‘the Margaret River region’, we might spend a night in Margaret River (town), and in the morning go for a paddle on the Margaret River. Voila!

2. Lunch is the name of the game

Voyager’s dining room is worth settling into – image credit Shot by Thom

Long lunches are the way to win at wine regions, and that’s certainly true in the Margaret River region. Why? After a long day wining and dining, there is no greater joy than returning to your accommodation with a couple bottles of wine and not leaving again. There are plenty of award winning spots to settle in for a long lunch, with the restaurant scene thriving down south as big city chefs find their way back home or just want to get out of the rat race. Two of my favourites put a strong focus on sourcing food from local, sustainable sources. At Arimia Estate, you can head out on a farm tour before you feast, meeting the resident pigs, collecting eggs, strolling the olive groves, even spotting some trout. Chef Evan Hayter is serious about sustainability and his modern, Japanese-influenced dishes position the ingredients as the stars of the show. Sit in the elegant farmhouse-style dining room or out on the terrace for a four course meal looking straight out at the farm. At Voyager Estate, a grand Cape Dutch-style manor is the setting for your decadent ‘Discovery’ degustation. With seven courses, it’s elegant and extravagant at the same time, and much of the produce comes straight from the sprawling kitchen garden.

3. The bread is ready at 3pm

It’s all about the 3pm bread at Margaret River Woodfired Bread

Margaret River Woodfired Bread might be one of Margaret River town’s worst kept secrets. Word has certainly got out that this rustic warehouse on the outskirts of town is worth a visit. The non-descript driveway and even more non-descript sliding glass doors open up to a small storefront, with loaves behind the counter and not much else, but the bread does the talking here. Seeded sourdough, wheat, pure rye, fruit and of course classic sour dough – they don’t do a huge range but what they do create has a cult following. And the real secret is they bake in the morning not in the night, so the bread comes out fresh from the oven in the afternoon. Get it hot at 3pm. A hot load of sour dough, some local Olio Bello olive oil, maybe some Cambray cheese, and you’re in heaven.

4. Wine time doesn’t have to break the bank

It’s easy to associate a trip to a wine region with a big dent in the budget but that doesn’t have to be the case. Make time to stop in at Domaine Naturalise, where the wines were just awarded James Halliday’s 2020 Best Value Winery of the Year. I also give them top points for excellent charcuterie boards – the sleek cellar door looks straight out at the vines through floor to ceiling windows and is the perfect spot for an afternoon flight of wine and charcuterie. It would be rude not to sample the local produce!

5. It’s not all about the wine

Get ready for class in the coolest classroom at Vasse Virgin

If you love wine, you’re sorted, but there’s plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Dip your toes into the Cape to Cape, the region’s famous 155km coastal track from Cape Naturalise in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the South. It takes hikers 5 days to complete the entire track, but day trippers will delight in popping onto the track for a few hours walk along dramatic coastline. The Cape Naturalise Lighthouse is a great entry spot into a few quick sections, some even with board walk access. Keen to get creative? Sign up for a lip balm making workshop at Vasse Virgin, a fun educational hour that feels a little bit like stepping back into high school science class. While you’re there, pick up olive oil skincare products, soaps, exfoliants, essential oils, perfumes and more. And for the drive back to Perth, make sure you stop in at cute Cowaramup town, to stock up on treats from the Temper Temper chocolate store. It’s a little Willy Wonka, with all the classics but also an ‘Adventure’ section for flavours like parsnip and cauliflower.

Hungry? Thirsty? Us too. Start planning your trip to the Margaret River region here and check out the South West Edge for more inspo.

About the author

Lisa used to use Sydney as a base to drop off souvenirs before heading off on the next adventure but these days she’s got her feet almost on the ground, with a desire to try every high tea in Sydney, and a cute cavoodle puppy at home. Travel writer, photographer and Kitchen Aid freak, she loves to eat, bake and write.

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