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.
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.
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.