If you’re flying into Perth, don’t miss a trip to bucolic Margaret River, where your options are endless: the coastline proffers clear waters and world-class surfing, cellar doors are always open, wildflowers are abloom, and an arty heritage spills out of from the many galleries. Stir into the mix a host of hearty exploits from sea-air-kissed trail walks to soul-uplifting yoga, and it’s easy to see why the allure of this Western Australian getaway is increasingly contagious.
Whether it's wine or wildlife that piques your interest, the Margaret River Discovery Co. offers a range of tours to suit, including a luxury 4WD expedition, sunset canoe trips and an insider's guide to the best vineyards. Don’t worry if you’re the kind of person that usually shudders when you hear the word ‘tour’ – we guarantee that these ones will be right up your street. Led by head-honcho Sean Blocksidge, who’s as affable as he’s knowledgeable (i.e. a lot), tours are small and personalised, with no minivans, queues or crowds involved; instead, you’ll be driven around in Sean’s luxury 4WD. In a previous life, Sean managed a five-star hotel and the esteemed Margaret River winery, so you’re definitely in safe hands.
If you’re a wine buff, you’ll love the ‘Best of the Best Wine Tour’, which will take you behind the scenes of the region’s wineries and boutique producers. If you’d prefer Sean to tailormake an experience built around your varies tastes, opt for a private tour, which could include a visit to a secluded beach, winery luncheon and galleries or regional highlights such as Lake Cave, Boranup Forest or the Leeuwin Lighthouse, followed by a canoe trip along Margaret River. Finally, the sunset canoe tours will introduce you to one of the most stunning river and forest systems in Australia, with exclusive, locals-only access.
While you’re here
Premium cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay should be at the top of your sipping list, as well as the easy-drinking blends of semillon and sauvignon blanc, and cabernet sauvignon and merlot. On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, the Margaret River Farmers' Market sets up shop in the Old Hospital (corner of Tunbridge and Farrelly Streets, Margaret River), selling organic fruit and veg, fresh-caught seafood, handmade sausages and artisan cheeses. Depending on how many tipples you tasted the night before, a breakfast burger might be in order...
When to go
In September and October, Perth and Margaret River enjoy spring’s sunny days and cooler nights; for mercury-ascending weather, visit in January or February – and pack light. Perth International Arts Festival (https://perthfestival.com.au) runs from Feb to March, the film festival from November to April, and the biggest surf waves swell from March to May. In November, gourmands gather in Margaret River for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape: an annual food-fest in which the world-renowned Leeuwin Estate vineyard hosts some of the world's best chefs and food and wine experts, plus hungry-and-thirsty festival-goers.
Where to sleep
The owner’s ancestral abode anchors the Empire Retreat and Spa’s stone-and-timber presence on Margaret River. At this rural retreat with Asian accents, guests can sip a glass of chardonnay from the on-site vineyard after indulging in mud wraps from the signature spa.
Begin your Australian adventure in style with Singapore Airlines. Fly one-stop to Perth from £635.