One of the best things about living in Perth is having the gorgeous Margaret River region right on our doorstep.
Just a 2 – 3 hour drive, depending where in Perth you live, and you could be relaxing on the stunning beaches, sampling boutique wines or indulging in some of the freshest produce around.
We’ve done a few short breaks to Margaret River so I thought I’d put together the perfect itinerary for a long weekend in Margaret River.
In it, I’ll share where to stay, places to visit, and my favourite wineries and restaurants to visit in Margaret River.
Once you’ve read this, you’ll be itching to book a long weekend in Margaret River of your own!
A Long Weekend In Margaret River
The Margaret River region is the perfect long weekend destination from Perth. It’s close enough to reach in just a few short hours, but far enough to feel like you’re actually on holiday.
The weather is more temperate than Perth so you’ll find in summer it isn’t as hot and sweltering. In winter, it provides temperatures that are cool enough to make you want to cosy up in front of a wood burner and crack open a warming bottle of red.
It’s got wineries galore, restaurants on what seems like every road and some of the most stunning beaches and natural attractions. Whether you’re a couple, family, extended family or a group of friends, you’ll find plenty to keep yourselves busy during a long weekend.
Where To Stay In Margaret River
We’ve stayed in a few places in the Margaret River region, but hands down our favourite place to stay is Llewellin’s Guest House.
Situated a short drive from Margaret River’s town centre, this B&B has 3 beautiful bedrooms, plus a super-cool Airstream which they rent on Airbnb.
It’s an adults only property so you need to leave the kids at home if you stay here – but trust me it’s worth it! James and Joanna are simply the best hosts (it sounds super cliched but it’s true and there is no better way to describe them).
The rooms are spacious, comfortable and well-appointed (they think of everything – even make up towels!), and the breakfasts are to die for.
James bakes fresh muffins each morning too and if there are any leftover from breakfast they’re available for the rest of the day to guests. They make the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea or coffee when you get back after a busy day of exploring.
The property is situated in bushland which means you get some stunning wildlife coming practically up to your rooms. There is an abundance of birds and they have a resident kangaroo which comes to visit in the evenings to eat the food left out by Joanna and snack from the bird feeders too.
Another place we love is Eight Willows Retreat. If self-catering is more your style, their modern chalets are ideal. They’re right in the heart of the wine region and it’s a hop skip and jump to some of our favourite spots like Fishbone Wines, The Beer Farm and The Margaret River Chocolate Factory.
If you’re travelling as a group or family, we’ve used Cape Executive Holiday Properties (after a friend recommended them for accommodation in Margaret River). We stayed in Casa On Bridges in Dunsborough which was just lovely and had everything you needed. They have a huge selection of self-catering accommodation in the Margaret River region so check them out, you’re sure to find something suitable that won’t break the bank.
Wineries To Visit In Margaret River
Now I realise that everyone will have different tastes and therefore different favourites, but when it comes to wineries to visit in Margaret River, there are some that we just can’t miss.
First, House Of Cards Wines. We first came across these guys at UnWined in Subiaco a few years ago and just loved every single wine they had – which never happens!
I’m a Sauv Blanc kinda girl and Mr C is a Chardy fan – we do not see eye to eye when it comes to wine. But at House Of Cards, he was converted to their Sauvignon and I fell in love with their Queen of Hearts Chardonnay. All their wines are single origin – so all wines are produced from their Margaret River vineyard.
As the years go by we find we always love what they produce at House Of Cards. They’re truly a boutique winery – they produce small batches and don’t retail in many liquor stores, preferring to work with smaller independents and selling direct to the public.
Some super exciting news is that they’re currently building a restaurant which should be open later in 2018 – I can’t wait to check it out!
Second, Arimia Winery. If you’re looking for a winery producing some very different wines, this is the place to go. Don’t expect to see your typical big and brash wines here – they’ve got a selection of much more interesting wines like their Shiraz Viognier, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre.
Third, Windows Estate, which happens to be opposite House Of Cards. I love seeing what they have in store when we visit the region. Their sparkling Mousseux is one of my favourites when it comes to bubbles and we had to bring home a bottle of their 2015 basket pressed Syrah on our last visit.
Other wineries we’ve visited and enjoyed are Credaro Wines, Evans & Tate, and Howling Wolves.
Where To Eat In Margaret River
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to food in Margaret River. The region is teeming with award-winning eateries, and is the location of one of the biggest foodie events in Australia, the Gourmet Escape. We’ve only tried a handful of places compared to what’s out there, but here are my recommendations on where to eat in Margaret River.
On our last trip in January, we thought we’d try something a bit different, so we booked lunch at Fishbone Wines. Not only is this a cute winery with some great wines (loved the Verdelho!), they recently opened a Japanese restaurant on site too.
We ordered a few different dishes and shared, and each one seemed better than the last. I thought it was amazing value for money too, and they’re in the Entertainment Book too, making it even more affordable.
For our 10 year wedding anniversary, we spent the weekend in Margaret River and we thought we would splash out on a posh lunch at Aravina Estate. We were not disappointed. The setting was breathtaking, the food was outstanding and the presentation turned the food into their own little works of art. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, this is the place to go.
For more casual dining options, Swings and Roundabouts in Yallingup does the most amazing wood-fired pizzas. They have a massive outdoor area, where you can pick a table or simply set up your own chairs or blankets and they’ll serve you picnic-style. The ‘table numbers’ are actually cricket wickets so you can literally sit anywhere here!
I wasn’t a big fan of their wines, but their food can’t be faulted and it’s a great option for families. They also have a restaurant in Margaret River town as well.
Likewise, Cheeky Monkey Brewery is good for families and casual fare, and has a great kids playground. Be warned though it does get ridiculously busy on weekends and during the holidays so go early or be prepared to wait for a table.
A newer opening is The Beer Farm which is just amazing. It’s a converted dairy and much of it has been preserved so it’s super unassuming from the outside and gorgeous on the inside. Plenty of space for kids to run around outside and the food looked fab (we just had a couple of tasting paddles when we visited).
Places To Visit In Margaret River
If getting out and exploring the region is more your style, then you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in the Margaret River region.
The caves are a great place to visit – choose from Lake Cave, Mammoth Cave, Ngilgi Cave or Jewel Cave in Augusta. Each has it’s own unique features and can be visited no matter the weather.
Hamelin Bay is a must – if you want to get up close and personal with sting rays and manta rays (and sometimes even a shark or two!), this is the place to go. There is a boat launching area on the beach and when the fishermen start returning (usually from mid-morning onwards), it attracts the sting rays as they want to see what they can scrounge to eat.
They come right up into the shallows and you can even touch them if you’re brave enough. They feel a bit like really squishy jelly!
Indijup Beach is a stunning place for a beach walk – it can get very windy so check the wind before you go. When we went we spotted a pod of dolphins not too far out to sea too.
There are two lighthouses which can be visited too. Dunsborough has Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Augusta has Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Driving down to Hamelin Bay we stumbled across this breathtaking spot in the forest. I had to stop and drink it all in. The scale of these trees is just phenomenal. @margaretriver @westernaustralia @amazing_wa @australiassw @australia . . . #forest #nature #australia #margaretriver #margaretriverregion #westernaustralia #thisiswa #justanotherdayinwa #seeaustralia #visitaustralia #travelaustralia #amazingwa #perthisok #soperth #perthlife #travel #roadtrip #roadtrippin #perthblogger #southafricanblogger #blog #blogger #travelgram #traveling #forests #treelovers #forestwalks #proudlysouthafricaninperth #margaretriver_style
If forests are more your style, make sure you stop off at the lookout in Boranup Forest. The karri trees are something to marvel at and you can walk amongst them as well (just be careful as the cars do speed along the road you need to cross).
Busselton has heaps of historic attractions but Busselton Jetty is by far the most famous. Take the train to the end of the 1.7km long jetty and explore the underwater observatory – it’s definitely worth the extra cost.
As a South African, don’t miss the Yelverton Protea Farm. It’s been here for decades and has an amazing selection of protea plants and flowers for sale. So if you’ve been hankering after a touch of South Africa for your garden, stop by and see what they’ve got. I didn’t even know there were so many different varieties of proteas!
And there you have it – my recommendations for the ultimate long weekend in Margaret River! Where are your favourite places to stay, eat, drink and visit in Margaret River? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add them to my list when we visit again (which hopefully will be soon!).