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About Margaret River

Margaret River: Surf’s Up, Wine’s Poured

If you haven’t heard of Margaret River, you might not believe that a sunny region exists near Perth where vineyards flourish against crashing waves, bordered by towering forests parsed with grottos. But you can easily go from the beach to your favourite winery to a cool, shady cave in a matter of minutes when you visit this part of Western Australia. Considered one of Australia’s main premium wine producing regions, the Margaret River area stretches from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin in the East, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west. Unsurprisingly, Margaret River receives over 500,000 visitors a year. Numerous holiday rental options are available: private villas, family homes and swanky apartments are only a few of them.

Margaret River: Bordeaux in Australia

Due to its Mediterranean climate conducive to both red and white production, Margaret River has been likened to the Bordeaux region in the southwest of France. The area appeals to wine connoisseurs and budding sommeliers, as it favours boutique wineries over mass consumption. To get the most out of your time in Margaret River, you can participate in a variety of wine tours. Half and full-day options are available, with tastings at between four to six wineries. Lunch or a sample platter of local dairy products and chocolate is likely to be included. If you prefer to venture out on your own, some wineries are open to the public and feature restaurants, such as Knee Deep Winery. Others, like Fraser Gallop Estate, offer a more intimate experience but tours and visits must be booked in advance.

Surfing and Water Sports

Margaret River has earned a worldwide reputation for its surf breaks. Boasting over 130km of coastline, there is a spot for everyone from beginners to experts to ride the waves. If you’re visiting for the surf, be sure to travel to Margaret River in spring or winter, though good waves are present no matter the season. In March or April each year, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro gives you a chance to watch some of the world’s surfing pros ride the waves. On the other end of the spectrum, the Margaret River region is home to several surf schools, allowing novices to be initiated without being overwhelmed, as parts of the coastline consistently offer small beach breaks.

Explore the Caves, Step Back in Time

Beyond vineyards and surf breaks, the Margaret River region is populated by over 100 caves set within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Six caves can be visited by the public, providing insight into the area’s past. Mammoth Cave is the most popular. Here, you can spot 35,000 year-old fossil specimens, including some of now-extinct species like the Zygomaturus, an herbivore marsupial from the Pleistocene Era. To get the most out of your visit to the cave, take part in a self-guided audio tour. Another cave open to the public, Jewel Cave, features some of the biggest stalactites on the planet and can be seen as part of a guided tour. Meanwhile, Lake Cave boasts a permanent lake and an interpretive visitors’ centre. Passes to multiple caves can be purchased if you don’t want to miss a thing.

Margaret River: In Town

Not to be overlooked is the Town of Margaret River itself, set right in the middle of the region. Visitors interested in art and culture can go gallery-hopping on the Main Street to discover pieces produced by local and international artists. From paintings to antiques, you can window shop or buy something as a souvenir. In addition to galleries, you’ll find plenty of small boutiques for some unique shopping. When you’re hungry, get a bite at one of the many cafes or restaurants in town and experience the dining scene in Margaret River, which makes use of primarily local ingredients. And if you feel like a casual stroll, head to Rotary Park, or stop at the visitors’ centre for a map of trails close to town.

Getting to Margaret River

Margaret River is 280km from Perth, a leisurely three-hour drive. Flights from Perth also operate twice a week, landing in Busselton, which is only 50km from the wineries. If you prefer to take public transport, there are some coach services departing Perth. However, once you’re in the town of Margaret River, it is best to hire a vehicle (or even rent a bike) to best experience all the region has to offer.

For more travel information on Margaret River, see our article on Things to do in Margaret River.