Foodie Adventures Margaret River and Swan Valley |

A foodie adventure in Margaret River and the Swan Valley

A foodie adventure in Margaret River and the Swan Valley

Been to Perth before? What about its backyard? The Margaret River and the Swan Valley have plenty to offer – especially if you’re foodies like us.

Here’s our guide to some of our favourite places – wineries, breweries, award-winning restaurants, spectacular surf beaches and charming bays in and around this region. And don’t worry, if you’ve only got a few days – most Expedia Aussie travellers spend 2-3 nights in the region – you can still get a great taste of what’s on offer.

Special brews

Start your hoppy adventures with lunch at the Swan Valley’s Feral Brewing Company – their Hop Hog India Pale Ale was recently voted best craft beer in Australia by Sydney and Melbourne pub group The Local Taphouse, while their Belgium-style Feral White is a fruit-driven, refreshing variation on this classic brew.

Keep the pub grub coming at Mash Brewing (and try their Crush cider made with local apples) and, when you hit the Margaret River region, be sure to visit the Eagle Bay Brewing Co for a quick tasting paddle with sea views before checking out the nearby town of Dunsborough – a coffee stop at Yallingup roasters and café might be in order – or continuing south to Bootleg Brewery (a Czech-inspired pilsner is the highlight here) and Cheeky Monkey Brewery – all have fantastic outside spaces where you can kick back and relax.

Grape expectations

Deep breath, there’s a lot to get through here. Looking at a touring map of the Swan Valley, you’ll see the two roads running either side of the river are dotted with wineries. Lancaster, with its rustic outdoor tasting shed, Sittella, Houghton, a 175-year-old winery with onsite art gallery and regular live music events, and Talijancich are certainly all worth a visit. Just remember to save some boot space for the bottles you pick up down south.

Speaking of which, no visit to Margaret River would be complete with a trip to some of the region’s oldest and most well-known wine producers – such as next-door neighbours Vasse Felix and Cullen, who were among the first to plant vines here.

It would be a tragic mistake to miss out on the region’s smaller cellar doors such as Cape Naturaliste Vineyard, where all the wines (predominantly the region’s acclaimed sauvignon blanc and semillon blends) are made adhering to biodynamic techniques and matured in French barriques for up to 24 months.

At Windance Estate you’ll find award-winning shiraz while at Brown Hill the characterful owner and big, bold reds are worth a diversion.

Gourmet grazing

Indulge your sweet tooth in the Swan Valley at Whistler’s Chocolate Co. or the charmingly retro The Junction ice creamery. Get your caffeine fix at Yahava Coffee in both Swan Valley and the Margaret River – the team knows a lot about the humble bean and will happily take you through a tasting session.

Lunch in the Margaret River means a visit to Swings Taphouse & Kitchen – a bright and airy space with a leafy verandah that serves the owners’ tipple (from Swings & Roundabouts winery) by the glass, half-carafe or carafe. The menu is all about rustic share plates and wood-fired pizza.

For a special dinner, and stunning modern Australian cooking, make for the Other Side of the Moon, the fine dining option at Pullman Resort Bunker Bay. Featuring well-cooked local produce – think Margaret River venison – there’s even the opportunity to make many of the dishes veggie by taking out the protein and adding quinoa-stuffed mushroom or chargrilled eggplant and chickpea falafel. Stay the night in one of the resort’s pristine villas and take a walk the next morning along the rugged beach – accessible from your room by a wooden walkway. You’d be forgiven if you felt like it was your own private getaway.

Get into the spirit of things

As if the Swan Valley region wasn’t already bursting at the seams with cellar doors, breweries and local produce shops, the locals have added microdistilleries to the mix with a number of boutique outfits quietly winning awards on the international spirit scene. Check out the Great Northern Distillery and their intensely flavourful Canefire rum.

Beach life

When you aren’t eating and drinking, chances are you’re staring out the car window at the glorious views. Be sure to pull over at Meelup – a stunning turquoise bay begging to be swum in – and, for a WA wildlife experience, wade out into the water at Hamelin Bay and feed the resident rays (some of which are over a metre wide) scraps left behind by the local fishing boats. Then there’s Prevelly (situated at the mouth of the Margaret River) and the nearby beachside area of Gnarabup – both can be admired from some stunning roadside view points.

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