Adventure & vino in Western Australia
World-class wineries interlaced with vast national parks, merging seamlessly with pristine beaches. Can you imagine anything better? The Margaret River region in Western Australia is the perfect escape from fast-paced Singapore.A four-hour flight will land you in a sparsely populated, ruggedly beautiful landscape, seemingly teetering on the edge of the earth. An isolated little pocket it may be, but there is no shortage of comforts here. The Margaret River region is a food-, wine-, and coffee-lovers paradise. You can choose one of the many unspoilt beaches, breathe the crisp air, and watch the evening sun descend into the Indian Ocean. This is a place you can truly relax.
Tigerair has daily direct flights to Perth. Rent a car from the airport and drive three hours south along an open highway in the direction of Bunbury and Bussleton and enjoy the cool refreshing breeze.
Dunsborough area: Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay are spectacular, while Castle Rock Beach and Meelup Beach are beautiful and calm.
Yallingup area: Yallingup beach is great for surfing but also has a shallow bay where children can swim and an adjacent playground for more family fun. Smiths Beach is an unbeatable expanse of white sand.
Injidup Beach: Injidup is a very private beach that provides first-class surfing, swimming, and fishing. The beach’s huge rocks are also really fun to climb.
Margaret River: Redgate Beach is a five-minute walk from the car park but well worth it. Take a picnic because there are no shops nearby.
If the beaches haven’t offered enough, try the stunning views from the end of Wyadup Road or along Clairault Road Sugarloaf en route to Eagle Bay.
Dolphins can be spotted year-round at most of the beaches but whale season usually runs from June to September. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse offers a great vantage point for wildlife. On land, kangaroos can be spotted all over the region. The best time to look is at sunrise or sunset. In the unlikely event you don’t see any during your visit, head to Sheoak Road (via Marrinup Drive and MacNair Road), it’s impossible to miss the marsupials there.
Get lost at Yallingup Maze, a sprawling outdoor space filled with a mind-boggling ever-changing maze, puzzles, and other games. If your little ones are looking for more than kangaroos and dolphins, head to Sunflower Animal Farm, which is home to more than 250 animals. Wonky Windmill Farm and Ecopark is a dream for children, compared to the uber urban Singapore. At Wonky, kids can pick fruit directly from the trees and feed the animals, including bottle-feeding a lamb.
The Margaret River region has a plethora of fantastic wineries. We present a couple of our favourites and as an added bonus, they all have generous running space and many have playgrounds.
Vas Felix: one of first wineries in the region, founded in 1967 and specialises in cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. The property also has a restaurant and sculpture garden to explore.
Voyager Estate: boasts lovely Dutch architecture, stunning gardens, and a more formal wine room and restaurant.
Leeuwin Estate: perhaps the biggest name in the region, the atmosphere of the wine room and restaurant remains rustic and cozy.
Cullen Wines: a smaller operation than the previous three but makes up for its size with beautiful scenery, modern biodynamic production, delicious food in a rustic setting, and super friendly service.
Pierro: a quaint cellar door where you can try one of the best chardonnays in the region.
EAT AND DRINK
Bunkers Beach Café: a must-go for breakfast or lunch – and you can have a dip in the ocean afterwards! If you’re not keen on getting wet, dolphin action can often be seen through the open windows.
Cheeky Monkey Brewery: ideal for families with a lovely playground.
Eagle Bay Brewery: another restaurant with a great set-up for kids and yummy lunchtime pizzas.
Wise Vineyard Restaurant: superb views, great for families.
Cape Lodge: one of the best restaurants in the region with cooking classes available, if you like what you taste.
La Casina: a charming eatery serving authentic Italian fare from a husband and wife team.
Other Side of the Moon Restaurant: located at the Pullman hotel, this swanky restaurant serves up sophisticated cuisine in a wonderful setting.
The Studio Gallery and Bistro: one of the best in the region and popular with locals, we highly recommend the degustation menu.
Will’s Domain: sophisticated plates, beautiful view, great playground for kids – what more could you ask for on a holiday?
Simmo’s Ice Cream: sampling this truly delicious ice cream is a must when visiting Margaret River.
There is fantastic coffee available all over the region but the standouts are Artezen and Yallingup Coffee.
Kiki: a fantastically equipped four-bedroom house with an enormous deck located outside the town of Yallingup. It’s perfect for two families and has a variety of amenities to keep everyone busy including a tennis court, trampoline, and eight hectares of bush to explore.
Pullman Bunker Bay: an upscale contemporary resort with spa and dining packages available, if you just can’t decide.
Losari Retreat: boutique luxury villas in a secluded landscape, but still only 8 minutes from the Margaret River township.
Photos courtesy of Emma Good