Last November I had the chance to visit Perth & Margaret River with not just my husband, but also my lovely parents who flew over from the United States. What followed was a wonderful attack on the senses – fresh sea air, crisp wines, exquisite foods, and views that would take anyone’s breath away. Read below for my top travel spots around Perth and down south to the Margaret River.
PERTH, FREMANTLE & ROTTNEST ISLAND
Day 1: For gorgeous fresh air and beautiful views we headed straight to Kings Park on arrival. Visited by over 5 million people a year, it’s easy to see why this is one of the top destinations in Perth. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a top tip, but if you arrive early and can’t check into your hotel – the park provides the perfect weather and space for a little nap to recover from your flight.
While there are loads of things to do in Perth, we were focused on the food & drink scene so headed straight to Fremantle to explore the Fremantle Market and the famous Little Creatures Brewery.
For unlimited independent wares and produce, head over to the Fremantle Market. Amongst other treasures, I picked up a unique handmade quokka pillow (such a tourist, I know!) and loads of fresh food which was later consumed at a picnic in Esplanade Park. Note: the market is only open Fri-Sun, so head there early to avoid the rush.
Little Creatures Brewery
Housed in a huge shed, and former crocodile farm, the Little Creatures Brewery is a site to behold. Indulge is some tasting flights in the Great Hall, where you’ll be surrounded by huge tanks and a lingering aroma of beer all around. We spent hours here, firstly finding our feet with tasting flights, settling in with our favourites in the Brewhouse, and then moving out to the backyard to soak it all up with pizzas straight out of their wood-fired oven.
Day 2: We took a ferry out to Rottnest Island for the day, with our sights set on getting that perfect quokka selfie. (below is the best I could manage)
Located just 19 miles off the coast of Perth, Rottnest Island is the perfect day trip getaway if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, gorgeous scenery and some fun wildlife encounters. The official site has a host of information about the entire island, which you can find here. My top tips: Absolutely rent a bike to get around, don’t try to do too much in one day – just relax and enjoy, and finish off your afternoon with a couple of drinks at Hotel Rottnest to watch the sun go down. Oh and of course, enjoy all the quokka encounters – just don’t feed them.
If you’re a wine lover, no trip to Perth is complete without a day or two spent a few hours South in Margaret River.
Day 3: We left bright and early to drive down the coast to explore the region. Door to door the drive will take around 3.5 hours, however, if you have the time I’d recommend making a day of the drive and including some short stops along the way.
If you get on the road bright and early, about 2 hours in you’ll be after a nice coffee and breakfast – we thoroughly enjoyed Corners on King in Bunbury. From there, I’d suggest heading a little out of the way to Bunker’s Bay Beach for an hour or two of gorgeous beach time. Finish off with a nice glass of wine and some lunch at Bunkers Beach House. While you’re this far out, head to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and sneak a peak up close at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Then, depending on energy levels either head for check-in at your accommodation or add in one final stop at the Cape Naturaliste Vineyard for some gorgeous red wines.
Day 4: You’ll need at least one full day of vineyard hopping to explore all that Margaret River has to offer. We started the day downtown, at the Urban Bean for some coffee and breakfast to get the day off on the right foot. (talk about personalised coffee!) From there we mapped out a circle of vineyards, lunch spots, a dairy company and a chocolate company to round out the day.
Vasse Felix – A great first vineyard to start the day. As Margaret River’s founding wine estate, Vasse Felix had everything we wanted in one place – beautiful views, wonderful staff and of course, great wine.
Cullen Wines – An absolute must, especially for lunch on the back patio. The food & wine was to die for. Their defining words – ‘quality, integrity, sustainability’ say it all.
Black Brewing Company – For those in the group that might not be that big into wine, the Black Brewing Company has a bold selection of craft beers made on-site as well as their own gin. Win win for everyone. Sit outside on the deck, overlooking the lake for the most peaceful setting.
Margaret River Dairy Company – Wind up a day with a visit to the Margaret River Dairy Company to sample and buy some cheese to go with all the wine purchased. Take it back home for an afternoon snack before dinner.
Day 5: If you have another day to dedicate to vineyards in Margaret River, I’d also suggest Brookland Valley, and lunch at the beautiful Flutes Restaurant. I’d also make a stop at Cape Mentelle for some lovely white wines, and a pit stop at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory for some sweet treats.
Did I miss anything? Share your favourite spots in Perth & Margaret River in the comments below.