Dotted between ancient hardwood forests, private beaches and granite boulders are secluded retreats that match the beauty of the surrounds.
By Fleur Bainger
What to expect
- Private, ocean-facing villas paired with plunge pools
- Secluded day spas catering to couples and singles
- A hiking trip combining breathtaking views, luxury accommodation and winery dining
- Time: 10 days
- Distance: about 1,100 kilometres (680 miles)
- Transport: car
- Nearest major city: Perth
- Price: $$$$
Where there are wineries in Western Australia, you are guaranteed to find day spas, wellness retreats, yoga sanctuaries and luxury lodges. This itinerary blends in plenty of good living with ultimate relaxation, soul-restoring rejuvenation and a bit of outdoor adventure, with some beach time as well. Enjoy the journey – this is the sort of nurture-meets-nature trip we all dream of doing.
Day 1: Perth
The six-star Crown Towers overlooks the Swan River and Perth skyline, making for a comfortable introduction to the city. Costing AUD$654 million, it’s the most expensive hotel ever constructed in Australia and the most opulent accommodation in the Crown stable. Along with luxury suites and private club lounges with concierge service, it includes an AUD$25,000 a night Chairman's Villa. Whether you’re a high roller or not, you’ll feel a million dollars after a laze by the lagoon-style pool in a private cabana, followed by a session in the 1,300-square-metre (14,000-square-foot) spa featuring oversized massage beds and a hammam-style steam room. Dine on fine Japanese fusion at Nobu restaurant within the Crown complex.
Day 2: Perth to Margaret River
Situated close to the tip of Cape Naturaliste and facing peaceful Bunker Bay, the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort is an easy three-hour drive from Perth. This Margaret River retreat exudes an "at one with nature" feel, with villas surrounded by native bush and grassy stretches. Above the heated infinity pool and ocean-glimpsing bar-restaurant is the day spa. In a scented, restful atmosphere, nurturing staff use ergonomic tables to execute a blend of firm, muscle-knot-melting therapy with a heavenly, relaxing touch. There are also hydrating body cocoons, scrubs using native Australian wildflowers, foot masks and organic facials for both men and women. Later, follow the boardwalk through a wetland area to the empty beach, or attend a yoga class. Dine in-house at the Other Side of the Moon restaurant and book a sunset sitting to soak up the dreamy views.
Day 3: Margaret River region
A 10-minute drive into the beach-chic town of Dunsborough opens up a range of boutique shopping, cafes and restorative day spas. Start with a manicure at The Beauty Bar, pick up a swim suit and a sundress at Bathing Beauty, discover carefully curated homewares at Merchant & Maker and browse Christian Fletcher Galleries for large scale photographs of the ocean-lapped region. Lunch five minutes out of town at The Studio Bistro where you can admire a changing roster of exhibited art while you dine. Spend the afternoon luxuriating at nearby Empire Retreat and Spa, a local favourite with relaxing treatments for couples and singles in tranquil bush surrounds. For dinner, discover Palmer's Winery just out of town for a Tuscan-style al fresco dining experience.
Day 4: Margaret River region
If a privately guided hike through towering karri trees sounds like your kind of holiday, than the three-day Walk into Luxury experience is for you. Follow up your hike with lunch at a standout Margaret River winery and accommodation in a Luxury Lodge of Australia. The experience includes a two-night stay at award-winning Cape Lodge and gourmet food throughout. Cape Lodge spa treatments are additional but there’s ample time to fit one in. Otherwise, taste the wines produced on the property. By evening, you’ll be treated to a three-course à la carte dinner at the on-site restaurant.
Day 5: Margaret River region
Start the day with a sumptuous gourmet breakfast at Cape Lodge then meet your driver for a private transfer to the Cape to Cape Track (one of Australia’s Great Walks), where you’ll be guided on a three-hour walk. Everything you need is included in a day pack which will contain locally produced treats. Begin your trek from the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean and enter an enchanted forest. Your efforts will be rewarded with a four-course lunch at Leeuwin Estate, matched with the lauded Art Series wines. You may be sated but nevertheless, a gourmet harvest platter will be provided on your return, just in case.
Day 6: Margaret River region
Take your pick of a 1955 S1 Bentley, Rolls Royce silver shadow 11 or the Lexus LX470 4WD and let Nola or Julie of Lifestyle Margaret River show you Margaret River’s many natural assets. The personalised, all-day wine lover’s tour unveils boutique wineries with the opportunity to meet winemakers and join them for a private barrel tasting, while the five senses tour blends wineries with art studios, galleries and local characters, including the option of an Aboriginal cultural experience. End the day with ocean views, a plunge pool and pampering at the exclusive Injidup Spa Retreat, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
Day 7: Margaret River region to Denmark
After a soothing morning spent in Injidup’s spa, take the scenic four-hour drive to the sleepy coastal town of Denmark, which is surrounded by rolling green hills, towering trees, rugged beaches, vineyards and farms. Charming rural spa retreat Kari Mia enjoys views of many of these elements and is located along the pretty Mount Shadforth tourist drive about five kilometres (three miles) from town. Go for a walk around the elevated property, take a long bath in your studio or bungalow and try some of the delicious premium wine at the Rickety Gate Wines cellar door.
Day 8: Denmark
Chimes Day Spa is a short wander across the lawns of Kari Mia, its proximity giving you every excuse to book in for a body scrub, wrap or massage. Lunch at Ajar Restaurant at Estate 807, where you’re welcome to do a wine tasting while you wait for an artful meal celebrating local, seasonal ingredients. Walk off the indulgence along the soft sandy beach at Greens Pool in William Bay National Park, where boulders emerge from emerald-green ocean. Buy a bottle or two of wine at Singlefile Wines and return to Kari Mia for a special sunset.
Day 9: Denmark
Linger over breakfast and an espresso at Mrs Jones cafe in Denmark town then stroll along the main street, stopping in shops and galleries. Consider a seven-minute jaunt east of town for a beer tasting at Boston Brewery on the Willoughby Park winery site, where smoked brews are the specialty, and hang around for a delicious lunch. Afterwards, drive to your next accommodation, Karma Chalets, where you can relax in the on-site Ocean and Earth Spa, which include a far infrared sauna and hydrotherapy pamper pod. The tranquility of the property, blessed with valley views and native bird song, will restore your balance. Dine next door at Forest Hill Winery’s acclaimed Pepper & Salt Restaurant.
Day 10: Denmark to Perth
If the five-hour drive to Perth seems too much, motor to Albany, 54 kilometres (34 miles) east of Denmark, leave your hire car at the airport and fly back with Rex airlines. However if you enjoy country driving, set the GPS for Perth's city centre and head to Como The Treasury, a five-star haven. Have any post-journey knots kneaded from your shoulders at the subterranean Shambhala spa or freshen up with a facial. You might even want a one-on-one yoga session or to do some laps in the 20-metre (66-foot) indoor pool before unwinding in your elegant suite. There are excellent restaurants a few floors away, but we suggest the decadence of lying back in your robe and ordering from the excellent room service menu – try the ultra-juicy steak.
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