Contos Beach

Insights make travel memorable.

Being exposed, not just to new landscapes and interactions, but to new perspectives. The Margaret River Region is as dynamic as the many tour operators who work to tell their version of the regional story, and hopping on board for a few hours – or a day – with our talented guides is a direct connection to a new Margaret River experience.

Taking that viewpoint on and making it your own is the next step. Which is what makes these one-day itineraries so unique: tour in the morning, and then dive deeper into your new Margaret River Region experience with a sensory expedition matched to the morning’s tour.

Hunt wildflowers, then hunt down wildflower-inspired cocktails. Walk local farm paddocks and then lunch from paddock to plate. Reach into an understanding of Country and then taste the Indigenous six seasons.

It’s a considered way to explore aspects you may have previously missed or barely tasted. Launch out of the the familiar and touch a whole new aspect of the region you thought you knew. There is so much to rediscover when you wander out yonder.

Spider Orchids Wildflowers
Discover the region’s stunning wildflowers on a tour. Then back this up with a delicious botanical cocktail at the Margaret River Distilling Co.

Option 1: Botany & Wildflowers

What: A Nature and Wildflowers Tour with Margaret River Exposed followed by botanical-infused drinks at The Margaret River Distilling Co.

Hank Durlik is born and bred Margaret River and wants to show you his backyard, which just happens to be one of 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world. “I’ve been looking at flowers and orchids pretty well all my life, but it’s probably in the last 20 years that I’ve focused on the Margaret River area and you realise how special that is.” Species of plants that grow here found nowhere else on earth.

Hank knows, not just the region, but how to help you capture it: the founder of the Margaret River Camera Club has taught photography and offers tips on shooting wildflowers as part of his tour. Number one piece of advice? “Slow down,” Hank laughs. Look. Take your time.

A tour with Hank takes in three or four special spots empty of people but full of flora. There’s a luxury four-wheel drive in the offering, and a boutique restaurant lunch. So capping it off with a gin made in Margaret River from native botanicals at the Margaret River Distilling Co is a nice way to digest the day. There are gin cocktails, a deck that pokes out into the forest, and the option of a gin tasting. Pay more than lip service to a native gin cocktail by taking the time to first experience the region’s rare environmental beauty.

Tour: Margaret River Exposed Nature and Wildflower tour costs $205 per person, including travel in small groups (two to six people) in a luxury four-wheel drive with lunch in a boutique restaurant included.

Drink: The Margaret River Distilling Co produces a range of gins made from Australian natives and  botanicals. Book a table for a tasting, or book in for a Giniversity blending class. The distillery is open seven days for lunch and afternoon snacks.

Planning: The Margaret River Distilling Co is a 15-minute walk from the Margaret River Visitor Centre.

Other experiences you might like: Margaret River Discovery Co offers luxury four-wheel drive wildflower tours. Margaret River Adventure Company offers nature and wildlife spotting tours. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours offers wildflower and walking tours.

Koomal Dreaming Aboriginal Tours
The Koomal Dreaming experience will stay with you forever and can be enjoyed by adults and children.

Option 2: Aboriginal Culture

What: A tour of Country with Koomal Dreaming followed by lunch or dinner at Yarri

As a cultural custodian of the Wadandi people, Koomal Dreaming’s Josh Whiteland is a caretaker of Country whose tours specialise in connecting visitors to the landscape through story and experience.

“To aboriginal people, we believe we belong to the land and boodja – mother earth – provides us with everything we need,” Josh explains. “In return, we have to provide time when we can to make sure we look after her.” Education is integral to ensure land custodianship, but so is attachment. Josh provides the former to lay the groundwork for the latter: caring becomes natural once Josh has walked you through mythical landscapes or helped you to identify native foods in the coastal scrub.

Seeing these native foods transformed at the hand of acclaimed local chef, Aaron Carr, at Dunsborough’s Yarri Restaurant + Bar reinforces the relevance of Country to our current culture. Aaron’s food is built on the six seasons, celebrating producers, winemakers and farmers who work with the land to produce simply stunning produce. Aboriginal culture is now, not a story long passed, and together these experiences communicate that.

Tour: Koomal Dreaming’s Ngilgi Cave Cultural Tour is 2.5 hours and costs $83 for adults, $49 for children (under three is free). Djiljit Coastal Fishing Experience is a day experience with barbecue lunch, fishing and foraging and costs $310 per person with a minimum of two people. Children are $155 with every two paying adults. For other tours check the Koomal Dreaming website.

Eat: Yarri is open for lunch Friday and Saturday, and dinner from Tuesday through to Saturday. Spring at Yarri is a three-course set menu with timed seatings and bookings are essential.

Planning: Leave 20 minutes to make your way from Yallingup to Dunsborough

Other experiences you might like: Ellensbrook House on Mokidup is a great place to visit to learn about the region’s Indigenous history. Get the most out of the visit by booking one of their guided tours. A visit to Ngilgi Cave is also a great way to connect to Country.

Glenarty Road
Glenarty Road Winery offers incredible paddock to plate dining as well as farm tours.

Option 3: Farm to Table Philosophy

What: A One Table Farm Sustainability Tour followed by lunch at Glenarty Road

One Table Farm – located in picturesque Cowaramup, has taken husband and wife Cree Monaghan and Tim Hall seven years to build and makes for an eye-opening look into the Margaret River region’s sustainable farming community.

“We started the farm from scratch,” Cree shares, “so what the tour offers is the ability to see what we did, how we got to where we got to, and the elements that you can then take home to fit your own lifestyle – pieces of information that you can integrate even if you have a small backyard, or live in an apartment.”

Tour the 1600 square metre orchard, meet the animals and pick seasonal food from the large kitchen garden. Ask Cree and Tim all the questions over tea and coffee, then take that newfound inspiration and digest it alongside lunch at Glenarty Road, a Karridale farm, vineyard and restaurant run by fifth-generation farmer Ben McDonald and wife Sasha.

Like Tim and Cree, Ben and Sasha are committed to the land and to their animals – the McDonald’s farm (yes, really) has 26 acres under vine, more than 250 fruit trees, 16 varieties of hops and an outdoor wood fired grill that kicks out the best fired meats this side of Grandma’s Sunday lunch. Dining paddock to plate takes on new meaning when preceded by an actual farm tour experience.

Tour: One Table Farm runs its two-hour Sustainability Farm Tour from Thursday through to Monday form 9.30am. Adults are $40, children aged six to 17 are $15 with a paying adult. Children under five are free. A family ticket for four is $80.

Eat: Glenarty Road is open for a Farm | Feast lunch from Friday through to Sunday. Monday offers a charcuterie menu. Bookings are recommended.

Planning: It takes around 45 minutes to drive from One Table Farm to Glenarty Road.

Other experiences you might like: Glenarty Road offers farm tours. Fair Harvest Permaculture has a campground and offers farm tours. Burnside Organic Farm offers a farm stay experience.