With most of Western Australia’s long weekends now behind us, we explore the perfect way to spend a day ‘Down South’.
With its mild Mediterranean climate, the South-West region is a perfect year-round travel destination, ideal for extended getaways or as a quick, whistlestop visit from Perth.
Whether you’re bringing friends to Margaret River and showing them what the South-West has to offer, or you’re simply wanting to get out of town and taste some of the best produce in Western Australia, read on for our essential food and wine guide to one of Australia’s most exciting regional travel destinations.
13:00: But first, lunch.
After driving all morning, make lunch your first stop in Yallingup at Wills Domain or Eagle Bay Brewery (the latter being slightly more casual and family friendly with lots of grassy areas and rolling hills for the little ones to roam).
Eagle Bay Brewery | Corner Abbey Farm & Brash Roads, Yallingup
On the other hand, if it’s just the two of you heading down south for a special occasion, it’s hard to go past Wills Domain. With its stunning food, wine, a view of the picturesque Gunyulgup Valley and its vine rows to match, and a head chef of Cutler & Co fame, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect place to celebrate.
Wills Domain | Abbeys Farm Rd, Yallingup
15:00: Wine o’clock
With over 150 wine producers in the Margaret River region, winery-hopping is a ritual for those who venture down south. Notable favourites include Vasse Felix, Howard Park (the Flint Rock Shiraz is a crowd-pleaser), Voyager Estate for its meticulously manicured grounds (also, the sparkling grape juice is a delicious non-alcoholic option), and Brookland Valley (the adjoining restaurant, Flutes, is also a great place for lunch). Just remember to wine-taste responsibly and take care on the roads!
17:00: Queue up for the fruit loaf at Yallingup Woodfired Bakery
Yallingup Bakery is seriously not to be missed – though you’ll have to look out for the subtle signs to find this hidden gem (hint: look out for a tiny sign with a red flame on it). Swing by and pick up a couple of their famed fruit loaves and sourdough, but make sure you arrive at 5pm on the dot (or, ideally, a little before then) as the loaves here fly off the trolleys as soon as they come out of the woodfired oven. There’s nothing better than the aroma of freshly baked bread that will inevitably fill your car afterwards.
Urbanspoon | Cnr Biddles And McLachlan Rds, Dunsborough
17:30-18:00: Catch the sunset over the Indian Ocean in Wyadup
Wyadup is a photographer’s dream. With green rolling hills on one side and the expanse of the Indian Ocean on the other, all you have to do is follow the road all the way to the end.
Wyadup Road, Yallingup
19:00: Dinner at Studio Bistro
A curated art gallery by day, and one of the South-West region’s best restaurants by night. A big call, we know, but with flawless French-inspired food and service to match (and a head chef who’s learnt his skills at Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Tetsuya’s in Sydney) we wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Whether you’re with a group or dropping in as a party of two, be sure to book well in advance especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
7 Marrinup Drive, Yallingup | Website
21:00: Nightcap at Morries Anytime
A relatively new addition to the Bussell Highway strip, this cafe by day and cocktail bar by night has quickly become a Margaret River institution. Known affectionately by the locals as ‘Morries’, this tapas bar rightfully earns its place in this year’s Good Food Guide and is the ideal place to unwind after dinner.
2/149 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River WA 6285 | Website
09:00: It’s all about the pancakes at Margaret River Bakery
If you’re staying in the town centre, breakfast at this popular cafe is a must before embarking on the 3.5 hour drive back up to Perth. Fuel up on the pancakes – we have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.
89 Bussell Hwy Margaret River | Website
11:00: Chase the sun at Bunker Bay
No Margaret River itinerary is complete without a dip in the Indian ocean, particularly if the blazing summer sun’s out. As you’ll be passing through Dunsborough on your way back to Perth, swing by Bunker Bay (via Caves Road) and replenish your vitamin D levels on the glistening sand and pristine shore. Just remember to reapply that sunscreen as the scorching sun is at its highest around midday!