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Margaret River - what can we do in just 1 day?

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Sep 8th, 2015, 12:19 AM
  #1
kdd
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Margaret River - what can we do in just 1 day?

Hi Fodorites,

We are heading to WA in October. Unfortunately due to time constraints we have just 1 day in Margaret River i.e. we drive there from Perth early morning, explore, stay the night and leave by early afternoon the next day. I know this is doing injustice to the region but I decided that it is better to visit even briefly than not visit at all.

We have a child with us, so it is not just about the wineries. Hoping to do some bit of nature, anything fun for a 11 yr old and perhaps 2-3 wineries. Please help me put together such an itinerary.

Thanks!
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Sep 8th, 2015, 03:52 AM
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My suggestion, take a look at this map and plot your course before you go:

http://www.margaretriver.com/maps-guides-itineraries/

Where in MR are you staying? The region is huge.

Plan your time well, most wineries/attractions are only open from 10-4 or so. Days are short in MR, especially when you consider drive distances.

There's a whole section on family adventure listed on the site above (I've been to MR many times, but w/o kids, so can't help with specifics other than the chocolate factories and beaches.)

Leave Perth as early as you can, it's about a 3.5 hour drive, longer with stops, and many reasons to stop.

If traveling over school holidays, book your accommodation yesterday and be sure to make bookings for lunch and dinner.

I highly recommend you select a very small section of MR and spend your time there to save time driving from place to place.

Here's one of my recent MR trip reports that might give you a few ideas:

http://www.fodors.com/community/aust...aret-river.cfm

Have fun and drive safely!
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Sep 8th, 2015, 04:31 AM
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So little time, so much to see. We visit Margaret River ever year to see the “wildlife”, our grandkids. We continue to find new things to explore as well as revisiting our favourites so it is no small task to condense our recommendations into something realistic. But here goes:

You can pick up a good map of the area at the information centre, which is on the main street on your right as you come into town.

Head west on Wallcliffe Road. Turn right onto Kevill Rd. East and not too far along you should see kangaroos lounging about in a paddock. Pull well off the to the side of the road, get out and watch for as long as you like. The kangaroos, although ‘wild’ in the sense that they are living freely in their natural habitat, will be more or less indifferent to your presence if you stay on your side of the fence.

Then head back onto Wallcliffe road and before long you will see Cape Mentelle winery. This is a good example of the large, well established wineries in the area. Enjoy the wine tasting and pretty grounds.

Back on Wallcliffe Rd. head west again to Prevelley and Surfer’s Point. Depending on the time of day and conditions you may see surfers, wind surfers and kite surfers. Great coastal views and lots of sand to build castles with. The water in the river mouth is lagoon like, shallow and likely warm enough for a paddle. You can eat at Gnarabar on the beach or Sea Garden’s in Prevelly. Take note of the blackened vegetation from a bush fire that raced through a few years back. (Some houses lost, no fatalities).

to be continued.....
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Sep 8th, 2015, 04:47 AM
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Should have mentioned there are some trails off the beach that will take you a short distance to some good views. On your way back into town you could take a left onto Kevill road west which takes you back on a loop to Wallcliffe Rd. There is a pretty little spot across the road from Waterfall Cottages where you can stop and take a look at the river. The waterfall itself might not amount to much, but this loop drive does give you a taste of the locale. Driving distances are short and this itinerary can be done in half a day.

More to come.....
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Sep 8th, 2015, 11:21 AM
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Excursion #2:

About 15-20 minutes south of MR along Caves Road you will find, you guessed it, caves. Take you pick of Jewel, Lake and Mammoth. All are worth a visit, but due to your tight schedule you will likely have time for only one, and should check ahead of time to know when the tours depart. If you can squeeze it in, a wildflower walk is worthwhile as you will be in the midst of the season. Can’t remember exactly where we did that but info is easy enough to find.

The drive on Caves Road takes you through a national forest and nature reserve, a pleasing contrast to the coastal views. Who knew Australia had so many trees? Wherever you are are on the roads keep an eye open for signs saying Cellar Door Open. Wineries are a dime a dozen in the region and it can fun to stop in at a smaller one (or more).

For a meal in town, and a contrast to the ones foodie Melnq8 would recommend, I would suggest Settler’s Tavern. Not at all like the name would suggest to an North American, but a kid friendly place with decent food (large portions, you might want to share), live entertainment many nights, and a lively pub type atmosphere which I think of as being uniquely Australian. Another kid friendly eatery is Colonial Brewery, beer tasting of course, but a huge playground and open area for kids to run about and entertain themselves while the parents enjoy a leisurely meal.

Excursion #3

Let’s see, friendly sting rays at Hamlin Beach, Wilderness Tour on a silent quad bike, horse back nature tour at Jester’s Flat, Bushtucker tour on the river....Oh dear, I’ve used up all your time. Now you have two choices: call the airline to rebook a later flight, or, head back to Perth. ;-)

Do watch out on the roads for kangaroos, especially at dusk and dawn, and avoid driving after dark if you can. Fascinating creatures, but not so appealing smacked across your windshield.
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Sep 8th, 2015, 05:41 PM
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kdd
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Lots of great info! Thank you!

I am really torn now.... We have 2 full days in Perth but I now I am wondering if we should take one of the 2 days and spend it in MR?
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Sep 9th, 2015, 04:14 AM
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Your original plan means you will be doing a lot of driving and be rushed on both days in MR. If you can add in an extra full day it would make it a lot easier. I know what i would do, but it is your trip.
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Sep 9th, 2015, 07:06 AM
  #8
kdd
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Yes, done it. Decided to spend 1 more day in MR as there is clearly so much to do there....no point feeling so rushed that we can't enjoy anything,
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Sep 10th, 2015, 03:06 AM
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Sounds great, kdd. Do ask us if you have more questions.
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Sep 10th, 2015, 08:50 AM
  #10
kdd
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I do have another question - should we take old route from Perth to MR or the new highway? If we take the new highway at what point can we get off to follow the Caves road?
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Sep 11th, 2015, 03:09 AM
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I’m not the best person to ask about routes as I don’t do the driving in Australia. As far as I recall the only time I’ve done what you are probably referring to as the old highway is on a bus to the airport. Our standard route, driving with our local relatives, is on the new (divided) highway, to the Busselton bypass, then the Bussel highway all the way into Margaret River. Once you get south of Busselton it is more of a local road. In Margaret River turn right onto Wallcliffe and that will take you to Caves Road. You can also get onto Caves off the Busselton bypass.

You will encounter roundabouts, but probably not much traffic. The Aussies enforce their speed limits vigorously, so even a few km over can result in a ticket.
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Sep 14th, 2015, 05:56 PM
  #12
kdd
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After some research the past few days I have come up with the following tentative itinerary.

Day 1 - drive from Perth at 8 am, stop at MR chocolate factory, stop at cape Naturaliste light house and walk to sugar loaf.

Question - does this mean we have to also walk back to the car? Are there any convenient shuttle bus options to go back?

Lunch at Grove cafe, visit a winrery or two and head to the hotel. We are staying t the Heritage trail lodge.

Day 2 - start with a climb up cape Leeuwin lighthouse, stop at Hamelin bay, drive through Boranup Karri forest and stop for lunch at Cullen.

Post lunch, maybe visit some wineries or Eagle Raptor centre or quad bike rides

Day 3 - no specific agenda, we see and do what could not be done the previous 2 days and drive back to Perth post lunch, maybe stop at the Dolphin Discovery centre in Bunbury ion the way.

How does this sound? Too hectic, anything to add or remove?

Thanks!
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Sep 15th, 2015, 04:58 AM
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Regarding Heritage Trail Lodge, I've stayed there and I wouldn't recommend it. It's right on the main road, very noisy and not particularly nice. If you want to stay right in town, walking distance to shops, cafes, etc, I highly recommend Vintages. Nice place and quiet as set off the main road a bit, but very convenient.

Day one - visit the lighthouse first, as it's well before the chocolate factory (unless you're referring to the one in the Swan and not MR). Bunker Bay Café is nearby and makes a good lunch stop. October will be getting warm, keep your chocolate in an esky. Expect plenty of flies!



Yes. It's 3.5 km (I believe that's each way, but still doable, about 4.2 miles).
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Sep 20th, 2015, 09:44 AM
  #14
 
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Melnq8 has more detailed answers to your questions than I am able to provide. However, I will say if you want to do the quad bikes, arrange ahead of time. The owners are very accommodating but it is a small operation and we had to give it a couple of tries before they could fit us in. You may want to connect up with them at the start of the tour, rather than back track to MR and take their bus from there.
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Oct 11th, 2015, 04:41 AM
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Hi kdd

The new Forrest Hwy is the way to go. It will shorten your trip by 30-40mins. The other way is stop/start with lights and you're not missing anything scenery wise.

Also, fantastic choice with lunch at Cullen - it's beautiful there
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