The Southern Backroads offer what many locals might label as hidden gems. With a geography that traverses fertile farmland, Karri forests, and family-run wineries, the backroads offer an intensely diverse and uncrowded view of Margaret River.
Immediately, you will get a sense of the region’s history. Through Rosabrook you will find Darnell’s General Store. Built in 1932, the one-stop-shop is a well-preserved time capsule, complete with an old-fashioned petrol pump (where friendly staff will fuel your car!). Down the road, Jester’s Flat Equestrian is similarly nostalgic. The interior vintage décor of the weatherboard cottages, open fire, and wrap around veranda feels like you have stepped onto a film-set.
People around these parts are known for their creativity and The Southern Backroads is where you will discover their knack for innovation. Enjoy biodynamic, minimal intervention wine at McHenry Hohnen Vintners or learn about the world of coffee at Yahava Koffeeworks. Discover contemporary jewellery at Payet Gallery, and then stop by Mr Barval Wines which holds regular exhibitions with an indigenous focus. Further south, Si Vintners has an on-site sculptor whose life-sized whale sculpture sits in the garden opposite the cellar door. And at Arlewood Estate – the Italian influence of the family operation is strong, with their bespoke chocolate and wine-pairing experience an intimate indulgence.
Ultimately, the Southern Backroads tells a story. A story of the region’s original timber and dairy settlements, the beginnings of family farming and winemaking, then the arrival of artists, and innovators. This blend of galleries, eateries and wineries in an abundant natural setting is rather captivating.
It can almost be guaranteed that you will discover a coffee that not only captures your taste buds but also your heart. Yahava KoffeeWorks is a playground for grown-ups and the theme is coffee.
Yahava imports coffees and teas from all over the world and at a KoffeeWorks you will discover just how different coffees can be. Learn all the different ways to brew coffee and, of course, also see coffee being roasted fresh each day.
Stella Bella Wines
With a charming little cellar door located just minutes from Margaret River, Stella Bella is your ideal starting point on the trail. Capturing the essence of southern Margaret River, Stella Bella rates amongst the best wineries in Australia with several unique ranges of wines crafted from their five vineyards dotted throughout the southern part of the region.
Step back in time at this historic general store established in 1932. For a peek into history, visit this traditional country general store with its quaint rustic shop front. A one-stop shop that features a grocery store, fuel station, Post Office as well as wholesome home-made meals and preserves.
Brown Hill Estate
Brown Hill’s cellar door sits at the heart of their boutique winery and is operated by friendly members of this family-owned estate. The vineyard tasting room is pure small town Margaret River Region; a jarrah slab resting on a couple of oak barrels in the vineyard’s working winery. Traditional boutique winemaking is seen in the hand-picking and hand-sorting of the single estate grown fruit to ensure control over quality and character.
Jesters Flat provides horse riding activities for all levels of ability from the absolute beginner to the seasoned eventer. The charming clubhouse and surrounds are perfect for those relaxing while their fellow travellers head off for a horse riding adventure. Owned and operated by locals with in-depth knowledge of the history and natural environment of the area.
A tree changer owned small vineyard and cellar door in Rosa Glen producing medal winning wines from 40 year old vines. The cellar door is set amongst the trees and offers close views of the vines and local bird life. Firetail’s distinctive premium wines include Sparkling Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Dessert Wine. These medal winning wines are only available at the cellar door or via their website.
The Berry Farm
The Berry Farm operates one of the oldest restaurants in the region and specialises in fruit and berry wines, liqueur style wines, fortified wines, sparkling wines, and ciders. It is an operating horticultural farm that has an extensive avocado orchard, blueberries, raspberries, quince, stone fruit and figs. The family owned and operated winery and restaurant was a pioneer in the production of vinegars, chutneys, sauces, dressings, and jams in the Margaret River region which are all available from their cellar door.
Si Vintners is about natural farming. Husband and wife team Sarah and Iwo both work on the vineyard and make the wines. This is chemical free farming, using biodynamic principles and minimal intervention wine making. With experience drawn from many overseas vintages and their wine project in Spain, the couple are passionate about the vineyard and the wines they make and visitors have the opportunity to see both vineyard and winery processes.
A cosy 10- seater cellar door with offerings of seasonal local chocolates paired with Italian inspired decadent wines. Enjoy views of the working sheep farm whilst sipping on wines by the firepit during winter or on the deck in summertime.
Drawing on his extensive experience in both Margaret River and Barolo (Italy) winemaker and owner Rob Gherardi employs an ultra-traditional wine-making model, aiming to produce wines utilising old world vineyard and winemaking techniques. Visitors can relax and enjoy a flight of fine wines in a stunning cellar door and art gallery, or outside in the sun, overlooking the Calgardup Brook and forest. Bring your own picnic or choose from a selection of local artisan cheeses and produce. Mr Barval is dog-friendly.
The Payet brothers, Francois & Nicholas, have been handcrafting jewellery for over 30 years, drawing inspiration from the minute detail of organic hidden treasures found within their natural surroundings and the energy of the Margaret River Region. Beautifully crafted, sophisticated yet simple designs accentuate the use of sparkling gemstones and luscious pearls all created at their purpose-built working studio. A viewing window within the gallery allows you to watch the brothers at work. A beautiful selection of ceramics and outdoor sculptures are also on display.
Eagles Heritage is a bushland sanctuary that offers the rare opportunity to get closer than you ever imagined to Australia’s birds of Prey. Stop by for one of the twice-daily Birds of Prey Encounters, a compelling experience that allows you to observe the bird’s natural behaviours and have your photograph taken with a barn owl. Take an easy hike down one of the native forest trails to meet the resident eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls. Eagles Heritage cares for injured, orphaned and displaced raptors and the admission price supports the centre’s education, rehabilitation and endangered species breeding program
A Maze’n offers guests one of Margaret River’s most unique experiences – the largest hedge maze in Australia – two kilometres of paths with three-metre high walls. The maze, planted nearly 30 years ago by the current owners is set on 5 ha of landscaped gardens.
Also offering a challenging 18-hole mini golf course, BBQ’s, picnic grounds and play areas. They have a cafe to rest and relax between activities.
McHenry Hohnen Vintners
McHenry Hohnen have been growing grapes in the Margaret River wine region since the 1990s. From the start, there has been a commitment to best practice viticulture that nurtured the land while growing regionally specific fruit with character and personality.
In 2021 the winery opened a ‘pop up’ tasting room in Witchcliffe. The historic and colourful town has always been part of the McHenry Hohnen story. Now visitors and locals alike can slow down and taste some of the wines that make this area just south of Margaret River so unique and special.