Thursday, October 17, 2019
Big Announcement: Melbourne to Margaret River flights
Western Australia’s world-famous wine and surf region is on the bucket list for many travellers in Australia and around the world. However a visit involved a flight via Perth, hiring a car, and then driving three hours (although we do like our far-flung seclusion, thank you very much).
This has all changed with the exciting announcement of Jetstar’s Melbourne to Busselton–Margaret River route, commencing March 2020.
For new visitors, here’s what you need to know about our slice of paradise.
Where is the South West?
Three hours south of Perth lies the South West – one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions. To explore the peak tourism area, draw an imaginary triangle from Busselton in the north, Yallingup in the west, and south to Augusta. Within this triangle, are the hugely popular towns of Dunsborough and Margaret River. Find out more about each town. The distances here are short and you can easily drive from one end to the other within a few hours.
What is there to do in WA’s South West?
There is so much packed into this region, it’s actually a little ridiculous. We don’t mean to brag, but here’s a quick rundown:
- One of the world’s most famous wine regions, particularly well known for cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and chardonnay. There are 200 vineyards, and more wineries that produce five-star rated wine than anywhere else in Australia
- Stunning (and often quiet!) beaches with sparkling white sand and clear blue water for swimming and snorkelling. We love Meelup, Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay
- Celebrated restaurants with modern fare. South West eateries and wineries dominated the recent The Western Australian Good Food Guide ‘Top 50’, including Wills Domain, Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate and Vasse Felix
- World-class surfing, with the Margaret River Pro being the fourth stop on the WSL’s Championship Tour
- One of the globe’s biodiversity ‘hotspots’
- Some of the tallest trees in the world in the karri forests
- Indigenous culture to explore with local custodians
- Whale watching: enjoy visits from the largest humpback whale population on the planet
- An adventure haven: shipwrecks for divers to discover, rock climbing and caving with Outdoor Discoveries or Margaret River Climbing Co, jet boating, coasteering, kayaking or mountain biking
- Ancient limestone cave systems to explore
- The opportunity to see kangaroos and other animals in their native habitat
- A landscape blanketed in wildflowers during spring
- Galleries and unique art
- Busselton Jetty, the Southern Hemisphere’s longest timber-pile jetty
- Diverse food choices: award-winning produce including cheese, ice cream, bread and olive oils; top notch restaurants; and farmers’ markets
- The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest black truffle-producing area
- Family-friendly fun with mazes, petting farms, horse riding and adventure parks
- A favourite for destination weddings and romantic weekends
The tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia – Cape Leeuwin
- Trekking and walking trails. Don’t miss the beautiful Cape to Cape trail which stretches out along the coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Or choose a section of the 1000km long Bibbulmun Track
- Mountain biking and cycling on trails, including the 1000km Munda Biddi Trail
- Friendly stingrays at Hamelin Bay
- Get out the camera and go birdwatching
- The most sought-after tickets for foodies with November’s Gourmet Escape
- Festivals throughout the year: art-lovers’ Margaret River Region Open Studios, the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, a celebration of music, food and wine with Cabin Fever, the much-loved Leeuwin Concert, truffle worship at Truffle Kerfuffle, the Busselton Ironman, mountain biking multi-day event Cape to Cape, and CinefestOz with Australia’s richest film prize
- Go out on the green with a golf holiday
- Catch your dinner at one of these fishing spots
- A gateway to climbing Bluff Knoll and in Porongurup National Park.
Phew! There is so much to do, you’ll need to book another holiday.
How do I get around?
There are several options, but we recommend hiring a car. If you want to splash out, Dunsborough Limousines is a great option. Alternatively, consider Dunsborough Taxis, Uber, and public transport with South West Coach Lines. There are also plenty of private tour operators to take you around the region’s wineries and other sites.
How do I find out more information about the region?
With our blogs, of course! We also recommend Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association at margaretriver.com, Australia’s South West which includes information about the wider South West area and the Great Southern, and the online newspapers Augusta-Margaret River Mail and Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.
When is the best time of year to go?
Any time is fantastic. It just depends on what you want to do.
The South West has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Summers are full of beach snorkelling, sandy feet, ice cream, and late sunsets. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are glorious and you can enjoy most summer activities, but also throw in whale watching and wildflowers in spring. Don’t write off winter because these months are perfect for winery visits, wandering around forests and savouring with a cheese board by the fire. Find out more about the weather in What you should pack for each season.
The South West is your playground, so go forth and explore.
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