The Margaret River region, located three hours southwest of Perth in Western Australia, starts in Busselton and Dunsborough in the north and stretches down to Augusta in the south. Known for its world-class wines, food, beaches and caves, the Margaret River region offers something for every type of traveller.
WORDS Cheryl Monkhouse
This corner of Western Australia is celebrated for its award-winning wines and gourmet cuisine that appeases and pleases oenophiles and foodies alike.
This area is home to some of Australia’s most remarkable wines and world-class vineyards – there are more than 120 wineries that produce nearly 20 percent of Australia’s premium wine. Picture stunning vines stretching as far as the eye can see and cellar doors waiting to be discovered. The Margaret River region has only been producing wine for 50 years, but its wines are considered world-class, featuring two grape varieties in particular – cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay – that have put the region on every wine connoisseur’s radar. The Vesse Felix Filius Chardonnay or Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay, for examples, are worth well worth sampling, not to mention the Moss Wood Amy’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
Not into wine? Don’t worry, there are also several craft breweries dotted throughout the region, offering delectable pub food to boot. Stop off at Eagle Bay Brewery to sample their popular craft selections and scrumptious fish burger. If you’re looking for a beer with a view, Shelter Brewing Co. in Busselton, located on the waterfront, serves up everything from pizza to mussels, the perfect accompaniment for a frosty pint.
If you’re in it for the food, the region is replete with bountiful producers, native ingredients, passionate chefs and pleasing plates to whet every appetite. With so much coastal access, the seafood is off the charts, including gummy shark, Goldband snapper, mussels, Barramundi, and much more. There’s a glut of stylish restaurants dishing up impressive fare using locally sourced ingredients, often with an international spin. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the cheese (cheese and wine—yes please!), which is made fresh and local, such as the white mould and yeast-ripened St. Julian at Yallingup Cheese.
Food and Wine – Tourism Australia
Beyond consumption, beach hopping and surfing are popular activities thanks to the region’s 130km coastline. Many world-class events, including fishing, swimming, surfing and boating take place here. Visitors flock to its pristine sandy beaches and epic surf breaks for good reason. With more than 70 surf breaks along the coast, intermediate and advanced surfers gather at popular spots, including Boneyards, Three Bears, and Windmills. Beginners are encouraged to take surf lessons at one of many local surf schools. For those simply wanting a dip, one of the most family-friendly beaches is Busselton Foreshore, due to its shallow, clear and calm water. The Busselton Jetty stretches 1.8km over the protected waters of Geographic Bay and is home to one of only six underwater observatories in the world.
Busselton Jetty – Tourism Australia
The Margaret River region doesn’t just impress above ground; under the surface lie awe-inspiring caves filled with limestone formations, glassy lakes, and megafauna fossils. There are more than 100 limestone caves, some as deep as a 12-storey building, beneath the surface of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. Cave tours are available, ranging from easy, self-guided routes along boardwalks to guided hard-hat tours. Take your pick – Lake Cave offers a permanent glass-like lake, Jewel Cave has massive chambers to explore, and Mammoth Cave is explored via a brilliant self-guided tour. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out Ngilgi Cave where you can learn about stalactites and stalagmites, and take your chances crawling through the ‘Tunnel of Doom’.
Lake Cave – Tourism Australia
Time spent in the Margaret River region is always time well spent. See, do and experience the spectacular Margaret River on a 9 day journey on board the Indian Pacific.
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