Discover the hidden sights and scenery of Australia's premium wine region.
By Cole Latimer
Find out why the Margaret River region is known globally for its wine, beaches and sense of adventure, all tucked away in Australia's south-west corner.
- Sample Australia’s premium wines
- Explore amazing underground caves
- Indulge in a gourmet escape
How to get there
The Margaret River region is a three-hour drive south of Perth in Western Australia, which is serviced daily by domestic and international flights. South West Coast Lines offers daily coach services from Perth's Elizabeth Quay Bus Station and Perth Airport to Margaret River, Dunsborough, Busselton, Manjimup, Collie and Bunbury.
Things to do and top attractions in Margaret River
Visit the wineries
The Margaret River region is known around the world for its top quality wines and food. While the region produces less than 3 per cent of Australia's wine, it accounts for more than a fifth of its premium wine. There are more than 120 world-class wineries to explore, including Vasse Felix, Leeuwin and Voyager Estate, and opportunities to not only try fine wines, but get beyond the cellar doors. Among the many vineyard tours there are also tours that get you behind the scenes to meet winemakers, have a barrel room testing, and potentially even blend your own bottle of wine, coupled with a long lunch. Margaret River is also home to a range of craft breweries and distilleries.
With hundreds of miles of coast fringed by rugged bushland, the Margaret River region offers plenty of adventure off the beaten track. As well as wines, the region is known for its surf beaches on the Indian Ocean, mountain biking along old forest logging tracks, and kayaking up the river itself. Join a Surf N Dirt Adventure Tour to experience the best of Margaret River in one day. Its Live the Lifestyle Tour is limited to seven guests and includes a full day kayaking along the Blackwood River, mountain biking through Boranup Forest, a picnic lunch in a secluded location and a visit to a boutique winery or micro brewery.
Not all the sites are above ground in the Margaret River region. See the "suspended table" at Lake Cave. The "table" is a limestone crystal decoration – weighing several tonnes – that hangs from the ceiling and hovers just above the surface of the cave’s permanent lake. It's believed to be the only formation of its kind in the world. Visit Mammoth Cave, which is wheelchair accessible, and see ancient Australian megafauna fossils, or Jewel Cave Augusta, which is home to the longest straw stalactites in any tourist cave in the world.
Journey to the deep
If you're in Busselton, don't miss the opportunity to see the 150-year-old, 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) long jetty, the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Hop aboard the jetty train, which travels on a rail along the jetty, giving you the opportunity to see whales and dolphins as well as local fisherman, before reaching the jetty's Underwater Observatory. Here you'll descend eight metres (26 feet) below the surface to an observation chamber, where you can view coral and vividly coloured tropical and subtropical fish at the site's artificial reef.
Walk the Cape to Cape track
Explore the Margaret River region by foot on the Cape to Cape track. You can venture out to cover all, or individual sections, of the 41-kilometre (25-mile) route, or join a guided, small group option with Walk Into Luxury. Their four-day, three-night Margaret River Cape to Cape Walk is lodge-based and combines the best parts of the Cape to Cape track with gourmet food and wine experiences showcasing this famous region. Walk through towering karri forests and along headlands and beaches where there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the ocean. Stay all three nights in private villas with plunge pools overlooking the Indian Ocean at the luxurious Injidup Spa Retreat.
Have a great escape
The Western Australia Gourmet Escape, held annually in late November, gives you the opportunity to taste amazing wines, eat top quality local produce, and rub shoulders with more than 50 world-famous chefs, all in the heart of the Leeuwin Estate vineyard. Gourmet Escape centres around the Gourmet Village, where attractions include hands-on masterclasses, tasting sessions and a Chef’s Theatre where chefs demonstrate their tips and tricks. You can learn more about local produce through a series of talks, at which you get to meet the makers. There are also book signings by famous chefs who in the past have included Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein and Guy Grossi.
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