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Hiking and wine tasting in the Margaret River region

Hiking and wine tasting in the Margaret River region

Home » Australia » Hiking and wine tasting in the Margaret River region

During our fabulous roundtrip through South Western Australia, we also visited the Margaret River region, as recommended by many. We were glad we did, as we found an ideal combination of nature, hiking opportunities, and culinary delights. This region, also known as “Down South,” is one of the finest wine regions in the whole of Australia. The route we chose led us past numerous lush vineyards and through breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. In this blog, we guide you through the highlights of Margaret River that, in our opinion, should not be missed.


Margaret River: wine, wine, wine

It wasn’t until 1967 that the first vines were planted at Vasse Felix, marking the beginning of the wine culture in the region. This was quickly followed by other wineries, such as Moss Wood, Cape Mentelle, Cullen, Leeuwin Estate, Woodlands, and Wrights.

With over 200 wineries, Margaret River has become a prominent wine region in this part of Australia. Although the area produces only 3% of the total grape harvest, over 20% of the finest Australian wines originate here. The wine region stretches over approximately 100 kilometers from north to south and 27 kilometers in width.

Terroir and climate

Margaret River enjoys a Mediterranean climate, somewhat similar to that of Bordeaux in a dry vintage year. The mild, moist winters and summer breezes from the sea create ideal conditions for grape cultivation. The region is also known for its fertile limestone and gravel soils, providing excellent drainage and promoting the growth of high-quality grapes. The unique combination of terroir and climate results in wines with an unmistakable character and a distinct regional identity.


World-class wines

Margaret River is particularly renowned as a wine region for the production of outstanding chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. However, the region also produces excellent sauvignon blanc, semillon, merlot, and shiraz. Additionally, wines are made from syrah, chenin blanc, and verdelho.

The wines from this region are celebrated for their complexity, elegance, and excellent aging potential. They have received numerous prestigious awards from wine experts and critics worldwide.


Wineries and Wine Tastings

The region is home to over 200 wineries, ranging from renowned names to small, family-run wineries. Most offer wine tastings and tours through the picturesque vineyards. Additionally, some wineries provide explanations of the winemaking process and the unique characteristics of the region. During our visit to Margaret River, our main focus was on tasting the consistently delightful wines.

Visiting all the wineries is, of course, impractical, especially if you only have a week. Therefore, we first visited the local tourist information office in Margaret town. Here, we received comprehensive information about the best wineries and were given a large map of the area. Based on this, we created our own route. In practice, however, we ended up bypassing some wineries because they seemed too commercial, while we did visit other smaller wineries. This leads to our tip: create a general route but allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised. Only visit the wineries that immediately appeal to you.


The Top 10 wineries in Margaret River

To provide some direction for creating your own wine route, we have compiled a top 10 list. Although we didn’t visit all ten, this list is not solely based on our own experiences. It was compiled based on the information provided by the tourist information office staff and what we found after some online research.

  • Aravina Estate: known for its exceptional wines, culinary experiences, exclusive wine tastings, and a fantastic lunch.
  • Cape Mentelle: a pioneer in the region, focusing on producing high-quality wines, including their iconic cabernet sauvignon.
  • Cullen Wines: a leading producer of biodynamic wine, particularly known for its sustainable approach to viticulture and excellent chardonnay. We didn’t taste wine here as we found the tasting disproportionately expensive. However, we did take an interesting tour of the garden. With the information boards and photos, we learned a lot about the process of sustainable winemaking.
  • Domaine Naturaliste: an emerging winery attracting attention with its excellent chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
  • Howard Park: a producer of premium wines, with a focus on cabernet sauvignon and riesling.
  • Leeuwin Estate: renowned for its prestigious “Art Series” wines and its iconic chardonnay.
  • Moss Wood: renowned for its elegant cabernet sauvignon and the production of some of the finest wines in the region.
  • Vasse Felix: a pioneer of the region, known for its chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
  • Voyager Estate: famous for its stunning wines, including their iconic cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.
  • Wills Domain: built a strong reputation for high-quality wines. Focus on precision in winemaking.

Special mention: Ashbrook Estate

We did not include Ashbrook Estate in the list, as according to experts, this winery does not produce the very best wines. However, it deserves a mention in this blog because we definitely found it worth a visit. The entrance is chic, yet after a long driveway through a beautiful area, you arrive at a relatively modest estate. In the shop, we met a young lady who taught us a lot about winemaking in Southwest Australia. And the wines themselves? They were all good to excellent! Perhaps not the crème de la crème of wines, but it was a lovely and interesting visit. All in a stunning setting!


Enjoying the beautiful nature in Margaret River

Apart from the wine culture, Margaret River is a region that you definitely don’t want to miss in Southwest Australia, especially if you’re a nature and hiking enthusiast like us. Margaret River offers plenty of natural beauty with forests, winding rivers, and breathtaking coastlines. Amidst this natural splendor, there are numerous fantastic hiking routes (and even cycling routes) suitable for every fitness level.


Hiking opportunities in Margaret River

The Margaret River region offers a range of hiking opportunities, from short scenic walks to more challenging treks. Here are some of the most remarkable hiking routes and areas for us:

Wooditjup National Park

Wooditjup National Park offers easy routes, ideal for nature enthusiasts seeking a tranquil walk through native forests.

Margaret River

One of the trails we walked there is the Chimney Trail Loop: a relatively short walk of about an hour through a beautiful part of the park. If you prefer a shorter walk, the Rotary South Bank River Trail is a good alternative. Looking for a longer walk? The Ten Mile Brook Trail, a little over 15 kilometers, takes you to a small dam. Incidentally, all the mentioned walks start in the town of Margaret by the river. During these walks, you pass by notable sights such as the Margaret River Old Settlement, an interesting mini open-air museum.

Open air museum

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

The vast Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park along the southwest coast of Western Australia stretches from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south. This picturesque park features a varied landscape of cliffs, white sandy beaches, and unique geological formations. The park also harbours a network of caves, lakes, and streams, including the famous Margaret River. The area is rich in flora and fauna and offers various recreational opportunities such as hiking, birdwatching, and camping.


Additionally, the park is the starting point of the 135-kilometer-long Cape to Cape Track, a popular hiking route. This iconic trail offers breathtaking views of the sea, lush landscapes, and beautiful wildflowers (especially in spring). But what particularly impressed us were the caves in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. One of the caves that we believe is a must-see is the massive Mammoth Cave. The cave system is so extensive that you have quite a walk from the cave exit to the visitor centre. However, this is certainly not a punishment, as the forests in this area are of unparalleled beauty.


Other things to see or do in Margaret River

We never grew tired of the Margaret River area, as there was so much more to experience beyond the famous wineries and beautiful hiking routes. Below are some activities, but do also seek advice from the helpful staff at the Margaret River tourist information office!


For travellers interested in history and culture, there are various historical sites, museums, and art galleries in the Margaret River area. Just in the town of Margaret alone, you can easily spend hours. But there are also numerous opportunities to immerse yourself in Southwest Australian culture beyond the town.

We found Cowaramup to be a delightful place. This small town near Margaret is known for its unique local products and artisanal goods. It’s also famous for the 42 life-sized fiberglass cows and calves that adorn the streets, parks, and shops. Additionally, it has chocolate shops, tea shops, galleries, ice cream parlours, a candy store, a wood studio, a brewery, and the Tom Cullity Wine & Food Trail. This culinary trail starts at a chocolate shop and ends at Margaret River’s first winery, Vasse Felix.


Water Sports Activities

The waters around Margaret River offer an abundance of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. From stand-up paddling to kayaking and canoeing, the scenic waterways provide the perfect setting for a day of fun on the water. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, the region offers opportunities for everyone to enjoy these wonderfully relaxing activities. This applies not only to activities on inland waters but especially to those on or near the sea. The coastline around Margaret River offers endless opportunities for surfing.


Practical information for your visit to Margaret River

Where is Margaret River located and how to get there?

Margaret River is located in the southwest of Western Australia. The region is approximately 270 kilometers south of Perth, the capital of Western Australia. The quickest and easiest way to get there is by rental car on the highway from Perth via Bunbury and Busselton. Alternatively, from Perth, you can also take the bus (a 5-hour journey) or join an organized tour.

What is the best season to visit Margaret River?

The best seasons to visit Margaret River are spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). During these seasons, the temperatures are mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the beautiful vineyards and enjoying wine tastings in the region. If you want to experience the hustle and bustle of the vineyards in full swing, visit the area from February to April.

What is the Margaret River region known for?

Margaret River is known for its refined culinary reputation, vineyards, art culture, and the numerous hiking routes in the beautiful nature.

What are the best wineries in Margaret River?

According to experts, the best wineries in Margaret River, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Aravina Estate
  • Cape Mentelle
  • Cullen Wines
  • Domaine Naturaliste
  • Howard Park
  • Leeuwin Estate
  • Moss Wood
  • Vasse Felix
  • Voyager Estate
  • Wills Domain

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