Surf in the morning, wine taste in the afternoon, and BBQ at night. The famous wine region is far more than just wine…it’s a lifestyle. Situated in Southwest Australia, Margaret River boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. There’s a reason why foodies, surfers, and tourists alike flock to this area every year for a variety of events, world-class food and wine, and a little bit of R & R. If you’re traveling to the Southwest you better not skip out on these places, or you will only have yourself to blame.
Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Rated “The Best Regional Venue in 2013” Eagle Bay Brewery has plenty to brag about. The food, the view, the staff, and of course, the beer. The Brewery has won numerous awards for their local brews. The entire city of Perth swarms the Southwest on the weekends making this brewery the go-to for fine food and drink. The view isn’t bad either. Situated on the family’s farm, the view stretches out to the ocean, where during certain months of the year you can spot whales migrating.
The Southwest is spoiled with incredible untouched beaches, but Smiths beach is a local favorite and there’s plenty of reasons why. It’s crystal clear turquoise waters wash up on a white sand beach that curves around to Canal Rocks, which is a popular snorkel and spear fishing spot. Surf here is pretty sweet too. It’s big enough to never feel overly crowded and if you get too hot, a wine bar & coffeehouse is across the street from the car park. It’s a win-win in my book.
Albert + Nicola
If you want the best coffee in the Southwest, head here. Located in Dunsborough, a small surf town full of locally ran restaurants and shops, Albert + Nikola is a mixture of coffeeshop-meets local art exhibition space. They use science as a main ingredient and their big inspirations for their brand Albert Einstein and Nikola Tessla are spotted not only on their logo but on their coffee cups as well. The service and main barista are top-notch.
This small town is a fun stop in the area, only two hours drive from Margaret River. It is home to the Karri forest, some of the biggest and strongest trees in the world. There’s a chance to get up close and very personal with one of them by climbing the Gloucester Tree, which towers 61 meters high. Used as a fire lookout in the 40’s, the tree is now a highlight for visitors as the view spans for miles. It’s a doozy though as there are no safety harnesses or nets. Getting up is half the battle. Coming down is a whole other story…especially if someone is coming up.
Caves Road winds up and down and around for 69 miles passing vineyards, mazes, art studios, and caves…hence the name. There are four caves that are available for public visits, a small percentage considering there are some 350 caves in the region. Jewel Cave is the largest with four chambers to explore. It’s beautiful and vast, filled with magnificent formations and stunning naturally sculpted straw stalactites, the biggest in any cave in the world.
This is more than just a winery. It’s one of the best summer spots in the Southwest to visit and relax. The winery is internationally known for its delicious wines, but locally it’s known as the best spot to catch a movie…outdoors. Movies at Cape Mentelle showcase a variety of films both new and old. Food, wine, and bean beds are available for purchase but the view under the stars at night is free.
Fancy a bit of exercise? The Cape-to-Cape Track is 149 km from Cape Naturliste to Cape Leeuwin and takes anywhere from five to seven days to complete. Many choose to do parts of the track, making for a great half or full day out. The track winds along the coast with breathtaking coastal views of the Indian Ocean and dives inward to secluded forests. Whales, dolphins, and surfers can be spotted from the track at many points, making for a fantastic photo opportunity. A must-see.
Sunset at Sugarloaf Rock
I really didn’t get into sunsets until I lived in Australia. And boy, does Western Australia do them right. Being located on the coast with nothing but the ocean as far as the eye can see, WA is spoiled with sunsets. They change minute-by-minute and watching a sun set across the water is one of the most calming and beautiful experiences for anyone. Sugarloaf Rock has the ultimate set up for the best view and photo I’ve seen in the area. People set up camp waiting for that moment that turns day into night, relishing in the natural beauty of what happens day after day. This spot is located down an old dirt road, almost a secret location for locals, but word has got out. Sorry.