While July’s Cabin Fever festival makes an excellent excuse to visit Margaret River, any weekend in autumn or winter is a good time to visit. From hitting the surf to enjoying a cosy fireside dinner, here are five ideas for a perfect Margaret River winter escape.
Nowhere else does soulful red wine meet epic surf conditions, as well as all things foodie and fireside – welcome to winter in Western Australia’s south-west region.
EXPLORE MARGARET RIVER’S 50 SHADES OF RED
You’ve spent the warmer months sampling Margaret River’s crunchy semillion sauv blancs, its various expressions of chardonnay as well as its growing number of dry, Provençal-inspired rosés. Now it’s time to turn your attention to the region’s red wines.
While producers such as Moss Wood, Cullen and Woodlands helped put Margaret River cabernet on the international stage, shiraz and Mediterranean varieties such as nebbiolo and tempranillo are also winning over drinkers. Looking for unconventional, new-school wine styles? Seek out new-age producers such as Si Vintners, Blind Corner, LAS Vino and Sam Vinciullo.
TUCK INTO HEARTY, WINTRY FOOD
Rich stews. Long braises. Fork-tender meats cooked low and slow. Winter dining is all about deep, comforting flavours and the cooks and kitchens of Margaret River can oblige.
Cold nights are perfect for enjoying the American-style barbecue at Settlers Tavern, while braised pork ragu with handmade tagliatelle is typical of Evan Hayter’s winter menus at Arimia. Otherwise, settle in at Wills Domain, order something like the slow-cooked lamb shoulder from the relaxed share-style menu, and soak up the views of the estate’s vineyards.
EXPERIENCE PRIME SURFING SEASON
The cooler months are perfect for those wanting to spend some quality time with Margaret River’s famous surf breaks. Bring a can-do attitude (and a thick wetsuit) and you’ll be rewarded with big waves. More of a spectator? The Margaret River Pro surfing competition is held from 27 May to 9 June and is free to attend.
EXPLORE MARGARET RIVER’S WALKING TRAILS
Margaret River is a beautiful region to explore by foot, doubly so during the cooler months of the year. Close to the Margaret River township, the Carter Road Trail Head offers close-up forest and waterway vistas while the adventurous six-day Cape to Cape walk is a wonderful way to explore the spectacular Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (walkers can, of course, tackle individual legs of the walk rather than the entire thing).
Moving inland, the Wadandi Track stretches from Cowaramup to Witchcliffe and marries stories of the region’s Indigenous and railroad histories.
FIND A FIREPLACE TO COSY UP
Is there anything more comforting than a roaring fire? Whether you’re after a restaurant, pub or hotel setting, Margaret River is home to plenty of cosy fireside dining experiences.
The fireplace at Glenarty Road, a farm-to-table dining room in Karridale, is as homely as the food being served by chef Ricky Mandozzi. At Vasse Felix, the restaurant’s stylish floating hearth reflects the innovate modern-Australian menu while complementing the rustic exposed timber and stone interior. Meanwhile, Yallingup’s Caves House has four different fireplaces to choose from – and plenty of warm hospitality, too.
Written By Max Veenhuyzen