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Ten Hot Spots in Margaret River for Visitors Who Want to Explore More

Drink beer with cows and swim with stingrays in Australia's always-surprising southwest.
By Rima Sabina Aouf
November 01, 2017
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By Rima Sabina Aouf
November 01, 2017
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in partnership with

It's hard to get a true snapshot of a place you're holidaying in when you don't have a friend who lives there to show you around. The Margaret River region presents its own unique set of challenges — with over 150 wineries and six days' worth of stunning coastal walking track, you're just not going to get to do it all are you?

We've teamed up with Pullman Hotels and Resorts to bring you a guide to Margaret River that you can do in a few days, and that should leave you feeling like you really got to know the area. (If you ever decide to leave, that is. You do realise it's a food and wine mecca with a boho beach vibe that's long been punching above its weight in the culturescape, right?)

Putting our heads together with Pullman Bunker Bay ambassador Shane Hilder — a creative consultant, entrepreneur and passionate amateur photographer who shot the most stunning images in this article — we've curated a list of ten must-dos that will expose you to Margaret River's many strengths. They range from a brewery in a dairy farm to a beach beloved for its stingrays, because the southwest of this country has no room for ordinary, apparently.

Check out the rest of our Explore More content series to hone your itinerary for some of Australia's best holiday destinations.

FOOD & DRINK

Larry Cherubino winery

Larry Cherubino winery


MARGARET RIVER WINERIES

You didn't come all this way, to one of Australia's premier wine-growing regions, not to taste a truckload of wine. Plenty of tour operators offer group trips that will help you blitz a selection of the area's more than 150 cellar doors. Alternatively, sort your own car or bike and follow an itinerary of your own invention. Taking responsible service of alcohol to heart, several of the wineries also have strong food offerings that will more than line your stomach. Cullen Wines and Vasse Felix (the region's first winery, dating back 50 years) are two estates with excellent restaurants, while Woodlands Wines has some of the best reds in the region.

Don't miss: The brand spanking new cellar door at Larry Cherubino. The former head winemaker at Houghton, Larry started producing wines under his own label in 2005 and has just opened a cellar door in Wilyabrup.

The Beer Farm in Metricup

METRICUP'S BEER FARM

Right in the midst of Margaret River's zoned agricultural area is this brewery, recently converted from a working dairy farm, and with cows still roaming its fields. The Beer Farm's old creamy is now an entrance, and the roundhouse where the cows were milked is the brewhouse, but you'll spend most of your time in the old hay shed — which has been transformed into a bar filled with handmade wood benches, chesterfield couches and floor-to-ceiling murals. An atmosphere of casual fun pervades the whole space (pinball machines, lawn games and footy posts help kick that along), and you can get a good feed from the on-site food truck.

Don't miss: Their lovely cloudy cider, made from local Manjimup apples.


THE GOOSE BEACH BAR & KITCHEN

The main attraction of The Goose is its position at the start of the Busselton Jetty — the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere. The views from here out over the waters of Geographe Bay will make you Zen out so deeply you could forget to eat. Though, don't — it's all local southwest produce here, whipped into comforting cafe classics. Start your day with eggs any which way, the house granola with coconut yoghurt, or a more adventurous salmon pastrami and 63-degree egg on rye.

Don't miss: Walking off a meal on Busselton Jetty — it stretches nearly 2 kilometres into the ocean, with an underwater observatory at the end.


MARGARET RIVER FARMERS MARKETS

Is there anything more pleasing than a farmers market in an actual farming area? Everything is so damn fresh, it's practically still growing, and the people manning the stall are the actual growers. On every Saturday morning at the Margaret River Education Campus, this farmers market has been running for more than 13 years. It's where residents do their weekly shop, producers test out their new creations, and visitors go to try out everything from regional honey and olive oil to kimchi and kombucha. It's only about 50 stalls, but the good vibes are disproportionately huge.

Don't miss: Having a coffee by local roastery Yahava and a plate of Má Là dumplings — made in the northern Chinese style but stuffed with the produce of Australia's southwest.

WELLBEING & LEISURE

Hamelin Bay stingray

by Shane Hilder


HAMELIN BAY

Two words: Friendly. Stingrays. These guys just love swimming around the jetty here and don't care if you hop in the water with them. While patting and feeding of the rays isn't strictly encouraged, people often do it anyway, so just use your common sense and be respectful. Otherwise, Hamelin Bay is great for swimming, walks or just some solid lolling around. The beach is open to the northwest, so skip it if it's a windy day and opt for somewhere more secluded. There's a reason 11 vessels have been shipwrecked here over the centuries.

Don't miss: On the plus side, that's 11 sites to explore if you've got a snorkel or scuba gear.

Canal Rocks

by Shane Hilder


CANAL ROCKS

While you're in Margaret River, you've got to do a section of the Cape to Cape Track — the 140 kilometre coastal path from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin that take about six days to walk in whole. A good segment to pick is around Yallingup, as it means you can take in the Canal Rocks. Waves have eroded a narrow path through the rocks in this headland over time, and watching the waters roar through it now is transfixing viewing. Unlike many other coastal spots, this one is great when the seas are rough, as the force of the waves is accentuated. There's a boardwalk over the rocks so you can get up close. You can swim around here too, but — need it be said — use caution.

Don't miss: Watching the sunset from here over the Indian Ocean. If you're used to east-coast sunrises, you've been missing out on a world of colour.

Mountain biking in Margaret River

MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL

Margaret River is betting that interest in mountain biking will continue to boom — it's apparently planning 500 kilometres in new trails in the coming years. There's already plenty there, winding through the region's famous jarrah and karri forests, with options for riders of all levels. Beginners can try the 10 Mile Brook track, following the Margaret River for some 15–20 kilometres, with an option to detour to the Colonial Brewery for lunch. Advanced riders might be more drawn to the Creek Trails, which include some sharp descents and what Margaret River Tourism terms the "flowy magic dirt" of Goobers Pool. Check their website for more tracks.

Don't miss: Fat biking on the beach with The Margaret River Adventure Co. The oversized tyres mean your bike won't sink into the sand and it's actually fun.

Bunker Bay beach in WA

by Shane Hilder


BUNKER BAY

One of the many excellent beaches along the southwest coast, Bunker Bay has the advantage of being relatively sheltered from the winds of the Indian Ocean. You'll only ever be facing smallish waves, which makes it a great spot for swimming and snorkelling. Fishing is also permitted in this area. Pullman ambassador Shane Hilder also rates this area for its photographic opportunities, especially the "forever-changing" characteristics of its afternoon versus morning light.

Don't miss: A post-swim meal at Pullman Bunker Bay's restaurant The Other Side of the Moon (the name comes from a nearby surf break), which focuses on local ingredients like Manjimup truffle, Cape Naturaliste beef, and line-caught fish.

ART & DESIGN


RED CLOUD ART SPACE

Opened in 2012 in Yallingup, Red Cloud Art Space is a gallery with two artists' studios attached. It's also the place you're most likely to find non-wine gifts for friends and family back home, as it brings a contemporary, minimal and accessible style to the Margaret River scene. Works on sale here range from WA artist Lisa Payton's abstracted and textural mixed-media canvases capturing the ocean hitting rocks (which hit around the $1000 mark) to individually handcrafted ceramic flowers by Perth's Bronwen Holding (which start at just $3). Don't forget to poke your head into the studios and watch the resident artists at work.

Don't miss: Quarterly event Kaleidoscope. There's live music and drinks alongside displays of the latest work by Red Cloud artists, and your donation at the door goes to a chosen charity.


MARGARET RIVER GALLERY

If your budget stretches slightly higher, or you just want to get a look at some of the best contemporary art in the state, head to Margaret River Gallery. Located on Charles West Avenue in Margaret River town proper, this light and bright gallery focuses on works by leading WA practitioners and emerging artists, but it also catches some interstate names in its net. Look out for objects by local studio Melting Pot Glass, the oceanscape photography of Tony Warrilow, and poetic, migration-themed small sculptures by Lesley Whitham.

Don't miss: The great jewellery selection by WA artists — clever, contemporary and not-too-exxy designs that make a great treat for someone (especially yourself).

Explore more with Pullman. Book your next hotel stay with Pullman and enjoy a great breakfast for just $1.

Published on November 01, 2017 by Rima Sabina Aouf
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