I celebrated my birthday on Sunday 2nd, and to celebrate the occasion we decided to go to Margaret River for the day.
We picked up our son and daughter in law in the morning, and drove 260kms south of Perth, arriving in Margaret River just in time for lunch. With the thermometer showing 39C degrees when we left, we were glad to find Margaret River a bit cooler at 26C.
|Millers Ice Cream , in the main road - Bussell Highway|
|The Fudge shop - also on the main road|
|Shark & Chips anyone? (I have heard that most "fish" in F & C in Australia is shark!! I wonder...)|
After lunch, it was time for a Miller's Ice Cream and then the purchase of some excellent artesanal Margaret River Fudge!
The varieties are endless, but we contented ourselves with just one small packet with 3 different varieties - they are not only very caloric, but expensive too!
Margaret River's Mediterranean style climate provides ideal growing conditions for over 55 square kilometres of vines, which accounts for over 145 boutique wineries in the area, producing about 20% of wines for the Australian wine market.
The principal grape varieties in the region include red and white varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin blanc and Verdelho.
So after eating our ice-cream and fudge we set off again to visit some of the beaches, turning into Caves Road where most of the wineries are located.
We could not miss a visit to what I heard must be the place with the most beautiful toilets in Australia - Laurance winery.
Set among the beautiful green lawn is a lake with a statue of a lady atop a 14mt high pole - "chick on the stick" the locals call it.
|1 - Apple on a tree, 2 - Golden lady, 3 - The winery/restaurant with the golden girl statue , 4 - stone and copper bird bath in the gardens.|
The winery is also home to a variety of art works , and even the grandiose toilets have various pictures on the walls. The wine glass chandeliers are also exquisite!
There is also have a massive rose garden, some beautiful stone and brass bird baths...
To me this would be the ideal spot for a wedding.
|1 & 3 - toilets, 2- The lounge/bar, 3 - The art gallery in the corridor leading to the toilets|
|Another lovely work of art in the corridor leading to the toilets|
|The corridor with art on the walls and the exquisite chandelier made with wine glasses|
|As we were leaving my husband spotted a Kookaburra on a tree.|
After our pit-stop to visit to the famous toilets, yes, we didn't even taste the wine.....it was time to hit the road again down Caves Road and check some of the beaches in the area.
Although the town of Margaret River is about 10km inland, the nearby beaches are renowned surfing hotspots, some included in the competition circuit.
Smith's Beach was a quiet secluded beach, where the waves were crashing onto the sand and the high tide was coming in. A resort complex with 2 storey high buildings, restaurant and bar were all that could be seen around the area.
Further down the road was Canal rocks, not a beach itself, more of a natural spot with lots of fishermen perched on the rocks and a lovely boardwalk to admire the view.
The next stop was in Yallingup, one of my favourite beach spots in the area.
There are a couple of camping places in the small town, one of them right across the beach (be prepared to book 1 year in advance, I was told!)
|The very original planters on the balcony above Shaana's cafe in Yallingup|
A beach festival was being held this long weekend with live music, food and drink tents, and "Sculpture by the Bay" was being held with sculptures spread over the sand and grassy area...
It was wonderful to see the community and tourists sitting down on the grass with their picnic hampers, lots of kids running around, all enjoying the warm start to the evening.
|Dunsborough Beach arts festival - at sunset|
|Some of the statues at the Dunsborough beach festival|
The Margaret River area is also home to hundreds of caves, only 6 of which are open to the public.
I must confess I have been to Margaret River half a dozen times at least, but
have never visited a cave. (I have visited two caves in Portugal though)
Apart from the wineries, Margaret River is also a gourmet paradise, home to cheese factories, chocolate factories, nougat and fudge factories, fresh fruit and vegetable farms, artesanal bakeries, gourmet olive oils, wonderful restaurants, farmers markets and even breweries... You could well visit for a week and not experience it all!!
After our short visit to Dunsborough it was time to drive back home. We arrived tired but happy with our short visit.
It was a bit crazy to travel such a big distance for just a day trip, in hindsight we should have booked a place to stay overnight....But I'm sure there will be a next time!!
Hope you also enjoyed the trip to Margaret River with me and learned a bit more about the South West region of Australia.