Margs is a foodie’s paradise
For a long time the only people to trek to Margaret River were surfers and hippies, as the area has long been synonymous for its surf and wine. But move over surfies, as foodies of the world are heading down under for the area’s dining scene.
The Margaret River region is home to some of the best food and wine in the world so it’s no wonder it’s one of our favourite places to escape for a weekend getaway. If you don’t plan some time ‘down south’ as part of your visit when you ‘do WA’ one day, then you will be missing out.
Must see’s and must do’s are subjective, what we like, you may not and vise versa. But I’ve included a few suggestions of places we like in the region to start you off to plan your time in the area.
Only three hours south of Perth, Margs is ridiculously spoilt for choice of artisan producers, award winning restaurants and wineries, not to mention the beautiful scenery and white sandy beaches. Margaret River is really shrinking the great divide between Australia’s east and west coast with more than one million people visiting the area annually. Many a bottle of Margaret River cab sav or chardonnay are regularly consumed in restaurants throughout the nation making this region a household name.
On the way from Perth we suggest a stop at Busselton and walk the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere. The jetty is 1.8km and there is a train for those short of time or unable to walk the distance.
Next you will pass through the quaint little town of Cowaramup. But make time to stop for a break and check it out, especially if you like cows. The locals call it Cowtown as there are 42 fibreglass life size Friesian cows scattered throughout the quirky town. Although the town was settled in 1920’s it was only in 1960’s the town was introduced to its first herd of cattle.
In 1967 the first commercial vineyard was established in the area, named Vasse Felix Estate.
Stop for a browse at Mukau Giftware, pick up some sweet treats at Candy Cow and chow down on the best breakfast bacon and egg burger at Cowtown Diner & Burger Bar. After taking a few photos of some of the 42 cows check out the Roast on a Post, the take off of Laurance Winery’s Chick on a Stick.
As if food and wine isn’t enough to bring people to the area, there is also unimaginable raw beauty, rugged coastline and unpretentious charm. The town of Margaret River is way more than a dot on a map with the wine region covering an area larger than the Sunshine Coast. For 360 degree views of Geographe Bay climb the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and you may be lucky to see whales on their annual migration or you can learn about the region’s rich maritime history. This is the point where two of the world’s seven oceans meet, causing clashing waves and currents from different directions to create turbulent conditions.
From Cape Leeuwin lighthouse to Busselton jetty the coastline is both stunning and treacherous, with Smith’s Beach, Gracetown, Prevally, Bunker Bay, Eagle Bay, Meelup and Yallingup some of the top beaches. As you enter Prevally Beach you see Eurybia, the mascot and master of the seas as she personifies the vulnerability, excitement and fear faced in the challenge of the seas.
At Rivermouth Beach at Prevally you can see Layla, the bronze statue sitting on a rock breastfeeding a baby whale. There is a network of underground caves, long white beaches, hidden rock pools and limestone cliffs so you won’t run out of things to see and do in the area.
Within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is the historic fossilised Water Wheel that pumped water to the lighthouse cottage in 1890’s. There is a plaque with information about the history, the water system and the fresh water spring it flows from.
Take a drive deep into karri tree country to reach the old timber milling town of Pemberton where you can try the area’s finest delicacy, Marron (shellfish native to Western Australia) and climb the world’s tallest lookout tree, the Gloucester tree. This tree stands at 61 metres, the same height as the Sydney Opera House. A further ½ hour drive and you’ll reach the town of Manjimup for the coveted WA Black Truffle.
While wine and surf remain the main attraction, now the secret is out about the region’s food scene us Sandgropers have had to learn to share our beloved Margs with visitors from overseas and interstate. Western Australia also has more hours of sunshine than any other state too, so isn’t now the time to put this hidden gem on your bucket list?
Australians love their breakfast and here a few suggestions to make a great start to your day
Cowtown Diner & Burger Bar – see above
White Elephant Café, Gnarabup
Margaret River Bakery, this place is a favourite with the locals so is always busy for the all day breakfast. It has an eclectic mix of retro and antique, you can recline on an old settee, among chandeliers, knick knacks, lace and mismatched teacups and collectible spoons as the smells of good ol’ fashioned baking wafts about. It’s like eating at Grandma’s place. The portions are generous, the coffee is delicious and they do takeaway to keep you going on the road.
Cake & Coffee
Bunkers Beach Café
Berry Farm Cottage Café for the best cakes, sweet treats and farm style hospitality. Their farm fresh scones and homemade strawberry jam are a delight as are the fairy wrens that hop about the tables. https://theberryfarm.com.au/
Cheeky Monkey Brewery – enjoy a tasting paddle of locally crafted beer and lunch
Bootleg Brewery – we had a ploughman’s lunch we enjoyed the picturesque setting at this premium boutique brewery. Bootleg was the first crafted brewery in this wine region
Flutes Escape, Brookland Valley Vineyard, Wilyabrup is the region’s finest dining destination, offering an abundance of the region’s fresh produce.
Rustico (Hay Shed Hill winery) offers my favourite cuisine, tapas. Try a refreshing rosé sangria with raspberry and ginger or enjoy a Black Spanish Rose (strawberries & Cointreau blended with a twist of Black Sambucca) while checking out the mouth-watering morsels on the menu. This is truly decadent dining set among a lush vineyard on a gently undulating hillside.
Things to do
Cheese Tasting – Margaret River Dairy Company
Chocolate Tasting – Gabriel Chocolate
Ice Cream – Simmos
Olive Oil Tasting – Olio Bello
The ultimate Olive Oil experience – Vasse Virgin
Venison tasting – Margaret River Venison
Margaret River Silk Road – Silk farm grows mulberries and cultivates silkworms, sells silk and mulberry products
The wineries, oh where to begin. There are so many wineries in the area and we’ve been going ‘downsouth’ for many, many years and always find a new winery to do some wine tasting. But here are some of our favourites that we just can’t go past.
Fermoy Estate – their claim to fame being that their Sav Cabernet was on Princess Mary’s wedding menu when she married Prince Frederick.
Hay Shed Hill – see lunch above
Stella Bella – Pink Moscato 2015, from muscat grapes it’s fruity, light and slightly fizzy, and like drinking Turkish Delight.
The Grove Experience is a great place for a different experience tasting their distilled liqueurs and spirits like Gin, Vodka, Absinthe, Grappola, etc, in lovely surroundings. I love their mosaic.
Margie’s Big Day Out – Winner of the prestigious Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014. They operate beer, wine and food tours from the heart of the South West, Margaret River.
*All opinions and photos are our own and we were not financially compensated for this post.
Does this sound like an ideal place for your to get your foodie on? Is this somewhere you would have like to spend sampling the local delicacies?
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