The Margaret River region in Western Australia is world-renowned for its delectable wine and food. The region produces less than 3 per cent of Australia’s wine, but accounts for more than a fifth of its premium wine according to Tourism Australia. The climate of the Margaret River region creates the perfect conditions for vines to thrive during the growing and ripening period, and the region’s proximity to the Indian Ocean means that any intense summer heatwaves are tempered by the sea breeze.
There are more than 120 Margaret River wineries to explore and most of them will allow you to wander around to admire the beautiful grounds and taste their finest wine. Many also serve lunch and dinner so make sure you brace yourself for a day of gluttony!
When there are so many vineyards to choose from, how do you narrow it down? Here are some wineries that I truly loved and would recommend to get your fill of delicious Australian wine and food. First things first…
How to get to the Margaret River wine region
The Margaret Region is located 3 hours away from Perth in Western Australia. The entire Margaret River wine region starts from Busselton and Dunsborough in the north down to Augusta in the south. The closest international airport is in Perth: from Perth your best option is to rent a car (we have used Keddy by Europcar, Budget and Thrifty in the past) to make the drive down south. Alternatively, if you are headed to the Margaret River region from the east coast of Australia, Jetstar operates direct domestic flights between Melbourne and Busselton 3 times a week.
Remember, you drive on the left in Australia (the steering wheel is on the right). Alternatively, there are a limited number of buses that you can take via South West Coast Lines. I’ve also heard good things about this shared airport shuttle service between Perth Airport and the Margaret River region, though it appears to only operate Monday to Friday, and not on the weekends.
Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!
If you don’t want to self-drive, get in touch with DBM Drivers, a locally owned wine tour and airport transfer business. Their rates are extremely reasonable compared to other companies, and were very reliable when we used them for a one-way airport transfer. One-way airport transfers are $400 for up to 7 people. Rates accurate as of December 2017. I’ve also heard good things about this shared airport shuttle service between Perth Airport and the Margaret River region, though it appears to only operate Monday to Friday, and not on the weekends.
Is it possible to do a day trip to the Margaret River region from Perth? Yes, but be prepared for a long day of traveling. If you are planning on drinking, you’re better off spending a few nights in the region and exploring its pristine beaches, checking out the caves and Boranup Karri Forest, climbing the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste or going whale watching along the coast.
How to get around the Margaret River region
Have a car? Great! Step 1: Find yourself a partner who understands your love of wine and is willing to miss out so that you can guzzle down that glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, find a mate who is willing to be designated driver!
In Australia, it is an offence to drive while your blood alcohol concentration is 0.05 or above but there are exceptions where a 0 blood alcohol concentration applies. For more details click here.
If no one wants to be left out of the winery fun, then you will need to organize a tour and driver. Going on a winery tour is one of the most popular activities in Margaret River, and the good news is that there are plenty of tour operators in the region!
There is no public transportation in this area, so you’ll have to organize some sort of private transportation by yourself.
Looking for other things to do and see in the Margaret River region? Click here for stunning Margaret River attractions that you must visit!
The best places to stay in the Margaret River region
Accommodation prices tend to be higher in this area, with nightly rates reaching as much as AUD$300-500 during the peak season. The best time to visit the Margaret River region is in the summer months (December to February) and shoulder season (November and March, early April) when the beaches are beautiful and the weather is warm; you should know, however, that this part of the world can get much busier around the Christmas holidays so you will need to book your accommodation far in advance. To get bang for your buck, make sure you stay in a convenient and picturesque town like Dunsborough, Quindalup, Margaret River town, Yallingup, Eagle Bay or Bunker Bay so that you can explore more of the beaches and coast.
Here are some of my personal recommendations:
Melo Studios in Dunsborough: Perfect for couples or families with children. There are 2 ultra-luxe villas available – this 2-bedroom Caesia Studio or 2-bedroom Eucalypt Studio with kitchen, BBQ area and lounge. Michael and Jess are superhosts who grew up in the area, and their properties are always immaculate. The Melo Studios are almost always fully booked during the peak season and holidays, so book early! Click here to see availability and rates at Melo Studios.
Dunsborough Hideaway: Perfect for couples – a charming modern studio, located a short 5-minute drive from Dunsborough town in a quiet residential neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle. Elaine’s studio is often booked up months in advance, so check availability and book early – especially if you are planning a visit during long weekends and holidays.
Lakeside glamping at Olio Bello in Cowaramup: Perfect if you’re looking for something a little different. Olio Bello offers 6 stunning glamping tents about 10 minutes away from Margaret River town. The tents are luxurious and incredibly spacious, and are fantastic for couples looking to retreat into nature and experience some serious peace and quiet. Their on-site restaurant serves handmade pasta, but is only open for lunch at the moment. Click here to see rates and availability at Olio Bello!
Looking for something else? Click here to find the best deals on accommodation in the Margaret River region!
The best wineries to visit in the Margaret River region
There are more than a hundred Margaret River wineries to choose from, and there’s just no way you can visit each and every one (unless there is, in which case I commend your tenacity!). These 10 are some of the best wineries in Margaret River, and I’ve done the extremely “hard work” of trying all of them out so you know which ones are worth your time and money. Read on for some of the most beautiful wineries in Margaret River!
1. Vasse Felix
Vasse Felix is considered one of the top wineries in Australia and offers everything from wine tasting to the full dining experience. It was established in 1967 and is sometimes known as the “founding wine estate” in the Margaret River region.
Their cuisine is a modern take on classic Australian dishes and the wine is delectable. My fave? The classic dry white.
2. Barnyard 1978
Barnyard 1978 is one of the best boutique Margaret River wineries and one of the tastiest lunch spots that will keep you coming back time and time again for their handmade pasta and gourmet wine. The prawn pork chorizo ravioli or baked gnocchi = to die for.
They are also open for breakfast on Saturday/Sunday if you’re looking to line your stomach before your wine tour. Looking for the best winery in Margaret River for lunch? You can never go wrong with Barnyard!
We also love popping by for a coffee before a busy day, and this is a great place to pick up some gourmet Margaret River region gifts for loved ones back home – the honey from their in-house honey farm is delicious. Traveling with children in the Margaret River region? There is a small on-site playground and you can sometimes even see rabbits grazing on the grass between the rows of vineyards.
3. Aravina Estate
Aravina Estate has a stunning garden that wraps around their vineyards in Margaret River (180 acres of which about a third is under vine), and for some reason it is also home to a beautiful vintage sports car and motorcycle collection! This Margaret River winery is located in Yallingup, just a stone’s throw and short drive away from Dunsborough town.
Surf fanatics should also check out the surf gallery here for a display of local surf memorabilia – it showcases the rich surf history in the southwest region.
If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, try their sparkling chenin blanc. On a warm summer’s day they also offer pizza fresh out of the oven, live music and picnic throws so that you can lounge on their lush and perfectly-manicured front lawn – the perfect lazy Margaret River region day.
Margaret River weather: don’t forget, Australia’s summer season runs from December to February! The Margaret River region can be very cold during the winter months from June to August.
4. Voyager Estate
Voyager Estate is probably the most beautiful winery you will ever see in your life and one of the absolute best wineries in Margaret River – you can’t go wrong with their signature Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The beautiful estate is covered with rose gardens and lush vineyards.
Don’t be surprised when you see rows and rows of vine, each with a bright red or crisp white rose bush at the end of the row. Apparently, roses are able to show signs of pests and disease more quickly than vines, therefore acting as a warning system.
There is a small fee for tastings, but the fee is redeemable against product. Take the time to explore the estate grounds and iconic Cape Dutch manor house.
In my opinion, it’s one of the best wineries in Margaret River for lunch – come here for a delicious meal and try the Brookland Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Click here for a selection of accommodation options in the Margaret River region! Tip: stay in Dunsborough, Yallingup or Margaret River (town)! Need some flexibility? Double check the cancellation policy – most places offer free cancellation.
6. Wills Domain
Wills Domain is a family-owned winery and has an incredibly relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. It offers fine dining with seasonal produce from the region and has won awards for its Shiraz and Cabernet Merlot. It’s also a perfect coffee spot, and even offers the perfect photo spot that frames the rolling hills and vineyard across Gunyulgup Valley perfectly.
Related article: Read this if you’re looking for even more wine regions around the world that will spark your wanderlust!
7. Amelia Park
Amelia Park is one of the best places to go for a fine dining experience in the Margaret River region. Its dining room is exquisite and is the perfect place for special occasions. Its cellar door is just adjacent to the restaurant and offers wine flights paired with cheese and charcuterie plates.
8. Leeuwin Estate
You can’t really write an article about Margaret River wineries without mentioning this particular institution that dates back to 1973: Leeuwin Estate is one of the most well known Margaret River wineries, and is famous for its award-winning “Art Series” Chardonnay.
In addition to an on-site restaurant and tasting facilities, it also hosts concerts from time to time with artists such as Diana Krall, Sting and James Taylor.
9. Watershed Wines
Come here for the wine, stay for the scones and the incredible view! Watershed Wines has a large cafe with an extensive menu, so it’s a great option for a hearty lunch. The picturesque view of the classic Margaret River vineyards from their outdoor terrace is also to die for.
Update: Watershed has since been acquired by Vasse Felix to increase their Chardonnay production. Read more here.
10. Windows Estate
Windows Estate is a small family-owned boutique winery in Yallingup and one of the best small wineries in Margaret River. The last time we visited, there was no restaurant but the tasting facilities are fantastic – they offer a range of both reds and whites including Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and more. There’s also an outdoor playground area and deck if you are traveling with family and young children.
Have some time on your hands? Sign up for an exclusive tour of the Windows Estate certified organic vineyard with one of their founders.
Ready to get your wine on? Click here for a selection of accommodation options in the Margaret River region! Tip: stay in Dunsborough, Yallingup or Margaret River (town)!
If you’re a longtime reader you’ll know that I’m all about handing out bonus recommendations, so here we go! You’ll also love Gabriel Chocolate and Bettenay’s if you have a sweet tooth or are looking for some great edible souvenirs for friends & family back home. Gabriel Chocolate is Western Australia’s first bean-to-bar chocolate makers and Bettenay’s offers an amazing selection of handmade nougat bars. Looking for something less sweet? Head to Olio Bello to pick up a few bottles of their handcrafted olive oils.
These 10 wineries only scratch the surface of fantastic vineyards to visit in the Margaret River region, but it’s a great place to start if you’re short on time! Click here for even more things to do in Margaret River!
Have you visited the Margaret River region? What are your tips to travelers visiting the area and what are some of your favourite wineries?
You might also like these articles:
- Need even more ideas for things to do and places to visit? Here are some stunning places in the Margaret River region
- There are so many reasons why you need to visit the Margaret River region, beyond the fact that it offers incredible wine and food. Click here to read 10 reasons why the Margaret River region should be on your list of places to visit!
- Dunsborough is a perfect base for your Margaret River region wine getaway. Here is my mini guide to this picture-perfect beach town
- Want to fit in some beach time? Look no further than right here for the best Margaret River region beaches
- Looking for more travel tips and recommendations for Australia? Head on over here!
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