The Indelible Buzz of Margaret River’s Main Street

 

The Indelible Buzz of Margaret River's Main Street

The main street prides itself on constant renewal and reinvention. There is almost always something new to discover

Visitors to Margaret River are often surprised upon arriving in destination. There is so much that is written about the town’s world class surfing beaches and limestone capes that it can be a bit gob-smacking to find that the bustling town centre sits roughly 8km from the coastline. But Margaret River’s main street never disappoints. There is an indelible buzz to the town centre, with a mix of artisan stores and galleries, public street art, diverse drinking and dining options, and a good selection of boutique shops. The main street prides itself on constant renewal and reinvention. There is almost always something new to discover. So whether you are visiting for the first time, or coming back to the region – think beyond the beaches and the wineries, and remember that the awe and enchantment of the main street should always be a staple on the itinerary.

Margaret River’s main street is currently undergoing a makeover and the locals have implored you to still get a coffee, browse the shops, and dine at the pub. Despite the site works – everyone is still open for business. The Augusta Margaret River Shire and local creatives at Mixtape Creative and Farmhouse Films have produced a video in response to the current site works and the result is decidedly ‘Margaret River’ in delivery – personable, well-articulated and with the right amount of humour. The Main Street Makeover will wrap up in December 2020. Details on parking off the main street can be found here. 

Cafe Cruising

Margaret River’s dedication to a good flat white is as good as most Australian towns, but it’s also fair to say that the use of local roasters, soy, almond, or oat milks, and eco-friendly take away cups – might be a step ahead in the trends.

Sidekick Cafe: Great coffee, excellent service, and a simple menu make Sidekick an obvious choice for your morning start. The jalapeno and cream cheese bagel will satisfy any hunger pangs.

Riversmith: Looking to linger with your morning coffee? Riversmith has room to spread out, a varied menu, and a small shop offering quality house wares and books at the back of the store. Owner Karen McDonald sources her books carefully, having been the brains behind the original Book Café’s in Perth. Culture vultures will appreciate a browse.

Egberts: Positioned just off the main street on Fearn Avenue, is Egberts. Great for a takeaway flat white or a quick croissant and coffee, Egberts has welcoming staff, home-made bakery treats, and an inspiring mural of flamingos wrapping the back walls. You’ll leave content.

The Bakery: Nick-named ‘The Babe-ery’ by locals for the young surfie, dewy-skinned staff who serve, The Bakery is a Margaret River institution and needs little marketing to keep customers coming back. A good blend of healthy sandwich options, and perfectly presented sweet-tooth treats, this is the place to go if food is on the agenda.

The Hairy Marron: The Hairy Marron is bike-hire meets cafe. Positioned right on the rails to trails at the bottom of town, this is a picturesque hidden gem, where you can grab a coffee, hire a bike, and spend the morning discovering Margaret River’s tracks, trails and majestic river.

Drift Cafe: Another hidden gem just off the main street on Willmott Avenue, is Drift Cafe. Expect comfort food using local ingredients and a casual atmosphere. Fun fact – the cafe is housed in what used to be the town library!

Restaurants

Along the Margaret River main street it seems you are never more than a few metres from a great meal.

Miki’s Open Kitchen: Miki is a bit of a local legend and dining at Miki’s is a bucket list experience in itself. Miki clearly cares about ingredients and presentation when it comes to food, and ordering ‘Miki’s Trust’ – a selection of surprise dishes curated by Miki himself is advisable. These are superlative meals. Bookings are essential, and every dollar is money well spent.

Little Italy (Restaurants La Scapetta & Pizzica): You’ll think you’ve entered a medieval Tuscan village when you step into the underground pizza bar and restaurant Pizzica. Run by Italians, the food is traditional and simple – with generous, mouth watering servings. The wine list offers both local Margaret River flavours, and selections from the Italian cellar. Above Pizzica, is La Scarpetta – perhaps an option for couples or a more intimate longer dinner. Seasonal produce such as truffles and chestnuts come in and out of the menu, as well as true Italian buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) and olive oils.

Morries: Always on trend with the menu, cocktails, and wine list, Morries can be a good option for a bit of tapas and a drink, or a special occasion dinner. Classic furnishings, mural artwork, and honed hospitality make Morries a good go-to.

Arc of Iris: Another one of Margaret River’s older institutions, ‘The Arc’ as locals call it, has been the place where winemakers have come to gather and chat about varietals and vintages, and have found themselves to become part of the furniture. The Arc of Iris has a comfortable feel. Abundance comes by the way of food, service, and wine. The atmospheric nature of the restaurant a further value add with the newly renovated bar section.

Swings Taphouse: Wine on tap? It’s a thing, and it’s what to expect here at Swings. Grab a casual carafe of chardonnay or rose, a spot by the fire or on the alfresco porch under the vines, and feel as if you are appreciating a quality wine region from the town’s central hub. Perfect for tapas and a vino or for booking a longer meal.

People dining at a pub

Pub Fare

Sometimes it’s just a burger and fries washed down with a pint and a big group of friends that makes a night out worthwhile. To quote Dennis Denuto from a piece of quintessential Australian cinema – The Castle “It’s just the vibe.” And that is what makes a great pub. I rest my case.

Settler’s Tavern: Holiday’s are often about plonking yourself down at the local tavern and watching the people go by. Settler’s is the perfect place for people watching with a pint. The menu offers great kid’s selections, gluten free options, and vegetarian dishes as well as good sized pub food using local produce. With a list of accolades including number one in the “Top 50 Places to Drink Wine in Australia’ – the Tav ticks more than a few boxes.

The Margaret River Hotel: Pictures of Margaret River’s main street from the 1940s and 50s show very few buildings, open paddocks leading out of town, old Holden’s and Renaults, and – The Margaret River Hotel. The Hotel was set up in the 1930s when the town centre was little more than a dirt road and a few weatherboard shops – but with a good pub, comes a community. The Margaret River Hotel offers a restaurant, and more casual bar known as ‘The Corner Bar’. Another great spot to take a breather from an afternoon of window shopping. Note The Margaret River Hotel’s restaurant is temporarily closed but regular food van collaboratives are allowing patrons to dine in.

Burger Baby: Burger Baby is a contemporary Gastro-pub type venture, with mismatched couches, pool tables, games for the kids, and fireside seating in the cooler months. Owner Richard Maroney is casual and quirky. He’ll attempt to crack a few funnies no doubt with often a dead pan delivery which always adds to the experience. Richard’s dedication to the localism movement is strong – offering free range local beef, regional craft beer, and locally sourced produce in the vegan burgers. An excellent dining option for families or casual catch ups.

Window Shopping

Margaret River main street is a creative hub – its surf culture, thriving arts scene, and boutique boho stores encompassing the essence of what the town’s personality exudes. Which other regional town in Australia hosts contemporary arts festivals such as Emergence Creative, Strings Attached Guitar Festival, and Open Studios? Many of the region’s lauded creatives have also put their stamp on main street public artwork and contemporary businesses with a blend of regional and popular Australian brands.

JahRoc Gallery: Offering year round exhibitions from renowned national artists, JahRoc Gellery is devoted to an appreciation of contemporary Australian art. The gallery also has beautiful hand crafted furniture, made by owner and artist Gary Bennett.

Hillzees: You can’t visit one of Australia’s top surfing destinations without a jaunt to its signature surf shop. Hillzees has great quality wet suits, boards, boardies, bathers, togs, cosies (whatever you call them). It’s the place to get beach-prepped in a nutshell.

Marine & Co: The Boho scene has a bit of a stronghold within the Margaret River region, and Marine and Co is the local supplier of popular labels like Auguste, Tigerlily and Zulu and Zephyr. Quality knits, summer dresses, beach bags and denims. Also a good range of menswear.

Lloyds: Another ‘Margie’s’ institution, what started as a hardware store, Lloyd’s has expanded into a one stop shop for just about everything. All items have been carefully considered for their artistic value and offer form over function to some extent. Whether it’s kitchen wares, home décor, birthday cards, sun hats, or indoor plant pots – Lloyds is your place.

Margaret River Artisan Store: Looking to take home something uniquely Margaret River? This eclectic little shop next to IGA offers a range of products from the region’s creatives. Quality clothing, hand-dyed linen sheets, and featured artist pieces framed and ready to hang will give you something special to remember the holiday by.

Sportspower: Essential shopping for a holiday, particularly if you are a sports enthusiast. Grab a cricket bat, soccer ball, or tennis racquets and let the fun begin. There’s nothing like having a holiday with the family and adding a bit of friendly competition to the days activities. Sportspower has it all.

Don’t Miss

Public art and murals adorn the walls of Margaret River’s main street – but you have to search a little to find them. Look out for the new Ian Mutch, Jack Bromell, and Wadandi elder and artist Sandra Hill’s collaboration piece opposite The Urban Bean coffee shop (pictured above). Ian Mutch and Kyle Hughes-Odgers have a quirky little mural to the left of the Visitor’s Centre and before IGA entrance. And of course there is ‘Ziggy’ the nickname given to the historic wilderbeast (megafauna) on the town’s entrance – credit to artist Alan Meyburgh, who is the talent behind the sculpture.

Image Credit: Stuart McMillan 

This article was produced as a partnership between The Margaret River Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association

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Sophie Mathewson

Author Sophie Mathewson

Sophie has a background in producing content for television and digital media. After living and working across Europe, the US, Melbourne, and Perth, Sophie made the educated decision to settle in Margaret River. She is passionate about storytelling, and delivering content in new and unique formats. Business aside, Sophie has a bit of an odd weather obsession and appreciates witty people with excellent personalities.

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