With a weekend in Perth I wanted to do something different, fun and that fits with all the things I like. So I chose to explore the Margaret River region as it had been on my list of mini breaks to do for a while.
Driving in peak hour traffic out of Perth I was held up by a couple of accidents so it took a while and then the drive was fairly straightforward down to Busselton where I had booked 2 nights at The Sebel Busselton. I arrived in the dark after a 3 hour drive and relaxed by watching Escape to the Country in the Western Australian country.
The next morning I awoke to a sunny day, much warmer than I expected for Autumn and I drove down to Busselton Jetty where the view out to sea is vast. From Busselton to Margaret River, the drive through the green pastures and bush is contrasted with red soil, taking around 45 minutes.
I parked in the main street of town and had a wander along the shops stopping at the Margaret River Visitors Centre where I asked for advice on what to do in a day or so. Helpful staff recommended the Lake Cave, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Farmers Market, wineries and the coast.
This weekend was busy with the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival plus a program of activities for the week that the centre publishes. The Margaret River Region visitors guide is a must reference guide with an outline of different wine and beer types matched with what is available at each winery and brewery – a great idea.
The Margaret River Farmers’ Market is on every Saturday from 8.00 am – 12.00 pm at the Cultural Precinct. Shopping at Margaret River Hemp Co I picked up a soft cardigan for myself and a jumper for Scott all made from hemp.
Fudge is a favourite of mine so the Margaret River Fudge Factory was a must try. The flavours I chose were Apple Pie, Caramel Cashew, Chocolate Banana and Strawberry and Cream.
Driving out to Lake Cave where there is an events deck over a huge cavern, I bought a ticket for a cave tour. There were what felt like a million steps, down through millions of years of history, into a very beautiful cave. An amazing suspended table formation is a one of a kind and although the cave is petite, it is the prettiest I have seen.
Along country roads I drove to a gorgeous setting for a local lunch — at Hay Shed Hill Wines that was recommended by a colleague from Polytechnic West. Stunning grounds, vines, a huge deck, local olive oil, bread and greens made for a fabulous stop. A glass of the Hay Shed Hill Wines Pitchfork Pink topped it all off.
Instead of taking the highway back to Busselton, I drove along the coast via Yallingup and Dunsborough. At Yallingup Beach, driving over the hill and down towards the sea there was an immense view, dunes buffeted by the wind and a lonely bench to take it all in.
Heading back to Busselton I had a cheers drink to my nephew Dylan atThe Esplanade Hotel Busselton as it was his 18th birthday back in Adelaide that night.
Considering with more time around Margaret River here are some of the places I would have visited:
- Amaze’n Margaret River Gardens and Mini Golf
- Candy Cow
- Gabriel Chocolate
- Island Brook Estate
- Margaret River Nougat Company
- Margaret River Winemakers
- The Margaret River Chocolate Co
- 3 Oceans
Sunday morning it was drizzling lightly so I enjoyed a coffee whilst wandering the stalls & I found a couple of gifts at the Busselton Foreshore Markets.
Heading back towards Perth I stopped at Bunbury where there are a couple of interesting characters in front of the historic Rose Hotelestablished in 1865. I like a town that makes the most of what they’ve got with a positioning statement of “Where you’re free to be”.
Check out the cappuccino strip, Basalt Rock at Wyalup-Rocky Point, Lighthouse and the Marlston Hill Lookout. At the Marlston Waterfront I popped into Morris Lane Taffys & Mash Brewing Bunbury for lunch and a local cider.
Arriving back in Perth to drop the hire car off around 5.00 pm at the airport I had a catch up drink with my brother James Baker who had dropped off his hire care just a few minutes before – a lovely unexpected catch up. Dinner was enjoyed with long term colleagues on the eve of the Training Providers Forum at Market & Co and the whole weekend was a fabulous mini break.
Here’s a link to all the photos, written by Wendy Perry, 9 June 2014.