From Melbourne to Margaret River: 7 Day Itinerary

Inclusions

  • 6 nights accommodation for two adults
  • Guided tour of Cape Naturaliste and Ngilgi Cave with Wadandi Cultural Custodian Josh Whiteland from Cape Cultural Tours
  • Night ride through the Boranup Forest with Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours
  • Walking food tour of Margaret River township with Walk Talk Taste

Highlights

  • 6 nights accommodation in two different secluded glamping locations
  • Learn about the region’s Aboriginal culture and history with a local Wadandi Cultural Custodian
  • World class dining experiences at some of the region’s most off-the-grid restaurants
  • Coastal hiking and swims at secluded white sandy beaches
  • A taste of the region’s small-production wines and locally brewed beers
  • Behind the scenes tour, dining and wine tasting at the iconic Settlers Tavern

Questions?

First of all, this week really should come with a warning. Many people who start out with just a few days exploring the Margaret River region often leave with plans to return as soon as possible and with Jetstar launching direct flights from Melbourne to Margaret River return trips are now easier than ever!

Speak to any local down here and you’ll quickly learn how their heart was captured by the magic of Margaret River and they took a detour from their everyday to settle down to life in a wine region. This week is all about discovering: getting off the beaten track and finding out for yourself just what makes this region so captivating.

Day 1

Get set for the upcoming week of discovery by taking the morning to settle into your home for the next few days: Mile End Glamping. These guys take glamping to the next level and if you want your Instagram feed to be the envy of others, this is the spot to take some snaps. Unpack, soak up the view from your space age eco-dome and refresh yourself in the luxe bathroom ready for lunch.

Tummies will most likely be rumbling by this point, so it’s off to fill up. Head west and you’ll soon hit Quininup Road. Take your pick from two restaurants that have been turning heads lately thanks to accolades and awards from some of the country’s leading food guides. Chow’s Table will provide a punch of flavour from Mal Chow’s Malay Chinese menu. A little further down the road and Arimia is a true produce to plate experience. Head chef Evan Hayter has been hard at work developing the menu in accordance with the ingredients grown on site. It’s also a chance to try some alternative wine varieties such as Petit Verdot, Mourvedre and Verdelho. Afterwards be sure to pop into Gabriel Chocolate for dessert supplies, and grab a bottle of wine from one of the nearby wineries for later on.

Get a lay of the land after lunch and walk off some of those calories with a coastal stroll. Head up Caves Road hopping between vantage points; Smiths Beach and Yallingup Beach are easily accessible options. Slightly further north and it is well worth a stroll along the azure waters of Meelup Beach, Castle Rock, Point Piquet and the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. You might even sight a whale or two if you’re visiting during season – it runs from June to early December.

Swing by Yallingup Cheese Company on your way back to your bed for the night. It’s time to stock up for dinner and you’ll be able to grab a selection of local handmade cheeses and olive oil for an easy spread. Goon Tycoons also have some cracking wines on offer, with fun labels that are sure to be a talking point. Once back at home, chill out under the stars in your outdoor spa bath with a glass of wine in hand and a cheese platter. Could there be a more perfect start to the week?

Day 2

Koomal Dreaming & Cape Cultural Tours

It’s up nice and early for a journey underground with local Wadandi custodian Josh ‘Koomal’ Whiteland from Cape Cultural Tours. You’ll be led through the Yallingup bushland, learning about the six Noongar seasons, and how native plants are used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Josh is an accomplished musician and after a guided tour through Ngilgi Cave, you’ll be treated to a spine tingling didgeridoo performance in the cave’s chambers.

Before lunch, pop 15 minutes up the road to Dunsborough to grab supplies for dinner. It pays to plan ahead when it comes to wining and dining. Merchant & Maker have a large selection of delicious readymade meals and deli supplies. It’s also worth grabbing something to throw on the BBQ which sits right next to your outdoor spa.

Head towards home for a light lunch at one of the many relaxed dining options in the area. Rustico at Hayshed Hill will tick the boxes for tapas lovers, while Fishbone has a menu for sushi fans. Continue through to Cowaramup, picking up a bike for hire at The Golden Jersey. Fitness fanatics can power all the way down to Margaret River’s mountain bike trails for a few loops of the pines. For a more leisurely afternoon, grab the Tom Cullity trail map and meander towards a few local wineries and produce stops. Either way you’ll certainly be ready for that dinner.

Day 3

Cowaramup Brewing Company

Today is a day for beer lovers to rejoice. There has been an exciting crop of new craft breweries opening up over the past few years and it would be sacrilege to miss out on sampling a few.

Wind you way up towards Busselton through a selection of breweries, most of which are very kid friendly. Cowaramup Brewing Company, Eagle Bay Brewery and Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co have been stalwarts for some time, while The Beer Farm and Black Brewing Co. have made a splash over the past few years. Most recent to join the club is Wildhop Brewery, located in Yallingup and then further up in the town of Busselton sits the  freshly minted Rocky Ridge Cellar Door. If you really want to do the rounds, strap in for a full day self-drive craft beer trail – you won’t be disappointed. Or, if you feel short on time, simply pop into Darleen’s which has 16 different beers on tap and taste a selection in one place.

If you haven’t stopped for lunch at one of the breweries, then take your pick from one of the many dining options in the centre of Busselton before venturing along the jetty. The famous Busselton Jetty is the second longest jetty in the world, reaching out at 1841 metres. Take a stroll along the Busselton Heritage Trail and relax on the grass by the foreshore. There’s a fabulous playground which will keep kids occupied for hours.

Finish the day watching the sun set over the waves at Yallingup before heading into the beautiful and historical Caves House for a meal. The art deco building is one of the finest grand dames in the region, lovingly brought back to her former glory. There’s live music on offer every day of the week, so you’re bound to catch some entertainment over your meal too.

Day 4

Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping

Pop your hiking boots on and get out and about this morning. The Cape to Cape Track covers 135km and is bountiful for nature lovers. Depending on your timing, you’ll be able to catch wildflowers, whales and waves. Grab a map if you’d like to head out on a solo venture, or take your pick from several tour companies and guides that operate in the region.

Once you’re ready for lunch, it’s onwards to Olio Bello. Conveniently this is also where you’ll be resting your head for the next three nights: Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping. Enjoy a fresh and flavoursome lunch in the café, where you can also sample a range of olive products to take home with you. Set amongst 8000 olive trees on a 320 acre farm, you’ll be glamping amongst some serious serenity. There are six luxury safari-style bungalows to choose from, each with a deck with lakeside views and a private ensuite and kitchenette.

It’s an ideal location to explore some of the small family-run wineries in the area. Within a short drive you have Cape Grace, Passel Estate and Grace Farm to start with – or, check out this small family winery trail.

If you’ve got some stamina and a sense of adventure try something a bit different with your evening: a night ride through Boranup Karri Forest with Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours. With a light on your helmet you’ll whizz through the trees amongst owls and bats and an assortment of marsupials who are up and about. Biking not your thing? Simply take the time to enjoy the eco-campsite; you’ll fall asleep in no time with the fresh country air.

Day 5

Today is all about the town of Margaret River. Wake up and lace up your walking shoes for a walking food tour this morning, led by long-time local Kellie Tannock. Founded just over a year ago, Walk Talk Taste has proved to be popular with both visitors and locals alike.

You’ll start at the base of town and wind your way up through the town’s cafes and food producers, stopping along the way for enthralling stories, foodie finds and behind the scenes look-ins. The tour finishes up at Settlers Tavern where you’ll taste your way through some menu highlights and have the option to kick on to sample their award winning wine list. Gourmet Traveller recently graced the tavern with the top gong for Western Australia’s best wine list, so it’s well worth grabbing some bottles takeaway or popping back in again for dinner to sample a few more drops.

Enjoy a lazy afternoon out towards Prevelly, where you can grab a coffee and stroll along the beach or jump in for a quick dip. Prefer to work up a sweat? You can hire a SUP for the sheltered cove next to the dog beach. If you didn’t make it out for a night ride, now is also a good time to meander down Caves Road to Boranup Forest for an afternoon of exploring. The perfect Friday afternoon done and dusted.

Day 6

No visit to Margaret River is complete without a trip to the Margaret River Farmers Markets. Get in early before the crowds and you’ll be rewarded with the pick of the bunch from stallholders. You’ll work up an appetite sampling the local produce, so enjoy a breakfast on the go. From dumplings to brekky burgers, granola to bahn mi – you’ll leave with a very happy belly.

After soaking up the atmosphere and food lovers heaven at the markets, wind your way down Bussell Highway for lunch. A Maze’n is a bit of fun for kids big and small. Just be prepared – that leafy maze isn’t as easy as you might think! Another stop off the beaten path is a unique paring of two of life’s greatest pleasure: chocolate and wine. Arlewood Estate has teamed up with local chocolate producer Temper Temper to guide you through a perfect pairing of combos to bring out the best in the wine.

If you’ve always wanted to see how life is on a working farm, then now is your chance. Glenarty Road is your destination for lunch and you’ll be in the hospitable hands of Sasha Foley and Ben McDonald. Ben is a fifth generation farmer on the property and his winemaker wife Sasha has been busy developing the wines over the past few years. See the lambs frolicking in the paddocks, the vines ripe with bunches of grapes and the veggie patch overflowing with produce – all of which will appear on your plate.

Next up, head further south down to Augusta via Hamelin Bay. Wade into the shallows of the sandy beach and you’ll witness the wild stingrays that live here. Head on down to Augusta to climb the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, followed by a serving of fish and chips near the water as the sun sets on your last night in the region.

Day 7

Sundays are made for sleep-ins. Make the most of your last day in the paradise that is the Margaret River region and enjoy a coffee on the deck of your tent. Listen to bird song and gaze out over the tranquil lake as the sun rises; it’s moments like these that remind us to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. When the caffeine has kicked in,  pack your bags and get ready for one last day of exploring before the trip onward.

It wouldn’t be a Sunday morning without a tasty brunch, and you can be assured of plenty of top spots to choose from. Close by in Cowaramup try Black Sheep Deli for a selection of hearty and health conscious picks. The cabinet is piled high with a colourful selection of daily specials, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. You can also take the opportunity to fill up a container with local olive oil, honey or organic milk to take away. Head 15 minutes south to Margaret River if you’d like a few more options – there are a number of cafes on the main strip and around town. Sidekick Café, The Urban Bean, Drift Café and Riversmith all pack a punch when it comes to fuelling up for the day. Or, go on a hunt for some of the region’s best coffee instead.

Take your time and potter about the main streets for any last minute gifts. There’s nothing like a stroll to work off that smashed avo on toast and you’ll find all sorts of locally made goodies. In Margaret River, try The Artisan Store for handmade clothing, jewellery and homewares or further north, the Cowaramup Gourmet Food Merchant can’t be missed for some local produce to take home.

Questions?

Cassandra Charlick

Author Cassandra Charlick

Cassandra Charlick is a hat collector. Current hats on the stand include freelance writer, singer, actress, communications consultant and marketing specialist at Brillig Communications. Travelling the globe with her career on stage and off she has a deep curiosity and passion for connection and storytelling. After living in London for 8 years, a move to Margaret River saw a shift in pace and she now enjoys travelling throughout the beautiful region and sharing the stories of the people and communities that call this place home. Instagram: @casscharlick Web: cassandracharlick.com