Remember that time I told you about my birthday tradition? Sure you do! How could you forget? Well, to refresh your memory, the tradition goes that each year I aim to visit a new place in Australia. It’s been running for four years now and Perth or as it was, Margaret River was year number two back in 2015. I can’t stop thinking about Margaret River and the week that was, so I thought it was still a good idea to list a few things down, should you find yourself over that way.
Moo and I decided to rent a camper-van and jot along the western coastal for a total of seven days. Seems like enough? Think again. Western Australia, no scrap that, Australia in general is MASSIVE! If it looks easy to get to on the map, it’s probably not, and will most likely take hours on the road (or air) to get from A to B.
We had big ambitions to drive from Perth to Esperance and then back to Perth to fly home. Nil chance. It took days and days and days of driving and the furthest we got to was Denmark along the bottom west coast. As I said though, I can’t stop thinking about it and actually can’t wait to get back there.
As I mentioned, we started out in Perth and slowly made our way down through Bussleton (and yes ,we walked Australia’s the longest timber jetty, read on for tips) and eventually into Margaret River before continuing along to basically get as far as we could. I could talk for hours about the wineries, breweries, gastronomy, landscape and sea breeze (oh and the surf!) – but we really don’t have much time. I’ll start with my top five and if you’ve got any questions about Margaret River and the surrounds, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you shortly.
So here you go, my top 5 things to do in Margaret River, enjoy!
Indijup Natural Spa
Believe it or not, but the Indijup spa was a little known secret to me, that is after returning back to Sydney having googled it and found an abundance of information about it, including how to find it. Information which would have served us very well had we known beforehand. Regardless, it was an adventure to find and lucky for us it was abandoned on our arrival! My biggest tip would be to check the tide before arrival. We were lucky to catch it on a low to mid tide and it was a beautiful spot to bath, boulder over rocks and splash about.
Vineyard & Brewery Tour
Living within close proximity to the Hunter Valley wine region, I knew MR would have tough shoes to fill and a stiff taste-bud competition to rival. It had the potential for me to say “yeah it’s nice, but the Hunters’ better!” which I’d hoped wasn’t the case. I have to say, it was pretty darn close as to which is better. I’d go as far as saying it was an even tie, and only because MR has that great big Indian ocean right by it’s side and the Hunter is just that little more inland. Either way, after visiting MR I think I’ve found the place I’d like to retire to. After humming and haring we decided to book a wine and food tour with Taste of the Souths’ ‘Wine into the night’ tour, mostly because it started at 2pm instead of 10am (I can’t quite get my taste buds into gear for serious wine tasting until at least 11am, which really shows my maturity unfortunately.) And also, because it included dinner at a local restaurant which we thought sounded too good to be true. We had a great old time with our guide and our lovable tour companions. Moo got a reputation for eating all the snacks at each vineyard and I giggled the entire way at our scrunched up faces each and every time we sampled Chardonnay and or dessert wine. We dined at Swings and Roundabouts in Yallingup which I would absolutely recommend, tour or no tour.
Visit the Caves
Not normally one to enjoy dark spaces with little natural airflow or natural light. This experience was actually pretty darn cool. Check out the caves in and around MR within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. How it works you ask? Firstly, decide whether you want to self-guide or have someone take you ‘off piste’ we did the former. We visited Mammoth Cave, 21km south of MR and I gotta tell you, it was impressive. These caves are known to be over one million years old. What!? I can’t even get my head around that. What are you going to see? Mammoth sized stalagmites (pun intended), gigantic stalactites and you’ll learn some really interested facts along the way about how they became to be found. But that’s for me to know and you to find out 😉
You’ll find the small town of Busselton just two and a half hours drive south of Perth. It’s the perfect place to stay the night if you’re driving from Perth and don’t want to be too overwhelmed in a ‘mini-city’. The Bussleton Jetty is mostly famous because it stretches as far as the eye can see into the protected Geographe Bay. It is heritage listed and notably the longest timber jetty in the southern hemisphere. At 2km, you really do have to walk it to grasp how and why it is so long. For those who aren’t so mobile (or maybe don’t feel like the walk), there is a shuttle for passengers all the way to the end. For those with ankle biters, there’s a pretty darn interesting under water aquarium at the end so I’d say there’s definitely something for everyone. As you can see below, it truly does meet the horizon!
I actually STILL can’t get over how beautiful this place is! Technically not in MR, but honestly if you’ve come that far, you can’t miss Elephant Rocks. Just a hop skip and a jump along the Great Australian Bight and you’ll see a sign pointing you to the car park. From here it’s a 2 min roll down the path to find this pristine watery paradise and if you veer left and follow the cliff face all the way around, you’ll be treated to some seriously spectacular views, which just happened to make it as our feature image.)
Enjoy your adventure over in Western Australia, make sure you eat right, drink well and definitely don’t miss Elephant Rocks.