Margaret River in Western Australia is known as one of the country’s greatest wine districts. With more than 100 cellar doors to choose from and plenty of superb wine and dine options, it truly is a food and drinks lover’s paradise.
While Margaret River wineries might only produce roughly 3% of the nation’s total grape crush, the region is responsible for more than 25% of Australia’s premium wines. Stretching over 100 kilometres from north to south, there’s plenty to explore for days on end and a real diversity in the styles and types of wine produced.
Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon reign as the superstar varietals in the Margaret River wine region, with the best examples renowned as forerunners in excellence on the global stage. Names such as Leeuwin Estate, Cullen, Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle and Moss Wood have helped place this destination on the international wine map and inspire travellers to journey to these vineyards.
It is also home to a swag of award-winning winemakers and you’ll find delicious examples of chenin, syrah, malbec, sauvignon blanc and semillon. There really is something for all palates, whether you are after fresh and funky ‘natural’ style wines, or you prefer to stick with the classics.
As there is limited public transport, why not book a driver for the day, so everyone can enjoy the wine tasting experience? And be sure to allow plenty of time for the drive between wineries.
No matter what Margaret River attractions appeal to you, it’s recommended to plan your trip in advance, as bookings are essential for busy times of year. Plan your visit with this Margaret River guide.
Just like the diversity of wine on offer in Margaret River, you can find a wide range of accommodation options from beach abodes in Yallingup to cosy cabins nestled in bushland.
Cape Lodge, Injidup Spa Retreat and Smiths Beach Resort are at the luxury end of the scale and ideal for wine adventures in the Yallingup and Wilyabrup sub-regions. If you’d like to focus more on the wineries near the town of Margaret River and south towards Karridale, try Tanah Marah for some pastoral bliss, or Basildene Manor and Rosewood Guesthouse for old-fashioned charm and hospitality.
After a stay that’s off the beaten track? Sleep amongst the vines at the adults only Petit Eco Cabin at Windows Estate vineyard or fall asleep amongst olive trees in a safari-style bungalow at Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping. For something swish, book a luxury holiday home in the Private Properties portfolio – perfect for groups of friends or families travelling in style. You can even hire a private chef!
Before you set out for the day’s adventures, plan a pit stop at a tasty lunch spot. Some of Western Australia’s best dining is located in the south west, with Margaret River at its heart.
Vineyard restaurants don’t disappoint. For fine dining, book a table at Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate, Frui Momento, Cullen Wines or Voyager Estate, and arrive early for a wine tasting beforehand. It’s also a great idea to gather a bottle or two for evening drinks. For red wine lovers, the Voyager Estate Girt By Sea Cabernet Merlot is an approachable option, with plush tannins from the merlot enveloping the structure of the cabernet sauvignon. For slightly more relaxed dining, Glenarty Road and Arimia Estate focus on paddock-to-plate menus, and Amelia Park Wines has stunning vineyard views.
While you might not feel hungry after a multi-course extravaganza, ensure you have some snacks ready to go at your accommodation. You will be thankful for the easy cheese board that can be thrown together when the inevitable red wine nibbles hit later in the day. There couldn’t be a better match than a crumbly cheddar with a full bodied red such as the Forester Estate Premium Cabernet Sauvignon. This drop also won the trophy for Halliday’s Cabernet Sauvignon Challenge. Casual lunchtime options include breweries such as Wild Hop Brewing Co, Beerfarm or Margaret River Brewhouse. If you’ve filled up at the breakfast table, many wineries offer charcuterie and cheese platters to graze on.
There is no shortage of cellar doors to visit in the Margaret River wine region. Some offer free wine tasting but most incur a charge, and the more in-depth wine tasting experiences do require pre-booking.
It’s impossible to plan a visit to Margaret River’s cellar doors without visiting some of the icons. Vasse Felix is the founding winery in the region and the Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant example of the region’s iconic varietal. Another great cellar door nearby is Howard Park, where you can discover the difference between its regional vineyards. It would be sacrilege to depart without a bottle of chardonnay and the Howard Park Terroir Margaret River Chardonnay provides a more restrained style of white wine that is leaner and lighter on oak.
If you stay in Margaret River itself, there are some great wineries just a stone’s throw from town – you could even hire a bike to ride to them! Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Cape Mentelle and Stella Bella Wines are all bike riding distance, but the closest cellar door to town is Xanadu. Making some of the best cabernet in the country (and hence some of the hardest to get hold of!) it is well worth picking up a bottle – or a case – of the Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Glenn Goodall recently won Halliday’s winemaker of the year accolade.
Beyond the wineries there are wild landscapes to explore and events and festivals throughout the year. In the warm weather, hit the surf break at Surfers Point or the calm waters of Meelup Beach. Summertime outdoor movies at Cape Mentelle are magical under the stars and by the vines. Strap on your hiking boots and trek the Cape to Cape Walk or time your trip with one of the many festivals in the region. Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, CinefestOZ or Open Studios are a dream for those artistically inclined. Or stay warm and toasty in front of an open fire during the Cabin Fever Festival and celebrate what the region has to offer during the cooler months. Of course, any time of year is suitable for a pairing of classic white and a stunning sunset, so settle in by the ocean and crack open a bottle of the textural and layered Devil’s Lair Honeybomb Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.