We are strong advocates for supporting local businesses and are so fortunate here in the Dunsborough region to have a huge choice of restaurants and wineries producing first class food and wines. We like to regularly showcase some of the talented and quality businesses that deliver outstanding products and our current recommendations are:
Amelia Park Restaurant is a relative newcomer to the area but it exploded onto Caves Road with much awaited anticipation. Blair and Renee Allen brought their formidable reputation to their new venture after winning the Premier’s Award and 6 Gold Plate Awards during their time at Studio Bistro and Pairi and Co.
Within no time at all the husband and wife team were awarded the ONE HAT accolade for Amelia Park. They have combined their passion for food and merged it with a venue that is both modern and opulent that offers incredible photo opportunities with its sleek lines, barrel room and vineyard backdrop.
Blue Manna Bistro is a mix of modern Australian cuisine with a hint of Asia and is the recent winner of the 2019 Gold Plate awards Seafood Restaurant of the Year.
Situated in the middle of town beside Dugalup Brook Creek, it is a must either for a relaxing lunch or an intimate dinner whilst you are in the region. Opening in December 2018, it has quickly gained a reputation of one of the best restaurants in the region with classic indoor or alfresco dining on the decking under the peppi trees.
Coby the owner and chef (previously from Palmers Restaurant) has built a friendly hospitality driven team creating first class food and service.
With Ocean Fresh Seafood right next door and with their own trawlers, the seafood couldn’t be fresher from ocean to plate, and this is reflected in a menu which changes regularly depending on the catch of the day.
As an apprentice in Port Douglas under the tutelage of modern Asian chef Teague Ezard, you can see the inspiration flowing through to Coby’s Blue Manna menu and his amazing flavour combinations producing, in our opinion, masterful taste sensation’s; prawn stuffed chicken wings with Sichuan sweet and sour is a must. Not planning on dining – then just drop in for a restorative glass of something chilled after a long day exploring the Dunsborough region.
This winery & restaurant has the most amazing setting overlooking a lake and features both indoor and alfresco dining. There is an enclosed playground and lawn area for the children to keep themselves amused whilst you relax and take in the beautiful and peaceful ambience of this Tuscan style building.
Chef Ross Tyre who came to Palmers from the well-established Bathers Beach House in Fremantle, is a very creative chef and has brought his years of knowledge of modern Australian style cuisine to welcoming diners. Using the best locally sourced produce to inspire his exquisite menu, we can highly recommend the terrine of duck leg & black truffle confit/ liver & cognac parfait, pear & apricot preserve, pickled shallots & house baked sourdough, the crispy skin Cone Bay barramundi, herb& ricotta gnocchi, and last but not least the Shark Bay clams with butter samphire & Albany asparagus.
Situated in the centre of Dunsborough alongside the holiday town’s Dugalup Brook Creek, Yarri is the brain child of award winning chef Aaron Carr who spent some 25 years as head chef at Vasse Felix, and Redmond Sweeny of Snake & Herring wines.
The menu reflects the six seasons of the region with almost all of the dishes ‘touched by fire’ in the custom wood-burning oven, to enhance the natural characteristics of the ingredients. The restaurant interior is beautifully finished with a modern décor both in the indoor and alfresco dining areas.
The menu reflects sustainably sourced ingredients from land and sea and features pairings such as; Capellini / macadamia / dandelion / pecorino / green chill; Chicken / fennel / peach / sorghum or Fish / eggplant / kai-laan / umeboshi / furikake. Take advantage of the experienced waitstaff to explain each course in detail and you will enjoy a unique dining experience.
Fish Bone Restaurant Winery is a beautiful setting for a casual lunch with wonderful views of the rural farming landscape and Friesian cows roaming in the background.
The dining is both interior and alfresco but with the ceiling to floor sliding doors opened, it really doesn’t matter since you feel the ambiance of the open Australian bush and at one with nature.
The menu is very much Asian influenced and is designed as a sharing experience with wonderful flavours which are delightful on the palette such as Gyoza – Japanese dumplings or Beef Tataki – wagyu beef fillet with amazing Asian spice or Karaage Chicken – Japanese style deep fried free-range chicken and the most fabulous variety of sushi rolls to select from, just to name a few.
There is a tasting bar right in the middle of the dining area where you will be intrigued by the large exotic fish tank, and you can try the wonderful variety of Fish Bone wines before you are escorted to your table for a friendly and truly divine dining experience
Get out and about and explore the local area and activities
Formed approximately 1 million years ago, a number of these complex and fragile karst systems are open to the public. Go inside and be amazed by these massive labyrinths decorated intricately with limestone crystal formations.
Cave tours range from completely easy ‘at your own pace’ self-guided tours, guided tours along boardwalks with great commentary, ‘off piste’ adventure hard-hat tours to extremely adventurous ‘abseil your way in’ expeditions.
It is difficult to choose the best cave tour in Your Margaret River Region. You can marvel at the reflections on Lake Cave’s permanent lake, be dwarfed in Jewel Caves enormous chambers and take it easy on the Mammoth Cave self- guided tour. At Yallingup’s Ngilgi Cave (pronounced ‘nilgi‘), you will learn the Aboriginal legend as you look up at limestone shawl formations– or delve deeper into the cave on an adventure tour.
BREWERIES & CIDERIES
Nearly 20 years ago that brewery was a lone trailblazer and now with nine breweries in Your Margaret River Region, craft beer is a real player in the down south scene.
Each brewery has its own distinctive style from traditional pale ales and pilsners to preservative and additive free brews. By contrast chocolate beers, ginger and chilli beer will give your tastebuds something new to think about. Brave inventive styles are introduced regularly and frequent the daily tasting list. Some also produce their own cider, there’s even a distillery.
Cold beer, a sunny afternoon, live music and great food couldn’t define the quintessential chilled out down south experience better. Relax, sit back and let someone else do the driving on a Margaret River brewery tour or check out the Margaret River breweries list and create your own craft beer appreciation tour!
GALLERIES & ARTISANS
Spend your time meandering along country roads of Margaret River, Yallingup,Busselton and Dunsborough and visit solitary art studios, galleries, furniture galleries, impromptu arts precincts and collaborative workshops. Many have impressive settings surrounded by remote forest and bushland or are embedded at wineries and resorts.
Take a walk along the main streets to find studios and galleries that will tempt you to take a piece of fine furniture, jewellery, pottery or framed artwork home. Many of the artists can be seen at work in their studios and if this fires up your own creativity, there are a number of places who provide all the materials (and some guidance) so you can have a go yourself.
Still with their lifesaving purpose from dusk to dawn, these lighthouses offer the visitor, by day, a unique experience of going inside and up to the top of a working lighthouse. Enjoy breathtaking views across the treacherous oceans and the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Learn about the history and listen to stories of unimaginable tragedy and rescue.
Over 2,500 species of wildflowers decorate the region in vivid colours with their delicate flowers. The colour range and combinations are amazing with the brightest of true blue, lime green, yellow, red, pink, orange, white and mauve to name just a few.
The intricacy of the flowers will bewilder you, especially the orchids. Look out for these tiny yet magnificent works of art hiding where you least expect them. There are 150 species of orchid, many of which are rare and endangered. Be on the lookout for the splendid spider orchid and giant donkey orchid, which are celebrated finds amongst botanical enthusiasts.
Although there are wildflowers year round, the best time to be truly amazed at the intensity and variety of the wildflowers is from August to November. Great places to see the wildflowers are along the coastal walking tracks, rivers, forests and around the caves. Or better still, take a wildflower tour.
A relatively small producer of Australian wine, the region produces a massive 20% of Australia’s premium wine. The pristine environment and the many micro climates ensure that every wine is special but not one is the same.
A journey through Margaret River’s premium wine region is sophisticated yet relaxed, authentic and unique. Meandering from cellar door to cellar door is easy and spectacular with vistas of farmland, wine country and the coast.
If you have a look at the Margaret River wineries list you’ll find over 95 cellar doors. The diversity ranges from farm-style to architecturally elaborate, many of which have casual cafés ranging to world-class restaurants.
Take a quick look at the regional map and you’ll see that the cellar doors are easy to find and close together. Or totally immerse yourself in the wine region with a night or two at some of the winery accommodation on offer. All of this is easy to get to as it is only 3 hours’ drive south of Perth.
WALKS & HIKING
The longest and most famous track is the Cape to Cape Track. The 140 kilometre (five to six day walk) track traverses along the ridge and beaches of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park following the coast from Cape Naturaliste, Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin, Augusta. The walk takes in amazing views of sea and landscapes including wildflowers in spring and the stunning Indian Ocean.
However, you do not need to do the entire walk as short walks along the track are easily accessed and include some of the best highlights! Parts of the track are boardwalk or hard paved to allow access for all levels of fitness and abilities including those using wheelchairs and prams.
Other scenic bush and coastal walks including the Meelup Reserve Trail in Dunsborough, the dual-use walking and cycling track Rails to Trails with sections open from Busselton to Vasse and Cowaramup to south of Margaret River, the Busselton to Dunsborough bike and walk path and more.
Almost hunted to extinction, the population has recovered to such a level that an estimated 35,000 whales migrate from the Antarctic to our warmer waters. With a 6-month season, from June to early December, Your Margaret River Region is one of the best places to whale watch in Australia.
Humpback, southern right, minke and blue whales all make the epic journey. Their first port of call is Flinders Bay in Augusta, where the best time to see them is June to August. Augusta is one of the few places where you’ll see the southern right and humpback whales interact. Humpbacks, renowned for their agility, gather in groups of males and engage in breaching, spy-hopping, lob-tailing and tail-slapping. Acrobatics play out during courtship. Southern right whales will often calve in the bay and sometimes can be seen doing so in the shallows.
The humpback whales then head directly up north, where the pregnant females who mated last year have their calves (babies). They then return to Geographe Bay near Busselton and Dunsborough where they rest and nurse their young from September to early December.
You can watch the action unfold on the horizon from the shore or get up close on a whale watching cruise that departs from Augusta, Dunsborough and Busselton.