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Margaret River, Australia’s premium wine region, part 1

Basildene Manor, historic lodge in Margaret River
Basildene Manor, historic lodge in Margaret River
Photo by Thomas A. Wohlmut

In the far southwest corner of Australia and a leisurely three-plus-hour drive southwest from Perth lie the vineyards of Margaret River, one of the country’s finest and most scenic wine regions. Although only three percent of Australia’s grapes come from this region, more than 20 percent of its premium wines do. Uncork, relax and sample the area’s bucolic pleasures with this three-day itinerary.

Imbibing local wine at Bunkers Beach Cafe
Photo by Thomas A. Wohlmut

Day 1: Drive south from Perth

Enroute, stop for lunch at Bunkers Beach Café. Open for breakfast and lunch only Friday to Tuesday, this breezy café offers regional specialties overlooking beautiful Bunker Bay. A boardwalk leading from the restaurant tempts for a surf walk at the enormous, desolate beach.

This area is called Cape Naturaliste and forms the northernmost anchor of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park which stretches long and thin down to Cape Leeuwin. Plenty of walking trails and pristine beaches await strolling here. The landscape is as natural as can be with zero development.

For the next three nights, a small hotel particularly recommended is Basildene Manor with its beautifully redone historic lodgings. The gracious gardens, sensational curb appeal, stylish rooms and reasonable rates make this a standout. Ask for an upstairs room overlooking the gardens.

An added bonus is the historical ties to the area. The house was built by the first light-keeper at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. The lobby contains many scrapbooks and photo albums documenting the history of the house and area. The lodge is very reminiscent of the grandfather's estate in the novel "The Light Between Oceans."

Only thing to mar the serene setting is the motorcycle racecourse on the other side of the hill that runs every other Saturday night in the summer. The noise chases you indoors and even then, it's quite loud.

Continue reading this itinerary with day 2.

Map of Margaret River area
Basildene Manor
Bunkers Beach Café
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

For further reading:
“The Light Between Oceans,” a novel by M. L. Stedman set in this region

Want to learn more about Margaret River? Check out Wild Western Australia blog.

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