WHERE TO STAY
Click here for our accommodation, Lone Pine Cottage, Margaret River.
Click here for a great map of the Margaret River area showing placement of the wineries and other points of interest.
Morries Any Time - Great tapas for dinner
The Goodfellas Cafe- Pizza was good, eat in or take away
Swings Taphouse - Great for breakfast or an afternoon coffee, also do dinner. They are the Taphouse for Swings and Roundabouts winery.
Squid Lips - Fantastic Fish and Chips to eat in or take away.
Sidekick Cafe - Had not only great coffee, but gluten free and healthy treats as well.
Howard Park was our first stop, we kind of stumbled upon it by accident really, but figured it was a good a place to start as any, so we called in. It turned out to be one of our favourites, mainly because of our wonderful tasting guide Ryan, who was fantastic and so much fun. The wines were great, especially their Mount Barker, Flint Rock Chardonnay 2015, the Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and the Leston Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. The winery has a lovely park like setting, you can also see their barrel room. Interestingly they also produce avermouth, although we didn't try. No food.
We went here for lunch which we really enjoyed. It's a smaller boutique winery in a lovely setting overlooking a garden area. The food was fantastic, my husband had fish and I had steak which was delicious. Also had our very first experience with Dukkah, which we had never heard of before. This nutty spicy accompaniment to the bread and olives went well with the very lovely 2014 Semillon. Did not do a full tasting here. Have to say that all the wines we came across had screw tops, which is ideal for taking unfinished wine back to base for drinking later.
We called into Voyager very briefly on our way to Leeuwin as they are quite close to each other. The place is huge, our main reason for calling in was because we had heard that the grounds were spectacular, this is absolutely true!! The most gorgeous manicured rose gardens and views really were fantastic. Lunch is available here, but there is no a la carte option, you have to do the full Degustation menu at their restaurant, which although looked nice, did not have as an extensive outside terrace or as nice a feel as we found at Leeuwin and Vasse Felix. We did not even do a tasting here as we really were pressed on time. The grounds are stunning though, so worth a visit just for that.
Leeuwin was another lunch stop for us. One of the bigger more well known kids on the block, it was maybe the busiest place we went to for lunch, glad that we had made a booking. Really loved the restaurant setting here. The food was also delicious, husband and I shared the lamb shoulder which was yummy. We also loved the wines, you can taste as you are seated at your table which was great. They have the best Chardonnay, The Prelude, 2015 Chardonnay was by far one of my favourites. Highly recommend.
We have long been fans of their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, so it was a given that we would call in for a tasting here. Though from the outside the cellar door looks quite understated, once inside you are greeted warmly and can see the barrels on display behind the tasting counter. A particular favourite here was the Cape Mentelle Wilyabrup 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Cabernet Franc. With limited amounts left, it was a given that a couple of bottles made it into our suitcase.
The first winery to be established in Margaret River, back in 1967, Vasse Felix is another major name winery that I feel is a must. We made the error of not having lunch here - an error we discovered once getting to the estate. We had decided to head here early in the day (the wineries and cellar doors typically open around 11am until 5pm, but please check before you head out) and enjoy a charcuterie platter and wine flight in their "wine lounge", before heading elsewhere for lunch. Though we enjoyed this very much, I was really wishing we had chosen to do lunch. The setting was just lovely, a large restaurant with a great terrace overlooking the vines and lawns with interesting sculptures. The wines here were excellent, the staff were super friendly and attentive too!!
Our main reason for visiting Brookland Estates was to have lunch at Flutes Restaurant which is adjacent to the cellar door. Lunch here was delicious, enjoyed the setting overlooking a small lake as well as incredible food.
Fraser Gallop was the last winery we visited on this trip. Quite a few friends said we should not miss this one, so we had quite high expectations. The website shows a very lovely house set amongst the vines, which we realised once we got to the cellar door, was the private estate of the owner. The actual cellar door is very small building and was quite underwhelming, compared to some of the others we had visited. The wines were good, but quite honestly, I don't think we tasted a bad wine anywhere in Margaret River the whole visit, but by no means are we wine connoisseurs, we just like what we like.
DO NOT MISS
MORE THAN JUST WINERIES
A mere 10 minutes drive from Margaret River Town brings you to the coastal towns of Prevelly and Gnarabup. Lovely walks around the coastline and lovely beaches. We particularly enjoyed going for breakfast at the White Elephant Cafe at Gnarabup which overlooks a lovely beach. Rivermouth Beach, a drive further north up the coast is also fun to explore with a very interesting sculpture of a mermaid "Layla" sitting on a rock, suckling a baby whale, by the artist Russell Sheridan. Apparently this is one of many sculptures and art pieces on the Margaret River "Public Art Trail" spread throughout the area.
‘Layla’ the great granddaughter of surf God ‘Huey’ cares for all sea creatures and watches over those who enter the water. Layla swims the seas of the world and from time to time redirects lost surfers who have been pummelled into the depths below by large waves. Surfers finding themselves alone, helpless, lost in bubbles and turbulence have been steered to the surface again by Layla for one more breath of life.
Setting out from our rental fairly early one morning, we drove North, heading for Bunker Bay and Eagle Bay, the far north-western corner of the Margaret River peninsula, just around 45 minutes drive. In this area stands the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and some amazing rocky coast line with beautiful beaches. On a recommendation from a friend, we headed for breakfast at Bunkers Beach Cafe at Bunker Bay. This great little cafe which is next to the Bunker Bay resort, was a lovely spot for breakfast. We sat on the terrace overlooking the dunes and the beach. The only downside had to be the flies. They were particular bothersome here, we had not really had any issues elsewhere. Apparently mid December to end of January is particularly bad for flies. There are lots of walking trails in this area, including one to the Lighthouse, although we did not do it. After breakfast we drove over to Sugarloaf Rock for more views of the coastline. Lunchtime found us in Dunsborough, a small town with a few shops and restaurants. Came across a great little cafe here called Wild and Woods, wow this place had some amazing teas, coffee's, smoothies and a fabulous array of food items, locally sourced which looked oh so mouthwatering. Dunsborough has a beach and a lovely park/boardwalk, perfect for sitting and sipping for a while. From Dunsborough to Busselton is another 30 minutes of driving, passing along the way opportunities for craft shops and even more wineries and cellar doors, if you are so inclined. The historic Jetty is the major attraction in Busselton. You pay a fee to enter the jetty, you can either walk the almost 2km jetty, or for a little more, catch the jetty train. There is also an underwater observatory at the end for viewing of the sealife of Geographe Bay.
Recap of the Wineries we visited:
Howard Park Leston Vineyard - website
Arimia Estate - website
Voyager Estate - website
Leeuwin Estate - website
Cape Mentelle - website
Brookland Valley Estates - website
Fraser Gallop Estate - website
DO NOT MISS:
Little Fish Restaurant for dinner - website
Itslynnykansas was not compensated in any way for this review. All content, photos and opinions are expressly the writers own, unless otherwise stated. All content is provided "as is" and is for informational purposes only. The writer of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The writer will not be liable for any losses, damages or injuries from the use of this information.