If you’re looking for fun things to do in Margaret River, then a bicycle tour stopping off at world class wineries along route, should be on your list.
In our 9 years in the South West we’ve had many trips down to the Margaret River Region discovering so many Margaret River attractions, and often these trips have included visiting some of the region’s amazing wineries and cellar doors – many of them top Margaret River experiences in themselves.
We’ve also done quite a few other top Margaret River activities including kayaking and wine tours by bus, but we’ve never done a wine tour by bicycle.
This trip with Dirty Detours gave another aspect altogether to the growing list we’re compiling of what to do in Margaret River and more broadly things to do in Western Australia.
Margaret River Wineries
Sip ’N Cycle was for us a unique and hugely enjoyable way to visit four of the premium wineries around Margaret River. We visited Cape Mentelle, Xanadu, Watershed and Stella Bella.
Dirty Detours Mountain Bike Adventures.
Dirty Detours offer many other tours than just the Sip n’ Cycle ride.
There is for instance a single day tour – a leisurely cruise for coffee, and a bike ride of around 30kms.
For those of you looking for a bit more of a sweat, there are another two options: The Boranup Forest for the average rider and the Advanced XC for those looking for some punishment!
There are also Multi Day rides on the Munda Biddi Trail – Experience one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Cycle Routes in the World!
Ride with Rob and his team on a fully supported & catered tour, through unique native Australian bush. You’ll ride a variety of trail, from wide open fire trail, to fun single track. Relax knowing all you have to think about is pedalling & what’s for dinner!!
Tours are ridden twice a month: look at the upcoming events page on Dirty Detour’s website for spaces available on existing tours.
Sip n’ Cycle – the tour
The tour lasts from 9.30 in the morning to around 3 in the afternoon combines visits some of the top wineries in Margaret River. We stopped at 4 wineries during 18 kilometres of gentle and scenic cycling.
We weren’t sure that the combination of cycling and wine tasting would be compatible or good bed-fellows! But we can honestly say that we’ve never enjoyed a tour as much as this one. It is one of the top things to do in Margaret River.
The cycling time between wineries give you a time to soak up the scenery, and pause between tasting world class wines. Gentle exercise along bike tracks, past vineyards and through gorgeous dappled forest gave us the change for some gentle exercise as well as time to socialise with other group members.
Do you need to be super fit for this tour?
You don’t need to be a super fit cyclist but a moderate level of fitness is required.
What are the bikes like?
The bikes are good quality, well maintained mountain bikes. At the beginning of the tour Rob gave us some reassuring advice on the few simple do’s and don’ts and tips about best practices to get us through the day safely.
What are the trails like?
Most of the riding is on the quieter roads or dirt tracks through the forest. Some of the tracks are private – to which Rob had access behind the wineries. Rob’s quite happy for everyone to find their own pace and on our tour he made sure that there were clear designated spots in the shade for everyone to re-group.
Things to do in Margaret River – Cycle and Wine obviously!
Following a short ride out of Margaret River along the cycle track to Prevelly Beach we arrived at our first stop for the day, the iconic Cape Mentelle winery, said to be the third oldest in the region.
Our tasting of a quality range of Cape Mentelle wines was expertly guided by Nick who really knew his stuff.
Some of the highlights of the tasting for us were the Chardonnay, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Zinfandel (Cape Mentelle were the first winery in the Australia to produce a Zinfandel and it is one their flagship wines.)
From Cape Mentelle we travelled through the property along a back stretch of road between vineyards to Xanadu estate. The route was a pretty tree lined dirt track with the hedgerows resplendent with colourful Watsonias.
This track led us into the back entrance of Xanadu, another beautiful wine estate where we tasted a selection of superb wine.
Our longest stretch of ride followed.
We left Xanadu and headed to Watershed. About 7kms along gently undulating tarmac road.
We road up to the large entrance sign and up to the contemporary, architecturally stylish cellar door with it’s local rock facade and looked across gorgeous sweeping vistas of vineyards, with a foreground of white roses in bloom.
Here we were ushered into a private tasting room.
By now our group had become closely bonded and we were all telling each other our stories.
We had Belgians, New Zealanders, Scotts, Irish, and Canadians riding with us – an international group many of whom had been travelling around Australia for an extended period, or working along the way, and it was great fun to share travel tales and laughter as we sipped world class wine.
By this time, it was early afternoon and after the exercise and the wine tastings we were all beginning to feel a bit peckish. It was with great excitement that we headed off along a gravel road girded by tall trees and rode to Stella Bella, a small winery with a quirky wine label.
On our arrival we were ushered out into the meadow behind the cellar door and under shady trees on trestle tables we had a tranquil al fresco meal by the vines.
Rob produced a gourmet picnic of local produce which we gobbled down, and we sat there for a lazy hour while we chatted away and tasted the delicious Stella Bella range of wines.
- This is a fantastic way to see the back roads and quiet lanes of Margaret River with an experienced guide and to get a feel for the countryside.
- It’s also a wonderful way to get around the wineries, to taste fine wines, and to really connect with some of the things Margaret River is all about.
- It’s very different to touring the region by car.
- You make new friends – cycling is a very social way of touring.
- Our picnic lunch was beautifully presented and plentiful.
It was sad to say farewell to new found friends at the end of the day. It had been a wonderful day. The sun was sinking low as Rob drove us the short distance back to Margaret River and we said our goodbyes, hoping that we’d all meet again somewhere, somehow.
- Good equipment
- Well maintained bikes
- Well organised tour with focus on safety without being too prescriptive – the accent being on relaxed and enjoyable.
- A wonderful day spent doing some exercise, while tasting some of the best wines Margaret River has to offer
- Meeting and making new friends, hearing different stories – was awesome.
- Being outdoors in stunning scenery.
- Eating lunch out under shady trees, right next to vineyards, sipping wine, was pretty special.
- Rob is an awesome guide.
Margaret River Tours – Dirty Detours
Sip n’ Cycle is the brainchild of Rob Oostdam, and is just one of a range of cycling tours his business offers.
“Dirty Detours is a small friendly mountain bike touring company, local to Margaret River. Being avid travellers and insatiable riders ourselves, we take having fun very seriously, and showing you a good time is our profession,” Rob says.
Rob started mountain biking in the Scottish Highlands in 1994. He worked as an adventure tourism guide in Alberta Canada before returning home to the Southwest. His passion started with building trails and freeriding. He now uses his knowledge to develop the local trails and encourage people to get outdoors and active while showing respect to the environment.
Tamara, Rob’s wife, has also led Sip n’ Cycle tours, although right now she’s got her hands full with their two young children. Tam has travelled extensively and has a passion for the outdoors, as well as a good knowledge about the wine of the region.
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Disclaimer: In helping to promote the South West of Australia I’m thankful for famils from local businesses to help defray costs. My tour with Dirty Detours was complimentary. I really did have an awesome day. Nobody forced me to say this – all opinions in this post are my own.