Margaret River

A Weekend in Margaret River

Margaret River is synonymous with many things… award winning wines, delicious local produce, world famous surfing breaks, some of the best beaches in WA, stunning coastline, beautiful green country, an amazing forest and luxury escapes…the list goes on!

With so much to do here, and only three hours from Perth, it is a great place to spend the weekend or even longer.

 

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort

Our first stop on the way to Margaret River was at the magical Bunker Bay. With over two kilometres of sweeping white sand and clear blue water, Bunker Bay is one of the stunning bays on the northern side of this south western corner of Western Australia.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Bunker Bay

It is also home to the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, where we stopped for lunch. The restaurant is promoting its tapastry menu devised by well known chef Justin North and executive chef Grant Murray to showcase local produce.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Delicious lunch at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort

Tapas size dishes of tempura zucchini flowers, bourbon glazed pork belly, crispy fried free range chicken with red chilli jam, sweet West Australian deep sea prawns with miso burnt garlic butter and delicious flathead in soda batter and green goddess sauce were winners. As was that amazing view…what a great way to start the weekend!

We could have easily checked in….there is so much to do in this area, it deserves it’s own weekend. The start of the Cape to Cape walk at the Lighthouse is only five minutes down the road, Eagle Bay and the stunning Meelup Beach are just around the corner and if you’re after a local brewed beer or glass of award winning wine, the Eagle Bay Brewing Company and Wise’s Winery are two minutes away! All this before you reach the main town of this area, Dunsborough!

A Weekend in Margaret River

The view from the Eagle Bay Brewing Company

A Weekend in Margaret River

 

Yallingup

Margaret River is only half an hour down the road but allow time for a detour to Yallingup…a town well known for its surfing beach and rugged coastline.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Yallingup

If time is on your side, check out Smiths Beach and Indijnup as well but for us, Margaret River beckoned.

 

Saturday is market day in Margaret River

A weekend in Margaret River always starts with a visit to the the local market. The market starts at 8am so if you want to beat the crowd, arrive early. Combi Coffee is waiting for you with freshly brewed coffee.

It’s all here…fabulous breads, delicious local cheeses, the best cannoli outside of Sicily, the freshest juices, an abundance of freshly picked fruit and vegetables, eggs that are still warm and hand fed lamb.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Market Day at Margaret River

Because it was the weekend of the Gourmet Escape, some of the world’s best chefs were in town and visited the market. I managed a quick word with Antonio Carluccio and learnt that he loved our local indiginous product..bush pepper was a particular favourite of his! Look for his documentary on indiginous food airing the middle of the year.

We spent the afternoon at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape that was being held in the grounds of Leeuwin Estate Winery, tasting local foods, sipping fabulous wines and listening to talks from visiting chefs.  On any other weekend, this would be your chance for a visit to one of the many wineries in the area!

A Weekend in Margaret River

 

Wineries to visit

One of the main reasons to visit Margaret River is the wine..some of Australia’s best wine comes from this area. Drive down Caves Road and you will see the names of well known vineyards on either side. Head into the side roads and more will be waiting for you.

Vineyard suggestions:

Award winning wines and fabulous food go hand in hand at Leeuwin Estate and Vasse Felix. 

A Weekend in Margaret River

Leeuwin Winery

 

It’s a more casual affair at the family owned Cullens Vineyard where brilliant wines can be enjoyed overlooking the vineyard and platters of fresh food from their own garden are served.

Some wineries only offer wine tastings only….such as the wonderful Howard Park Wines, the wines from Stella Bella and my favourite, those from Mosswood

Knee Deep Winery, Will’s Domain, Hay Shed Hill and Cape Mentelle offer good food and wine as well.

 

What to do in Margaret River

A Weekend in Margaret River

Surfs up at Margaret River

Visit the beaches

Margaret River Beaches are world famous. If you’re a surfer you will already know the famous surf breaks at Surfers Point near the the mouth of the Margaret River. Names such as Mainbreak, Southside, Bombie, and Fraggle Rock will be familiar. There’s a great viewing platform here to watch the action.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Margaret River’s famous surfing breaks

Further around, there’s a protected swimming area where the river meets the ocean.

A Weekend in Margaret River

The mouth of the Margaret River

 

Nearby, Gnarabup Beach is perfect for families and other water sports. Overlooking the beach is the White Elephant Cafe, the place to go for breakfast, coffee or a casual lunch.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Gnarabup Beach with the White Elephant Cafe overlooking it

 

Drive down Caves Road and you will see the signs for Redgate Beach, one of my favourites. A path from the road takes you past rocky outcrops and opens out into a beautiful beach. If it’s a hot day, you’ll need to take your thongs (flipflops!) for the walk!

A Weekend in Margaret River

Redgate Beach

Hamelin Bay is a little further down the road but well worth the drive if you’re spending the day exploring.

The beach here is probably the best in the area…not for surfers but definitely for families who love its clear blue waters and sparkling white sand.

A Weekend in Margaret River

The magnificent beach at Hamelin Bay

Where else can you also swim with stingrays. In this protected area, the rays have become so used to people, they will come up to you to see if you have any fish.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Stingrays at Hamelin Bay

Drive through the Boronup Forest

There’s one detour you should make on the way back to Margaret River….

Turn off Caves road into the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and drive through the fabulous Boronup Forest. The tall karri trees here provide a wonderful canopy and with the dappled light coming through the trees, the effect is wonderful.

 

A Weekend in Margaret River

Boronup Forest

There’s a great little beach in behind the forest but it can only be accessed by four wheel drive and a walk! We found this whilst doing the Cape to Cape Walk…another great thing to do in the area. Starting at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, the sign posted walk follows the coast, at times on the beach and at other times on the cliff. The views are fabulous and it’s a walk I highly recommend when it’s not too hot!

 

 

Where to eat in Margaret River

Mikis Kitchen
Mikis is a fabulous Japanese tempura restaurant. Request a seat at the bar and you can watch the masters at work in the open kitchen.

It’s hard to choose what to order…everything is fresh and sounds wonderful. My suggestion is to choose Mikis Tempura Trust, a seven course tasting meal that is a steal at $60 a head.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Miki’s Kitchen in Margaret River

 

Morries. We didn’t have time to eat here but Morries comes highly recommended. On busy weekends in summer you’ll need to make a booking in advance.

 

Riversmith Cafe is new to the town but it has already made its mark. The food is great, the coffee hot and there’s a fabulous gift shop at the back of the cafe.

A Weekend in Margaret River

Riversmith Cafe

Where to stay in Margaret River

We’re very lucky to be able to stay with friends when we visit Margaret River but if I was to choose a place to stay, it would be Basildene Manor. One and a half kilometres from the town, nestled in fourteen acres of beautifully kept gardens, Basildene Manor has an excellent reputation. I’m told that the one thing you can’t miss is their devonshire tea with delicious home made scones and jam!

Airbnb also has properties available for rent in Margaret River.

 

A weekend is never long enough especially in an area as beautiful as Margaret River. With so many wineries, beaches and restaurants to visit, you’ll be planning a return visit on your way back to Perth!

 

How would you spend your weekend in Margaret River?  

 

Other articles on Western Australia you may enjoy:
The Natural Beauty of Kalbarri
Lazy Days in Broome
The Pinnacles: WA’s Mysterious Desert
Rottnest Island: An Instagram Gallery

 

Disclosure: Although we were guests the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort for lunch, this in no way affected our thoughts on the meal…it was truly delicious!

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30 Responses to A Weekend in Margaret River

  1. Michela February 5, 2016 at 3:10 am #

    I read this holding my breath…gosh it did bring back memories of my trip to Margaret River I did a few years ago. This is one of my fave areas in Australia. Hope I can go back one day! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures! 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman February 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

      I hope you get back to Margaret River too Michela. it’s such a beautiful are with so much to do here.

  2. Anne February 5, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    I would love to do the Cape to Cape walk one of these days! Looks like you had a nice trip

    • Jenny Freedman February 9, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

      We had a great weekend Anne. I can recommend the Cape to Cape walk. The views from the cliffs are fantastic and when you hit the beach you’re on your won in these gorgeous little bays. You just have to be organised to be picked up at the end of each days walk!

  3. budget jan February 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    There’s nothing I like better than eating tapas, unless it is tapas with a view of the ocean, enter Pullman Bunker Bay resort! I love the look of the deck at Leeuwin Winery – I think I could settle in there for the afternoon. Kombi Vans always evoke good feelings in me, as do markets and coffee so you know where to find me on Saturday morning at Margaret River.

    • Jenny Freedman February 9, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

      The tapas were fabulous Jan and a great start to the weekend. I loved these markets…it’s such a fabulous food and wine area I knew they’d be great! There’s so many fabulous places to go in this area, these were just a few!

  4. Krista February 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    What a wonderful array of delights for the eye and the palate. 🙂 Those beaches alone are enough to convince me to visit.

    • Jenny Freedman February 9, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

      It really is a wonderful part of the world! You’ll have t come and visit us one day Krista.

  5. Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) February 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

    Wow, the Margaret River area looks beautiful. Such white sand and gentle surf. And the food! I’m ready for a day at Bunker Bay right this minute

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

      Margaret River is a fabulous area Michele. YOU’ll have to come and visit and stay at least a week down there..with your first stop at Bunker Bay.

  6. noel February 16, 2016 at 5:56 am #

    I really would love to visit Australia and even the west coastal regions, it’s striking and reminds me of the California coastal region in more of the unspoiled areas, so beautiful.

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

      Western Australia and California are often said to be very similar especially weatherwise and also with their beautiful coasts. I think you’d love the West Coast…so many amazing photo opportunities!

  7. Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru February 18, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    This is such a beautiful region with so many tantalizing things to see and do. The beachy scenery and laid back vibe are so appealing. Beautiful.

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

      It is very relaxing here Betsy. Life revolves around the beach, outdoor eating and an easy going life style. The northern part of the coast is so different to the southern areas too..you almost need two visits as they are best at different times of the year!

  8. Marg Ruello February 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    Jen ,For someone who lives in Margaret River ,your blog is very accurate and evocative….Love all the places you visited.New places include..New Distillery on Carters Rd with amazing whiskys and gin produced in Albany and new Brewhouse with crafted beers on Bussel Hway as you come into town…..I know of a special secret beach south off caves Rd and other ‘Off the beaten Track ” places to visit…….Artists homes you can visit ….Love to see you next time you visit…….also October is special for all the unique orchids and wildflowers including massed kangaroo paws!!!

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

      Thanks Marg and thank you for the additional places to try. We don’t get down there too often but we are heading back again at Easter time. I’ll have to chat to you about that secret beach!

  9. Janice CHung February 20, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    What a great place. I had always heard about Margaret River but didn’t know much about it. How timely that you were there for the Gourmet Escape. Always makes a visit to an area that much more interesting. You had a beautiful view at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and it looked like the beaches were pretty uncrowded. One day I’ll get to Australia!

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

      It’s great that you’ve heard about this area Janice.It’s such a great food and wine area that there’s always a restaurant or five to go to! The beach at Bunker Bay is always uncrowded…it’s such a beautiful long beach and a perfect view whilst you’re having a delicious lunch.

  10. alison abbott February 22, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

    I don’t know a lot about Australia, but every time I read something new it sounds like such a wonderful place to explore. So many creative talents, great food and wonderful wine. Add in the beaches and scenery and I don’t know why it hasn’t moved up to the top of my travel list with the Margaret River area leading the way. Thanks for a wonderful tour.

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      I’m sure the fact that Australia is so big often stops people visiting because they’re not sure where to start. The Margaret River area is fabulous but so is the Kimberleys. What makes it easy to choose where is that each is best different times of the year. Margaret River is waiting for you Alison!

  11. So In Love With Melbourne February 28, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    Love Margaret River; the wineries, the chocolates, nougats and the beach! Thanks for sharing, bringing back so much pretty memories.

    • Jenny Freedman February 28, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      A pleasure to remind you of our fabulous area! There’s now a lot of fabulous restaurants in the area to keep you busy as well!

  12. budget jan March 3, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    What a beautiful part of Australia. It is weird thinking how far away Margaret River is from where we live in the exact opposite corner in North Queensland. Two great places so far apart. I’ve pinned this to my Australia Board where it will be a great resource for travellers visiting the region.

    • Jenny Freedman March 4, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

      Margaret River is a fabulous part of the State Jan. Great food, fabulous wines and beautiful scenery is always a winner. We really are as far away as you could get aren’t we. Thanks for the pin!

  13. Irene S. Levine March 24, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    Thanks for sharing this new-to-me destination. Looks like a wonderful place to relax on those sandy beaches~

    • Jenny Freedman April 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

      It’s a fabulous part of our state Irene and an area you should definitely visit if you ever come to Western Australia! With great food, fabulous wine and stunning beaches, you can’t go wrong!

  14. Jo April 28, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    As you know we love love love this region and your photos and suggestions do it great justice. This is a lovely overview, and I’m sure you have some very happy memories along with a desire to go back soon. One day we should do a weekend together 🙂

    • Jenny Freedman April 28, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      A weekend together sounds a great idea Jo! There’s so much to see in this area that I definitely need to keep going back!

  15. Nina March 21, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    Doesn’t matter how many times I go to Margaret River, there’s always a new beach, winery or eatery to explore. I love all the places that you’ve mentioned and will one day trade my tent for a stay at Basildene Manor.

    • Jenny Freedman March 30, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

      We don’t get down there often enough Nina but when we do go we’re busy eating at all the new restaurants. Infact we’re due for another visit soon! We’ve been to a wedding at Basildene Manor which was fabulous…such lovely grounds and a great place to stay.

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