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Life

Winding through Western Australia with Avis

Driven by better, Drive south from Perth and you won't only find the cellar doors of Margaret River, but some sublime scenery and fine dining aplenty as well.

Laid out with casual elegance on the Swan River, fringed by superb beaches and basking in seemingly perpetual sunshine, Perth is a city with many charms. No need to limit yourself to its urban delights, however. Drive south and you’ll find yourself in the Margaret River region, whose outstanding cellar doors and restaurants are matched by beautiful scenery and wave-pounded coastlines.

This is a region for indulgence, so treat yourself to an elevated road-trip experience by renting an Avis Signature Series car – which includes the best in luxury European vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz – and hitting the road in true comfort.

 

Special Offer 

To elevate your escape in an Avis Signature Series car rental, we have an exclusive offer for Wine Selectors customers.

Save $100 when you rent an Avis Signature Series vehicle for 5 or more days, with pick-up from Perth Downtown or Perth Airport*

COUPON CODE: MPNA001

Book now with Avis

Book before 31 Aug 2022, for travel between 3 Oct and 18 Dec 22. Subject to car availability. T&Cs apply.

 

DAY 1: CITY TO COAST

With the innovative Avis Digital Check In, you can minimise contact, speed up the collection process and be beyond Perth airport in no time. A 20-minute drive brings you into the heart of the city. Check out the colonial-era architecture: Government House has horror-movie Gothic towers, the Town Hall is smugly Jacobean, Barracks Archway mock Tudor. The most attractive building is Perth Mint, where gold bullion has been traded since gold-rush days.

One minute you’re amid downtown department stores, the next you pop out in gardens that sweep down to the Swan River. Take a stroll in vast Kings Park for views of city skyscrapers. Inspect the giant boab trees and follow the undulating glass treetop walkway, or take an indigenous tour exploring medicinal and food plants.

Peckish? Nearby Northbridge is restaurant-dense and home to Perth’s unofficial Chinatown, signalled by red gates and stone lions. At Good Fortune Roast Duck House, the Peking duck is crispy skinned and finger-licking tasty, while K Town provides a Korean barbeque feast to fill the most growling stomach. If you’d rather snack, Juicy Bao Bao provides fried buns and flavoursome Shanghai-style dumplings.

Having fuelled up, turn your car towards Bunbury, a two-hour drive. Halfway there, stop at Ranger Red’s Zoo, which goes beyond the usual zoo experience to provide hands-on animal encounters with endangered native animals such as quolls and Tasmanian devils.

Swimming with dolphins off Bunsbury.

Overnight in Bunbury, the Bunbury Hotel Koombana Bay provides a chic retreat with sea views. The town is best known for its dolphin encounters, but the former industrial port has a lively hipster vibe, with cafés, edgy boutiques and great eateries galore. Dine at buzzy Market Eating House, where spiced Middle Eastern food with oodles of flavour is created in a wood-fired oven or charcoal grill. Otherwise, check out quirky Mojo’s Restaurant in a converted shipping container, whose Italian-inspired menu runs from gnocchi to chicken simmered in red wine and olives. 

DAY 2: CAPES AND CAVES

Enjoy a meandering morning in the Ferguson Valley, nicknamed Mini Tuscany for its undulating vineyards, and pass a few pleasant hours plundering local craft shops around heritage Dardanup. Cellar doors allow you to try varietals such as Tempranillo and Nebbiolo; Talisman Wines has a lovely setting surrounded by Wellington National Park, while Willow Bridge Estate, which focuses on French varietals, has spectacular views to the ocean.

A short hop takes you back to the coast at Geographe Bay; stop on the way at Capel Vale Wines to try their fruity, elegant offerings. At Bussleton, take a walk along the famous heritage jetty, which extends two kilometres into the bay. You can also walk beneath the water at the Underwater Observatory. 

Not much further is Dunsborough. Enjoy lunch at Meelup Farmhouse, a characterful hobby farm with a country-cottage vibe and menu that showcases southwest produce such as scallops and free-range pork... just make sure to save room for the passionfruit pavlova.

Meelup Farmhouse, near Dunsborough.

Ngilgi Cave

From here, you're a 10-minute drive from Cape Naturaliste. Burn off those calories with a hoof up to the lighthouse for windswept panoramas, keeping an eye out (between June and September) for migrating whales. If you want to have a real work-out, tackle part of the 135-kilometre Cape to Cape Walking Track across breathtaking coastal landscapes. Further south at Ngilgi Cave, an indigenous tour among spectacular stalactites and stalagmites awaits the intrepid explorer. 

Stay the night in a luxurious villa with plunge pool at Injidup Spa retreat on the beach near Yallingup. Indulge in a massage or vigorous vanilla scrub before heading just up the road to Swings & Roundabouts for a terrific wood-fired pizza – accompanied by a bottle of the vineyard’s wines, of course.

Busselton Jetty

Injidup Spa Retreat

DAY 3: GRAPE EXPECTATIONS

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and swim, because today is devoted to cellar doors and you don’t want to start sipping too early. A great introduction is the wonderfully panoramic cellar door at Wills Domain, whose neatly pegged vines crosshatch the hillsides. Further on is Snake & Herring, which produces excellent wines in some of the region’s more overlooked styles.

Chocolate fiends will want to make a slight detour to Margaret River Chocolate Company, where you can watch chocolatiers at work and sample truffles stuffed with salted caramel or cherry liqueur. Save your appetite, though, for lunch at Vasse Felix, the region’s oldest commercial vineyard, which produces fine Cabernet blends, Chardonnays and varietals such as Tempanrillo and Viognier. Check out the art gallery and underground cellar before settling in at the restaurant for lamb with smoky eggplant, or scallops with apple and poppyseed.

Diligence in the kitchen at Wills Domain resturant.

Divine Delectables at Margaret River Chocolate Company.

The Margaret River isn’t all about wine, so mix it up over the afternoon with a stop at Olio Bello for olive oils and deli delights such as chilli jam and dukkah, and Margaret River Distilling Company for a spot of gin under the peppermint trees. You’re now in the town of Margaret River itself, where you can cruise between the cafés and surf shops and check out the top-quality Aussie art at JahRoc Gallery.

A three-hour drive returns you to Perth from here, but you might want to have some early tapas at Morries before you depart – think charred octopus, pork belly and roasted pumpkin – or Japanese-inspired dishes at Miki’s Open Kitchen, which include beef nori rolla, mussels and sesame-crusted lamb. 

Tastings at Voyager Estate Cellar Door

The Picturesque vineyards of Vasse Felix

With so much to see and do, you could easily spend several days more in this beautiful corner of the world. Luckily the Avis App makes it easy to extend your car rental while you are on the road. If the spirit takes you, add extra time to go mountain biking, kayak along the actual Margaret River, or hit the waves at Surfers Point: you never have far to look to find a quintessential Margaret River experience.

To Plan your perfect roadtrip around Perth and its stunning surrounds, book now with Avis

Life
Published on
5 Jul 2022

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