Margaret River is one of the most renowned wine regions in Australia, known not only for their top quality wines but for their outstanding food and serene beaches.
While the Margaret River region produces less than 3 per cent of Australia’s wine, it accounts for more than a fifth of its premium wines. There are over 180 wineries to choose from, each with something different to offer so honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.
You could spend days sampling your way through all the vineyards, but below we’ve listed our favourite wineries in Margaret River, as well as how to make the most out of your time here.
How to get to Margaret River
Margaret River, located in the south of Western Australia, can be reached in approximately 3 hours from Perth. The drive is very straightforward and there are small towns and sights to visit along the way if you choose to break it up.
Public transport isn’t Western Australia’s strong point, therefore we strongly recommend getting a car for your trip as it allows for more flexibility and the opportunity to visit a variety of the surrounding areas.
If driving is out of the question, South West Coach Lines runs express services from Elizabeth Quay in Perth to the larger cities such as Busselton, Bunbury, Dunsborough and Margaret River.
Where to Stay in Margaret River
There is no shortage of accommodation in Margaret River town and you can expect to find everything from villas to homes to apartments. If you have a large group, be sure to check out the luxurious Waters Edge Margaret River.
How to Get around Margaret River
Unfortunately, there is no form of public transport (apart from taxis) in Margaret River (unlike the Wine Tram in South Africa), so you’ll need to work out how to get around yourself, i.e rent a car!
Under strict Australian laws, your alcohol blood content cannot be over 0.05 (in some cases 0.00) and if you plan to taste wines all day, I can assure you, you’ll find yourself over this limit. If you find yourself in a group of keen wine drinkers with no one putting their hand up to sacrifice fewer glasses of delicious savvy-b, then we suggest hiring a private driver for the day OR jumping on an organised wine tour.
Tip: If you have a group of 4 or more, hiring a driver for the day is far more cost effective (& fun) than taking a tour. After all, you get to make the schedule! Drivers can be hired for 1/2 day which is usually from 11-2 ($350 AUD) or full day 10-5 ($500 AUD) and of course, these times can be flexible based on how much time you have.
We used Jake from DBM Drivers (shown in the hat above) and would strongly recommend booking him in advance. He helped with the planning of our day, he was extremely efficient and really made our day as carefree and effortless as possible. We’re not affiliated with him in any way, we just loved his service!
During the busy season (December – March), drivers can book out very quickly so if you can’t snatch up Jake, here are a few more options to try:
Where to eat in Margaret River
Margaret River has one main street that is lined with many different restaurants. You definitely won’t go hungry. If there’s one place you need to eat at, make it the Margaret River Bakery. A huge selection of freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, juices and sit down meals. If you’re anything like us, be prepared to go a little overboard on the baked goods. Unfortunately, they are closed on Sundays.
For a decent pub meal and live music on most nights, Settlers Tavern is the place to end your night (although they stop serving food at 9:00 pm). Other notable restaurants include Drift Café (great for breakfast), Swings Tap House and Kitchen (pizza), Brew House Margaret River & Morris Anytime (modern Australian).
For a more formal dining experience, many of the wineries do offer sit down lunches, often with vineyard views and it’s a great way to end your winery tour. Some of the most popular wineries that offer lunch include, but are not limited to Leeuwin Estate, Wills Domain, Voyager Estate, Cullen Wines, Fishbone, Arimia Estate & Watershed Premium Wines.
What are the top best wineries & vineyards in Margaret River?
If only we had time for all of them, then we could tell you what the best wineries are in Margaret River! But even then, everyone has different tastes.
We can tell you this though… You can get up to 4 wineries in a day, with a nice lunch included during that time. To avoid spending most of the day in a car, prepare your schedule with wineries that reside in the same area. Your driver can help with this. Most of these wineries offer free tastings however occasionally for the more expensive wines, a small fee of $5 is applicable but can be waived with the purchase of a bottle.
Top Wineries & Vineyards in Margaret River
Vasse Felix Margaret River Winery
Vasse Felix, a stand out above them all, was established in 1967 and was the first winery in the entire region, not only for the wines but the cellar door, the grounds and also the staff.
As soon as you enter from the road you’re immediately taken back by the tall beautiful trees that line the driveway & vineyards. They have a full menu for lunch or for a more casual approach, order one of their delicious charcuterie plates to devour in the outdoor seating area.
Our group walked away with the largest purchase at this winery. Our favourites? The Classic Dry White (available in most stores) and the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect summery/everyday drinking wines.
Cape Mentelle Margaret River Winery
Cape Mentelle is one of Margaret River’s five founding wineries and was established in 1970. Set amongst bushlands with a relaxing atmosphere, you can sip your wines as you swing in the beautiful front gardens or head out the back to roam the vineyards.
Cape Mentelle became well known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon which won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy in both 1983 and 1984. However, it was the dessert wine that we left with after a visit to this vineyard. Sweet, but refreshing after a meal.
They also offer a “behind the scenes” Vineyard and Winery Tour or a Degustation Tour and during the summer months, they occasionally have an open outdoor cinema where you can relax on beanbags, sip wine and order food. Be sure to check out the barrel room located behind the tasting room. Insta shot!
Woodlands Margaret River Winery
Woodlands Winery is spread over two vineyards, 2km apart and was established in 1973. To this day, the Cabernet Sauvignon is made from the same plant originally planted by the owners, back in the beginning. All of the vines are dry grown and farmed using only traditional, organic methods with both vineyards maintained purely by hand with each wine spending up to 2 years in oak barrels.
The cellar door in Woodlands felt very homely and casual as though we were in their lounge room. You could immediately tell there was a long family history behind this vineyard, so much so that all the wines are named after past family members, each with a different story. For all you red lovers, Woodlands primarily focus is on red wines so if red wine isn’t your thing then you may want to reconsider your visit to Woodland’s winery.
Pierro Margaret River Vineyard
Pierro was established in 1979 and is extremely famous for its Chardonnay which sold out in 2 months from release. Jeremy Oliver, one of Australia’s most reputable wine writers once stated: “Pierro Chardonnay is the role model for so many of Australia’s more opulent and hedonistically proportioned chardonnays and is a stunning expression of Margaret River Chardonnay.”
There was a large selection for us to sample and were impressed with many of the Pierro wines. Although Chardonnay is their #1 seller, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc isn’t far behind.
Note: Pierro doesn’t take organised group tours so you can only visit this winery if you have your own driver or are driving yourself.
Amelia Park Wines & Restaurant
Although we didn’t sample the wines in the cellar door due to time restraints, we can safely say it’s one of the best places to have lunch.
Amelia Park is the hottest new restaurant to hit the town of Margaret River and after enjoying quite a feast we can really understand why. The restaurant which is separated from the main cellar room (the building on the right of the above pic) can be entered through an extremely large door, which then opens out to an impressive view of the vineyards.
The service was great, the menu was extensive, reasonably priced and the food was outstanding. Be sure to make a reservation here as they do book out, especially on the weekends.
Whilst these were our personal choices, do know that there are 215 vineyards and over 180 wineries located throughout the Margaret River region.
Find a full list of Margaret River wineries to visit here.
Is there anything else but wine to sample?
Yes! Not only can you sample many different wines in Margaret River but you can also wake up your taste buds up sampling gin, vodka and whiskey at the Margaret River Distilling Company. If you’re feeling game, try their hot chilli vodka (they have water on hand!). They also have a food menu. Our favourite gin was the “Giniversity: Botanical”. However, it doesn’t come cheap – $55 for a 500mL bottle.
For all you cheese lovers, make your way towards the Margaret River Dairy Company and find your favourite by sampling up to 5 kinds of cheese as well as their fresh yoghurt. We recommend grabbing the gourmet package which includes 5-6 cheeses (or a fresh yoghurt) as well as a packet of crackers. Such good value and the perfect accompaniment to have alongside your wine purchases.
Got a sweet tooth? The Margaret River Chocolate Factory has you covered. Free samples and a huge range of yummy chocolates for purchase. What more do you need?
Where to from Margaret River?
This all depends on the time you have and what you’re after. The options are endless around this region and every one of them is simply beautiful. You should allow at least 3 days to see the best of the best.
See our “Top 10 Highlights of South Western Australia & Perth“ for some of our favourite choices!
Margaret River was no doubt one of our Western Australian Highlights. How can you go wrong with pristine beaches, award-winning wines, gluttonous amounts of food, perfect company and bright sunny days? You can’t. This part of Western Australia isn’t to be missed!
Have you been to any of the wineries in this region? What else should we add to our list next time we visit?