Margaret River

Location: Three hour drive south of Perth. Margaret River wine region is the place for indulging many passions. It’s the only wine region in Australia where you can hop from award-winning wineries and restaurants to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves. It is one of the world’s great winemaking regions and accounts for over 30% of Australia’s premium wine market.

Wine

  • Ashbrook Estate – lovely range of wines at affordable prices. (379 Tom Cullity Drive, Wilyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Cape Mentelle – now part of the Louis Vuitton portfolio of wines. Its cellar door is one of the region’s finest, with its bushland setting and focus on producing top quality wines. (331 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-4:30.
  • Cape Naturaliste Vineyard – handpicked fruit resulting in thoroughly enjoyable wines. 1 Coley Road, Yallingup) Cellar door open 7 days, 11-5.
  • Cullen Wines – an estate specialising in high quality wines from single vineyard sites. Consistently rated amongst Australia’s best premium wine labels.(4323 Caves Road, Wilyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-4:30.
  • Flametree Wines – located on the picturesque shores of Geographe Bay. (7 Chain Avenue, Corner Caves Road, Dunsborough). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Hay Shed Hill Wines – an extensive range of wines ranging from there premium Hay shed hill label to the everyday quaffer pitchfork wines. (Harman’s Mill Road, Willyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Howard Park Wines– this is one of the most elegant cellar doors in the region and is acclaimed for its award winning architectural design and Feng Shui principles.  At a recent Margaret river wine tasting, I was particularly impressed with their multi-regional blend- Howard Park Miamup cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc semillon. Their single vineyard Leston Cabernet is consistently one of Margaret River’s finest.(Miamup Road, Cowaramup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Knee Deep Wines(160 Johnson Road, Wilyabrup) Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Leeuwin Estate – the Art Series and Prelude chardonnays are the superstars of the region. Also hosts to yearly world class musical performances. (Stevens Rd, Margaret River). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Moss Brothers Wines – from Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, “Few cellar doors in the country offer a more down-to-earth experience than you’ll receive from the Margaret River’s Moss family. The wines are as open and honest as their makers. Try their semillon and the cabernet blend.” Peter Bourne. (3857 Caves Road Wilyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Stormflower Vineyard– a relative newcomer to the wine scene. I have not had the opportunity to try their wines but recent reviews definately warrant a visit. ( 3485 Caves Road, Wilyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 11-5.
  • Vasse Felix – a wonderful range of wines covering all price points. Their restaurant is a must! (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road, Cowaramup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Voyager Estate – superbly crafted wines that are able to match the grandness of the surroundings. (Stevens Road, Margaret River) Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Window’s estate– I haven’t had the chance to visit, but have only received great reviews. As stated on their website “we are a young family with an incredible passion for the work that we do and an intense belief that through hard work we can continually evolve and make wines that are better each and every year. Our goal is simple, to make beautiful wines. Through an incredible (some may think worrying) amount of attention to detail we create wines that are unique and have a sense of place”. (4 Quininup Road, Yallingup) Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Woodlands Wines – making some of the region’s most sublime wines. (corner of Caves Road and Metricup Road, Wilyabrup). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.
  • Xanadu Wines(Boodjidup Road, Margaret River). Cellar door open 7 days, 10-5.

Dine

 

  • Arimia Winery Restaurant– with classically-trained and Michelin starred background, Arimia’s head chef Evan Hayter seeks to combine the finest Margaret River produce with refined technique.  Arimia has embarked on an expansive, hands-on regenerative program taking into account all aspects of the farm, and is growing and rearing more and more of the food that makes its way from the property to the plate. The smallest food miles, the highest quality and a genuine, true and honest Margaret River expression is what he strives to provide.(242 Quininup Rd, Wilyabruphttps://arimia.com.au/restaurant
  • Amelia Park– the menu is big on wood-grilled meat and also strong on seafood. (3857 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup).
  • Blue Ginger Cafe – great coffee plus breakfast and lunch items. (31 Station Road. Margaret River). www.bluegingerfinefoods.com/ 
  • Bunkers beach cafe – breakfast and lunch with an emphasis on local fresh produce served in idyllic surroundings, right by the sea. (Farm Break Lane, Bunker Bay). www.bunkersbeachcafe.com.au
  • Chow’s table– the scent of frying garlic fills the air at this six-month-old restaurant. Modern Chinese has long been popular with local diners; Malcolm Chow (ex- Tetsuya’s, vue de monde) takes it up a notch in this airy, spacious dining room. https://www.chowstable.com.au/
  • Glenarty Road– serving farmhouse comfort food. (70 Glenarty Road, Karridale). http://www.glenartyroad.com.au/restaurant/
  • Lamont’s Smiths Beach – quick tapas style menu or seasonal a la carte menu. (Smiths Beach Rd, Yallingup). www.lamonts.com.au/venues/lamonts-at-smiths-beach
  • Mealup Dunsborough – light breakfast and lunch menu, a range of chef prepared take home meals and ready to go hampers. (Shop 3 Bay View Centro, Dunn bay road, Dunsborough). www.mealup.com.au
  • Miki’s Open Kitchen– the arrival of Margaret River’s first Japanese eatery has been a long time coming, but Mikihito Nagai is ensuring it’s been worth the wait. At Miki’s Open Kitchen, a dedicated counter restaurant, west Australian seafood is transformed into marvels of the elegant tempura variety with Miki’s own original flavour. Bookings are essential – the place is small and fills out quickly. (131 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River)
  • Oh Delhi– the big TV screen has Bollywood stars doing Punjabi pop, but don’t let that stop you: if you like Northern Indian food, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this little family-run place. The flavours are authentic, the value for money real. (9/34 Dunn Bay Rd, Dunsboroughhttp://ohdelhi.com.au/
  • Swings taphouse– If you need a bit of city chic down south, this Margs bistro-pizzeria should do the trick: cool interior design, great pizza and reasonable prices make this the millennials’ choice, but don’t let that stop you. (85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret river). https://www.swings.com.au/taphouse-margaret-river-restaurant
  • The Pourhouse– the town’s hippest place for a drink specialises in beers and ciders from all corners. For the young and young at heart for pre-dinner drinks or families hanging about for early pizza and burgers. (26 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough). http://pourhouse.com.au/
  • Vasse Felix – outstanding cuisine situated in an equally impressive vineyard with wines to match. (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road, Cowaramup). https://www.vassefelix.com.au/Visit/Wine-And-Restaurant
  • Voyager Estate– for years, Voyager Estate was the restaurant of choice for older folk who loved ooh-ing and aah-ing over the spectacular rose gardens. Even the dining room looked like the common room at a posh retirement village. It was good and a little formal, but not cutting edge. Its turnaround has been remarkable. The new CEO and chef Santiago Fernandez have together created something extraordinary. Voyager Estate is a destination restaurant worth traveling across continents for. (Stevens Road, Margaret River). https://www.voyagerestate.com.au/restaurant/
  • White Elephant Beach Cafe – In a state with so much coast, seaside cafes are a rarity, so embrace the elephant. The views are wonderful, the beach immediately below. Coffee, swim, burger, swim. Repeat. (Gnarabup Beach, Margaret, River). www.whiteelephantcafe.com.au
  • Wills Domain– the valley views, the pleasingly lo-fi service, imaginative plating, innovative cookery – it’s all there. Wills Domain nails the ability to take its guests on a culinary trip with surprises around almost every corner. (17 Brash Rd, Yallingup) https://willsdomain.com.au/the-estate/
  • Wise Wines – an interesting menu of well-cooked modern food that will even distract you from the view. Make sure you leave some time to try their wines at the adjacent cellar door. (Eagle Bay Road, Eagle Bay). http://wiseeaglebay.com.au/
  • Yarri– I’ll leave it to the chef Aaron Carr to explain his philosophy- “Yarri will honour nature, seasonality, and the South West – its people, produce and place,” Carr said. “Our menu will be based on the six seasons of the Noongar people and country and all our ingredients will be sustainably sourced from the land, and from the many small producers we’ve worked with over decades.” (6/16 Cyrillean Way, Dunsborough)https://yarri.com.au/

Recline

  • Cape Lodge- located on 40 acres of manicured parkland and lakes, Cape Lodge is likened to staying at a private country estate yet with all the trappings and facilities of a world class private boutique hotel.  www.capelodge.com.au
  • Empire Retreat – a boutique retreat offering complete luxury and seclusion. Also, their inclusive breakfast is seriously good.  www.empireretreat.com
  • Hidden Valley Forest Retreat – self-contained accommodation in glowing contemporary style.  www.yourhiddenvalley.com
  • Hilltop Studios – spacious self contained accommodation with beautiful views. www.hilltopstudios.com.au
  • Injidup Spa Retreat– a tranquil beach spa resort surrounded by 3000 acres of the unspoiled Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in the heart of the Margaret River wine district. Each secluded, French-inspired villa overlooks the ocean and is perfect for nature lovers seeking peace and privacy with the convenience of contemporary living and private plunge pools. www.injidupsparetreat.com.au
  • Pullman Resort Bunker Bay – this five-star resort has taken out the top prize from the Australian Hotels Association as Best Resort-Style Accommodation, and has 150 luxurious studios and villas to fill all your exotic, leisurely needs. Swimming pool? Check. Spa? Check. Tennis Courts? Check. Access to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country? Yep. Protected by the Cape Naturaliste Peninsula, Bunker Bay has the most startlingly clear and azure water you’ll ever see. Even if there were sharks, you’d see them coming a mile off. www.pullmanresortbunkerbay.com.au/
  • Smiths Beach Resort – pure heaven for beach lovers with the resort perfectly positioned on the golden sands of Smiths Beach and offering a variety of spacious self-contained accommodation options ranging from comfortable family beach shacks to amazing beach houses.  www.smithsbeachresort.com.au
  • Windmills Break – named after a local surf break, Windmills Break is a luxury retreat located in Yallingup. The property has luxury furnishings throughout, private courtyards for each room, large outside dining areas, massage centre, gymnasium, tennis court and much more. www.windmillsbreak.com.au
  • Yallingup Luxury Retreat – five secluded villas with 10 rooms in total. Each of the five villas is tucked away behind limestone walls and landscaped Australian native gardens for total seclusion and privacy. www.yallingupluxuryretreat.com.au

Plus

  • Albert + Nikola- for seriously great coffee! (Shop 14 – 24, 36 Dunn Bay Rd, Dunsborough)
  • Yallingup Coffee Company – perfect way to begin your day followed by a walk at one of the many wonderful surrounding beaches. (Shop 7b 233 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough). www.yallingupcoffee.com.au
  • Samudra– a great place for coffee. (226 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough)
  • Simmo’s Ice Creamery – the websites slogan says it all “born, bred and frozen in WA. (161 Commonage Road, Dunsborough). www.simmos.com.au
  • Spa treatments– available at all the hotels listed under the “Recline” section above.
  • Beaches – my personal favourites: Bunker Bay (crystal clear and calm waters), Yallingup (great for a walk first thing in the morning and a nice shallow pool for kids to swim in), Meelup (calm and secluded), Smiths (beautiful clear waters but open to the elements) and Indjidup beach.
    Cape to Cape walk track
    – total distance is 135km (can be done in 5-8 days). The trail can be walked in smaller sections. I highly recommend the section from Canal rocks to Wyadup steps. www.capetocapetrack.com.au/
  • Brew shack– the place for espresso lovers! (2/124 Bussell Highway, Margaret river) https://www.brewshack.com.au/
  • Burger Baby– your destination for buns! (1/115 Bussell Highway, Margaret river)
  • Galleries – Margaret River has a vibrant art and crafts scene. Galleries to visit include: Purist Gallery, Gunyulgup Gallery, Melting Pot Glass Studio and The studio Bistro (which features great food and an equally impressive kids menu).
  • Goanna Gallery and Café-  family run bush café serving gourmet breakfast, seasonally inspired lunch, homemade cakes & organic fair trade coffee. (278 Hayes Road, Dunsborough)
  • Grounded– Dunsborough has more cafes than most small cities. Part deli, part cafe, part laid-back young mums hangout, Grounded is completely unpretentious and good value and the coffee and tea are excellent. https://www.groundedwholefoods.com.au/
  • Margaret River Chocolate Company(Cnr Harman’s Mill Road and Tom Cullity Dr, Metricup). www.chocolatefactory.com.au/chocolate-cafes/margaret-river
  • Morries Anytime– a new cafe, bar, restaurant that has opened on the main street in Margaret River town itself and is open daily from 7.30am to 10pm. Their coffees also challenge the best in the area. (2/149 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River). http://www.morries.com.au/home/
  • Olio Bello Olive Oil-  located on a magnificent 320 acre certified organic property in Cowaramup, Olio Bello is a boutique, multi-award winning producer of extra virgin olive oil and also home to a stylish tasting room and mediterranean alfresco cafe. (36 Armstrong Road, Margaret River).
  • Pizzica– a pizzeria and charcoal grill that serves pliable, elegant and sparsely topped pizza. (73 Bussell Highway, Margaret river).
  • Gabriel Chocolate – Don’t leave the Caves Road strip at Yallingup without visiting Australia’s newest chocolatier, concocting excellent bean to bar confections and offering free tastings daily. (Corner of Caves Rd and Quininup Rd, Yallingup).
  • Eagle Bay Brewing Company– apart from the natural beauty of the breweries location in Eagle Bay, the stunning architecture and great food combine to make this the perfect lunchtime place. (Eagle Bay Rd, Eagle Bay). http://eaglebaybrewing.com.au/
  • Limousine service– Taste the south tours (call 0438 210 373).
  • Margaret River Farmers Markets – Every 2nd & 4th Saturday from 8am-12pm. (Cnr Tunbridge & Farrelly Streets, Margaret River)
  • Providore – an organic hilltop cafe that grows much of its own ingredients and does a nice line in fresh, contemporary, seasonal fare, this is the ideal place to start your day. Pick up a couple of things (perhaps some olives from their own grove) for a picnic as well. (448 Tom Cullity Dve, Wilyabrup).
  • Samudra– surfer and yoga fanatic Sheridan Hammond serves as a reminder of the area’s hippie days with his organic vegetarian café, garden, yoga studios and bamboo clothing store. (226 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough).
  • EVENTS– Leeuwin Estate Concerts (featuring world class performers and usually held in February). Busselton Jetty Swim (the 2018 event will be held over the weekend of 10th and 11th of February). Margaret River Pro Surfing Championship (11th April to 22nd April 2018). Margaret River Gourmet Escape (the ultimate in culinary adventures and food and wine festivals- 15th November to 18th November 2018- http://www.gourmetescape.com.au/).

 

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