The region of Margaret River boasts several sophisticated small towns and numerous wineries with elegant restaurants or cafes. It is an area of outstanding hospitality and beautiful country with rolling green hills and thick forests. Many buildings are constructed from rammed earth. Professional artist's galleries, craft shops, dairy factories and other temptations await discovery. Caves Road is named after the several large caves that it joins, with daily guided tours available. The coastal scenery is rugged and breathtaking in many parts. There are many fantastic beaches from the world class surf beaches of Prevelly and Yallingup to the tranquil clear waters of Geographe Bay.
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The Margaret River Region is the perfect region for a fully documented self drive package; there are so many delightful places that extra days can be added to an itinerary of Australias South West.
Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin
What is colloquially known as Margaret River is an area that begins just south of Busselton, stretching out to Cape Naturaliste in between Dunsborough and Yallingup then further south along the coast to Cape Leeuwin - imagine a cone superimposed on the map of the south west of Western Australia. Cape Leeuwin is Australias most south westerly point, where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet.
Year-round, the Margaret River Region offers premium wineries, superlative galleries and art, remarkable caves, superb and diverse accommodation, fine dining, beautiful coastal and forest scenery, excellent swimming, fishing, world-class surfing beaches and history.
The cone-shaped paradise is a broad destination that truly offers something for every age, taste, budget or ambition. The region is most famous for its wineries that produce many fine white and red wines that are exported all over the world. The Margaret River flows through the centre of the region, passing the Margaret River Township that is 8km from the ocean. Although the area is named after this town, it spreads all the way along the coast from a few kilometres south of Busselton, out to Cape Naturaliste and the spreads over an area about 30km-wide down the south coast to Cape Leeuwin, Australias most south western point.
Since the late 1960s, when the Margaret River Areas wine growing regions were first concentrated in the large, north western section between Cowaramup and Yallingup the planting area grew to cover next the area between Margaret River township and Witchcliffe and then other areas. Today there are over 200 vineyards and 60 wineries producing distinct premium wines in this area. Known as Willyabrup Valley, this is now recognised as one of the finest wine growing environments in the world.
Most wineries are open to the public, specialising in cellar sales and wine tasting and many serve gourmet food using local fresh Margaret River produce. Among the most famous are Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate, Amberley, Howard Park, Madfish, Cape Mentelle, Evans and Tate, Brooklands Valley and Sandlefords. Boutique breweries, such as the Bootleg Brewery, are also very popular.
The rest of the region has grown alongside the wineries. Designed as the perfect accompaniment to these first-rate wines, restaurants using only the fresh produce of the region and its oceans proliferate in the wider Margaret River area.
Margaret Rivers Attraction
A region for all seasons, the Margaret River area offers excellent attractions from the man-made to the natural, all within easy to reach and very picturesque driving area. Fishing from rocks, beaches and boats is a major draw card for the Margaret River Area and bush walkers, windsurfers, abseilers and rock climbers visit for their passions each year. The landscape of the area changes from kilometre to kilometre. Farms and paddocks, small creeks and ponds, sweeping valleys covered in karri and jarrah trees, thick native bushland, rocky coasts and pristine beaches characterise this area. Most roads are lined with tall trees and wildflowers are abundant during spring, making driving a pleasant and picturesque journey.
The beaches of the Margaret River area are a mecca for surfers from around the world, each year attracting international attention with a number of top level surfing competitions being held in the area.
Margaret River Masters Surfing Competition
The Margaret River Masters is held at Surfers Point in Prevelley Park just after Easter and the Margaret River Classic is in November. A number of smaller competitions are held throughout the year at over 75 top surf breaks that stretch over 130km along the coast from Yallingup in the north a major hot-spot for surfers to beaches in the south near Cape Leeuwin. Year-round waves roll into the reef-lined shores from far off swells in the Southern and Indian Oceans produced by the strong winds of the Roaring Forties.
An extensive underground system of over 350 caves is hidden below the surface of the Margaret River Area. Water has percolated through the limestone ridge that stretches for some 80km along the coast. Most are closed to the public, except a few of the more spectacular and safe caves. Yallingup or Ngilgi Cave in the north near Yallingup is very popular, as are Mammoth and Lake caves which about 20km southwest of Margaret River Township on the coast. Further south near Cape Leeuwin, lies magnificent Jewel Cave. The caves are well lit and are open daily, offering guided or self-guided tours. Caves Road is the main road that runs from Dunsborough and Yallingup in the north, right down to Cape Leeuwin in the south and turn-offs for the caves are clearly signposted. The caving experience is both awe-inspiring and humbling as you witness the effect of thousands of years on these stunningly eerie underground environments.
The Margaret River Township, 290km south of Perth, is nestled on the side of the Margaret River, 8km from the coast. It is quaint but chic; its streets lined with specialty stores, cafes and pubs. Available in Margaret River is an excellent range of accommodation from motels, suites and cottages suitable for all budgets. All of these choices are topped off by Cape Lodge a most sophisticated small luxury hotel, set amid forest and lake and vineyards of the estate. Cape Lodge is judged to be one of the top three hotels in Australia and in the top one hundred hotels in the world. The location is quite superb and fitting for the elegant standard and style of service of Cape Lodge. Various other accommodation is available in the township itself, among the neighbouring forests or out near the coast 8km away.
Dunsborough is another major town of the Margaret River area located about 20km southwest of Busselton. Dunsborough is a fast-growing tourist area is also a number of permanent residents to its gorgeous beaches, forest scenery and peaceful way of life. Located in the corner of Geographe Bay, the beaches face east and are sheltered from strong winds and waves. Myallup is close to old Dunsborough and both share the ambience that is reminiscent of the south of France at the beginning of the last century. Yallingup, about 10km southwest of Dunsborough is a small, coastal township superbly located at the foot of high, forest-scrub covered hills that meet the Indian Ocean.
Surfers frequent Yallingups excellent breaks year-round; an eclectic mix of people that enjoy an alternative way of life populates the township. Accommodation is available at Dunsborough and Yallingup with both towns making excellent bases for exploring the Margaret River region.
The Margaret River Region enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, with warm, dry summers that begin early December and cool, wet winters that begin around June. A region for all seasons, the Margaret River Area offers excellent beach and coastal activities during summer, serene forest walks at dawn in autumn, cosy fireside nights enjoying gourmet food and sipping premium wine at source in winter with an abundance of animals and wildflowers abuzz in spring.
This beef, timber and dairy region has come a long way in the last thirty or so years to become a much desired tourist destination of international repute, laden with superb and unusual contrasts.
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