Image: Grape Escape
You’ve popped the bubbly, raised your glasses for toasts, worked your way through the whites, and onto the reds, just in time for some dancing and dessert. If the wedding wine was a big part of your special day, there’s no reason you have to stop there.
Long lazy lunches, afternoons in the cellar door, evening feasting – wine regions are made for honeymoons, and Western Australia’s Margaret River will woo you over in no time.
How to get there
Fly into Perth, pick up a car and head three hours down the coast and you’ll find the Margaret River region. It’s an easy, uncomplicated drive if you take the direct route (make time for a pit stop and a slice of freshly baked lemon myrtle tart at The Crooked Carrot Café at the halfway mark), but if you’re not in a rush, swing by Busselton to check out the famous jetty and Dunsborough for world famous beaches and cute cafes. Wineries are dotted all the way down the 40 minute drive from Dunsborough to Margaret River township, so it’s the region itself you’ll want to explore.
Wine, wine, wine
The Margaret River wine region is famous for bold cab savs and lush chardonnays, but there’s just about every type of drop on offer at more than 90 cellar doors. So how to choose? Don’t, leave that to the experts and hop on a wine tour or two. Not all wine tours are created equal. Geri and Paul from Grape Escape South West Tours are tree changers, leaving Perth and their nine to five jobs to follow their palates and passion. Their small, private group tours are a labour of love for the region, the wine makers and the locals – they’ll hand pick a half dozen stops based on your personal preferences. Even better, the dog lovers have made their tours pet friendly, so bring your pup, or for $5 (which is donated to a local charity), they’ll bring their cute Frenchie Gizmo-Pierre along for the day. The five hours will fly by as Geri shares the low down on the best vintages, the best varieties and the best value for your money. She’ll also stop in at the Margaret River Woodfired Bread so you can pick up a freshly baked loaf of bread for breakfast tomorrow.
Images: Grape Escape
Where to drink
You’ll need a few days to make a dent in the cellar doors of the Margaret River, but here are a couple of our top picks:
Vasse Felix: if you’re after big international heavy weights, make a beeline for the estate that ‘founded’ the region. Save time to explore the manicured grounds, or settle in for a decadent tasting menu showcasing the best local produce – with wines to match of course.
LS Merchants: want to be ahead of the curve? Jump aboard the LS Merchants wine before they skyrocket. Winemaker Dylan Arvidson is making a serious name for himself, experimenting with an array of varieties and wild fermentation. The results speak for themselves. Make sure you grab a bottle of the 2018 We Are Many wine – 100% profits go to bushfire, farmer and wildlife charities.
Cape Grace Wines: one of the best kept secrets of the region, you’ll get to stroll straight into the wine shed to try Cape Grace wines. These heavy hitters have kept their prices very reasonable so stock up while you can – the Malbec is a fantastic surprise of the region.
Windance Estate: the plucky cellar door staff will have you in stitches while you’re sipping these boutique wines from Yallingup. Grab as much of the light Glen Valley Rose if you can get it. The views from this cellar door are just as stunning too, so grab a bottle and settle in.
Where to eat
Where not to eat might be the better answer – the chefs of Margaret River have a dedicated local and global following. You’ve got everything from serious fine dining to charming country bakeries to keep you sated. Start your day at the gorgeous Margaret River Bakery – a cottage filled to the brim with vintage furniture, mismatched chandeliers, cake stands towering with meringues, jumbo cookies, freshly baked doughnuts and jumbo sized breakfast burgers. Long lunches on the deck at the Caves Road Collective are calling out for a couple of cocktails (the Dune Distilling Co. gin is perfect for a sunny day) and some shared slow cooked pork belly. If you’ve got time, make a detour to the brand new Meelup Farmhouse, where beach chic meets country charm onsite at the Wise Winery. We’re talking dreamy outdoor decking, rattan furniture and white walls.
Images: Meelup Farmhouse
Where to stay
Honeymoons are not about holding back, and the Margaret River has some seriously swish spots to rest your head. Cape Lodge has a long standing reputation for old world glamour. Go for lush beachside chic at the Injidup Spa Retreat, where pavilions have their own plunge pools looking straight out at the Indian Ocean, or hideaway in the cosy Empire Retreat.
Honeymooners, get ready to wine and dine WA style.
About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.