Western Australia is other-worldly in it’s beauty and relative remoteness: Perth is actually closer to Singapore and Jakarta than it is to Canberra. This March I was able to take a speedy Margaret River holiday thanks to an invite from two good friends to their beautiful wedding in and around Yallingup. The wedding itself was on the Saturday, so we squeezed as much as we possibly could in to the Thursday and Friday before hesitantly flying back to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon. Margaret River and Western Australia involve a fair amount of drive time behind the wheel, however the beaches are so stunning and the people so friendly you won’t regret your trip, whatever the duration.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
MERMAID POOLS | this lesser known spot, located in Injidup and described as a Natural Spa, is totally worth a detour on your Margaret River holiday. Scramble over the rocks and you’ll be treated to crystal clear swimming pools that fill up regularly with the crashing waves. Admire the fearlessness of the body boarders being smashed about in the powerful waves along the beach.
HAMELIN BAY | get right up close to giant sting rays that are so gentle and friendly. The beach spot is beautiful and these intriguing animals are totally wild, regularly gliding by in the hope of some fish scraps I assume.
Also check out: if you’re a big wildlife fan, you’ll also love the chance to spot dolphins at Bunbury on your Margaret River holiday – and this spot is closer to Perth.
VINEYARDS | I associate a Margaret River holiday with coastline and wine, so make sure you visit a lot of both! I can’t confess to being a connoisseur in this department, but we were lucky enough to stop in at super hospitable Cape Naturaliste and attend two friends’ gorgeous wedding at Wills Domain. Previously I’ve been to Vasse Felix, which is one of the more famous in the region having opened back in 1967 as the founding wine estate of Margaret River.
Also check out: Cheeky Monkey is a good beer-lovers option with a spacious green setting.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
SMITHS BEACH | a large group of us were staying at Smith’s Beach Resort for a wedding, and I have never felt so spoilt or lucky! The villas were possibly one of the most impressive places I have ever stayed (I’m more of a budget than a luxe traveller mind you) and the beach itself is incredible.
LITTLE CREATURES BREWERY | you might have already heard of this famous brewery in Fremantle, which operates more as a mini-village than a bar venture. They offer everything from drink and food or course, to free bikes to explore the area, tours and functions. And best of all? Ask to try the beers and you can taste a whopping 11 samples for free.
Also check out: The Mantle in East Fremantle for lunch or dinner, as well as leaving a few hours to explore this cute suburb. As a budget option, we stayed at the Australia Hotel, which was totally adequate yet unremarkable.
DUNSBOROUGH | I actually visited this lovely little surf town about 5 years ago whilst on another Margaret River holiday, and still hold on to very fond memories. It’s one of those places where you could easily picture yourself living. It’s relaxed and friendly, and there’s enough going on to keep visitors and locals occupied.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
GOING BROKE | be warned – Western Australia is more expensive. I couldn’t confirm if it’s the whole state or in fact just most noticeable in Perth, but as an example it felt like about $5 – $10 more per meal to eat out. Luckily WA is all about the great outdoors, so personally I’d try and rely on picnics and BBQs.
ARAVINA | I’m placing this winery on my black mark list, only because the reception was a little hostile. Admittedly we arrived as a large, rather noisy but not rowdy wedding group, which I’m sure no vineyard owner is thrilled about, however this stuffier establishment was somewhat dismissive. We’ll save our shopping for the next place then, hey 😉
AIRPORT | it felt like a bit of a mission to get in and out of Perth: set aside enough time when you travel. An uber was $50 to Fremantle, otherwise it would have taken 1.5+ hours via bus then train. Likewise the two terminals are unnecessarily confusing and really far apart, meaning we spent forever driving around trying to return the hire care.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
SCULPTURES BY THE SEA | I loved this exhibition when I’ve seen it before in Sydney, so I was so excited to hear it was also on at Cottesloe Beach AND when we were there. Gutted that we simply ran out of time! However I’ve been stalking these pics from Lauren Bath so check them out too:
AND KNOW THIS: Western Australia is one wealthy state. Alongside it’s top 3 most valuable commodities (iron ore, oil and gas), WA’s Kalgoorlie mine is the world’s largest producer of gold, the Argyle mine is the world’s largest producer of diamonds, and Broome is the world’s largest producer of pearls. Ching ching.