Margaret River, WA travel guide and things to do: Nine Highlights

THE ONE JETTY

The Margaret River region stretches from Augusta in the south and continues north past the town of Margaret River to Bunker Bay, Dunsborough and Busselton. In this latter coastal town, Busselton Jetty is a gorgeously old timber structure extending two kilometres over Geographe Bay. Visitors can stroll its planks or delve deeper - the jetty's immersed pylons play host to a wonderland for marine life (including dolphins), making it ideal for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving explorations. When you have dried off, check out the Underwater Observatory.

See busseltonjetty.com.au

THE ONE MARKET

The beating heart of Margaret River is the 14-year-old farmers' market, held at the Education Campus on the town's main street every Saturday morning. With about 50 stalls all operated by locals who either grow or make their produce, it's one of WA's true farmers' markets. Pick up a jar of Uralba marmalade, a bottle of Cape Farm olive oil, a packet of Bettenay's nougat or all of the above.

See margaretriverfarmersmarket.com.au

THE ONE LIMESTONE CAVES

Extending 120 kilometres along Margaret River's western coastline, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is home to some of the world's most intriguing limestone caves, only some of which are open to the public. Sign up for Koomal Dreaming's Ngilgi Cave Tour for a chance to descend into these other-worldly depths where stalactites and stalagmites meet in cave formations that you can crawl through and wander around. In this natural amphitheatre, host Josh Whiteland treats guests to a didgeridoo rendition. See koomaldreaming.com.au

THE ONE RESTAURANT

The region offers a festival of food year-round with bush tucker experiences, edible wildflower walks and unique restaurants including exceptional Yarri. In the upscale coastal town of Dunsborough, chef Aaron Carr's menu is based on the six seasons of the local Indigenous Noongar calendar, with all produce sourced from regional growers, farmers, fishermen and butchers. Think fresh wood-grill king prawns with homemade XO sauce and crispy saltbush.

See yarri.com.au/

THE ONE SUNSET

For an Indian Ocean sunset with style, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours hosts a three-kilometre walk from Conto Campsite along sandy trails, through karri forest and past gardens of wildflowers to Conto Cliffs. From a rock nestled in the hinterland, you'll enjoy views of a pinky-red sun setting on rolling waves as passionate host Janita Cottman pours sparkling and hands around local nibbles including camembert from Yallingup Cheese, and biscuits from Margaret River Crackers.

See capetocapetours.com.au

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THE ONE DRINKING HUB

Wineries are popular in Margaret River and breweries and distilleries are following suit. Tick off all three at Black Brewing Co. in Wilyabrup. Occupying an impressive building with a showcase lake and fountain out front, this venue brings together Black Brewing Co (for an excellent wheaty French Saison beer), Dune Distilling (for a native botanical gin) and Ground to Cloud Wines (for single vineyard chardonnays). Long tables and live acoustic sessions add to the casual vibe but the restaurant takes it up a notch with shared plates of seared scallops, lamb scotch fillet, charred asparagus.

See blackbrewingco.com.au

THE ONE ACCOMMODATION

Sit in bed with a cuppa at Forest Rise Chalets and Lodge and you're bound to see a kangaroo hopping by. This 97 hectare property in Yelverton hides a handful of timber and earth chalets – complete with king beds, sky-view spa baths and full kitchens - in a natural bushland of eucalypts and native wildlife. Little extras include food hampers loaded with local produce, bikes and a dreamy outdoor shower.

See forestrise.com.au

THE ONE WALK

In the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, the Cape Track is a spectacular 135 kilometre nature immersion. Take a week out of a busy schedule to walk the entire trail taking in a coastal escarpment of cliffs and rock formations, wildflowers and native grasses, dolphins and humpbacks. Alternatively, use vehicle access points for shorter walks. There are campsites on the track or treat weary bodies to stays in Margaret River's luxury pit stops along the way.

See capetocapetrack.com.au

THE ONE FESTIVAL

Margaret River's eucalyptus-shaded paddocks and vivid green vine-striped vineyards are home-base for Western Australia Gourmet Escape, which returns in November after a year in hiatus. The original Margaret River festival has been upsized and extended with events held over five days in four locations: Margaret River, Swan Valley, Perth and, new in 2021, Rottnest Island. Hot tickets in the spiritual home of the event include the Gourmet Beach BBQ at Castle Rock beach and The Village, a tastebud extravaganza including chef talks, cook-offs and produce par excellence. Tickets on sale from July 22.

See gourmetescape.com.au

ONE MORE THING

Jetstar's Busselton-Melbourne service launches August 11 with fares from $149 one-way and flights every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday ensuring Margaret River's premium wineries, hypnotic beaches, tall-timber forests, wilderness walks and ancient caves will be more accessible than ever for Victorians.

See jetstar.com.au

Penny Watson travelled as a guest of Tourism WA

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