Let's go to Witchcliffe
Just 10 minutes drive from Margaret River, Witchcliffe is looking bright-eyed of late thanks to some forward thinking creatives.
Just 10 minutes drive from Margaret River, the sleepy town of Witchcliffe is looking bright-eyed of late thanks to some forward-thinking newcomers, and an eco-village in the works.
Named by a nearby cave with an overhang that resembles a witch on a broomstick, Witchy, as the locals call it, was established in 1922 under the Group Settlement Scheme, a government initiative to open up the south west to agriculture by giving settlers access to loans and uncleared land.
Photographers will love the original timber buildings, including the blackened Druid Hall, and some of the hand-built sheds and ‘groupie’ houses that are a reminder of those who settled here almost a year ago.
Visitors and locals alike have welcomed the Yardbyrd cafe since it opened last year. Lured by the prospect of larger premises and no landlord, owner Robert Mayberry left his former cafe, Little Willy’s in Northbridge, to open up here with partner Nichole Dielsen. With vintage furniture, newspapers, magazines, and a herb-filled courtyard, it’s quickly established itself as an informal meeting place for locals. “Many of our customers meet here for the first time, and realise they are neighbours,” says Nichole. The blackboard menu includes fry-ups, apple bircher muesli, breakfast tortillas, rolls and salads, along with coffee made from milk from a local biodynamic farm.
Operating from a beautiful old gabled-roofed building, the open kitchen of Cookies Galore produces old-fashioned biscuits (with gluten free options), and homemade pies in flavours including pulled pork, Thai red curry, and red wine and mushrooms, all using locally sourced meat.
The Flying Wardrobe is a cavernous family-run vintage shop with friendly owners and promisingly well-stocked shelves. Along with an eclectic second-hand book collection, you’ll find Australiana – a May Gibbs knitwear pattern book, for example – vintage clothing, Danish crockery, utensils, jewellery, plants, and vinyl records, all at reasonable prices.
A little further along, Lime Beach Reloved stocks vintage homewares, rugs, upcycled furniture, and Mullum Moon Flower jewellery. And for the purists, there is even a Red Cross op shop just around the corner on Redcliffe Road.
If you’re looking for a locally made gift, Margaret River Candle Company sells handmade candles and local artwork, wooden tables, platters and candleholders handcrafted from oak wine barrels by Mike Jackson who owns the shop with his wife Kirsten.
The Whole Living Store was opened by Anna Dooley in December last year, and is the one-stop shop for anyone looking to reduce their plastic use, with a range of homewares including reusable bread and veggie bags from Perth brand Onya, waxed sandwich wraps, stainless steel straws and more. You’ll also find jarrah honey, heritage vegetables from Greenman, and Ethique skin care products.
Co-working space Hardware Creative is a hub for creative types including photographers, event managers and graphic designers, with regular pop-up events and night markets – keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Want to stay?
Construction is due to start on the eco-village later this year. This innovative development will be 100% self sufficient in water and power, and will include affordable housing, retirement homes and holiday houses, along with community gardens and a village square.More accommodation