Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River and the surrounding region

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

We’ve just returned from a weekend of discovery down south that included a stay in a fairytale cottage in the forest, a Shakespeare production  outside by the vines at Voyager Estate, and a very pleasant morning spent at Gnarabup beach, Prevelly.

What I love about life in this little corner of the world is the amount of things to do in a reasonably small area. Beaches, forest walks, wineries, caves, world class restaurants and great entertainment – most of which you could accomplish in a day.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

So without further ado here are 10 things you really should do in Margaret River, plus a wonderful out-of-the-ordinary-eco-place to stay.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River

1. Visit the wine estates around Margaret River – there are around 150 cellar doors to choose from. Our favorites include Leeuwin, Aravina, Hay Shed Hill, Knotting Hill, Wills Domain, Knee Deep, Cullen, Laurance, Watershed, Xanadu and Voyager. Voyager hosts the annual Shakespeare in the Vines during January – scroll down to the end of the post for pics and details.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

What a lovely way to spend an hour or two! This was taken at Knotting Hill winery.

2. Visit the Lake Cave Tearooms for a coffee in a beautiful setting, then go down down down to the cave. Nearby, enjoy breakfast or a light lunch in the forest and visit the lovely Boranup Gallery on Caves Road and pick out a gift or two.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

3. Laze around, walk or surf at Contos Beach (above) or Redgate Beach
4. Discover Hamelin Bay’s historic jetty, gorgeous beach, stingrays that come to feed off fishermen’s scraps, an island and 9 submerged wrecks in the bay.
5. Laze on beautiful Meelup Beach and picnic on the grassy area under the trees
6. Visit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse or Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
7. Go to Prevelly and watch the surfer’s from Surfer’s Point – the famous main break can be seen from the high vantage of the car park and the new decked area. Afterwards enjoy a beer and pizza at Sea Gardens Café.
8. Enjoy a Devonshire Tea at the Margaret River Berry Farm on Davis Road, 1km before Witchcliffe
9. In season book a whale watching cruise with Naturaliste Charters
10.Take a tour with Margaret River Discovery Company - enjoy canoeing on the Margaret River

Where to stay in Margaret River

Harmony Forest

When Alexandra invited me to stay at Harmony Forest   I looked it up on the internet and saw that the 8 villas were situated amongst trees and bushland. What I didn’t realize was how deep within the forest they were set.

Staying at Harmony Forest is truly a Hansel and Gretel experience, take the wrong turn at the cairn and you could end up spending the night with the kangaroos and bandicoots in a forest glade.

What struck me most was being so far from the madding crowd and yet only about 18kms or so out of Margaret River along the Bussel Highway.

From the highway you turn onto Sebbes Road  which winds its way through dense Karri forest. The trees at night looked ghostly as our headlights picked out their steely grey barks while in the day they house thousands of eyes and a multitude of song – the sound of cicadas, crows, kookaburras and an assortment of other birds.

At night expect only the rush of the breeze in the trees, or the thump of a possum jumping onto the roof. At sundown we were enchanted by possums and a bandicoot who came looking for food but preferred to attempt to nibble our toes.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

In the morning blue fairy wrens and rosellas came to slosh in the bird bath and a large skink made fruitful fodder for our camera. We spotted rabbits, emus and kangaroos when we walked the 1km track around the villas and the sun dappled 8.5 hectare vineyard that’s planted with Merlot.

The Harmony Forest Villas

The villas are set within mossy glades amongst the towering forest, with maintained firebreaks all around, and on stepping out of the car you’ll feel  the stresses of life, or the city or work  just melt away in the tranquility of this halcyon setting.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

No road noise, no airplanes overhead, only the sounds of the forest; the rustle of a skink, the pitter patter of a possum, the wail of a crow and at midday the constant chirruping of cicadas which sound like static electricity overhead.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

The Walks

Inside the villas are cool and well equipped, with a/c or pot belly stove depending on the season. There’s no tv reception so take along books, games, and videos, or get out and about on one of the easy walk trails:

  • Mosey Past the Merlot, 2.5km
  • Harmony Forest Walk 1.5km
  • The Serious Walker’s Coffee – 8km to Boranup Gallery
  • Boranup Marathon – 12km

 Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

The Features

  • Pine-panelled twin spa room
  • Two modern bedrooms one with Queen size bed
  • Deluxe towels, soaps and bathrobes
  • Spacious living and dining area
  • Wood-crafted furniture
  • Large windows
  • Separate, fully-equipped kitchen
  • Gas BBQ, CD/Ipod dock, with speakers in spa room
  • Flat-screen TV and inbuilt DVD player
  • Gas pot-belly heater/fan cooling, Electric blankets
  • Fresh rainwater tank, Unlimited hot water
  • Generous lawn area with sun chairs
  • Rates range from $190 – $300 per night per cottage, look out for special deals.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

Shakespeare in the Vines

For weekend entertainment we went to see one of bard Bill’s plays on the lawn at Voyager Estate. At only $50 per person it’s an excellent night of culture and hedonism in a beautiful setting.

Brilliantly entertaining

This year the Essential Theatre company presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it was brilliantly entertaining.

If you thought Shakespeare was boring at school – think again. The mix of a perfect outdoor setting, the promise of a fine glass of wine or two, Mike’s Gourmet Hotdogs and a performance that had us gripping our sides with laughter didn’t equate in any way with the notion of boring.

Top 10 Things to do in Margaret River by Jo Castro

We were amazed how well the cast coped with the challenges of performing outside, and the various exits, entries and run-throughs. It was an awesome performance, and a showcase of Aussie and New Zealand acting talent.

Voyager is a wonderful venue for this type of performance as the stage is in front of the Cape Dutch styled entrance to the cellar door and the audience nestles itself on the gently sloping grassy lawns on picnic blankets and low chairs … along with some tempting gourmet picnics I might add.

We decided not to bring a picnic because we wanted to try one of Mike’s Gourmet Hotdogs, and we enjoyed a venison hot dog with caramelised onions and chili relish – which certainly put the gourmet twist on a traditional sausage sizzle! We washed it down with Girt by Sea, a cabernet merlot – one of Voyager’s perennial quality wines.

With a picturesque Margaret River sunset, a wonderful performance, and picnics it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Keep an eye out for next year’s Shakespeare in the Vines and why not give it a try? I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Have you been to Margaret River? Of course, there are loads more things to do, so I’d welcome your favourite things too. If you haven’t visited what would you most like to do on a trip down south in Western Australia?

Disclaimer: My night at Harmony Forest and ticket to Shakespeare in the vines were complimentary

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Comments

  1. Rachel
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi there,
    All through the summer and most of Autumn, we have live music every Wednesday and Saturday evenings here at Sea Gardens.
    And a monthly community book club that everyone if welcome to join in with, even if it;s just once :) we meet on the last Thursday of every month and if you check our website you can see what we are currently reading :) http://www.seagardens.com.au
    Join us, we look forward to welcoming you :)
    Gilles, Emma-Jane and the Team

  2. Mike says:

    Oh my gosh you know me, Johanna, I want to do all of them! You sold me on my first choice being Surfer’s Point at Prevelly then dinner at Sea Gardens. I want to try the Barramundi since I never had that before. Yet, I would also have to order their Quack Quack pizza! Beer would of course be flowing! :)
    Mike recently posted..$200 Giveaway To Celebrate Our One Year Blog Anniversary!My Profile

  3. Hi Mike, I’m glad that you liked the choices and want to do all of them. Barramundi is certainly something to try – I really like it and Sea Gardens Quack Quack pizza is great too! Thanks for popping by and commenting today :)

  4. Thanks for the heads-up Rachel! I’d love to get to the book club and the live music one of these days too. Bet some of ZigaZag readers already have, but if not, then here’s the invite!!

  5. Muza-chan
    Twitter:
    says:

    Very beautiful place…
    Muza-chan recently posted..Popular Japanese food, Mitarashi dango and a bit of historyMy Profile

  6. You are so lucky to live where you do. The south-west corner was always lovely, but it has so many things to see and do now. I love possums coming out at sunset, as long as they don’t make to much noise on the roof. :)
    budget jan recently posted..Cambodia – Slow travel and Unfinished BusinessMy Profile

  7. Margaret River really is one of the most beautiful parts of our state and as you mention, so much to do! Shakespeare in the Vines looked fun too. It was great to read about Harmony Forest..a new place to stay next time we are down there!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Eating in London’s East EndMy Profile

  8. this looks like a fun getaway and enjoy some wonderful down time…enjoyed the visit!
    noel morata recently posted..Photo travel destinations to visit in 2014 from travel bloggers around the worldMy Profile

  9. Neva
    Twitter:
    says:

    I like how you start my tour with a glass of great wine. You know me so well!!! Thanks for the wonderful tour of this area.
    Neva recently posted..A City That Refuses To DieMy Profile

  10. Marcia
    Twitter:
    says:

    You had me at the wine, Johanna. I can just imagine listening to Shakespeare while enjoying a nicely chilled glass. Thanks for the tour!
    Marcia recently posted..Gingerbread Houses, JamaicaMy Profile

  11. Leigh
    Twitter:
    says:

    Looks like you live in a little corner of paradise. It would be hard not to want to do everything you suggested. I guess I’d start with the wine, a hike and then the beaches. I love the look of the place you stayed in too.
    Leigh recently posted..A Visit to Mariposa, California – A Gateway to Yosemite NPMy Profile

  12. Bonny
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for another great article! My weekend was spent at home, but it was easy to imagine being in Margaret River for a few minutes while reading about your wonderful weekend. Love the pictures of the possums!
    Bonny recently posted..A Local’s Guide to the Beaches in PerthMy Profile

  13. Looks like a good time was had by all and those possums are ADORABLE :)
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..55 Australian Travel Bloggers Hot Listed in 2014My Profile

  14. They certainly were Annabel. So cute, and quite naughty! We had fun photographing them :)

  15. So glad that you were ‘transported’ Bonny, but hope you had an enjoyable weekend at home anyway. Yes, those possums were so cute! Thanks for your lovely comments today.

  16. I think that’s a plan, Leigh! You’ve hit on three of my favourite activities there! Yes, it was a sylvan villa in a beautiful forest and I think we are very luck in this part of the world to have such biodiversity.

  17. Ha Ha, Neva! Cheers! Nothing like a glass of the finest to start a tour! Glad you enjoyed with me :)

  18. It’s not a bad way to watch Shakespeare, that’s for sure Marcia! Glad you enjoyed today :)

  19. Thanks Noel :) Glad you enjoyed the virtual tour, and yep, not a bad place for some down time :)

  20. Aren’t we lucky bugs to live in this little corner of WA, Jenny. Harmony Forest is definitely a place if you want to escape and be amongst nature.

  21. Thanks for reading Muza-chan and glad you liked :)

  22. I think the south west has probably really upped the ante since you were here Jan. I’d love for you to be able to tour around here now :) Yes, one possum did jump on the roof in the middle of the night and I jumped out of my skin!

  23. Oh what fun to see Margaret River! We met a couple of lads (young, they were) on our cruise from Australia and they told us the wine from Margaret River area was THE best. What fun to see a post about the area!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..That Unforgettable Taste of TahitiMy Profile

  24. You stay at the most relaxing and charming places. This place certainly offers somthing for everyone. I’d love to explore Contos Beach more.What a beautiful setting to watch some Shakespeare.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Exploring Linderhof Palace ParkMy Profile

  25. You certainly make the Margaret River area sound enticing. The Harmony Forest Villas look so relaxing and serene, and that Shakespeare performance sound entertaining.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Snapshots from Singapore Changi AirportMy Profile

  26. Glad you enjoyed Michele :) and thanks for coming along for the ride :)

  27. I love it when things all come together Jackie! I bet they waxed lyrical … and I’m so glad that I could take you into a little more depth – beyond the wine! Although it IS THE BEST lol!!!

  28. Knowing the things you enjoy discovering I reckon Contos would be a place you’d really enjoy Mary. Yes, I’m lucky to stay at some charming places and I’d recommend Harmony Forest for anyone wanting to get away from it all and relax. Thank you for reading :)

  29. We drove down to Margaret River from Perth in 2007 and adored it. The gardens at some of the wineries were amazing and I loved the Berry Farm. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and the boardwalk along the coastline was also a highlight. I would have loved to walked a bit further however as the scenery was spectacular along the coastline. Maybe next time.
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Home and AwayMy Profile

  30. Hey Kathy, sounds like we need to give you the ‘nod’ and inspire you again to stop off down here for a few days. All the things you mention are firm faves in this household :)

  31. Great Blog Jo for those looking to stay closer to town but still feeling miles away check us out we have just been voted by readers of the Australian Traveller Magazine as top B & B in Australia I agree with all the places to visit but the great thing with Margaret River is there is always something on or happening any time of the year and no shortage of great places to visit

  32. Thanks for this article and nice pics. Im a tour guide in Gallipoli/ Turkey. My customers always tell me the natural beauties of Australia. I guess i need to make a travel plan :)
    Marc Gallipoli recently posted..Twelve Tree Copse CemeteryMy Profile

  33. Thanks for your comment Marc. I guess you meet and guide many Australians around Gallipoli, all of whom probably wax lyrical about these fair shores – so a trip to the Antipodes will be something to consider in the future.

  34. Thanks Debbie – well done on your recent award! That’s wonderful! We’ll have to check you out soon too :) Thanks for popping by.

  35. Wanda says:

    We’re just back from Tassie, and I’ve been saying how small it is, and yet how many wonderful and inspiring things there are to do. Your blog makes me realise that we don’t have to go to Tassie (although I’ll go any day), to have access to a huge variety of experiences in such a small space. Cabins in the forest – sounds just wonderful. And, Shakespeare not too far away. What else is there?

  36. Welcome back from Tassie! What another wonderful part of the Australian continent. Another corner with so much to do. Glad you are excited about how much there is to do in SWA though :)

  37. The Shakespeare in the Vines weekend sounds like a fab one, Jo. I definitely must get back over to the beautiful SW of WA again soon.

    Those possums sure look cute in the photos but after hearing them on my roof at night and discovering their poop all over my verandah, I definitely have a different opinion of them!
    Carolyn recently posted..Turkish visa now required for Australian Passport holdersMy Profile

  38. I know Carolyn, they are sooo cute to look at but they can be pesky! I nearly jumped out of my skin when one landed on the roof that night! Reckon you must come this way soon and discover more of SWA. Thanks for your comments :)

  39. Aaron
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love the south west of WA, and the area around Margaret River is certainly worth a visit. We have taken a fondness of staying in houses in the bush, with a bit of privacy whilst still being able to make use of the great coast down there!
    Aaron recently posted..Caving in Margaret RiverMy Profile

  40. Hey Aaron, Yes that’s the best way of doing things – bush and ocean … Can’t beat it!

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