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Boranup Karee Forest, David Steele

Margaret River, Wine, Food and Adventures in Nature

Western Australia has great appeal as it’s less than a six-hour flight from Singapore and its Mediterranean climate is most inviting. Drive three hours south of Perth to the Margaret River region which extends for some 100km from Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough in the north to Cape Leeuwin and Augusta in the south. This coastal region includes a range of landscapes from beaches along the Indian Ocean through to rolling hills and forests beyond the surf.

For many visitors, wining and dining is an essential part of the Margaret River experience but it is also home to many adventures in nature. Restaurants and cafés are located in several wineries such as Wills Domain, Vasse Felix, Xanadu and Cullen. Two great dining options in Margaret River township are the Brewhouse and Morries while the Margaret River Bakery is a meeting place for the locals.

Margaret River produces some of the best wines in the country and while it contributes only 3% of Australia’s grapes, it accounts for 10% of the nation’s premium wines. Climatic conditions are similar to Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes grow particularly well. Other grape varieties that also thrive are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz. Visitors can sample these at over 100 wineries such as Howard Park,

Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Wills Domain, Aravina and Moss Wood. Festivals are always a good time to travel anywhere but a must when the focus is on the winning combination of food and wine. Two festivals in the southwest worth considering are the Taste Great Southern (March 23rd – April 9th, 2017) and the Margaret River Gourmet Escape (17th – 19th November, 2017, gourmetescape.com.au) and Gourmet Escape has a comprehensive range of activities and events up and down the Margaret River region with an emphasis on superstar chefs such as Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein at the last escape.

Adventures in the great outdoors are another reason to travel to Margaret River with activities both on the sea and land. Many come to surf or just laze around on long, uncrowded sandy beaches. Yallingup is one of the most popular beaches but there are many more with Prevelly Beach being the closest to Margaret River township located inland along the river. Breakfast at the White Elephant Café overlooking the turquoise waters of Gnarabup Beach is a quintessential Margaret River experience.

The vast Australian outdoors is easily accessible with extended and organised walks like those offered along the Cape to Cape walk by Walk into Luxury (walkintoluxury.com.au) offers exactly what the name implies. All paths are well marked and traverse a variety of landscapes from dramatic coastlines to majestic eucalypts. They take care of all the planning and transporting adventurers to their luxury lodgings each evening.

Capes to Coast Experience Adventure (capestocoast.com.au) offer a range of adventures with the fat bike ride through the towering eucalypts of Booranup, a wonderful way to experience another side of the region. The leisurely ride ends on a secluded cover where iced wine and the refreshing waters of the Indian Ocean await.

The Margaret River Discovery Company (margaretriverdiscovery.com.au) operated by Sean Blocksidge takes adventurers on scenic tours starting with a leisurely paddle along reaches of the tranquil Margaret River to take in the scenery and wildlife. Part of his tour includes a sampling of the various therapeutic honeys produced from the different eucalyptus trees of the southwest. Beneath the ground the spectacular

Jewel, Lake, Mammoth, Ngilgi and Yallingup Caves are other attractions with the Caveworks Interpretation Centre being the place to visit. Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming (koomaldreaming.com.au) offers a fascinating tour and an explanation of the close relationship his people, the Aborigines, have with it. A highlight of his cultural tour is when he plays the didgeridoo in the total darkness of Ngilgi Cave.

Perhaps the ultimate indulgence is to fly over parts of the region with Scenic Helicopters (scenichelicopters.com.au) to get the finest photos of the coast and the vines.

TRAVEL GUIDE

Getting There Scoot (flyscoot.com) connection via Scoot’s Singapore hub. A rental vehicle is a versatile way to discover Margaret River with Hertz (hertz.com) offering a comprehensive range of vehicles which can be conveniently pre-booked for collection upon arrival at Perth International Airport. For those who don’t want to drive, travel in style with Perth Luxury Tours (perthluxurytours.com).

Where to Stay Stay in style at Cape Lodge (capelodge.com.au), Injidup Spa Retreat (injidupsparetreat.com.au), the Grand Mercure Basildene Manor (grandmercure.com.au) or Pullman Bunker Bay Resort Margaret River (pullmanhotels.com). Self-catered accommodation is available and best suited to families who can use full kitchen facilities to prepare their own meals. Choose to stay at deluxe selfcontained villas such as Willy Bay Resort (willybayresort.com.my) or luxury homes such as Waterford (privateproperties.com.au).

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