When you’ve had enough of city life and it’s time to escape for the weekend to cooler ‘down south’ climes your thoughts might turn towards the Margaret River region.
Ahh, the beaches, the vineyards, the forests, the coastal walks, the river and way too much great food and wine on the epicurean trail especially around the wineries, is enough to make me want to pack up and go back again right now.
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Perth Weekend Getaways – A perfect spot
When it comes to finding somewhere quiet and exclusive to stay my thoughts so often turn to the lovely Cape Lodge, situated between Yallingup and Margaret River, three and a half hours drive from Perth.
We were also lucky to spend our 25th wedding anniversary here a couple of years ago and when we saw this young couple having their wedding photos taken at nearby Yallingup beach just the other day it brought back fond memories of weddings and anniversaries.
You’ll find Cape Lodge down a winding driveway flanked by vines because it’s situated on its own vineyard from which Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz are produced exclusively for guests of the hotel. A returning customer? Expect a complimentary bottle of shiraz in your room.
When we lived in Cape Town, South Africa, we almost took for granted the gorgeous Cape Dutch architecture which graced many winery cellar doors, and so finding Cape Lodge several years ago was like discovering a home away from home for us.
The main lodge is a magnificent building and wickedly photogenic, so too are the tree lined grounds bordered by a lake and a sparkling swimming pool and you may be forgiven for thinking that you are staying at a private country estate, for the boutique hotel rooms are concealed from view by roses, bushes and trees.
What to do during your weekend escape
For your relaxing weekend retreat you might like to:-
- Stay for two nights Bed and Breakfast at Cape Lodge.
- Book one of executive chef, Michael Elfwing’s cookery classes with a long table lunch included.
- Visit one or two nearby winery cellar doors for some excellent wine tasting.
- Walk on the beach at nearby Smith’s Beach.
- Visit Yallingup for a magnificent sunset from one of the great vantage points.
- Walk along the boardwalks and enjoy the coastal views at Canal Rocks.
- Play tennis or laze by the pool at Cape Lodge.
- Stock up on Vasse Virgin olive oil products from the nearby natural olive oil soap factory.
- And top it all off with a gourmet dinner in the Cape Lodge restaurant.
You’ll feel as if you’ve been on a luxury getaway that’s been far longer than just a weekend.
Accommodation at Cape Lodge
We stayed in a recently renovated Lake View Suite tucked away in a grove of trees with, you guessed it, a magnificent view of the lake looking across towards Cape Lodge’s famous restaurant that’s been described as “one of Australia’s finest new generation dining establishments.”
It’s a nature lover’s paradise too. At night we were treated to the sound of the Frog Philharmonic Orchestra, and at first light we had tea on our balcony and listened to the bird calls as the sun lit up the layers of trees around the lake.
The lodge has 22 secluded rooms and suites, and an exclusive five bedroom private luxury Residence, which I’ve written about previously here: The Residence : Sensational Luxury Accommodation in Margaret River Region
You might also like: Top 10 things to do in Margaret River and the surrounding region
Our suite was superb. Modern and stylish with state of the art fittings and a contemporary marble-look bathroom . The bed was super comfy and the lounge area looks out over the lake making the most of the view. The bathroom amenities are provided by Vasse Felix natural olive oil factory, and yes there are fluffy robes in the wardrobes.
The restaurant has been voted in the “Top Ten in the World for Food” in Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List and the menu changes daily, totally dependent on the fresh produce which arrives at the kitchen door, sourced from local producers whenever possible.
Expect fresh vegetables and herbs from the Cape Lodge veggie gardens, local oysters, fresh fish caught in the region, and on the day we visited zuchini flowers which arrived in the nick of time, perfectly formed and ready for stuffing with ricotta, slivers of almonds, fresh mint, parsley and basil – among other things.
Cooking Classes and Long Table Lunches
Cape Lodge has recently opened as a Gourmet Retreat offering a weekly cooking class and long table lunch. Executive Chef Michael Elfwing is a French trained chef who originally hails from Sweden. He’s designed a calendar of Cooking Classes where you learn how to present a three course menu that can be recreated easily at home.
I was lucky to attend the Perfect Sunday Brunch class – here’s one of the recipes and more info : Easy Brunch Recipes, Potato Terrine with Salmon (but upcoming classes include Festive Season Menus, Cooking with Marron, Scandi summer Dishes, Margaret River Beef, Cooking with Wine, The Art of Souffle and a Chocolate Class (oh YUM!).
You can expect the classes to last from 11am to around 1pm and then enjoy the results in the restaurant with Cape Lodge wines from 1pm to 2.30pm. I can really recommend the cooking class and lunch. It’s interesting, informative and fun and Michael is down to earth and easy to follow in his instructions.
We went away feeling that we could and would recreate some of the dishes at home and we really enjoyed the long table lunch eating Michael’s scrumptious creations, sitting and chatting with other guests.
Michael Elfwing has written a fabulous cookery book. “Cooking with Michael Elfwing”. You can buy it here on Amazon (I am an affiliate). Just click on the photo for more information. NB: The link will take you away from ZigaZag so you’ll have to click the back arrow to return.
Close to Cape Lodge are some of the regions greatest wineries including Vasse Felix, Moss Wood, Pierro and Cullen.
We met Gianfranco and Francesca Anderle at the long table lunch and learnt that they owned a small winery just around the corner from the lodge on Johnston Road, so we decided to visit for a wine tasting the next day.
We were greeted by a big smile and an open armed welcome from Gainfranco and guided through an excellent wine tasting by lovely Francesca. We particularly enjoyed the Passito Dolce, Decantato, Nebbiolo and Malbec.
The couple first visited Western Australia in 2000, and immediately fell in love with the Margaret River Region. They returned to Italy sold up and returned lock stock and barrel to buy a Wilyabrup property of 75 acres, which they named Carpe Diem – Seize The Day.
Vineyard plantings began in 2003 and continued to 2005 and now Gianfranco, a qualified oenologist from Conegliano (North Italy), the oldest wine school in Europe, makes wines in Margaret River with a slightly European influence. At Carpe Diem the wines are made on site in a custom built small winery, and wine is bottled on site too. The cellar door is actually in the winery and makes for a novel and intimate tasting experience.
What’s on in Margaret River?
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape is back again from November 21 – 23. It will feature a world-class line up of more than 45 international, Australian and local food and wine celebrities including Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein, Guillaume Brahimi, Jaques Reymond, Matt Stone and of course Cape Lodge’s Michael Elfwing. The event is one of Asia-Pacific’s premier food and wine festivals.
I have some tickets to Giveaway but be quick, the offer runs only until 7th November 2014. Tell me in the comments what you would like to read about next on ZigaZag (or what you would like to read on my blog Lifestyle Fifty) to be in with a chance.
Terms and conditions
- The name of the promotion is Margaret River Gourmet Escape 2014 in conjunction with Spring Giveaways on Lifestyle Fifty.
- Sorry, but for this competition you must be an Australian resident to win.
- Entries close 5pm 7th November 2014 Perth, Australia time. Comments submitted after this time will not be considered for the giveaway.
- This is a game of skill. Winners will be awarded based on suitablility of title or ideas for posts on my blogs Lifestyle Fifty or ZigaZag.
- The Winners will be notified via email.
- Prizes are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable.
Go! Go! Go!
And if you intend staying at Cape Lodge for the event, I’d recommend booking early!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Cape Lodge but opinions are my own.
I’m joining other travellers and explorers at Wanderlust today.