Hasn’t 2020 just been a ride? Are you feeling like it’s time to shake things up a bit? Luckily the Margaret River Region hasn’t been sleeping on the job. With cold bevvies, luxury vinous indulgences, tantalizing venue openings & some super adventurous ways to explore every corner of the Cape-to-Cape area, this summer will feel like whole new holiday.
Here’s a round-up of incredible new experiences you need to try this summer.
Head out on an aquatic adventure with Dunsborough Jetski Tours.
Dunsborough Jetski Tours
Those prevailing southerly winds in summer mean that Geographe Bay can be as tranquil as a bathtub – & these are the days we LIVE for. Dunsborough Jetski Tours is the only biz of its kind operating in the South West, exploring the clear lagoon-like waters of the Meelup Regional Park Coastline (who needs the Maldives, actually?). Scout for sea lions, whales & dolphins over a one or two-hour tour, no matter your level of jetski experience. No licence is required & many guests have never straddled a jetski prior to settling atop these Yamaha 2015 VX WaveRunners.
Adventure Works WA
Tours like these will have you out of your loungewear uniform in no time. Adventure Works WA has operated for over 20 years around the State, but is now offering South West adventures from Dunsborough & Yallingup. Swim, snorkel, fish or relax on the beach with a kayak tour; or make it luxe on the Champagne & Sunset version. Their Brew & Vine cycle tours allow you to “picnic, paddle & pedal” your way around wineries. The company specializes in workplace teambuilding, celebrations & larger groups so it might be one to bring the aunts, uncles & cousins along, to shake that post-Christmas pud stupor.
Easy Ride Tours
These guys have landed on that happy medium between a swanky wine tour & intrepid mountain biking: e-bikes! Jodie & David take care of (most) of the hard work for you, as qualified mountain bike instructors with serious insider wine knowledge. Easy Ride Tours is an intimate option, with a maximum of 5 people setting off on the electric pedal-assist bikes. Take in that glorious nature – away from traffic – along the banks of the Margaret River, farm pasture, native bush & vineyards on mostly flat gravel trails. The route hits Margaret River Brewhouse, Stella Bella Wines & Arlewood Estate where a gourmet lunch platter awaits.
Hop on board the newest sailing experience with Willie Cruises. Photo: Tim Campbell.
Willie Pearl Lugger Cruises
Oh the romance of cruising the tranquil waters of Geographe Bay by the strength of the wind, a full, hearty main sail & the comforting feeling of timber on one of the last operating pearl luggers in Australia. ‘Willie’, the famous Broome vessel, heads south for the summer (lucky us!) giving passengers a taste of a traditional gaff-rigged sailing vessel. The sails are heaved up manually for that taste of a bygone era. Willie Pearl Lugger Cruises has two options available; the Busselton Jetty morning sail or the Dunsborough Eagle Bay afternoon sail. Both include return coach transfers, morning tea or canapés respectively, ample comfortable seating & extra beverages (with or without alcohol) & snacks available to purchase on board.
Devahiti Yoga & Bodywork
By now, some wellness & self-care is well & truly called for (especially if you’ve ticked off all these activities of adventure & indulgence). Instructor Mandy Lancellas is running daily ‘Yoga by the Sea’ sessions in December & January on the grass at the Dunsborough foreshore. She also runs classes from community spaces in Dunsborough & Eagle Bay with magnificent ocean views. For more one-on-one attention, Devahiti Yoga & Bodywork takes private sessions.
Sample the new biodynamic tasting plate at Cullen Wines.
Cullen Wines’ new Biodynamic Wine Room is the culmination of its namesake family honing their environmentally-kind practices since 1971. With the space refreshed & rebranded, you can immerse yourself in the businesses’ 100% certified biodynamic, carbon positive and naturally-powered philosophy with seated wine tastings, food & wine matching or a self-guided tour of the biodynamic spiral garden. Four seated tasting experiences, ranging from $15 – $75, take you from the introductory to a full-blown vertical tasting of Cullen’s flagship Diana Madeline & Kevin John wines. The kitchen is turning out a four-course set menu (or more casually, shared tasting plates) with over 90% of the fruit & veg sourced from the biodynamic kitchen garden. Chef Antoine Deunff has been at Cullens for four years, hailing from Bordeaux & cutting his teeth in the Perth culinary scene alongside Julian Mann & Russell Blaikie.
Now is the perfect time to add cheese-maker to your repertoire, if you are one of the mad-keen home cooks that this year’s lockdown churned out (pun intended). Learn how to make ricotta at Windows Estate on January 2, or haloumi on January 25. You’ll get to sample a range of cheeses before trying your hand at it yourself, with enough cheese left over to eat & take home. Other ways to experience the Estate include wine & cheese pairings, organic farm & vineyard tours, or enjoying your own private picnic set-up on the grounds.
Outdoor wine tastings, in time for summer? It’s a big yes from us. Happs rivals most wineries with its self-described “atypically large selection of over 40 wines”, but in a truly exciting first, the team has started self-guided outdoor tastings on its scenic grounds. After a concierge’s welcome, your hosts will pour a taste of bubbles on arrival & talk through the new tasting set-up, as well as all the different ways to engage with Happs (including pottery, artists-in-residence & picnic hampers). Then it’s outside to the unconventional wine preservation system, where you will be guided on wines to try according to your preferences, how to pour the wine & given a booklet to remember it all down.
Meet the new kid on the block – Lagoon Yallingup.
Sip & Dine
Bungalow Neighbourhood Social
Tucked away in Dunsborough’s town centre, this venue is everything that its cheeky name would suggest, right down to the breeze block retro surfer fit-out & vintage furniture. Open for lunch & dinner, Bungalow will fast become a summer favourite with its selection of natural wines & sourdough woodfired pizzas.
If you think it’s high time to drink cocktails overlooking Yallingup’s foreshore, this opening is for you. Newly purchased & renovated by a local couple in the old Shaana Café venue, Lagoon Yallingup is currently trading as a beach kiosk, with its transformation into a two-storey bar & restaurant slated for completion in December. Ben Jacob has worked Gordon Ramsey’s London kitchens & at Wise Winery closer to home, & is proposing a white, relaxed, beachy vibe with an elite food offering. It’s the newest experience to try in Yallingup.
Shelter Brewing Co
A brewery & the Busselton foreshore were always going to be a match made in frothy heaven. Two fourth-generation local families thought so too, & they are the masterminds behind this venture (including a sour beer brewed with actual sea water). The impressively open & lofty Main Hall is where it’s at, with four beers on tap & a fresh local food menu. The buzzing open kitchen shows off a bright yellow Marana Forni pizza oven imported from Italy. Adding to the hubbub is the beer brewed on site, with brewery tours being fine-tuned for mid-December.
Dune Distilling Co
Gin just screams summer. Big deal: Dune Distilling Co has launched a limited edition Rhubarb & Hibiscus gin, on the back of winning one of only two gold medals awarded for gin at the 2020 Perth Royal Show Distilled Spirits Awards. As part of the larger wine, beer & gin stable, Dune Distilling Co’s beverages will be available to taste at the Black Brewing Co Cellar Door on Caves Road. The Rhubarb & Hibiscus gin’s label features new work by Rina Bhabra, who took out Dune Distilling Co’s emerging artist competition.
Shelter Brewing Co now open for business at Busselton Foreshore.
Old World Nostalgia
Take a step back in time and explore the maritime history of Busselton. The Busselton Museum re-opens to the public on the 19th December after the heritage listed building was damaged by fire in 2018. History buffs can discover the unique heritage of the region with over 10 display rooms packed with photographs and memorabilia from the bygone days.
Need a driver?
Gran Via Tours & Transfers
We wouldn’t blame you if all that adventuring, fresh air & sunshine called for a day of serious opulence. Because, balance! Driver & professional tour guide Andee’s brand new luxury Toyota Gran Via has 7 individual leather guest seats that look like loungers, each with USB charging to keep your Insta game on point (#hashtag Margaret River!). His resumé includes travel director stints in Europe & Russia. Throw in aircon, tinted windows & the highest vehicle safety rating & you can relax that the logistics are taken care of as you choose the length & destination of your tour.
4.9 From $160
Dunsborough Jetski ToursMonday - Sunday: 8:00 AM until 5:00 PMGreat For: Adrenalin Activities,Fishing & Boating,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scenic Spot,Sunny Day
371 Geographe Bay Rd, Quindalup WA 6281
Willie Pearl Lugger CruisesMonday - Sunday: 9:00 AM until 5:00 PMGreat For: Fishing & Boating,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scenic Spot
18 Hopton St, Broome WA 6725
Devahiti Yoga & BodyworkGreat For: Gym, Yoga & Pilates,Workshops & Classes
AdventureWorks WAGreat For: Adrenalin Activities,Mountain Biking & Road Cycling,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Stand Up Paddling & Canoeing,Sunny Day,Walking & Hiking
90A Commonage Road, Dunsborough WA 6281
Easy Ride ToursTours currently run Friday to Sunday.Great For: Adrenalin Activities,Mountain Biking & Road Cycling,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scenic Spot
Gran Via Tours & Transfers
Cullen Wines & RestaurantMonday - Sunday: 10:00 AM until 4:30 PMGreat For: Cellar Sales,Child Friendly,Dine In,Disabled Access,Dog Friendly,Seated Tastings,Vegan Wines
4323 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup WA 6280
Black Brewing Co7 days 11am - 5pm Kitchen open 12pm - 4pmGreat For: Cellar Sales,Child Friendly,Disabled Access,Dog Friendly,Fireplace,Indoor Play Area,Outdoor Playground,Rainy Day,Seated Tastings,Sunny Day,Vegan Beer
3517 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup WA 6280
Windows Estate10am to 5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.Great For: Cellar Sales,Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Fireplace,Grazing Platters & Hampers,Indoor Play Area,Outdoor Playground,Picnic Spot,Seated Tastings
4 Quininup Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Happs WinesMonday - Sunday: 10:00 AM until 5:00 PMGreat For: Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Grazing Platters & Hampers,Indoor Play Area,Outdoor Playground,Seated Tastings,Takeaway
575 Commonage Rd, Quindalup WA 6281
Busselton Museum in the Heritage Butter FactoryBusselton Museum is open to the public Wednesday to Monday from 10 am - 4 pm, closed Tuesdays.Great For: Child Friendly,Picnic Spot,Rainy Day,Sunny Day,Temporarily Closed,Wildflower Spotting
Old Butter Factory Complex, Peel Terrace, Busselton WA 6280
Busselton ForeshoreOpen 24 HoursGreat For: BBQ,Child Friendly,Children's Attraction,Dog Friendly,Free,Outdoor Playground,Picnic Spot,Scenic Spot,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Stand Up Paddling & Canoeing,Swimming
Foreshore Parade, Busselton WA 6280
Shelter Brewing Co.7 days a week, 10am-10pm and from 7am for Coffee & Bagels.Great For: Child Friendly,Dine In,Dog Friendly,WiFi
11 Foreshore Parade, Busselton WA 6280
Lagoon YallingupKiosk Monday - Tuesday 7:00 - 12:00 Wednesday - Sunday 7:00 - 15:00 Restaurant Wednesday - Sunday 8:00 - 15:00 Saturday - Open for dinner until late
Unit 2/6 Dawson Dr, Yallingup WA 6282