7 Days of Summer

Inclusions

  • 6 nights’ accommodation
  • 1 x half-day tour Cape Cultural Tours & Koomal Dreaming
  • 1 x full-day tour with Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours
  • 1 x half-day tour with Augusta River Tours

Highlights

  • 3 nights’ accommodation in 4-star beachfront resort
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a secluded bush retreat
  • Explore the highlights of two quintessential Margaret River beach holiday towns
  • Experience the region with a Wadandi Cultural Custodian
  • Visit one of the region’s newest honey producers
  • Get a taste of Margaret River chocolate
  • Spend a day pedal-powering through forests or from winery to winery
  • Tour Augusta’s Blackwood River with a third-generation local

Questions?

Seven days in the Margaret River region allows for creation of the kind of summer experiences that’ll linger longer than last light at Surfer’s Point. Packed full of some of the best the region has to offer for summertime fun, this seven day itinerary is the basis for a family-friendly holiday well worth having.

Day 2

As gateway towns go, Busselton is the complete package. The pace is slower. Its orientation, Indian Ocean facing. And its combination of articulated history, textured environmental engagement, and food and wine presentation just the lead-in this unique region deserves. Hit the foreshore first. It’ll draw you like a beacon, anyway. Acres of grass and treed shade. Dining experiences running the gamut from ice creams, to produce-driven simplicity where seafood is the showcase. The inflatable ocean fun park that pops up for a few weeks every summer is a little (and big) kid favourite. All of this held together by the appeal of the famed Busselton Jetty – the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere cared for by a community group that understands the history of a place belongs to its people.

Mermaid experiences, an underwater observatory, even a train to take you the almost two-kilometres from beginning to jetty’s tip for those who find the walk too much. It’s a big Day One that finds its ideal end at The Sebel, where apartments and bungalows allow visitors to experience a home-away-from-home – if you’re home also had squash courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a weekly cleaning service.

Night time dining options here are endless: choose between anything from Indian spices to pub classics, or spend the sunset somewhere along the spectacular Geographe Bay with a glass of wine and ocean views.

Day 2

Koomal Dreaming & Cape Cultural Tours

To be led into the heart of Country by Wadandi custodian, Josh Whiteland, is to lay groundwork for an intimate relationship with the region that’ll take you deeper than the bottom of a wine glass.

Start your week’s stay right, and let his Koomal Dreaming & Cape Cultural Tours inform your appreciation of the landscape and the people connected to it. Josh’s role as a father and caretaker allows broad spectrum engagement through the channels of art, music, and food – kids will love him, everyone will learn from him. Working around the Eagle Bay, Dunsborough and Yallingup areas, a day with Josh is just a 15-minute drive from your Busso-based Sebel accommodation.

Proximity means a sunset stop and swim at Meelup Beach can also form part of the day’s program.

Day 3

Taking the time to create a sense of context means free time exploring is an opportunity to construct your own unique relationship to the region, now that you know a little of the history of the place. The Colony Concept is another angle in. The newly created outpost for Southern Forests Honey is home, not just to Western Australia’s largest viewing bee hives, but to the experience of connection between food, culture and place: honey was used by Indigenous custodians as medicine and nourishment, is exported overseas to tell the story of our region’s geographic purity, and speaking directly to the importance of preserving the delicate balance of nature. Honey’s story has taken on extra resonance in a world attempting to come to terms with the marriage between progress and preservation. The drive from Busselton along the tree-lined Caves Road to Colony Concept’s Harman Mill Road outpost is the ideal way to slow down and get the feels.

You’ll also be close enough to the nearby Margaret River Chocolate Company – a long-standing visitor favourite – to follow your honey experience with a local chocolate chaser. Stock up on treats of the chocolate variety to snack on throughout the week or take home as ultimate edible souvenirs.

Day 4

A shift from Sebel to the Margaret River Hideaway & Farmstay is a change in tone that showcases the diversity of experience packed into this little region: a small clutch of studios and bungalows positioned among tall trees on a Land for Wildlife property a few kilometres from the central Margaret River township. If the 20-minute drive from Busselton on Day Four means you miss the morning animal feeding, no fear, they’re a daily event, as are the wildlife sightings: kangaroos, native parrots and cockatoos, and all sorts of friendly lizard folk. Settle in, on your first day in this new spot, with a 10-minute car trip into town for a day of exploration.

If it happens to be a Saturday, the award-winning Margaret River Farmer’s Market is the place to meet the farmers, chat up local producers and take home an honest taste of food grown in the region, by the people of the region. And if it’s not? There are a host of local eateries up and down the main street that make it their business to employ local produce. Try Settlers Tavern for the steak sandwich and stellar local wines by the glass, Riversmith or Golden cafes for their housemade relishes topping local eggs from happy chooks, or the Margaret River Bakery for croissants made in-house by fifth-generation Dutch baker, Lyndon Egbert – an ideal match with Freddie’s coffee. There’s Rotary Park and Old Kate the train for when the kids need a run, and the 10 Mile Brook Dam Trail that leads into the forest to reveal the beauty of the Margaret River itself.

Otherwise, you’re just a short drive from some of the region’s best swimming spots: beeline straight for the Cowaramup Bay beaches and look out points of Gracetown.

Day 5

Time for a little action. Give Michael “Brooksey” Brookes at the Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours a buzz and work out what kind of tour is going to suit your travelling posse. Couples? Try the Trails to Ales, Ride to Wine, or the Ultimate Ride to Wine and Dine at Leeuwin Estate – beautiful riding backed up with a luxe wine and food tasting experience at one of the Margaret River region’s founding wineries. Families will dig a half-day in the Karri forest, and adventure seekers with a little more energy to burn might like a coastal cliff hike or forest bike. Moving under our own steam means a slow down to experience the immediacy of the region’s natural beauty. And after years of working as a professional brewer, and as much time again spent riding the region’s mountain bike trails for kicks, Brooksey segues easily between knowledgeable guide, good-time riding partner, and informed brewery-buddy. E-bikes are also an option for those nervous their thighs aren’t up to the bike-riding task.

Regardless of where you end up, you can probably find somewhere for a late-afternoon swim. Yesterday was all about Gracetown – today head south west to Gnarabup, Rivermouth, and Surfers Point in Prevelly.

Day 6

South awaits. Another frontier. Another bite from the apple. The Margaret River region is diverse, and each township is possessed of its own character. Augusta is raw beauty, quiet contemplation and a true paradise for water junkies: where the Blackwood River meets the Southern Ocean, whales stop past on their annual traverse, and dolphins congregate to scoop up any whiting local fishing enthusiasts have missed. Organise a pick-up by Augusta River Tours skipper, Graeme Challis, from Augusta’s Ellis Street jetty and let the third-generation Augusta local fill you in on the area’s ecology while spotting some 60 species of bird alongside the local pod of bottle-nose dolphins. Snappers won’t want to be without their camera here. Take a picnic from the newly-opened Colour Patch Cafe – they specialise in seafood and pasta, and takeaway options include everything from fish and chips and tasty burgers to vegetarian delights.

While in Augusta, a visit to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is a must. It’s the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and the views are impeccable – situated right where the Indian and Southern oceans meet. This summer the lighthouse will open its brand new Interpretative Centre, allowing visitors to get immersed in the history and legend of this iconic place.

Finish off the day with dinner at the iconic Augusta Hotel, famed for its long grassy hill that’s a kid’s roly-poly paradise. The beers are cold, the wines local, and the chicken schnitzels legendary.

Day 7

It might be the last time you wake to kookaburra song for a little while. The week’s over, but not before one last insight. Breakfast at White Elephant Café right on the sand at Gnarabup beach is a summertime rite of passage. Get packed, and take the kids for one last lash. Dip in the Indian Ocean after scrambled eggs and mushrooms. If it’s peak summer, the pontoon will be out – an easy swim from the jetty or the shore. Just don’t use the outdoor showers to wash the sand off your feet – you’ll be wanting to keep a little bit of your week in the Margaret River region with you.

 

Image credits: Russel Ord, Aquabumps.

Questions?

Sarina Kamini

Author Sarina Kamini

Sarina is an Australian-Kashmiri author, spice mistress, one-time magazine editor and food journalist who has settled in Margaret River following 20 years of living and writing in New Delhi, Bangalore, Southern California, Melbourne, Paris, Edinburgh and Barcelona. When she is not working on a manuscript or running spice classes, she can be found swimming laps of Gnarabup beach or wandering the forest with her two sons and her dog, DJ Chips.