Anyone who likes wine in Australia would have heard of Margaret River. But it’s actually a lot more than just a wine region! The vineyards are located between two capes, Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. And the coast from one Cape to another is stunning.
Premium wines and magnificent beaches… Doesn’t the Margaret River sound like a perfect destination?!
Using our experience visiting the region twice for a short trip, I’ve selected a few things to do in Margaret River according to what we enjoyed the most, and then made another shortlist as a suggestion for those with only one day there.
When you grab a tourist map of the Margaret River region, you immediately see there are enough attractions to keep you entertained for a full week. We only had a couple of days before going East to reach Esperance (see the full itinerary here), so we had to make choices. We decided to skip the cave exploration as we had opportunities to do that elsewhere. We focused on the coast and the wineries. I’ve placed them on a map at the end of the article to help you organise your trip there.
The Busselton Jetty: the longest wooden jetty in the world
Our first stop was Busselton, a coastal town reputed for its 2km long jetty. We left Perth in the afternoon and arrived in Busselton at the end of the day. We walked on the jetty at sunset. Despite the cold wind, it was lovely.
During the day, only those who buy a ticket can get access to the jetty. I’m not sure it’s a must-see if you’re only in Margaret River for one day. But if you are interested in discovering the underwater world, you may want to give it a go.
A beautiful coast from one cape to another
The Margaret River region goes from Cape Naturalist in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south. And the coast is beautiful all along the 120 kilometres.
Our recommendations of the best places to check out on the coast when visiting the Margaret River:
- Point Piquet in Meelup Regional Park, for its red rocks near the turquoise water
- Sugarloaf Rock, for the dramatic shapes
- Canal Rocks, a must-see. Although the wind was not a highlight of our trip to Western Australia, it made some places look incredible and wild. Canal Rocks was one of them: the waves were powerful!
- Hamelin Bay, for the friendly rays. Unfortunately, they did not visit the beach when we were there. But we’ve seen amazing videos of the place. The rays come to the shore in a few centimetres of water, attracted by the scraps the fishermen leave behind them.
- Cape Leeuwin, for its lighthouse and the magnificent views. We were disappointed by Cape Naturalist Lighthouse, which is a lot smaller and with no interesting views from the base. But Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is worth going. Although we could not climb to the top of the tower as there was a two-hour wait because of the school holidays, we enjoyed our visit around the base and our drive in the natural park. Did you know that the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet there?
And beautiful wines from one cape to another!
Margaret River is a major wine region in Australia: 20% of Australian premium wines are from there! The region has a maritime climate that can be compared to Bordeaux, which is a particularity in Australia. Margaret River wines are mostly famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon blends and Chardonnay.
Our recommendation of wineries to visit in the Margaret River:
It’s hard to choose between the 215 vineyards and the 180 wineries. We had lunch at two wineries (Aravina Estate and Brookland Valley) and visited two other ones for wine tasting (Voyager Estate and Woodlands – the ones we knew from the other part of the country). All had lovely views and beautiful parks. The food was excellent and there was not a wine we did not like. Special mentions for the homemade charcuterie and the local venison at Brookland Valley, and for the Aravina Estate Wildwood Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Things to do in Margaret River in one day
You’ll have to make choices among the things I listed earlier if you only have one day to explore the Margaret River.
Point Piquet, Sugarloaf Rock and Canal Rocks along the north coast are stunning and you should be able to check them out in half a day. If you spent the night nearby, then you’ll be ready to start going down around lunchtime. The timing should be perfect to stop at a winery (Aravina Estate is the closest on my list) – make sure you call them before to confirm they’re open and have space for you. You can then go all the way down to Cape Leeuwin for the rest of your day.
If you are visiting the Margaret River as a day trip from Perth, then you’ll probably have to skip Cape Leeuwin and stick to the north of the region.
Where to stay in Margaret River
I think I made it clear that you cannot do all the things Margaret River has to offer in just one day. So if you can spend more time in Margaret River, it’s worth it. To have a full day to explore Margaret River, we stopped in Busselton* after leaving Perth in the afternoon. It allowed us to check out the jetty at sunset and save time for our day in Margaret River.
Next time we go, we’ll make sure we have more time to relax and book one of the amazing accommodations between stunning nature and wineries. If you’re looking for accommodation that will create memories, more than just a place to spend the night, check out these ones:
- Forest Rise Chalets* and Yelverton Brook* – to support an ECO Certified accommodation. The spa bath always feels better when you know the accommodation makes efforts to minimise visitors’ impact.
- Cape Lodge* – if you’re not on a budget. You can enjoy fine dining without worrying about driving back to your hotel. You can enjoy nature from your room with garden views or lake views.
- Eight Willows Retreat* – for more affordable rooms. Nature will be at your doorstep, and some rooms have lake views and a spa bath.
- Hilltop Studios* – if you’re lucky with the dates as it’s often fully booked. It’s hard not to love their uninterrupted views and the spa bath.
- Island Brook Estate Winery* – so that you can enjoy wine tasting at the property. And it comes on top of the spa bath and lovely forest setting.
- Bettenays Margaret River* – for unbeatable lake and vineyard views. And the spa bath, of course.
Have you visited the Margaret River? Or is it on your list? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Margaret River?
It takes three hours to drive to Margaret River from Perth. For us, it was a stop on our road trip along the southwest of Western Australia. But it’s a great destination for a weekend, and even for a week!
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