With thousands of plant varieties growing here that occur nowhere else in the world, this corner of Australia is one of the world's botanical "hot spots". Plants are in flower here all year round but the best displays start in early winter with the golden wattles and the scrambling deep purple hardenbergias. You'll always find banksias in flower -their nectar is an important part of the food chain with many birds and tiny possums feeding on it exclusively.
By mid-July the coastal heath is beginning to colour up with bright coral pea-flowers. Soon it will be a patchwork of colour as more and more of the low shrubs come into flower - a truly beautiful sight.
Everyone loves kangaroos and there are plenty of them living in the forests and fields around Margaret River - they are the smaller western greys here. Winter is a good time to see them, the cooler, overcast days mean they are usually more active during the day than they are in the heat of summer when they tend to lie about, well concealed, in deep shade until the early evening.
One place you often see a big mob of 'roos is in the paddocks along the Walcliffe Road but keep your eyes open everywhere. They can be hard to spot, but once you've seen one there are usually others about.
Keep an eagle eye out when driving at dusk and at night. A kangaroo jumping out in front of you can seriously damage your car and spoil your holiday.
Margaret River's wineries are as varied as the wines they produce. Some are long-established and rather grand, others new on the block and very simple ... all have their merits and are worth a visit.
None is grander than Voyager Estate. The domain of one of Western Australia's wealthiest citizens, not a cent has been spared here in establishing the winery as a showcase of the region. Immaculately maintained lawns and formal gardens surround a sparkling white Cape Dutch-style cellar door and restaurant. Inside is just as impressive - polished wood, gleaming brass and glass, an award-winning restaurant, everything on a grand scale and very elegant - and always packed ... both tour companies and independent visitors love this place, and rightly so - they do a great job, and the wine's not bad either.
But a winery doesn't have to be a tourist drawcard to produce lovely wine. Sienna Estate couldn't be more different - a rustic vine-shaded cellar door, simply furnished and not a manicured lawn in sight, but the wine is truly excellent - their 2005 Semillon Sauvignon was rated Best of the Best by Australia's top wine writer.
Fondest memory: Voyager Estate - Stevens Road, Margaret River
Restaurant open for lunch and coffee and tea during opening hours.
Lunch bookings essential in peak periods - phone 08 9757 6354
You'll find Sienna Estate at the corner of Caves and Canal Rock Roads, Yallingup, north of Margaret River. Open 10 - 4.30.
Nuytsia floribunda - West Australian Christmas Tree - blooms in the paddocks and roadsides of the south-west corner of WA with a blaze of brillant orange just in time for the holiday season. Unique to this part of the world - one of the thousands of plants that make this region one of the world's biological hotspots - it's a rare plant indeed - a free-standing mistletoe that grows into a sizeable tree - the world's tallest mistletoe.
The flaming golden-orange of its flowers makes a magnificent show against the clear blue summer skies; meanwhile, underground the plant's parasitic nature sends its roots out in all directions in the quest for the roots of host plants from which it can draw the water and nutrients essential to sustain it through the long hot summer. It is so invasive in this seach that even PVC- clad underground cables have been known to have been pierced by its roots.
The Christmas Tree is very particular about the soil it will grow on and is virtually impossible to cultivate as a garden tree so, if you want to see it, you're going to have to make the trip to Western Australia some day.
Favorite thing: While a lot of the food in Margaret River is good, the service can be rather appalling. As sophisticated as the town is, it's still above all a country town, and service is generally slow. Just go with it, though, it's not all that bad.
Simmo's Icecream is available all over the Margaret River area... It's REALLY yummy too! :) I loved the Mint Choc Chip and Cherry Choc Chip flavours...yum! It's definitely worth giving it a go. :)
The main shop is at Dunsborough, not too far south of town. They also have a shop in Fremantle, Margaret River and Mandurah...
The Bootleg Brewery is a touristy brewery where you can try some of their own boutique beers. It opened in 1994 and they have won several national and international awards since then.
You can also have lunch at the Bootleg Brewery between 12 pm and 3 pm.
The brewery is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 4:30 pm.
It is located on the corner of Johnson & Puzey Roads, Willyabrup.
The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was built in 1904...it is located about 10 minutes drive north-west of Dunsborough. You can do guided tours and have a look around the grounds.
It is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
If you're in the Margaret River area and need a massage or any type of beauty therapy then I recommend Bliss. We bought my mum a massage & facial so I decided to go for a massage too... It was great! :) The girls are really friendly and they have a cute little salon...
Address: Shop 19, Dunsborough Park Shopping Centre, Dunsborough
Phone: 08 9756 8877
Margaret River is the best-known, though not the only, wine region in the South West. Of course one wants to sample the local wines when visiting there.
The problem: There is no wine tasting in the town of Margaret River. Margaret River Visitor Centre has a "Wine Tourism Showroom", an exhibition on wine which is very interesting, but they do not do tastings there. The centre of the wine region that does tastings is situated in Cowaramup - which has no campground.
Most wineries have an Open Cellar Door, a shop that offers tastings. Most of these are however not located within walking distance of any accommodation.
In other words, one has no other choice than going by car for wine tastings - which means one of the party, the driver, cannot participate - or joining an organized tour.
This one was a nice sight for me to see, not just another winery, but named after one of Western Australia's earliest explorers in the late 1700s, I believe, a Frenchman by the name of St Allouarn.
Nice to see the French are remembered in this corner of Western Australia.
Fondest memory: located right next door to Voyager and Leeuwin Estate winery.
You are doing a winery tour and want to buy some from the first stop but not a whole case. You certainly don't want a case from every stop. Neither do you want to carry a dozen loose bottles around with you and then try to get them back home.
The solution is at hand.
The wineries of Margaret River understand this dilema and have banded together to provide the answer - As long as you buy some wine at you last stop you visit they will put you precious collection into a case and send it all to you. You won't get the free postage offer you would get from a single winery but hte offer is well worth the postage.
Favorite thing: Please click on the link for a map to help find your way around Margaret River