Have you booked a saddle seat on one of our latest and greatest riding holidays, the Margaret River Ride? Well since you’ll no doubt be spending a night in the town of Margaret River, we’ve compiled a list of some attractions you can explore should you have the time.
Things to do and see
It’s something of a hidden gem on Australia’s west coast located just over three hours drive south of Perth, and it’s an impressive showcase of all things natural. From the striking rugged coastline, to awe-inspiring limestone caves, to rolling green vineyards and wineries that stretch across the horizon, the options on what to see and do in the area are endless. Here are just a few suggestions.
There’s no getting away from it, wine is one of Margaret River’s most famous calling cards. The area boasts a wide portfolio of quality wines and is home to more than 150 individual wine producers ranging from tiny boutiques to major labels. If you have a taste for even the smallest drop of chardonnay or sauvignon, you won’t be disappointed if you spend some time sampling a glass or several. Wineries including Brookwood Estate, Cape Naturaliste Vineyard, Stella Bella Wines, Cape Mantelle and Woody Nook are all a popular choice and bound to be a hit.
Margaret River is as spectacular underneath the ground as it is on top. I am of course referring to the region’s amazing limestone cave networks. If you’ve got limited time you can’t go past a visit to either Jewel Cave or Lake Cave. Be dwarfed by Jewel Cave’s three massive chambers, home to one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world, or marvel at the mirrored wonderland of Lake Cave, arguably the most beautiful cave of its kind. The choice is yours.
This aptly named attraction is a finely-kept conifer hedge maze with 1.5 kilometres of path to get lost in over half a hectare of land. It’s everything you can dream of and it’s not an easy feat – getting to the centre is a relief only to be matched with the challenge of finding your way back out again! Enjoy being a big kid again as you tackle this gargantuan monster of a maze.
Home to Australia’s largest collection of birds of prey, this wildlife facility serves as a haven for both breeding and the rehabilitation of injured birds before they’re released back into the wild. From eagles to owls, falcons to hawks, all manner of avian creature can be found here, and their sheer size is way more impressive and intimidating up close. Try to time your visit to coincide with the twice-daily flight shows held at 11am and 1.30pm as these are always a highlight. And yes, you’ll be able to see the stars of the centre, the world’s largest birds of prey – Wedge Tailed Eagles. You’ve got to see them in close proximity to believe their staggering size! Just a 10 minute drive south of the centre of town, the entry fee goes directly to the maintenance and running of the centre.
Savour a magical sunset at Surfer’s Point
At the end of your day in Margaret River, don’t miss the chance to see the sun sink beneath the blanket of Indian Ocean at Surfer’s Point near Prevelly, a short 10 minutes drive west of the town to the coast. Take your camera, you’ll want to get some pics!
Where to eat
Culinary culture plays a key part in what makes Margaret River tick, the mild weather and stunning sunshine conducive to producing all manner of fresh produce. You’re seriously spoilt for choice of where to eat and can choose from casual eating to first-class dining experiences with some of the country’s top chefs, and there’s always a perfect bottle of wine handy to accompany your meal. Here are just a few suggestions.
You’ll feel like a local from the moment you set foot inside this pub. With a pile of awards under its belt (Top 5 Pubs within the Good Food Guide) a glance at the menu tells you why. Bursting with meals taking advantage of the region’s top quality local produce, these aren’t your average pub meals. Think taste, quality, size and freshness, trust me, you’ll want to sample them all. Oh and don’t forget the bar, stocked with award-winning wines and brews from the region. There’s live entertainment Thursday through to Sunday at Settlers so make sure you get there early to grab yourself a seat!
Kitsch, retro and rustic, this little bakery is one of the region’s gems. With Elvis crooning on the stereo, sample the honest home-style baking, often with a veg or gluten-free spin. And if you’re feeling the lag from the previous day’s wine tasting, try soaking it up with some terrific burgers and pies.
If you’re a chocoholic, look no further than Temper Temper for your daily fix. Ok, so it’s more a store than a café, but this colourful shrine to chocolate gets a mention for its tasting area and because here at Globetrotting HQ we can’t get enough of chocolate! Here you can try loads of free samples showcasing the difference between cacao from Cuba, Venezuela, Sumatra and Madagascar – seriously, let your taste buds take a journey with these enticingly rich slabs and addictive flavours.
If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, you can’t go past breakfast at the local farmer’s markets. Think fresh, seasonal and local produce of the best quality sold by those who make, produce and grow it all. #winning There’s a reason why these markets have been a feature of the region for more than a decade. Do. Not. Miss. Out.
Where to stay
Don’t forget to check out our Margaret River Ride and book your saddle seat so you can truly experience all this wonderful region has to offer!
Image credits: Margaret River Style, The Berry Farm, margaretriver.com, Amaze’n Margaret River, Busselton-Dunsborough Mail, Klook