As I mentioned in my previous post, Perth is pretty far from everywhere (anywhere worth travelling to at least), especially if you want to go away only for a couple of days. But there is one place of stunning beauty where you can lose yourself in countless activities, or just unwind, breathe more fully, and simply enjoy: Margaret River Region. This area, about three hour’s drive from Perth, is known for its vineyards and surf, and is the most popular destination for the Perth-siders for a weekend getaway. I have been down there for four times now, here’s some pics and recommendations based on my experiences.
The town of Busselton 220 kilometres south-west of Perth is practically the entry into the Region.With the population of 22,000 it is the biggest town in the area, and best known for the 1841-metre jetty near the town centre. There are a few nice Thai restaurants in the town, and all the usual amenities of course, but I wouldn’t stay here overnight, as you don’t really get to fully experience the beauty and serenity of the region from here.
Dunsborough is the main town in the North-Eastern part of the Region with supermarkets and cafes, and a long nice beach. In the same vicinity are also Yallingup, Eagle Bay, and Cape Naturaliste National Park, all offering beautiful scenery and walks. The area has lots of lovely swimming beaches too, but I don’t seem to have any good photos of them…
I personally like this area for its convenience as you have everything near-by, including the Yallingup Woodfired Bakery, where they make the yummiest of breads! (Go after 5pm to get your hands on their famous fruit bread.) And Mealup in Dunsborough town serve the best coffee in the region (just my humble opinion).
Between Dunsborough and the town of Margaret River there are dozens if not hundreds of vineyards, accompanied by galleries, cafes, chocolates and other produce sellers. I can’t say I’m a wine expert, in fact I know almost nothing about wine, but I still like to visit the wineries. I would recommend the Window’s Estate (for their white wines) and Cullen Wines (for their biodynamic production methods). It’s good to visit both bigger as well as smaller wineries, however, the smaller ones are often more interesting and memorable, and you may even have a chance to have chat with the owners or wine makers. There are several breweries in the area also, most with a restaurant attached, and they are always packed around lunch time. And for all things olive oil, don’t forget to visit Vasse Virgin!
There are also the beach towns of Gracetown and Prevelly/Gnarabup, the latter one which is definitely worth visiting: you can hire a kayak and go up the Margaret River; or you can just admire the surfers and enjoy a nice walk along the water. At the Gnarabup end there is the White Elephant café where you can have a (decent) coffee or something to eat while enjoying the view.
The Margaret River town is smaller than Busselton, which also makes it a lot nicer. It has supermarkets, shops, cafes, restaurants, atms: pretty much everything you might need. It is convenient, and you can find some really nice accommodation not far (but far enough) from the town.
Down south of Margaret River town-Prevelly line it soon becomes a lot more quiet and there is less of “everything”. Except for peace and quiet and pretty birds and other wildlife. There is also a nice caravan park in Hamelin Bay, and a picturesque town of Augusta further south, as well as some caves to explore on the way.