There's no denying the culinary pull of the Swan Valley and Margaret River regions of Western Australia. The best way to savour both is on a road trip that encompasses some of the most delicious produce, wines and eateries these gourmet destinations have to offer, with some adventure and beach life thrown in to keep the appetite humming.
Swan Valley is but a short drive from Perth and it's here you'll find the second oldest wine region in Australia. It's difficult to go wrong with a visit to any of the cellar doors here but to get a taste of a full-scale operation, make sure to stop by one of the most popular and well-known wineries in the region, Sandalford, who have been making superb drops for more than 180 years. Come lunchtime, Upper Reach's delicious menu always gets glowing reviews from happily sated customers. Or, if you fancy choosing from a list of gourmet ingredients to enjoy among the vines, Lancaster Wines will put together a personalised platter for a dreamy picnic. Not into wine? Try a wonderfully unique mead tasting at The House of Honey and Meadery. Goes without saying too, if you're a honey fan, this place is Pooh heaven.
Lancaster Wines. Photo / Tourism Western Australia
When the call of the coast beckons, it's time to head south for a leisurely three-hour drive towards Margaret River. There are many picturesque spots for a pitstop and one that will keep the tummy happy is a gourmet lunch at gastro-pub Eagle Bay Brewery. If you're visiting the region from September to December, make a detour out to the lighthouse on Cape Naturliste Road and you might be lucky to spot some migrating whales. But if it's some beach time you crave, you'll soon be treated to some amazing options. One you won't forget is Castle Rock, a dazzling turquoise bay protected from westerly winds, so you can swim, fish and relax in idyllic conditions. Incidentally, this spot has also historically been the site for the annual Western Australia Gourmet Escape's Gourmet Beach BBQ event. Held every November in Margaret River, the festival is a magnificent showcase of Western Australia's premium produce and wine, with celebrated international and Australian culinary talent.
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Castle Rock, near Dunsborough. Photo / Tourism Western Australia.
Further up the coast, Bunker Bay offers a long stretch of pristine white sand with untouched bush surrounds. A packed lunch should be in order for any beach excursion and you'll get everything you need at the Margaret River Farmers' Market, which runs every Saturday. Packed to the gills with an eye-popping range of deliciousness, it's a great spot to get a taste for the region's culinary capabilities.
Margaret River Farmers' Markets. Photo / Tourism Western Australia.
Aside from any ocean exertions, there's plenty to work up an appetite in Margaret River. One that is sure to get the blood pumping is a tour with Margaret River Climbing Co. See all the natural beauty of the region by way of abseiling, caving and rock climbing. Or work those biceps on a canoe trip with Bushtucker Tours, where you can discover the secrets of Margaret River's ecology and cultural heritage before being treated to a unique Australian wild food lunch, hosted by experienced bushtucker guides. Think kangaroo, emu, wild nut pesto, wild turkey, rosella chutney, crocodile…
Thirsty now? There are obviously more wineries than you can shake a stick at in Margaret River's famed wine region but to go one different, there is a burgeoning craft beer scene waiting to be explored. The Margaret River Brewery Tours encompasses the best of all worlds, with your choice of beer, wine or cider at every brewery visited.
And if you're looking for a final meal that exemplifies the best of the region, Yarri, in Dunsborough, ticks all the boxes. The menu highlights the quality of Western Australian ingredients and the restaurant's ethos is all about supporting growers who champion sustainable and ethical practices.
Of course, this is but a mere taste of Western Australia's sumptuous platter of goods. The state is perfectly made to be explored by road. So now all that's left to do is pack some stretchy pants and your sunscreen, and get behind the wheel to get your fill of it.