7 days of autumn in the Margaret River Region

Shortening days. Soft light. Beach, bush and barrel rooms diminished of summer crowds. The hum of the Margaret River Region’s autumn season is a brilliant time for late-harvest holidaymakers.

If you’re coming from Perth, your first stop is right at the gateway to the Margaret River Region, in Busselton. The Busselton Jetty is a striking way to begin your autumn itinerary: the longest wooden piled jetty in the southern hemisphere, it shows the important connection the region has to the ocean via an underwater observatory. Descend eight metres to the ocean floor to view some of the 300 species of vividly coloured tropical and sub-tropical corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates. The jetty also demonstrates how much family is a Margaret River Region consideration: the surrounding foreshore is a playground of dining choices, public open space and, well, playgrounds. Plus, there’s a “deep sea pool”; a sectioned-off area for swimming in Geographe Bay’s pristine (and very kid-friendly) waters.

While in Busselton, it would be remiss not to immerse yourself in the local arts scene, which is where the nearby Busselton Cultural Precinct comes in. A creative hub for the visual and performing arts in one of Busselton’s oldest buildings, kids will love the bush food garden and outdoor sculpture park here. Adults, on the other hand, will love perusing the studios of the precinct’s artists in residence.

Late afternoon brings you to Flametree Wines, conveniently located halfway between Busselton and Dunsborough. Settle in for a relaxed wine tasting in their beach house style cellar door. Browse the art exhibition or chill out on the deck with a glass of wine and a delicious platter using quality local produce.

From here, your first night’s accommodation is just a short 10-minute drive to Dunsborough Ridge Retreat. Choose from four self-contained villas nestled in the bush – perfect for hiding out, reading and soaking in the surroundings.


Time to head out to the world-class wineries in the Margaret River Region. Make your first stop at Bettenay’s on Tom Cullity Drive for the famed nougat alongside the company’s wines and liqueurs for tasting. Opt for the Nougat and Wine Paring, available every day of the week. Say hello to owner and winemaker Greg Bettenay who will personally take you on a guided tour of the property followed by an indulgent wine and nougat tasting. Finish off with a grazing board to enjoy by the lake, or relax in their new enclosed pavilion space designed for any type of weather.

Tom Cullity Drive was named for the man who planted Margaret River’s first commercial vines at nearby Vasse Felix. It’s a story you can learn more about on a self-drive wine tour up and down this stretch of gravel road on the Tom Cullity Food & Wine Trail. It’s a great introduction to immediate surroundings. The road is just a few kilometres long, but on it, you will meet everyone from local chocolate makers to boutique food producers and some of the region’s best-known winemakers via the vineyards’ immersive cellar door experiences. Travelling in autumn gives you a picturesque view of the changing leaves and misty vines.

Your last stop is ideal for a late lunch: Vasse Felix is not only Margaret River’s founding wine estate, but it’s also home to one of its most celebrated restaurants. If you prefer something lower-key, stock up during your visit to Margaret River Providore and graze back at Dunsborough Ridge Retreat.

Late afternoon brings an opportunity for greater cultural connection via a guided twilight tour of Ngilgi Cave with local Wadandi man Josh Whiteland. Through his tour company, Koomal Dreaming, Josh takes visitors through Cape Naturaliste bushland and deep into the cave for storytelling and a very special didgeridoo performance.

If dinner calls, the nearby towns of Dunsborough and Yallingup present a variety of night-time dining options. From upscale pub classics to Asian-inspired seafood, you should find something to suit all.

Wilyabrup Cliffs

Part of what defines the Margaret River Region experience is the combination of outdoor activity and intimate culinary experience. So today is the day to make that happen. Head to Wilyabrup Road, this is your access point to the Cape to Cape Track and the dramatic Wilyabrup cliffs. The view is striking. This section of the track is a great walk for families – not too taxing, but highly rewarding – and with the salmon running during autumn, keep a look out for active dolphin pods. To really get the adrenaline levels pumping book an abseiling or rock climbing adventure with Margaret River Climbing Co, who will guide you off the beaten track.

By now tummies will be rumbling, and a fifteen-minute drive further north on Caves Road you’ll come across Amelia Park Restaurant. Make a booking for lunch. Head chef Blair and his sous chef Cohen Wright run a kitchen dedicated to showcasing fresh ingredients, with a woodfired oven and grill burning local Jarrah for heat and flavour at its centre. Blair’s bistro-style food is crafted from local produce, some from the restaurant’s own garden.

Alternatively, Black Brewing Co is also nearby and the kind of venue that caters to everyone. A playground and loads of space to run around keep kids happy, while the grown-ups sample the craft beers and boutique gin range. Don’t miss the Dune Distilling Co Gin Tasting, an educational experience where you progressively sip the gin neat, and then mixed with tonics, sodas, and bartender-recommended garnishes. Bookings can be made via their website.

From vineyard to forest, the shift down south to Redgate Forest Retreat in Witchcliffe shows a different side of the region. It’s a little quieter here. This is a rural residential landscape framed by tall trees and defined by a quiet out-of-town vibe that attracts locals and visitors happy to slow the pace. The town of Witchcliffe possesses its special appeal: the single main street is a collection of great eating and retail curios. The Flying Wardrobe is the best kind of country vintage store curated by a local with an incisive eye. The Margaret River Candle Company is another fabulous opportunity for a regional take-home memento, and Redgate Beach is just around the corner – the standard Margaret River Region “10-15 minute drive” – and well worth a look no matter the weather. It’s relatively untouched and quintessentially rocky but still provides refuge for families keen to swim.

Venture slightly south of Witchcliffe to Arlewood Estate, where you can linger over a wine tasting paired with specially designed chocolate from Temper Temper (bookings are recommended). This is a family affair, with deep connections to Northern Italy which is reflected in the wines they produce.

If there is some afternoon to spare, make the move a little further south on Caves Road with a drive to the Boranup Karri Forest. If you have more time to spare, head down to Augusta for an afternoon coffee at The Colourpatch Cafe & Bar, or stop by at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (where they also serve coffee at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Cafe) and experience where two mighty oceans meet.

For dinner, head back up to Margs town. You’ve got numerous options for night-time dining in Margaret River. What’ll it be: pizza, pub fare or modern Japanese?

All About Margaret River Tours

It’s almost the end of the week, which seems like the right time to let someone else make the decisions. All About Margaret River is a local owner-operated tour company offering both set and personalised tour itineraries, with a focus on showcasing the local, the boutique, and the family-owned. Group tours are kept small here with a maximum of eleven people, and private tours can be arranged upon enquiry. It wouldn’t be a regional tour if wineries and lunches weren’t included, but the rest is negotiable and activity options are diverse. Maybe the kids need a day exploring remote beaches or scenic countryside. Perhaps the awe of whale watching followed by a lighthouse tour is just what the doctor ordered. Cave hiking and kangaroo spotting. Farmstay morning teas, and cheese, coffee and chocolate experiences. You get the picture. Whatever the decision, there’s not a second on tour when guests won’t feel indulged and stimulated.

For a little extra indulgence, take in the region’s highlights by helicopter. Customised tours by Scenic Helicopters for up to three passengers depart from Margaret River Airport and will show you our region’s iconic beaches, wineries and landmarks from a whole new perspective. Jackson’s tours cover a great range of preferences and interests, but a full-day winery tour is one of our favourites.

If you’re out all day, chances are you’ll be looking to stay in for dinner. Be sure to stock up on local goods throughout the day so you have plenty to snack on in the evening.

Eagles Heritage Credit Tim Campbell

Designated as one of the world’s few remaining biodiversity hotspots, understanding a little more about the fauna of the Margaret River Region is a fun way to connect more deeply with the landscape. Just five minutes’ drive from the centre of the Margaret River township, Eagles Heritage originated as a home for disabled and displaced birds of prey and owls. Since opening to the public, it’s become a place to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. Display times occur at 11am and 1.30pm daily, weather permitting.

For lunch, Xanadu Wines is almost literally just across the road, with world-class food and opportunities for tastings. Or, a little further south down Boodjidup Road and along Stevens Road, Leeuwin Estate and Voyager Estate wineries sit almost side by side. Both offer degustation lunches that reflect the colours and flavours of the season, cellar door tastings, and large grounds to explore, plus a big slice of the region’s winemaking history.

Stay up to date with the ever-evolving regional art scene and visit Cowaramup’s newly opened Ian Daniell Art Studio & Gallery displaying life-size ocean art by the iconic local artist or REDSEA Gallery in Margaret River.

For dinner, try one of Margaret River’s newest culinary additions, situated right on its main street. The new 35-seat restaurant de’sendent was born from the passion and vision behind Arimia Estate, which built a strong reputation for its unwavering dedication to growing and sourcing high-quality, local, organic produce from suppliers. Expect high-end West Australian ingredients including abalone, full-blooded Waygu beef, marron and uni (sea urchin), sourced from passionate, small-batch suppliers.

Margaret River Organic Garden Trail

Your last morning in the region might entail a beach visit and breakfast, but one last visit to Margaret River town itself is necessary before heading home or moving on. Your last stop is the Margaret River Organic Garden, a community space that sits between the local TAFE and high school on Bussell Highway. The Organic Garden is a beautifully designed and intimate series of seven organic, biodynamic and permaculture garden “rooms” featuring whimsical artworks and plenty of green-thumb inspiration, with a trail running through that shares the story with visitors. The story is one of a community that cares for its environment and for each other. A café on site is a lovely idle for coffee and cake when open. It’s a tranquil space that’s sure to put you in good, peaceful stead for the drive onward.