Contos Beach Photo Credit Tim Campbell

7 Days of Spring in the Margaret River Region

Spring offers the full gamut of experience in the Margaret River Region.  Longer, warmer days are perfect for getting outdoors and basking in the sunshine, and there’s no need to sacrifice the cosy pleasures of winter on those chilly nights around a log fire.

Whoever you’re with and whatever you’re into, this seven day itinerary is about helping you find the best that spring brings to the region: whether it’s some kind of hair-raising adventure, an indulgent fresh food and wine odyssey, or just simply getting back to nature.

Aerial shot of Busselton Jetty. Credit Ryan Murphy

Settle in to your beachfront accommodation at the Mandalay Resort in Busselton.  Whether you’re towing the caravan, camping, or ready to indulge in luxury, there is something for everyone here with camping and caravan park facilities, chalets, cabins, and all the facilities of a four-and-a-half-star resort.

Let the kids roam around the four giant playgrounds or play in one of the three pools, while you slip into holiday mode in the heated indoor jacuzzi.

Treat yourself to a movie night or an easy dinner with one of Mandalay’s regular food vendors.  Or, take a walk or cast a line along the sprawling beaches of Geographe Bay right out front.

You could always venture up into Busselton and take a walk along the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, or soak up the local flavours and enjoy some of WA’s finest fish and chips fresh on the foreshore.

Whale Watching Margaret River Region

Watch the sun rise over Geographe Bay and the city of Busselton, or treat yourself to an extra-long lie in.  You are on holidays, after all.

Way off in the western distance you’ll see the tip of Cape Naturaliste, the northern-most point of the 100km-long Leeuwin Ridge.  Around the other side, the sheltered waters of Geographe Bay meet the wild Indian Ocean, and at this time of year it’s a whale super-highway.

Take a trip out into the deep blue with Naturaliste Charters.  You won’t need to bring binoculars; this vessel will be taking you up close and personal with the world’s biggest mammals.

Back on land, take a trip into Dunsborough and browse the boutique shops, or cook up a barbeque on the foreshore down at the Old Dunsborough boat ramp.  If eating out is your thing, you’re spoilt for choice here: night time dining in Dunsborough is a veritable smorgasbord of options.

Wild Hop Brewing Co

Now you’re settled into holiday mode and getting a feel for the place, it’s time to venture a little further afield.

Take a trip down to one of the most popular breweries in town, Wild Hop. With a great respect for the circular food philosophy, Wild Hop Brewing Co shares seasonally inspired craft beers and rustic, farm to table share style food. An excellent nature playground makes the trip worthwhile if you have kids, as they’ll be entertained for hours while you sit, sip and admire the view. Views on the deck overlook the Gunyalgup valley and to the vineyards beyond, perfect for spring weather. Wild Hop are family friendly, pet friendly and open seven days of the week – making the visit an easy choice. Bookings are recommended.

If you are looking for more experiences after leaving Wild Hop, there is plenty to do in this neck of the woods. Commonage Coffee Co, Skigh Wine, Aravina Estate and Deep Woods Estate, as well as Yallingup Cheese are all a short scenic drive from the brewery.

You’ll leave with a renewed appreciation about the land you are travelling on, if you book into a tour with Wadandi Cultural Custodian, Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming. His Ngilgi Cave Cultural Tour is educational and interesting, as you learn about traditional plants, foods and medicines. Be amazed as he demonstrates the art of creating fire without matches, and then head underground for a didgeridoo performance inside the cave.

Eight Willows Retreat Deck

Pack your bags and get ready to move down to Margaret River.  It might only be fifty kilometres from Busselton, but it’s a totally different world down here, with tall forests and an alternative, earthy sort of vibe.

Settle in to your new home among the trees at Eight Willows Retreat. This is purpose-built accommodation allowing you to retreat from the everyday. Set upon 75 acres of land with 24 luxurious chalets and only 15-20 minutes from the Margaret River townsite, Eight Willows is all about environmental entertainment. Farm-stay facilities including fresh eggs from resident chickens, hand fed joeys around the property, trout fish feeding for guests to experience, and a variety of fruit trees make it the perfect spring getaway.

It’s just a fifteen-minute drive from Gracetown, where you’ll find one of the region’s premier surf breaks at North Point, and a family-friendly swimming beach in the bay. Hiking tracks along the Cape to Cape boast stunning wildflowers at this time of year. Stop in at Just In Time Gourmet for supplies on the way, a veritable one-stop shop of delicious olive oils, relishes, crackers, chocolate… there’s definitely something for every kind of foodie, and the knowledgeable staff will help you to taste your way through the range and depart with a perfect picnic.

Alternatively families will also love the well-appointed cottages at Margaret River Hideaway & Farmstay. Located just a little north of Margaret River township, the fresh country air and wholesome vibes is the perfect tonic for any city-life stresses. Kids of all ages will love tagging along with Farmer Andrew as he makes his way around the animals at breakfast time, introducing them to alpacas, emus, Scottish Highlander cows, Dorper sheep, chickens and other winged friends. Well behaved dogs are also welcome.

Margaret River Farmers Market

The majestic river which lends its name to the township, Margaret River, is a hidden gem that visitors often miss entirely. To share the secret though, is Margaret River Discovery Tours business owner Sean Blocksidge. Even for those who typically ‘don’t do tours’ – this really is a bucket-list experience for travellers in spring. Sean kicks off the day with a canoe down the Margaret River – an experience only the locals know about, followed by a coffee and a surf check at Margaret River Mainbreak, lunch at world class winery Fraser Gallop (with exclusive vineyard access), and then a 4WD experience to the Wilyabrup cliffs, where you do a section of the famed Cape to Cape. Springtime offers an abundance of animal encounters on the hike, with regular kangaroo spotting, whales migrating along the coast – and of course bird life attracted to the blooming wildflowers.

If you’re in town on a Saturday morning, be sure to check out the Margaret River Farmer’s Market.  Spring is an especially productive season for fresh produce, and you’re likely to find some of the finest veg you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.  In spring expect cabbages, broccolis, cauliflowers, carrots, peas, beans, onions, pumpkins, potatoes, the list goes on.  It all makes for a great home-cooked meal in your bush-bound home away from home.

This morning beeline straight to whole-family-fun at A maze’n. A picturesque spot on the edge of Margaret River’s townsite, this place has a giant, 24-year-old hedge maze, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and beautiful landscaped gardens complete with butterflies and giant chess boards.

While the setting itself is beautiful enough, it’s more about the top-end entertainment you’re receiving here. It’s spring, so a game of spotto on the Western Australian native plants is in order, as is the testing of the familial skills at the mazes, outdoor games and puzzles. Then, park up at the café – there’s a verandah overlooking a lake – or, bring a picnic along and unravel afternoon tea on one of the shaded picnic tables in the garden.

From here, you can continue the appreciation for nature and head south – spending the afternoon immersed in the surrounds of the staggering Boranup Karri Forest.

For the full country experience, finish the day with dinner at the Karridale Tavern. It’s the classic watering hole for this old timber town, where the outdoor tables are made from huge jarrah stumps, and the Bronze Whaler shark burger is a local special.

Main Beach Margaret River Sunset - Surfers Point

Spend your last day exploring a family-owned and operated winery. Brown Hill Estate is located in Rosa Brook – south east of Margaret River’s town centre. Rosa Brook is full of quaint farm cottages and rolling green pastures and the drive out that way in spring always reveals plenty of wildflowers. In the cellar door, you’ll be exposed to the knowledge of Margaret River vintages, vineyards and processes around harvesting and picking.

Recommended is the Brown Hill Winemaker’s Walk. The tour takes around 1-2 hours and will give you a personal meet and greet with winemaker Angus Pattullo. Angus will take you for a wander around the estate’s vineyard and into the barrel hall to taste a range of premium wines. Bookings are essential.

On your way back, don’t forget to stop in at Witchcliffe, a quaint little town filled with quirky stores and some excellent cellar doors.

A good place to end the day might be Surfer’s Point in Margaret River. Sprawled out on the grass with a picnic blanket, and watching the sunset – it’s the perfect place to sit, reflect, and appreciate. Life is good.