As well as the name of the wider region and a river, Margaret River is also the town at the centre of Western Australia’s premier wine region. Located 10 kilometres from the Indian Ocean and positioned on the banks of the Margaret River, the town site is the hub of commerce and community.
Colloquially known as ‘Margies’, the town sprung from agricultural roots, mostly dairy farming, in the 1920s. Surfers allegedly started to arrive in the region as early as the 1920s, however it wasn’t until the 1960s when the region started to gain a reputation with the nomadic surfing community. Around the same time, Dr Gladstone identified the region as a potential premium wine growing region, and shortly after the first commercial vines were planted in 1967. The surfers now had the ability to stay on in the region with casual employment provided at the vineyards. Nowadays, many locals are still employed in the wine industry, and a good proportion of them surf too!
While Margaret River town is located inland, it’s just a short 10-minute drive to the coast. Prevelly is a charming seaside settlement, located near the mouth of the Margaret River. Here, the famed Surfers Point is the perfect vantage point for watching the local surfers take on the ocean, especially in Autumn with the world’s best surfers compete in the Margaret River Pro, a championship tour event. In total, there’s more than 40 breaks around Margaret River, with conditions ranging from powerful reef breaks to fun beach breaks, making it one of the most consistent and scenic surfing destinations in the world.
A gourmet getaway
Impressively, the Margaret River Wine Region produces about 5% of Australia’s Wine, but more than 20% of the country’s premium wine export. The quality of wine across more than 150 cellar doors is top notch, and the gourmet food offering is just as good. Choose from berries, fudge, preserves, olive oils and a large assortment of gourmet lines. Don’t despair if wine isn’t your thing though. There’s plenty of breweries and distilleries to explore too!
Top things to do in Margaret River
- Take a picnic to Rotary Park. There’s great barbecue facilities and an old steam engine (named “Kate”) built in England in 1889, which is a favourite with families. It is also the entrance to many great walking trails.
- Head to the Farmers market on Saturday morning for a coffee and a croissant, or stock up on produce to take back to your accommodation. You’ll likely run into a few chefs and plenty of locals.
- Tackle one of the epic MTB trails close to town. The Pines trail is one of the best in the south west with lots of technical aspects, while the Wadandi Track is flat and easy.
- Take a drive through Boranup Karri Forest. Karri is the third tallest tree in the world and the tall pale barked trees, reaching 60 metres or more, dominate the hilly slopes and valleys. The Boranup Forest seen today is a regrowth forest and is just over 100 years old.
- Head underground into one of the six show caves open to the public. You can join a guided tour, or explore on your own. Mammoth Cave is also universally accessible.