Three hours south of Perth is the South West Region - gorgeous vineyards, clear blue skies and golden country side. As soon as you mention the prospect of going "down south" people will start to talk about the wine, cheese and surf that re-kindles your inner mermaid. The whole south region has so much to offer, both beach side and country side, with the likes of a fifteen minute drive taking you to the iconic jetty in Busselton, wood-fired bread baked fresh in Yallingup, soft white sands of Meelup Beach in Dunsborough and the mulled cider in Eagle Bay.
A weekend away in Margaret River generally consists of visiting wineries, beaches, walking trails, a trip to the chocolate factory and a dash to the fresh produce markets. It's a super chilled, laid back place, where the driving gets immensely better (people can actually merge properly) and cows will come up to the road to graze.
Here's a quick guide to the South West Region.
There are so many places to stay in the South West. Choose yourself a two storey-beach house, caravan, small shack or even a dome to spend your mornings and nights in. Settle yourself into town life, country or beach side living. On this particular occasion, we went glamping (glamorous camping) which was something we had always been curious about. For this, we stayed at Mile End Glamping in Yelverton. For us it was more of a really interestingly architectured home in the country, completely fitted out with an amazing kitchen, spa and bbq. The open space and windows made for some special natural sky shows.
See and Do
Hit the surf and sand at nearby beaches. Meelup Beach, Prevelly, Gnarabup Beach, Geographe Bay, Peaceful Bay and Bunker Beach are ideal locations to wriggle your toes in the sand and soak in the salty clear waters.
If you're more of a walker than a swimmer, you can walk a few trails around Cape Naturaliste and the Light-house. September - December in Dunsborough is whale season and you may spot yourself a few whales breaching off the coastline. Dolphins mustn't be forgotten - you can interact with them at Koombana Bay and the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury.
For a little rock climbing, visit Canal Rocks in Yallingup or indulge in a visit to the natural Injidup Spas and Wyadup Natural Spa. Sit at Sugarloaf Rock during sunset.
Animal lovers can pet the animals at Sunflower Animal Farm and follow up with a stop over at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Providore or even the Cheese Factory.
Get lost and have an Amaze'n time in a huge hedge maze, or go for a bit of golf. Walk the Busselton Jetty and go fishing along the side.
Visit Cape Leeuwin's Lighthouse and see where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern.
For something below the surface, venture to the Jewel, Mammoth and Lake Caves and get your stalactites and stalagmites mixed up.
Boranup Forest is a mass of karri trees, the third tallest tree species in the world. Although it's a bit of a bumpy drive it is a worthwhile addition to your trip.
Eat and Drink
Visit the Shed Markets for fresh local produce and street food if you're keen to have a relaxed dinner in. While you're at it, you may want to get your hands on the famous Yallingup Woodfired Bread (available 4 - 6pm). Bring along a knife and slab of butter if you feel like devouring it in the car on the way back to your place of stay. Chances are you will!
If you'd like a seat with a beach view, enjoy quality produce at the local Bunkers Beach Cafe among the dunes. Eagle Bay Brewing Company has got you covered cider and food wise and is host to many wedding receptions and dance moves. Morrie's Anytime offers a delicious and casual bite.
For something a little more upscale, wander through Aravina Estate's grounds and delight yourself in a two or three-course menu and question if it's about time you set up your own vegetable patch. Although Ben Day, former head chef of Knee Deep is at the helm of the Aravina kitchen, it is still worthwhile to pay Knee Deep a visit, if not for their trust the chef menu then for their good selection of wine.
Miller's Ice Creamery has a wicked selection of flavours (mmm apple pie ice cream yes please) or you can have a taste of its rival Simmo's.
You can always wander from cellar door to cellar door at Voyager Estate, Xanadu, Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate and Aramia.
Stop by Yahava for some beans and the Margaret River Bakery for their pastries.