Australia’s South West: 4-day nature and wine drive
Nature’s pantry awaits you in the South West.
But venture a little off the trail to find extraordinary and exciting flavours in the surrounding regions of Bunbury, Pemberton and Manjimup.
On this four-day itinerary, you can expect tasty delights like cheese and olives, fresh seafood like oysters and freshwater crayfish, beautiful wine at local cellar doors and paddock-fresh produce from farmgate stalls and restaurants.
Day 1: Perth to Bunbury via Harvey
When to go
The best time to visit Australia’s South West is from November to March. Enjoy spring weather, wildflowers, migrating whales and unforgettable culinary events like the Western Australian Gourmet Escape.
Begin your culinary quest in the Western Australian capital of Perth. From here, take the 1.5-hour drive along the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway to reach the harvest town of Harvey. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely country drive from Mundijong on the South Western Highway.
It’s here that you’ll get your first taste of the region’s delicious wine, cheese and produce. Head to quaint wineries like the dog-friendly Vineyard 28, and pick up freshly squeezed juice at Harvey Fresh.
From Harvey, it’s just a 30-minute drive to the vibrant port town of Bunbury. One of the main draws to the area is the award-winning vineyards of the Ferguson Valley, located within the Geographe wine region.
This unique wine region has more than 20 boutique and family-owned wineries, and is characterised by diverse microclimates created by the area’s rolling hills, sheltered valleys and mild ocean breezes. You’ll find some interesting alternative varietals here, too, like tempranillo and nebbiolo.
Beyond wine, Bunbury boasts a number of nature and wildlife experiences. Visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre to explore the aquarium, take an eco-cruise or even embark on a tour where you can swim with wild dolphins. Hinterland Escapes offers not only food-focused tours but also guided walks through the rippling streams and towering trees of nearby Collie River Valley.
Day 2: Bunbury to Margaret River
Today, make the two-hour drive to one of the state’s most famous wine regions: Margaret River.
Hug the coastline of Geographe Bay along the Bussell Highway, passing the seaside towns of Busselton and Dunsborough before the final stretch to Margaret River along Caves Road.
More than 50 years old, the Margaret River region is internationally acclaimed, with almost 100 cellar doors to experience. Specialising in cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, this region grows only two per cent of Australia’s grapes, yet produces 20 per cent of Australia’s premium wines.
Spend the afternoon hopping between the region’s phenomenal wineries – Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate are must-dos – and take in a late lunch at Colony Concept, a restaurant dedicated to the celebration of honey. Alternatively, let someone else do the planning (and the driving) with Top Drop Tours and Harvest Tours.
Day 3: Margaret River to Pemberton
One day isn’t enough to discover all of Margaret River’s winery wonders, so stay an extra day or two if you have time.
Otherwise, hop back in the car for the 1.5-hour drive to the old milling town of Pemberton. Follow Caves Road south before taking the Brockman and Vasse Highway and watch the karri trees start to pop up around you.
Depart on a wine tour with Pemberton Discovery Tours, where you’ll visit a selection of wineries in the area, as well as be treated to a platter of local produce and small goods.
For dinner, sit down to share plates at Treehouse Tapas & Wine Bar. Expect cosy dishes like Spanish stew and grilled chorizo.
There are plenty of accommodation options near Pemberton. If you’d like to stay near a tranquil lake outside of town, book a night at Karri Valley Resort. If you’d rather be near the centre of town, choose to stay at Forest Lodge Resort.
Day 4: Pemberton to Perth via Manjimup
This morning, drive just 30 minutes north to Manjimup. Here, you can get a taste of the sensational ingredient that’s coveted by top chefs around the world – Western Australian black truffles. Head to Truffle & Wine Co for a glass of cool-climate wine and delicacies made with the prized black Perigord truffles.
Continue driving about 3.5 hours to end your culinary journey back in Perth.