Your summer bucket list

The ultimate list of must-dos for summer 2015

The sun is shining, the water is crystal clear, the Christmas trees are in bloom… this can only mean one thing; summer is officially here!

With weeks of beautiful weather and holiday adventures ahead of us, we asked our social media fans and locals in the know to help us put together the ultimate summer bucket list. We hope it provides all of the summer inspiration you could need, and please comment below to tell us if there’s something we’ve missed!

Nature & Attractions

1. Enjoy some serious beach time New!

Meelup Beach - Photo Elements Margaret RiverRelaxing on the region’s beaches was the top summer activity for most of the people we asked, and it’s no surprise; surrounded by three sides of water, our pristine coastline is like no other.

This summer, beach-goers will benefit from a brand new swimming enclosure just next to the Jetty at Busselton, and an extended car park with heaps more spaces at Meelup Beach – making it easier than ever to get to your favourite spot in the sand!

If you’re looking for accommodation near the beach, it’s going to be very busy up until the end of January, but following that availability begins to free up – see Amalfi Resort.

“The Rockpools have to be one of our favourite must-dos. Multiple generations here enjoying exploring this beautiful location.” – Justine Arrow, via Facebook

2. See the friendly Eagle Rays

At this popular family swimming beach, large friendly eagle rays swim close to shore and in summer the water is so clear that you can see every detail. You’ll even see people patting and feeding them. We highly recommend trying out this close encounter with local sea life!

We love this picture taken by Margaret River Discovery Tours – ‘the tour for people who don’t do tours!

3. End the day with this view


There so many spectacular spots to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean – our favourites include Sugarloaf Rock near Dunsborough, Yallingup Beach, Surfer’s Point in Prevelly and Cosy Corner at Augusta. Dusk is also a great time to see kangaroos gathering in the paddocks.

If you’d like to be shown the best spots, Nature’s Cape Tours does a great ‘Roo & Sunset’ tour around the Yallingup area.

“In the morning, climb through a cave or go for a swim – then explore the wines on a tour that starts in the afternoon and enjoy a yummy evening meal at the end the day.” Sabine from Taste of the South Winery & Brewery Tours

4. Cool off in a cave… New!

lake cave lake

We are blessed with consistently sunny days throughout summer in Your Margaret River Region, but it’s good to know that there are plenty of places to retreat to when you want to stay out of the midday sun. You couldn’t find a much more beautiful hideaway than one of the region’s caves, which remain cool throughout summer and are adorned with natural calcite crystals.

New for 2015 is the multiple cave pass, which gives you discounted rates on visiting two or more caves, or a cave in conjunction with a lighthouse.

5. … or seek shade in the forest New!

Boranup Forest

Julie-Anne Nielson got in touch via Facebook to tell us that a visit to Boranup Karri Forest, home to the third tallest tree species on earth, should have a sure place on the bucket list, saying:

“There is something very special about the Boranup forest… Like the Karri trees have a story to tell. To walk, mountain bike or camp here is a pleasure for the mind, body & soul.”

New in 2015, EcoAdventures Margaret River offers a very special way to see the Boranup Forest and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park – via a ride on the world’s first electric quad bikes!

The water, the land , the forests , the produce and the people just simply can’t be beaten!” – Tim Smith, via Facebook

Active & Adventure

6. Choose your vessel

becstar

For most people, summer is synonymous with crystal clear ocean that is constantly begging you to get in. Rebecca Richards told us via Twitter that she loves to kayak off Dunsborough (pic above).

For the most scenic and relaxing way to enjoy the coastline, try a summer cruise with Geographe Maritime Charters or Naturaliste Charters.

7. Catch one of these

fishing

Down South Camping‘s Roz got in touch to tell us that nothing says ‘lazy summer days’ like fishing at one of the beautiful spots across the region, and we couldn’t agree more! Roz said:

“This is a Spanish mackerel and it is caught over the summer on occasions down here. It is a schooling fish that comes down our way “from the north” when the waters are warm. It usually coincides with the Leeuwin current coming.  This one was speared by a free diver, however they can also be caught off boats.”

There are plenty of options if you’re looking to cast a line, whether you just need to hire some gear, have a lesson, or want to go out into the deeper waters on a fishing charter.

Hamelin bay is our place to camp. We come down to show the kids as much as we can. They love the deer farm!!! My favourite thing is driving through the amazing bush lands.” – Kylie Gollan, via Facebook

8. Watch the ‘Big Swim’

Jetty-Swim-8.2

The Busselton Jetty Swim comes of age on 14 February as it celebrates its 21st birthday. Registrations are open until 27 January (until sold out), so there’s still time to commit if you fancy making the 3.6km round-trip around the southern hemisphere’s longest timber piled jetty. If you’d prefer to watch and soak up the atmosphere, there is a great event programme to keep you entertained while you cheer on the swimmers.

“Having the beach so close that you take your girl, esky and some nibbles and just sit on the beach watching the waves roll in and slowly the sun sets on a cruisy sat or Sunday arvo and of course relaxing on the pontoon at gracetown after a nice swim out.” – Rhy Dornan, via Facebook

9. Do this. It’s awesome! New!

Tiger Moth Adventure Flights has recently started offering ‘aerobatic adventures’, which will see you looping, barreling and diving over Busselton.

This isn’t the only aero-adventure you can have in the region of course; Southern Skydivers and Scenic Helicopters also send you soaring into the sky for an unforgettable experience.

10. Learn to surf (n’ dirt) New!

surf-n-dirt

Die-hard surfers have been flocking to Your Margaret River Region for decades, and if you think it might be your turn to sample the region’s breaks, there’s no time like summer to learn.

New tour company Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours will not only provide you with a soft top surfboard, warm wetsuit and accredited surf coaching, they’ll also lay out lunch in the forest and take you to some of the region’s best wine, beer and gourmet food producers for tastings.

If you have a little one who’s keen to see what it’s like out there on a board, there are three local surf schools taking part in the ‘Surf Groms’ summer school.

Wine & Gourmet

11. Enjoy the best beach cafés New!

bunkers beach

Beach side dining reaches a new level in 2015, with a stunning new deck at Bunkers Beach Cafe, Dunsborough (pictured) and major refurbishments at the White Elephant Beach Café, Gnarabup. Enjoy a blissful brekkie or lunch in comfort, whilst listening to the sound of the ocean.

“Going for walks on the beach, then to the White Elephant enjoying the views, also walking along the trails in the forest – this place is my slice of heaven.” – Petra Renate Kaszanski, via Facebook

12. Beer + Food + Music = Heaven!

beer festival

Brewers and beer lovers will gather together at the Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton on 13 February to sample fine brews, great cuisine and groovy local beats. Enjoy the best of what the South West brewers have to offer, with more than 80 refreshing local brews, including an assortment of one-off and limited edition beers.

13. Put these in your picnic basket New!

cheeky monkey

Some of the summer’s best news includes the fact that you can now enjoy Cheeky Monkey’s beer and cider wherever you like, thanks to their new handy cans.

14. Visit the WA Wine Guide’s ‘Winery of the Year’

vasse felix

Flagship winery Vasse Felix has had a pretty good year. First there was the 5 red star James Halliday Australian Wine Companion rating, followed by accolades for ‘Winery of the Year’ and ‘White Wine of the Year’ in The West Australian Wine Guide 2016.

Alongside all this, Vasse Felix has also introduced a new tour called the ‘Cape to Vine Day Trip’ – a guided walking tour and in-depth food and wine experience- and has redesigned its restaurant to provide more of a balance between formal and communal dining options. If you’re visiting the region’s wineries this summer, make sure this one is on your list to visit!

Relaxing at the beach with a local wine in hand and watching the sunset! But to be fair there is just far too much to see and do to pick only one favourite thing!” – Kristie O’Bryan, via Facebook

15. Try the rosé everyone is talking about

DW-Estate-Rose-2015-NV-Large
With 2 gold medals and 2 trophies to its name, people are raving about the Estate Rosé from Deep Woods Estate, and it is a wonderful drop to try on a summer’s day. The tempranillo-shiraz blend is said to be “a delicate nuanced yet fully flavoured wine, with great character, fruit weight and palate length.”

Bottles of the Estate Rosé are apparently selling like hot cakes, but you should be able to pick one up for a great price from Cape Cellars, or even better, from the Deep Woods cellar door in Dunsborough, where you can take a seat on their comfy sofa and enjoy some beautiful vineyard views.

16.Taste the Deep South, on Metricup Road! New!

The Grove Experience is giving America’s Deep South a run for its money with their latest spirit releases. Their limited release, small batch ‘American Style Spirit’ (they’re not allowed to call it ‘Bourbon’!) and single malt whiskeys would be a great choice for a special Christmas tipple or to give as gifts.

17. Find the best Christmas and New Year celebrations

With the festive period being such a busy time for the region, you will probably need some advice if you’re still thinking about where to celebrate Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Luckily, our fantastic visitor centre staff have scoured the region for the best parties, events and meals. Contact them for the latest updates.

Art & Well Being

18. Watch a movie, Margies style New!

cape mentelle movies
Can you picture yourself lying back under the stars, enjoying one of the latest cinema releases whilst sipping on award-winning wine? Yep, us too! Outdoor movies are definitely one of the best things about summer, and you can catch them at Cape Mentelle (Margaret River), Happs Wines (Dunsborough), Cave House Hotel (Yallingup), and, new in 2015, ArtGeo in Busselton has introduced a Summer Courtyard movies series. Dates and frequency of movies at each location vary.

19. Catch the festival action at Busselton

Busselton-Festival

The Busselton Festival takes place throughout the month of January, and ramps up the atmosphere with events and activities involving music, food, the arts and family fun. Many events and are free of charge. Visit the festival website for more information.

20. Take your pick of live music

What do Bloc Party, Borns, Meg Mac and Seth Sentry all have in common? They will all be in Busselton from 8 – 10 January for Southbound! The festival is WA’s only major music and camping festival and a massive highlight of the region’s annual event calendar.

The live music will continue to play all summer long. Leeuwin Estate has two massive concerts on 23 January and 27 February, which will see Chris Isaak (just announced!), the John Butler Trio and The Waifs take to the stage.

Other venues with a great reputation for live music include Settler’s Tavern in Margaret River, the Dunsborough Tavern and Caves House Hotel in Yallingup. If you’re looking for some super convenient and free entertainment for the family, try the gigs every Sunday evening in February at Pioneer Park Cowaramup.

The Rivermouth… the perfect way to spend a day no matter the weather! Snacks, wine, beautiful scenery, lovely friends and great family…. Nothing could be more perfect.” – Kristie Twist, via Facebook

21. Do Yoga in the organic gardens New!

yoga

Let’s face it, after the holiday indulgence you’re going to need to rebalance and restore at some point. Luckily, Your Margaret River Region is equally as perfect for looking after your health and well being as it is for wining and dining. Kate Christensen of Grace Orchard Yoga offers gentle and meditative yoga practice and says that she loves nothing more than helping people to unwind, relax and get the most out of their stay in our amazing part of the world. Kate is running daily classes in the Margaret River Organic Gardens between 6.30am and 7.30am, from 27 December to 31 January. A casual class costs $15 and 10% of your purchase goes back to supporting the upkeep of the local park.

Hungry for more tips?

Great, because we have so many more to share! These are a few helpful things to keep handy:

*also available to pick up free of charge from your nearest visitor centre.

Jenny Lee

Author Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee lived in the UK, Russia, France and Belgium before falling head over heels in love with the tiny coastal town of Dunsborough, where she's settling down to live the dream. Her favourite spots include Eagle Bay, where she tied the knot in 2014, and jogging along the Meelup Track before work.

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