It has been well communicated that we recently traveled to the Margaret River Region in Australia to attend two VIP weddings. Its a truly incredible part of the world – beautiful beaches, a wide array of food options from fine dining to quality bakeries, delicious wines and every type of accommodation option you can think of from glamping to high end resorts. We have been traveling to Margaret River for weekend escapes or a lazy week on the beach as long as I can remember. Actually, the very first little trip that Troy and I took together was to Dunsborough, so it was pretty special to finally take our little girl there. No one could have predicted the adventures we would go on or the things we would achieve together during that first visit – at that point in time we had only been dating for about 3 months. This trip was a little different as we had a toddler in tow and we spent longer there than we usually would. Here is a recap on our vacay to the South West of Australia.
From Perth, Western Australia it is approximately a 3 hour drive to reach the Margaret River Region. We tend to always stay in a town called Dunsborough, but you could choose Busselton, Dunsborough, Yallingup, Margaret River or anywhere in between.
We stayed in a couple of different accommodations to suit where our friends and family were staying whilst we were there.
- Smiths Beach Resort – We stayed here previously for a friends wedding and we were actually given the exact same villa this time around. The accommodations here are minimalist and beautiful and the view over the ocean is simply divine. The resort provided stair guards (thank goodness as they had very steep, stone steps to upstairs) and a cot for Mackenzie . Whilst I absolutely love this place, I don’t think it is best suited to young children. The main bedroom was upstairs and the other bedrooms were downstairs (which felt like a long way away) so Mackenzie was back in our room. Also, there is a cafe and restaurant downstairs (which is INCREDIBLY overpriced) but there is nowhere else to walk and the beach paths are not suitable for a stroller. So whilst I would definitely stay here as a couple or with friends, it would not be my first choice with a young family.
- Whalers Cove – We stayed in a fabulous (and huge) beach house right on the waterfront at Dunsborough Beach. These houses are my favorite place to stay as they feel homely, are mere steps from the water and a short stroll into town. It is the dream to own one of these homes one day. There are a few different places along this stretch which I would also recommend you to stay – Dunsborough Beach Cottages and Regency Beach Club.
Breweries and Wineries
There is an abundance of wineries, breweries and places to visit in Margaret River – I could literally write an entire book on this region alone. Here are a few of my favorites from this trip:
- Eagle Bay Brewery – This is by far my favorite place, especially if you have children in tow. A huge playground and sandpit, along with plenty of toys, coloring in and a kids menu. The open plan dining which leads directly on to the grassed area makes it so easy for parents to eat and have a drink whilst the children roam about. Plus the stunning view of Eagle Bay is not one to be missed.
- The Beerfarm – Our friends had their pre-wedding drinks here and it was the first time we had been to this venue. Again it is also good for the children with plenty of room to move around. I personally thought the food was outstanding and I had possibly one of the best chicken parmigianas I have ever had (hopefully it wasn’t just the fact that I haven’t had one in a long time since living in the UK).
- Colonial Brewery – Just like the previous two places, another great setup with good food and drinks. These venues have clearly had ‘relaxed families’ in mind when designing their spaces. I am not a big beer drinker and will opt for sparkling or a crisp white wine, but everything that was on offer was delicious. There is also a few games set up like hole in one golf across the lake and bag toss.
- Wills Domain – A beautiful winery with a stunning view back over its vineyard. Now this is not the most ideal place for children as the food offered is geared more towards fine dining. The gnocchi I had here was divine and again, probably the best I can ever remember having. Kids are catered for in a sense that there were high chairs and a playground outside. We managed (just) with Mackenzie, but an adult’s only lunch would have been more preferable. I also remember thoroughly enjoying the sparkling wine and rose they had on offer.
We didn’t venture to a lot of the usual tourist haunts like the Margaret River Chocolate Factory or Simmo’s Ice-creamery, however these are a few of the things we did this time around which were particularly memorable.
- Breakfast at Goanna Cafe and Gallery – This rustic cafe set among the bush land did not disappoint. I had the Indo Breakfast and it was so delicious that I can still taste it now. They also have a great little play area for the kids – you know, anything for 5 minutes of peace whilst I can enjoy my latte.
- Wine Tasting at Pierro – I’ve decided that this is my favorite winery at the moment. It is a small boutique winery with no food options available, but I literally could have bought every wine I tried. If you are UK based and enjoy a cheeky Chardonnay, it is available at Waitrose!
- Chilling out at the Beach – When it comes to the beach in this part of the world, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to surf, swim, sun bake or go for a leisurely stroll – you will find a beach suitable for you. I am a big fan of Dunsborough Beach as it is a shallow protected bay that was excellent for Mackenzie. And if I want to go for a swim, then Meelup Beach or Yallingup Beach are probably my favorites.
- Shopping in Dunsborough – There are lots of brilliant boutique shops that have sprung up in this town offering the ladies some luxe treats whilst they are holidaying. I picked up some boots from SUPERNOVA, a couple of dresses from One Palm and some jewelry from Milc.
To my fellow Perth-ites these recommendations are probably a no-brainer, but here are some handy tips for those traveling from further afield:
- Hire a Car – It will be virtually impossible to visit this region without a car and you will miss out on everything it has to offer. Look for a good deal before you leave on TripAdvisor – click here.
- Book Accommodation Early – During peak season (i.e. school holidays, Christmas, Easter etc.) the accommodation books up early and fast! So make sure you plan in advance and secure your bookings to avoid disappointment.
- Make Restaurant Reservations – If there is a big group of you or you want to dine at one of the popular winery restaurants, I would highly recommend making a reservation well in advance. However, many of the more casual settings will (probably!) be fine to just chance it.
I hope you enjoyed the latest installment of my Travel Diaries and I have inspired you to book a weekend getaway or travel from the other side of the world to visit this amazing place! If you are still looking for some inspiration on where to travel next, why not check out the other Travel Diaries available on Wander & Luxe. Be sure to leave a comment in the section below and let me know about your next adventure.
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