Thursday, June 25, 2020

Your Down South Winter Bucket List

Farmland in foggy valley with vineyard under blue sky with bank of white cloud and forest in background

The Margaret River region is the crown jewel of Western Australia, bursting with activities year-round. Award-winning wineries, adventure tourism, beautiful beaches, gourmet food and animal encounters: you name it, we’ve got it.


Here are our top things you must do this winter.


Explore the diverse eateries

Where do we even start?

There’s the hottest kid on the block you really cannot miss: Margaret River’s Japanese degustation delight, Miki’s Open Kitchen, which also offers sake or wine pairings. You must book, though, as they’re typically fully booked in advance.

The other new kid on the block is Meelup Farmhouse near Eagle Bay, a stunning venue with a stylish boho white and natural fit-out. Throw in Mila the resident chocolate Lab and Lizzie the cow, nesting chickens, swings (for the grown-ups!)  and of course, a delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

Meelup Farmhouse, near Eagle BayYarri Restaurant + Bar is also an absolute must if you are staying in / near Dunsborough. Gorgeous ambience, first-class service, fantastic wine & cocktail list and sumptuous menu by esteemed chef Aaron Carr and his team.

Don’t forget the numerous Margaret River Region wineries offering gold-standard lunches, and warm and cosy venues like La Scarpetta Trattoria – perfect for a winter’s evening.


Heart-stopping adventure tourism

Inject a little adventure to spice up your life. For the brave, join Margaret River Climbing Co for Wilyabrup Cliffs abseiling, rock climbing or even caving. For a family-friendly adventure, try zip lining and rope courses with Forest Adventures, nestled within Busselton’s  Ludlow Forests. Closer to the ground, there are lots of horse riding opportunities, and the chance to dive shipwrecks and reefs.

Forest Adventures, Busselton

Forest Adventures, Busselton


Gape in awe from a scenic helicopter ride

Spoil your loved one and take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity flying high above the spectacular South West in all its lushness. You might even be able to see the Margaret River as it flows into the Indian Ocean. Scenic Helicopters will reopen their doors in July, so get booking now.

Helicopter flight over Margaret River region. Image by Tim Campbell.


Eat your way through the region on a local produce trail

If you don’t feel like a sit-down meal but you want to experience amazing food, you’re in for a treat.

Grab some wheels of handcrafted cheese or even order a cheese board from Yallingup Cheese Company before visiting one of our olive oil producers (and not just for olive oil!). Olio Bello, Vasse Virgin, Petra Olive Oil Estate and Eagle Bay Olives are all fantastic. Then drop by Margaret River Venison for a variety of smallgoods, fresh meats, and other local produce.

Coffee enthusiasts, make sure you grab some beans from Margaret River Roasting Co or Commonage Coffee, while the tea drinkers amongst us will go weak at the knees with the selection at Seven Seas Teas.

Sweet tooths need to visit the famous Margaret River Bakery for a quick pastry, then drop into expert chocolatiers Temper Temper, Margaret River Chocolate or Gabriel Chocolate. There’s also yummy nougat courtesy of Bettenays, ice cream from cult favourites Simmos and Millers, and honey from Nude Honey. And – please heed this advice – do not miss out on the divine lemon gugelhupf cake from Yallingup Gugelhupf, usually baked on premises twice weekly.


Indulge at iconic wineries and breweries

The Margaret River region is host to hundreds of winery cellar doors and boutique breweries that you must visit. Iconic, founding wine estates through to boutique producers, your tastebuds will be thrilled at each of these venues whether your tasting award-winning wines, craft brews or just there for the ambience, scenery and tasty lunches. Plus during the winter months, you have the chance to see the naked vines, butts and all, as they stand dormant in the vineyard.

Cullens Winery Restaurant

Cullens Winery Restaurant


Spy on some kangaroos

You don’t need to go to a nature reserve or the zoo to see these animals up close. Wind your way along Sheoak Drive in Yallingup to witness mobs of kangaroos lazing by the side of the road, under the olives trees (at Petra Olive Oil) and in open paddocks. Rain or shine, you won’t miss out.


Pretend you’re in a windswept movie

Did you know the bestselling book and movie The Light Between Oceans was partly based on Augusta? The quaint town at the southern most point of the Margaret River region is dotted with pretty weatherboard and architecturally adventurous homes. The bakery is a must, as is the refurbished Colourpatch Cafe where you can sit inside with the warmth of the winter sunshine and look out across the Blackwood River.  Visit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the Australian mainland’s tallest, rising above where the Southern and Indian oceans meet.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse



Go whale watching

It’s whale watching season! Western Australia has one of the biggest humpback whale populations in the world, with experts estimating there are between 30,000 and 45,000 humpbacks migrating along our shores each year. This is incredible when you consider whaling reduced their numbers to just 500 in the 1960s. Winter and spring are ideal to see these incredible animals, and whales have already been spotted in Augusta and Flinders Bay, so book your tickets.


Take a scenic drive

The region is full of natural beauty, but there are a few special places that shouldn’t be missed. If you love forests, take a drive through serene Boranup Forest. For dramatic coastal rock viewing, travel to Sugarloaf Rock, Castle Rock, Canal Rocks and Wyadup Rocks to watch the wild winter waves wrap themselves around the craggy formations.

Canal Rocks, near Yallingup


Get out and experience the great outdoors

Trail walking is a year-round event, not just when the weather is warm. In fact, it’s even nicer when the landscape is carpeted in green. And if you get a sunny winter’s day, it’s a match made in heaven. Explore the world-renowned Cape to Cape Track, with spectacular scenery along the Naturaliste-Leeuwin ridgeline that can only be seen on foot.



*Remember to call venues ahead or visit Facebook for current opening hours.



Enjoy WA’s spectacular South West. Browse our portfolio to find a luxury holiday home in the Margaret River region.


You might also like:

10 South West breweries that do a fantastic lunch

Mother’s Group getaways to the Margaret River region

Where to find great coffee in the Margaret River region

5 Best walks of the Cape to Cape track

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