Did you know, there’s a hammock hanging between two eucalyptus trees on the bank of Lake Como? True story. This Lake Como does happen to be in Margaret River, not the Italian alps, but hey, it’s a pretty idyllic spot. And a lot closer to home.
Just three and a half hours south of Perth is where you’ll find Olio Bello, home to Australia’s very own ‘Lake Como’. Or so the owners call their man-made lake. With 8,000 olive trees, a fruit orchard and sprawling grounds; throw in a little imagination and this could be Italy. The eucalyptus trees are, however, a giveaway. The hammock is for guests staying on site at the seriously chic glamping tents perched along the banks of this man-made lake. Inside the tents you’ll find an electric fire, queen size bed, full size bathroom, fluffy robes, slippers, and some olive oil and fresh bread. Now that’s bellissimo.
You can’t go to Europe, but you can go to Margaret River. And here are four more reasons why this is one of the most romantic spots for an Aussie honeymoon.
1. Bush bliss
Sunrise has never looked so good – especially as you don’t have to get out of bed. The bedroom of Bina Maya’s luxury villa is tucked into the bushland on the northern edge of Margaret River near Yallingup and the cut out window just beyond the bed has the best view. We stay snuggled up as the sky turns pink, the light filtering through the karri trees. Keep an eye out for a couple of early morning roos on the lawn just past the fire pit. The Villa and The Residence, a larger four bedroom villa, are all about laid back luxury, that lets the outside in. Roll open the doors onto your deck for a breakfast hamper. Book an in-room massage, soak in the deep tub with the generous supply of Yallingup Candles burning. You can even reach for the Sonos system and your favourite Spotify list. Head down to the firepit as dusk falls (marshmallows provided!) and end the night in front of the fire.
Image via Bina Maya
2. Time for wine
One of the country’s best wine regions, Margaret River has certainly earned its stripes, with more than 200 different vineyards and over 90 cellar doors. Chardonnay and Cab Sav are the big players, but you’ll find plenty of varieties to keep you busy. Make a beeline for Domaine Naturaliste, where the sleek cellar door looks straight out at the merlot vines through floor to ceiling windows, and there’s plenty of space to linger over one of their signature charcuterie boards and a wine tasting. Having just been awarded James Halliday’s 2020 Best Value Winery of the Year in the country, Domaine Naturaliste is exactly that. Impeccable wines, ranging from easy to drink to save for a nice dinner are extremely well priced. We walk away with a 2018 Rachis Syrah for $30 that is punching well above its price range and a 2016 Cab Sav for $35 that will impress the socks off our next dinner party guests. Named after Cape Naturaliste, the winery’s location, there’s clearly a love for the region – that shines through on the hearty charcuterie and cheese boards. Local vintage cheddar drizzled in postcode truffle oil honey gets the gold star.
3. Sweet treats
What’s romance without a little sweet indulgence? This time we take a trip to France for soft, traditional French-style nougat at Bettenays Margaret River. With 36 different flavours of nougat on any given day – more if the pastry chef has been experimenting – the team spent years perfecting their recipes. It’s softer than hard Italian nougat, and whenever possible is made with local ingredients. Macadamias from a moreish macadamia and wild berry add crunch to the best strawberries and cream you’ve ever tasted. Pieces of ginger add a bit of a kick to a classic vanilla and almond. Grab a bar of nougat and settle down for an afternoon sweet treat in front of Bettenay’s lake, or go all out and try the matched wine and nougat tasting – five of Bettenay’s own Bordeaux style wines and 5 generous bite sized squares of their nougat.
4. Make something special
Forget cooking classes, at Vasse Virgin, Margaret River’s famous olive oil skincare producer, you can go behind the scenes with the team for a hands on workshop that sets you up for a bit of pampering. Owner Edwina started the company nearly 20 years ago in her kitchen and has since studied in Italy and France. Join her for a Natural Perfumery masterclass to design your own scent – or even a couple’s scent! Now that’s a cute keepsake. We sign up for the DIY Lip Balm Workshop, a fun, 45 minute exercise that feels slightly like going back to school when you sit down in front of a hot plate and beaker. After melting down beeswax, adding in shea butter, Vasse Virgin’s own extra virgin olive oil, some soy lecithin and honey, we each have two pots and a stick of lip balm. Scented with essential oils, the balm certainly smells good. Vasse Virgin is famous in the region for body lotions, hair care, hand cream and hand wash – you’ll find it in restaurants, cellar doors and hotels. Using extra virgin olive oil and 100% natural essential oils, the family owned business is committed to keeping products chemical free.
Images: Lisa Perkovic
Whether you want to curl up by the fire, get crafty or work your way through the region’s wines, Margaret River gives you a little bit of Europe close to home.
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.