A Weekend Self-Drive Trip to Margaret River
November 16, 2016
Located about 3 hours’ drive from Perth, Margaret River is a region in Western Australia that’s most renowned for its food and wine. The drive down South brings you along the beautiful coasts of Western Australia and you’ll pass by Fremantle, with its array of fresh seafood choices and the market which boasts fresh produce, clothes, accessories, handicrafts and many more. I’ve previously shared my 5 days 4 nights self-drive itinerary from Perth to Albany so you can check it out for comprehensive details on Fremantle, as well as, my guide on renting cars in Perth. This time round, we stopped over at Busselton before continuing our journey to Margaret River.
07.30am on a Saturday morning – Breakfast at Toast
We decided to explore Eastern Perth and came across Toast Café, which has al fresco dining, overlooking the Swan River. They have an extensive all-day-breakfast menu, ranging from toasts to omelettes to eggs benedicts, just to name a few. You can opt for the healthier choice of “breakfast in a bowl” which consists of yoghurt, nuts, fruits and muesli. For the sweet tooth, you will find comfort in sweet crepes.
We started off sipping Latte ($3.90AUD; $4.17SGD), Flat White ($3.90AUD; $4.17SGD), Hot Chocolate ($4.90AUD; $5.24SGD) and Mocha ($4.90AUD; $5.24SGD). Their coffee was really smooth and we simply loved indulging in the rich and thick hot chocolate. Being huge fans of eggs, my boyfriend had the Eggs Benedict ($16.50AUD; $17.64SGD) while I had the Eggs Norwegian ($18.50AUD; $19.78SGD). Both came with potatoes, perfectly poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, atop two slices of parmesan toast. The only difference was that he had ham while I had smoked salmon.
My parents like their breakfast simple so they had the Fried Eggs & Toast ($11.90AUD; $12.72 SGD) and Bacon & Scrambled Eggs with Toast ($15.90AUD; $17SGD). My brother and sister-in-law, on the other hand, prefer beginning the day sweetly so they shared Bacon & Maple Syrup with Corn Fritters ($16.90AUD; $18.07SGD). Although the maple syrup was very sweet, the savoury bacon and corn fritters managed to neutralize its sweetness, making the dish enjoyable.
After our fulfilling breakfast, we took a walk along the Swan River, which brought us to Victoria Gardens. There were flowers blooming amidst the lush greenery, with waters shimmering beautifully from the reflection of sunlight, so we sat on the benches and laughed over jokes and simply soaked in the relaxing atmosphere without a single worry in the world. These short moments are so hard to come by back in Singapore as we are all working different jobs and only get to spend quality time over the weekend dinner sessions. I really cherish such moments spent together with family.
Here’s some advice
You should park your car at Victoria Gardens’ carpark, which is just a short 5 minutes’ walk from Toast Café. This carpark is open 24 hours. On weekdays, it charges an hourly rate of $2.70AUD ($2.89SGD) between 8am to 6pm and costs $13.70AUD ($14.65SGD) for a maximum of 10 hours, thereafter hourly rate applies.
Details on Toast Café
Address: 21/60 Royal Street East Perth
Telephone Number: (08) 9221 0771
Opening Hours: 7am to 9pm daily
11.00am on a Saturday – Begin the 2 hours 30 minutes drive to Busselton Jetty
We arrived at approximately 1.30pm in the afternoon so we decided to have lunch at The Deck Marina Bar & Restaurant as this appeared on TripAdvisor as one of the top few recommended restaurants. This restaurant gives you a gorgeous view of the marina and you can choose to dine indoors or enjoy the breeze outside.
We started with half a dozen of fresh Southern Australian oysters, with lemon and Tabasco ($18AUD; $19.25SGD). The oysters were not that huge but still contained plump and juicy meat which gives a burst of flavours in your mouth. We also shared Calamari ($17.50AUD; $18.71SGD), featuring a basket of Tom Yum marinated squid, aioli and lemon. These fried calamari were so addictive we couldn’t stop munching one after another.
For our mains, we had Fish & Chips ($27.50AUD; $29.41SGD), Ribs ($27.50AUD, $29.41SGD) and Scotch ($36.50AUD; $39.03SGD). Beer-battered Western Australian fish is accompanied by garden salad, chips, lemon and tartare. It was crisp on the outside, with tender, juicy meat on the inside. The pork riblets were given an Asian twist of using condiments such as sticky hoisin and chilli sauce, tatsoi, fragrant coconut and turmeric, served with ginger rice. The highlight of our meal was the 300g MSA Beef Scotch fillet, served with chips, garden salad and your choice of creamy garlic, pepper or mushroom sauce. We had it medium-rare and it was executed so well.
Our initial plan was to take an afternoon stroll along Busselton Jetty, which would lead us to the Underwater Observatory. However, we had to cancel our plans due to the Ironman triathlon sporting event that took place on that particular weekend.
Details on The Deck Marina Bar & Restaurant
Address: 21 Spinnaker Boulevard, Port Geographe WA 6280
Telephone Number: (08) 9751 2960
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am till late (lunch from 11.30am onwards and dinner from 5.30pm onwards). Sun 8.30am till late (breakfast from 8.30am onwards, lunch from 11am onwards and dinner from 5pm onwards).
03.30pm on a Saturday Afternoon – Check into our apartment : Prideau’s of Margaret River
This apartment is located within walking distance from Margaret River’s town and we had a very pleasant stay at Prideau’s. The 2-bedrooms self-contained spa apartment was huge and spacious. There was a luxury spa room with a day bed on the second storey, as well as, full cooking facilities and a lounge and dining suite on the same level. Our bedrooms were on the first storey – one master bedroom with a king-size bed opening on to a private rear courtyard and another bedroom with a queen-size bed. For my elderly parents, they occupied the standard courtyard room next door and it was easily accessible as it is quite troublesome for them to negotiate stairs.
Having checked out our wonderful “home” for the night, we went into town to buy groceries and take-away some food so we could enjoy the comfort of our apartment while cutting down on dining-out costs. After dinner, we even made use of our spa and relaxed the night away.
10.00am on a Sunday morning – Sunflowers Animal Farm
Spreading across 315 acres of land, Sunflowers Animal Farm and Farmstay makes a really good weekend trip. Although we didn’t stay at the farm, we decided to visit the animals. There are over 350 farm animals on display and you’re allowed to pat, feed and interact with the animals. Don’t worry, they are harmless and not in the least aggressive but that being said, you shouldn’t provoke them on purpose.
We bought a bucket of animal food for $3AUD ($3.21SGD) and had so much fun feeding the kangaroos, horses, ostrich, llamas, sheeps, cattles and many more. You will also come across the talking long-beaked corella and cuddle little chicks in your palms. There’s also an extremely overweight pig, named “Fatty”. It was so grumpy as the farm employee told us not to give it any food. Poor Fatty!
My niece had a lot of fun at the Sunflowers Animal Farm and we would highly recommend this place for families. There is a playground and picnic areas with free BBQ facilities for paying visitors to the farm. You can also get a souvenir from the shop and indulge in Simmo’s Icecream during summer.
Details on Sunflowers Animal Farm
Address: 5561 Caves Road, Margaret River WA
Telephone Number: 08 9757 3343
Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm daily (except on Christmas Day)
01.30pm on a Sunday afternoon – Exploring Margaret River’s Vineyards
Your drive along Margaret River would bring you to some of the most gorgeous vineyards in the region. We stopped by the highly recommend Aravina Estate. The estate is huge, with pavilions overlooking the vineyards. I guess it’ll be really romantic to hold intimate weddings at Aravina Estate. This space features a restaurant, a lifestyle shop and a mini sports car museum.
My dad, especially, enjoyed wandering in the sports car museum and he was awed by the sports cars on display, such as the 1973 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase III, 1974 Holden L34 Torana, 194 Porsche 924 Carrera GT, as well as, 1957 Mercedes 190SL and a couple more. My mum and I, on the other hand, preferred browsing their lifestyle shop. After savouring a delightful lunch, you can take a stroll around the garden, taking in a variety of flora and fauna. This picturesque vineyard concluded our trip to Margaret River.
Details on Aravina Estate
Address: 61 Thornton Road, Yallingup WA 6282
Telephone Number: 08 9750 1111
Opening Hours: Cellar Door 10am to 5pm daily. Restaurant 11.30am to 3.30pm daily.
03.30pm on a Sunday afternoon – Begin the 3 hours drive back to Perth
We checked into Assured Ascot Quays Apartment Hotel around 6.30pm and caught a glimpse of the amazing sunset from our balcony before we went for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant but I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. My parents, being the traditional Chinese people, always crave for rice and Chinese dishes whenever we travel abroad to Western countries.
This rounds up my short weekend exploring Margaret River with my family. Hope you’ll find this article useful and be tempted to explore Perth and Western Australia. I hope I’ll be able to find time for another self-drive vacation from Perth as I would love to explore Exmouth, the Northern gateway to Ningaloo Marine Park and also trek and hike the national parks in Esperance and relax by the Pink Lake that’s in the area.
Hi there, just thought of dropping you a note to let you know how much I loved reading this entry of yours. It was super detailed and one of the rare travel blogs that include the breakdown of the costs so we know how much to budget for our upcoming Perth trip. The photos taken were great too. Prideau’s was one of our shortlisted accomodation as well. Thank you for sharing.
Hi there! Glad you found the article useful. Wishing you a wonderful trip in Perth!