Sometimes I think it’s embarrassing how little I’ve seen of Australia considering I was born here. I had booked my first trip to visit 10 countries in Europe before I had even flown down to Sydney or Melbourne! Eep! But since then I’ve made much more effort to get around. And now with work keeping me airborne often, I can honestly say flying around Australia grows old real quick! But I haven’t been back to Perth since I was little and as Ben had never been, it was a perfect Easter break trip for us. We enjoyed it immensely and already cannot wait to visit again. The west coast is a sight to see! So please enjoy my complete and lengthy guide!
Perth has everything you need to experience a fabulous holiday. Laid-back and liveable, it has wonderful weather and beaches. A five and a half hour flight from Brisbane, Perth is a cosmopolitan city with a range of bars, restaurants and activities all vying for attention.
We did not stay long, opting to spend most of our stay down in Margaret River, however it was long enough for us to get a feel for Perth’s pristine parkland, coastline and gourmet food.
Our flight was delayed and so we didn’t arrive in till approximately 2am (Not ideal Virgin, not ideal), picked up our hire car and headed for our hotel. I had read it can be hard to find a hotel that has onsite parking, so something to keep in mind. We stayed at Attika Hotel which was perfect. They’d organized a late check-in and the room was lovely, quiet and dark for our sleep in!
Did you known Kings Park is one of the largest and most beautiful inner-city parks? It’s a must see and offers sweeping views of the city and Swan River. It is also home to their botanic garden. Enjoy their luscious wildflowers, bushland walking trails and cafe’s.
Hungry? Ben and I regularly have sushi so what better dish to try (and judge mercilessly) on the west coast? I did a bit of a google search and with the help of Trip Advisor and Urban List, decided on Aisuru Sushi. And wow, I wish this could be my local back home! The menu was lengthy with lots of variety and the sushi was fresh, flavoursome, affordable and timely. What more could you ask for?
On our way down to Margaret River, we stopped in at Fremantle. I had heard many great things, and it just so happened we snagged a park at the entrance to the markets!
A three-hour drive south of Perth, the Margaret River region has some of the most varied scenery in Australia. The coastline is a renowned surfing location, with worldwide fame for its surf breaks and the surrounding area is known for its wine production and tourism. Although tourists usually outnumber locals, Margaret River still feels like a country town.
With so much on offer, we weren’t sure our Easter long weekend would be enough time!
As we planned and booked this trip last minute, there probably wasn’t as much available as usual. But we still found ourselves a lovely little AirBnb which our wine tour guide told us was the transformed sales centre for the surrounding estate.
On our first day we went on a full day gourmet dine and wine tour. It was the highlight of both of our trips which is a big call!
We were picked up and taken to the best wineries Margaret River has to offer, overlooking grape vines stretching for miles, waiting to be harvested, crushed, barrelled and aged. Below is a quick summary on the wineries and my experience (or what I can remember of it, just kidding).
To book in your full day gourmet dine and wine tour > click here
Our first stop, we sampled some lovely wines and I ended up walking away with a rosé which was unexpected as I usually try to hang out until a little later to start purchasing.
One of the founding five wineries, Leeuwin Estate is a must visit at any time of the year. Celebrating the combination of fine wine, food, art and music, Leeuwin features an award winning restaurant, cellardoor and art gallery. The Estate is renowned for staging spectacular events and their Art Series has won international awards.
We were lucky enough to do a private tasting downstairs in the art gallery and my system of marking my preferred began to fail as I struggled to choose my favourite/s.
Ben and I loved so many of their wines, we decided to head back for another tasting and to purchase and ship some cases home. While there we had lunch and I must say it was the best of the trip. It’s not often I stay for dessert.
Watershed Premium Wines
After trying many delicious varieties of wine at Watershed, we chose our favourite from their collection and sat down to lunch with a glass.
I usually intermittent fast (so only usually eat in the window between 12pm and 7pm). While this usually makes me feel amazing, I had not thought about the fact that I would be trying a lot of wine before lunch time! Rookie error! So I spent the morning concerned I would peak too early… Luckily I made it through to our Gold Plate Award Winning lunch where I chose the Ragu. It was smooth sailing from there even though we ended up trying over 60 wines!
Their Cape-Dutch inspired architecture really makes Voyager stick in your mind. Not to mention, their rose garden is the best I’ve ever laid eyes upon. We enjoyed their wine flights, with each having three wines to enjoy. There is also a vegetable garden, which they are said to use the produce in their restaurant. Ben really enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon.
We also enjoyed McHenry Hohnen’s selection immensely. They are amazing and yet so affordable (especially after our splurge at Leeuwin Estate). We sampled some of the wines with a grazing platter of smoked and cured meats which only brought the flavours out more! This winery specialises in pretty much every staple of Western Australia – Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all without sulfites! We signed up to receive a case of their wines regularly. Definitely a must visit!
One of the most prestigious and well known restaurants and wineries in the region, Vasse Felix definitely lives up to its reputation. It was the founding wine estate in 1967 and has a number of varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. All fruit is grown, fermented, matured and bottled within the Vasse Felix Estate. If we had more time, we definitely would have liked to visit again privately, tasted a few more wines and had lunch. However, we did manage to purchase a couple bottles before continuing our tour.
Margaret River Chocolate Co. and Margaret River Dairy Co.
Lucky for us there was enough time to visit the cheese and chocolate factory! Of course Ben and I stocked up at both, with delicious treats to enjoy with our wines later. It also needs to be said that there are unlimited chocolate drop tastings! We struggled to choose our favourite chocolate truffle flavours and ended up with half the cabinet, which we enjoyed at sunset on Hamelin Bay.
I would never be able to list all the wonderful locations we visited. I believe we went to 5 different beaches during our stay! So I’ve tried to chose the best and a good variety of where you should stop by.
Injidup Natural Spa
The natural rock formation right next to the ocean creates a waterfall that runs into a small salt water rock pool. It’s the most incredible thing to see and the perfect spot to lay out on a hot summer’s day. It was also extremely busy, so if possible, visit on a week day.
Eagle Bay has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. It boasts the most perfect turquoise colour on a summer’s day and it’s protected by the cape so it’s extremely calm. Natural bushland and sand dunes surround the beach and make sure you walk the coastal trail like we did. It wasn’t crowded so pack your beach umbrella and picnic basket for the ultimate day in the sun!
I would put meeting the Hamelin Bay sting rays right near the top of my list of things to do. I was way too chicken to actually reach out and pat them, though many people did. They are larger and move faster than I realized and depending on the time of day, can be quite hard to see amongst some patches of kelp in the water. We ended up visiting twice. Once mid morning and the other at sunset. There appeared to be even more around at sunset and many of the locals were feeding them fish scraps.
Make sure you take the route that takes you through Boronup Forest when you are heading to Hamelin Bay. It is remarkable. The trees and the colours are unlike anything I’ve seen before AND I’M A COUNTRY GIRL! If you have time, stop and go for a short bushwalk. You won’t regret it.
We set off for Busselton (about an hours north from Margaret River) to see the southern hemisphere’s longest wooden jetty. It’s 1.8km and you can walk it or take the little train which ambles along on the hour. At the end is an underwater observatory that you can also visit. If you have time, grab breakfast at The Goose at the entrance to the jetty. I can recommend the salmon gravlax, potato rosti, sour cream, dill & poached eggs!
And that’s a wrap! Another adventure ticked off the list!
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