magazine TAKE ME HOME
13 | AUTUMN 2019
In this issue
• Surf's up at the Margaret River Pro • Toast autumn with some warming reds • The best local breakfast spots revealed • Plan your next stay among the gum trees
Keeping it real CELEBRATE VINTAGE THIS AUTUMN
INCLUDED IN THE
Your Margaret River Region magazine
Your pull-out EVENTS guide to THIS what’s on AUTUMN this autumn margaretriver.com | AUTUMN 2019 1
Award Winning Wines | innovative dining| weddings & events 7 Days a week for lunch | Bar & restaurant dining WA surf & Sports car gallery open to the public 7 days 2 AUTUMN 2019 | margaretriver.com
Award winning wines
barrel room event space
wa surf gallery
sports car gallery
open daily 10am - 5pm 61 thornton road, yallingup WA www.aravinaestate.com (08) 9750 1111
Editor’s Letter Pick of the bunch
The MRBTA acknowledges the Aboriginal people of Western Australia as the traditional custodians of this land, and we pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
hose autumnal feels are some of our favourites in the Margaret River region. Cooler days, crisper mornings and evenings where it's perfectly acceptable to wear cosy cashmere wraps to dinner . . . yup, we're all for a change in season. So why not celebrate the chance to sit outside without melting by discovering some of the best places to breakfast? Whether it's looking out over the everchanging ocean or pulling up a chair indoors, the region has some really brilliant places to start the day with wholesome tucker. Vintage is an important part of the year around these parts, and this one is shaping up to be very promising, according to those in the know. Read about what it takes to bring the harvest home, and how some winemakers are ringing the changes. Revelation Wines is one such innovator, following the constellations and moon's cycle to decide when to make wine. You might fancy trying some new wines, so we've put together a helpful guide about how to taste wine. Don't miss Fergal's guide to the best autumnal wines, all locally made, and while you're in the mood for something warming, why not head to one of the region's drinking dens for a snifter? Read all about one of Margaret River's great success stories - the Margaret River Distilling Co has won many awards for its delicious spirits, so why not give some of the cocktails using their booze a go? Augusta is having a moment in the spotlight; read all about how the new video marketing campaign came to life, as well as how to make the most of a stay next to the Blackwood River. The ever-popular Margaret River Open Studios event is set to bring even more art-loving visitors to the region this Easter, and for jazz aficionados, there's Jazz By The Bay a few weeks later. If that all makes you want to escape the throngs, then you'll love our story about staying among the gum trees. We predict you'll never want to leave. Here's to autumn and all its glorious, technicolour magnificence Happy reading.
Gabi Share pics, videos and thoughts during your stay via our social media. We’ll repost our favourites! The Margaret River Region
Plan and book your holiday with Your Margaret River Region local experts. Find us at the Busselton, Dunsborough, and Margaret River visitor centres. email welcome @margaretriver.com or call (08) 9780 5911, seven days a week!
PUBLISHED BY PREMIUM PUBLISHERS 26 John Street Northbridge Perth WA 6003 (08) 9273 8933 EDITOR Gabi Mills firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR Cally Browning email@example.com SALES MANAGER Natalie du Preez (0426 752 352) firstname.lastname@example.org PHOTOGRAPHIC Bianca Turri (email@example.com) Tim Campbell (timcampbellphoto.com) Elements Margaret River (elementsmargaretriver.com.au) COVER IMAGE Glenarty Road with friends. Image by @emmapegrum CONTRIBUTORS Dianne Bortoletto, Cassandra Charlick, Danielle Costley, Tom de Souza, Brooke EvansButler, Fergal Gleeson, Jane Hammond, Mia Lacy, Joanne Marriott, Matthew Mills, Jennifer Morton, Anna Pellegrin-Hartley, Lizzy Pepper, Janine Pittaway, Tori Wilson. ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES email@example.com PRINTED BY VANGUARD PRESS
All rights reserved. No material published in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without prior written authority. Every endeavour is made to ensure information contained is correct at time of going to print. ©2019 YOUR MARGARET RIVER REGION MAGAZINE is published quarterly by Premium Publishers on behalf of the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association. Visit premiumpublishers.com.au
WHAT YOUR MARGARET RIVER REGION GOT UP TO IN
Summer Perfect weekend in our little dome #mileendglamping by @nadiablech.
Stingrays at Hamelin Bay shot by @philippkahrer (visit philippkahrer.com)
Always offshore in the studio by @art.by.meeks
Gluten-free Tasi salmon wraps available at Dunsborough Markets by @mattitalianvibes.
We'd love to share your instagram pics! Take a pic, make sure you use #margaretriver by April 20 2019 for your chance to see it featured in the next issue.
Eat & Drink 14 Eat & Drink news 16 Best breakfasts 20 Taste of the Alps 22 At one with nature 26 Called to the bar 28 Sweet somethings 30 The spirit of innovation
Wine & Wineries 34 Behind the label 36 Revelation Wines 38 Wine tasting tips 40 Autumnal drops 44 Ripe for the picking 46 Cape to vine tours
Nature & Environment 50 A home among the gumtrees 54 The French connection
Active & Adventure 68 The Margaret River Pro 70 Life's a breeze 72 Ultra marathon 74 Sea play on the bay 78 Readers & Writers Festival 82 Keeping that summer glow
56 Life on the river
Art & Wellbeing
58 What lies beneath
84 The bliss business
60 Rediscover Augusta
86 Songbirds of the south west
62 Ellenbrook's history revealed
88 Big-hearted business
64 Flinders House, Augusta
90 Open Studios returns
66 Local Hero: Ric Gath
92 Getting around
Live music at Aravina Estate
New playground at Busselton
Readers and Writers Festival
Margaret River Pro
PICK UP YOUR MAP AT THE VISITOR CENTER!
John Streater Gallery
Yelverton Road North
up Sid in
the R oa d
John Streater’s reputation precedes him and this world-class artist who works with local timbers is more than happy to welcome visitors to his gallery in Yallingup.
FIND THE LATEST EVENT LISTINGS AT MARGARETRIVER.COM/EVENTS
WORLD-CLASS ARTIST WELCOMES ALL
g l li n
How to spend autumin in your Margaret River region
Wil dwo od Ro ad
CELEBRATE THE RIVER
The Augusta River Festival is an all-day event of entertainment and water- and land-based activities for the whole family. There’s an action-packed program of events, including the Blackwood Regatta (entry form on website), live music, over 70 market stalls, food, drinks, fireworks and much more. Set on the picturesque foreshore of the Blackwood River, it’s a great day out and fun for the whole family . Please note this is a smoke-free event, No dogs, no BYO, no bicycles, scooters or skateboards. // The Augusta River Festival, March 3, Blackwood River Foreshore, near Colourpatch Cafe, Augusta. Visit augustariverfestival.com.au for information.
In his gallery you’ll find a treasure trove of bespoke hardwood tables, chairs, desks and sideboards. You’ll also find works from emerging and renowned artists including paintings, wood turning and hand-blown glass art. To make things easier for visitors, John has drawn a map to help newcomers to the area find his gallery (Google Maps isn’t particularly helpful in this neck of the woods). Just be prepared not to leave empty-handed. A John Streater original is something to be treasured. // John Streater Fine Furniture Gallery, 105 Blythe Rd, Yallingup. Visit streaterfinefurniture.com
bb ey’ sF ar m
notion – the land is not asleep. The three WA-based, emerging artists showcase their individual skillsets: for instance, Andy continues to surprise with his mark-making skills. This exhibition sees him using graphite and paint in a series of smaller works inspired by his forays into plein-air sessions. Meanwhile painting outdoors is a new direction for Iain, whose work is held in private and public collections around the country. Finally, popular artist Yvonne is wellknown for her brightly coloured fantastical paintings, and in this exhibition, she has explored intricate patterning. // The Land Is Not Asleep, until March 25 Andy Quilty, Yvonne Zago and Iain Dean Unbound This is something to savour: here’s your chance to view major exhibiting artists alongside a selection of small pieces by invited artists. Work by Alice Linford Forte and Di West will hang alongside work by Kate Debbo, Deidre Bruhn, Jennifer Loverock, Shirley Clancy, Peter Zappa, Jo Mcdonald, Natasha Hill, Garance Camison, Melissa Boughey and more. Showing a diversity of mediums, styles and moods, the show is headed up by local talent Alice LIinford Forte with a new series of paintings, upon her recent return to the region. Di West is also one of the major exhibiting artists. Di, a sculpture artist from New Zealand has been represented by the Margaret River Gallery for many years and a new series of works by this wonderful whimsical artist is an extra special treat. Unbound, April 20 to May 18. Meet the artists on April 27. Margaret River Gallery, Shop 4, 1 Charles West Avenue, Margaret River. Visit margaretrivergallery.com.au
APRIL FRASER GALLOP ASH
CELEBRATING THE LAND
The Margaret River Gallery is kicking off autumn in style with two highly anticipated exhibitions. The Land Is Not Asleep A series of plein-air drawing and painting sessions acted as a catalyst between friends, Yvonne Zago, Iain Dean and Andy Quilty, to document encounters in the landscape developing divergent methodological, aesthetic and narrative responses to a shared
See the incredible colours as the Claret Ash trees light up for just a couple of days each year at beautiful Fraser Gallop Estate. Celebrate the end of the 2019 vintage with a tour of the treelined drive. This private section of the estate is not usually open to guests so it’s a great opportunity to see something beautiful and generally off-limits. // Fraser Gallop Estate, Wilyabrup. Date to be confirmed - visit frasergallopestate.com. au/events/Claret-Ash-Tour or email liz@ fgewines.com.au.
WALK TALK TASTE TOUR
Walk Talk Taste is a new town-based walking tour for foodies. On the “Brunch Tour”, participants will taste their way through some of Margaret River township’s best eateries that includes a few secret spots, hidden gems and exclusive behind-the-scenes access. The tours starts with coffee on the banks of the Margaret River and, over
The Undalup Association in partnership with the Augusta Margaret River Shire will be presenting the Djeran Youth week event. The focus is on promoting mental health and there will be stalls and bushfood. Shannon Hart-Cole will be performing hip hop and there will be a good variety of cultural activities. // Margaret River Skatepark, April 13.
MEET THE ARTISTS
The Margaret River Region Open Studios is the biggest open studio event in Australia. It’s a free event, running from April 27 to May 12. Over 130 local artists opened their doors last year, offering art lovers the rare chance to visit private art studios, meet artists and view their works in progress. Come and experience the vibrant visual arts scene in the Margaret River region, and plan your art trail adventure at their website (mrropenstudios.com.au) // Margaret River Open Studios, April 27 to May 12, various locations.
Settlers Tavern has been a big part of Margaret River’s local’s scene since 1977, and is now one of the region’s buzziest dining destinations. With an extensive menu, and over 600 wines on its award-winning list, Settlers Tavern is known for its warm, friendly service and great value, featuring quality south west produce, locally-caught fish, and America-
style low and slow BBQ. Original live music is a regular feature, with some of Australia’s most renowned recording artists performing at the venue, including an exclusive south west WA performance by Dan Sultan (above, left) on April 11. // Visit settlerstavern.com for information.
MAY ULTRA COOL
The Margaret River Ultra Marathon boasts 80 kilometres of magnificent trail running through the Margaret River region. It will take runners on a journey through a diverse range of breathtaking landscapes, starting at Hamelin Bay in the south and finishing at the Cheeky Monkey Brewery and
four hours, walkers will not only sample some of the region’s best food, but hear stories from devout food professionals who have played a role in establishing Margaret River as a gourmet destination. // Book online at walktalktast.com or call chief walker and talker, Kellie Tannock on 0401878261.
Cidery at Wilyabrup in the north. The course takes runners through huge karri tree forests, along clifftop trails providing endless coastal views, over huge granite domes and rock slabs, along crisp white sandy beaches and through some of the vineyards that make the region so popular for visitors. Runners from across Australia and overseas are expected to travel to Margaret River for this extraordinary event which has been designed as an achievable challenge for all levels, from elites through to trail running newcomers who can divide the 80km course into a relay with the five different legs varying between 10km and 20km. Read more about this event on page 72. // Margaret River Ultra Marathon, various locations, May 4 and 5. Visit rapidascent. com.au/MargaretRiverUltra/entry/info
BEHIND THE SCENES
The Margaret River Pro forms part of the World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (WCT), where the top ranked 34 male and top ranked 16 female surfers compete over a 12-day period. This is one of eleven WCT events globally, which occur at iconic destinations including Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, North America, French Polynesia, Europe and Hawaii. A key change in the 2019 CT calendar is the break up for the three-event Australia leg with a break following the Gold Coast and Bells Beach events before recommencing with the Bali event and returning to Margaret River as the fourth stop of the season. “Margaret River has been a key stop on the CT for several seasons now and we had the unique and unfortunate circumstance of having to cancel this season’s event due to aggressive shark activity in the area,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “Working with our surfers, event partners and the local community, we’ve moved the dates of the Margaret River event later in the year to improve the pacing of the season as well as ensure the best chance for world-class
conditions at all breaks.” Keep up to date with all the action as well as essential event information such as free park and ride shuttle services, event site map and all the other awesome gigs, surf workshops and exhibitions happening across the region as part of this iconic event at margaretriver.com // The Margaret River Pro, May 27 to June 7, free. Full tour dates are available at worldsurfleague.com
JOIN IN THE FUN
Triathlon WA has announced further details about the 2018 SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon, which will take place from May 4 to May 6. In addition to the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3, which will remain the premier event of the festival, they will also host an Open Water Swim, SunSmart Kids Triathlonand the inaugural Fun Run. The expansion of the SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon allows for a more inclusive weekend of events that brings a new level of excitement to Busselton. Food vendors and entertainment will be provided onsite throughout the afternoon and evening,
Discover the vineyards Explore the wines Experience food pairings Daily tours at 11:30am (except Thursdays and Sundays). 331 Wallcliffe Rd, Margaret River. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL Call (08) 9757 0812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.capementelle.com.au to book online
some cosy venues to enjoy cool jazz. Held across more than 20 venues in WA’s south west, Jazz by the Bay gets people swinging, scatting and jiving at more than 40 performances by over 200 artists across four days. The festival features free and ticketed live soul, funk, jazz big band, bebop and swing performances during the day and into the night on the street, in wineries, bars, theatres and private properties. Jazz by the Bay provides a complete feast
continuing until 7.30pm. There will be no entry fee to attend the celebrations. // 2019 SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon, Busselton, May 4 to 6. Visit busseltonfestivaloftriathlon.com.au/
The theme for this year’s Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is Weird, Wild and Wonderful, and the popular gathering of some of the world’s leading literary figures will once again not disappoint. It’s the biggest regional literary event in Western Australia, and each year brings an array of thought-provoking writers to the region including novelists, journalists, academics and established and emerging storytellers from WA, interstate and overseas. The 2019 festival program explores wild, weird and wonderful stories that expand our horizons, make us laugh, ponder, question and smile. The festival is multi-dimensional and includes author talks, interviews, Q&A sessions, panel discussions, book signings, feature events and the Festival Workshop Series. With three-day passes, day passes and feature event tickets often selling out long before the event, it’s a good idea to book your spot early. The program for next year’s festival is set to be released shortly – read our feature on page 78 to find out more. // Margaret River Readers & Writers, various locations, May 3 to 5. Visit mrrwfestival.com
Uniquely south west in character, Jazz by the Bay will once again deliver amazing jazz experiences with fine wine and food in
iconic natural spaces and spectacular venues throughout Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River. Jazz by the Bay is Western Australia’s premiere regional jazz festival. Performers turn the heat up in winter, get visitors and locals out of hibernation and into
for the senses with many events including stunning local food and wine in the experience. In the words of Dave Brubeck, Take Five and go where the in-crowd goes this June. // Jazz by the Bay, May 31 to June 3. Visit jazzbythebay.com.au
LEND A HAND
Following the Margaret River bushfires of 2011, the owners of Passel Estate provided sanctuary to a family (or ‘passel’) of western ringtail possums that had been displaced by the fires. The possums quickly adapted to their new surroundings and the sanctuary provided by the giant peppermint trees, (Agonis flexuosa). Join Passel Estate family and friends for a morning of nature conservation and help with planting a variety of native tube stocks to further rehabilitate the creek line and bushland corridors at the estate. This is your chance to lend a helping hand and create a more ideal environment for the critically-endangered western ringtail possums that have been released, as well as the other native species that live in the bushland reserve. Your efforts will be rewarded with a light lunch at the tasting room and complimentary glass of Passel Estate wine. Volunteers are requested to register before May 27 by emailing email@example.com or calling 08 9717 6241. Numbers are strictly limited to ensure a safe and enjoyable morning for everybody. // Meet at Passel Estate’s Tasting Room, 655 Ellen Brook Road, Cowaramup, May 30, 10am to 1pm.
GOOD TIMES • LONG LUNCHES • FUNCTIONS
Join a weekend-long celebration of one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients, fresh black truffles, just minutes from where they are unearthed. Manjimup is the heart of Australian truffle country with more truffles found here than anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Join in the festivities and be consumed by the heady aroma of truffles at their freshest; go hunting, taste your way through the festival village, meet farmers and growers, discover local wine and produce and indulge in truffle laden experiences with world class chefs. // Truffle Kerffufle, Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup, date tbc. Visit trufflekerfuffle.com.au for information
WEDDINGS • ROMANTIC GETAWAYS
CAVES HOUSE HOTEL YALLINGUP is situated right in the heart of the Margaret River Wine Region and just a short walk to the famous Yallingup Surf Beach. Autumn at Caves is epitomised by long lunches with lovers and friends, balmy afternoons with drinks on The Terrace, full wedding services including ceremony, reception and accommodation, live music multiple times per week, stylish High Tea service and so much more. As the slogan goes, there is something for everyone at Caves House Hotel. Come down and see for yourself why this iconic 116-year-old venue is a crowd favourite to all.
18 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup | Ph: 9750 1888 A/H: 9750 1830 caveshousehotelyallingup.com.au
Eat & Drink
EAT & DRINK NEWS
from around the region
Top of the pops A NEW APPROACH TO MARKETING WINE KEEPS MUSIC LOVERS HAPPY TOO, DISCOVERS JANINE PITTAWAY.
erfect Day, Sabotage, Hallelujah, Blue Monday, Wide Open Road … reads like an extract from Triple J’s Hottest 100 of All Time album. A couple of these are on the double CD released by our national youth broadcaster, but we’re here to talk wine. Local wine label Snake + Herring like to do things a little bit differently. When winemaker Tony (Snake) Davis and ‘navigator’ Redmond (Herring) Sweeney formed in 2010, they were into new wine styles, varieties and locations. They also wanted their wines to have personality. Tony and Red blended their passions for great wine and music and named their wines after songs that resonated. “My music is alternative 70s and 80s and Red leans more towards 90s grunge,” Tony said. “Some songs we’ll line up and wait til the right wine comes along. Others are just the right fit and match the wine or the story behind it.” Blue Monday and Bizarre Love Triangle (both by 80s English indie band New Order) are made from grapes from the same vineyard, and BLT is a blend of three varieties – pinot gris,
Gewürztraminer and riesling. Grapes used in their Hallelujah chardonnay are sourced from a vineyard established by a religious order from the US. High and Dry, one of Tony’s favourites, is a dry riesling from the hilly Porongurup region in the Great Southern.
Black Betty isn’t just a banging classic, it’s also a bold fruit-driven cab sav with lots of generosity of flavour. A self-described music nerd, Tony said he liked the stories behind bands and songs and, when not scouting new vineyards or sampling new styles, you’ll likely find him playing vinyl with music-loving friends. He said the wine names were becoming part of the everyday vernacular for their distributors and customers and were also being well received in the US where they’ve just been released. Snake + Herring wines feature prominently on the wine list for Dunsborough’s Yarri Restaurant, owned by Tony and Red in partnership with Tony’s wife Sally and chef Aaron Carr. “Nothing makes me smile more than when I’m in Yarri and hear someone order some Tough Love,” Tony said. What’s next in the line-up? Stranded Cab Merlot has just been bottled and Tony is angling to use Aussie alt rock band Regurgitator’s “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff ” which he reckons he might just be able to get away with for a late release riesling although we’re not sure if he’s run that past Red. They’re lining up more inspiration so don’t be surprised to see future wines celebrating AC/ DC, Joy Division and Tom Waits. Visit Snake + Herring’s cellar door at 3763 Caves Road Wilyabrup.Want to listen to the Snake + Herring line-up? There’s a playlist on Spotify thanks to their Queensland distributor.
REST, RELAX, RECONNECT Romantic, secluded, self contained chalets with candlelit sky-view spas, kingsize double beds and tranquil forest outlooks, on 240 acres of natural beauty.
IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE . . . . . . PLAY ON, or so says Shakespeare. Head to Aravina Estate every Sunday in March and enjoy local singers perform as you drink in and enjoy one of the most beautiful wineries in the region. The Live On The Lawn events run from 1 until 5pm, with picnic rugs and bar food available. It’s a family-friendly free event and you’ll be able to hear Valentine Music, Askya and Rueben De Melo each Sunday from March 3 to March 24. Aravina Estate also welcomes back one of its own - uber-talented head chef Ben Day is back behind the pass, creating sublime menus for visitors to the winery from autumn onwards. Ben, who favours showcasing local produce which perfectly matches head winemaker Ryan Agiss’s delicious Aravina Estate wines, will be launching his new menu any day now. Finally, rounding off a super-busy time for the thriving winery, Ryan has also recently finalised overseeing the installation of new equipment in the estate’s warehouse, which means there is now a fully operational winery on site. “Fruit is looking great,” says Ryan as he prepares to start picking grapes at the time of going to press. “We’ll be coming together as a team to hand-pick the chenin grapes for the base of our premium sparkling wine. It should be a fun day with a light breakfast and a toast afterwards. I'm looking forward to another great year at Aravina.” Visit Aravina Estate, 61 Thornton Road,Yallingup. Live On The Lawn from March 3 to 24, 1 to 5pm, free event.Visit aravinaestate.com. R E ST, R E L AX, R ECO NNEC T Romantic, secluded, self contained chalets with candlelit sky-view spas, Kingsize
double beds and tranquil forest outlooks, on 240 acres of natural beauty.
231 Yelverton Road, Yelverton Margaret River Wine Region Phone (08) 9755 7110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
231 Yelverton Road, Yelverton Margaret River Wine Region Phone (08) 9755 7110 or email email@example.com margaretriver.com
White Elephant Café
Eat & Drink
STARTERS FOR TEN The most important meal of the day just got better. Often overlooked in the foodie awards, Lizzy Pepper is dishing out prizes for the region’s best breakfasts. From Yallingup to Augusta and everywhere in between. Outstanding okonomiyaki Drift Café has great world traveler vibes and a seriously scrumptious okonomiyaki, or savoury Japanese pancake. Topped with generous slices of slow roast pork belly, slaw, a fried egg and sesame seeds, the pancake itself has pickled ginger and finely sliced cabbage within. Their supplier list reads like a who’s who
of the local farmers market; Burnside Organics avocadoes, Margaret River Woodfired Bread, Bannister Downs milk, and Geo Organics beef. But would you expect anything less when their chef previously led the Cullen Restaurant team? 1/72 Willmott Avenue Margaret River.
Breathtaking beach views At White Elephant Café you’ll line up with locals to order, because not only do they have show-stopping views on one of the best beaches around, the food is top-notch too. Perched above the sand of Gnarabup Beach, bring your bathers and tuck into a brekkie burger for a traditional bacon and egg fix (sandwiched into a luscious milk bun) or grab the smashed pumpkin with avo, feta, dukkha and poached egg for a colourful, nutritious fix. Stay warm and dry in their stylish glassfronted room when the cooler weather rolls in. Views are equally fab. Gnarabup Rd, Margaret River.
Wicked waffles Bunkers Beach House also fits the breathtaking beach views category – with bonus points if you spot a seal or dolphin frolicking in the waves. Fresh baked waffles drenched in maple syrup and topped with berries were sublime. Bruschetta with ham, spinach, roasted tomato, poached egg and bearnaise are equally delish. Coffees made with local Cape Effect beans were so good you’ll want a second . .. or third. Farm Break Lane, Bunker Bay, Naturaliste.
All day brunch + bloody marys Lamonts secured a reputation for outstanding dining decades ago, before Margaret River was on
Lamonts Smith Beach
DELICIOUS SEASONAL BREAKFAST & LUNCH MENUS ABSOLUTE BEACHFRONT DINING
INNOVATIVE DISHES The food you'll find at the region's cafes for breakfast will surprise you with its creativity, from Japanese pancakes at Drift Cafe (below) to waffles at Bunkers Beach House (left).
Bunkers Beach House Drift Café
the foodie trail, and Lamonts Smiths Beach does quality beachside brunch with finesse. A generous stack of pancakes came topped with berries and vanilla-flecked mascarpone and the coffee was spot-on. We’re coming back to work our way through the rest of the menu – potato rosti with house smoked salmon and hollandaise, shakshuka and crunchy panko fried eggs are calling! 67 Smiths Beach Road,Yallingup.
Book now at
BUNKERSBEACHHOUSE.COM.AU | 08 9756 8284 FARM BREAK LANE, BUNKER BAY, WA 6281
Eat & Drink
START THE DAY RIGHT Whether it’s spicy rice topped with a perfectly fried egg (below), luscious eggs benny (right), or a sunny terrace at Caves House Hotel, you’ll find your ideal breakfast in the region.
Addictive spicy rice Goanna Bush Café’s Indo Breakfast should come with a health warning; “highly addictive, even the grommets will demand a return visit.” Spiced coconut rice with a fried egg, spinach, avocado and coriander pesto sounds like an unusual combination, but it works. Chef Duncan Timmons made a treechange from a Michelin-starred London restaurant to buy Goanna in 2008 and the word is out the food here is awesome. Set in picturesque bushland near Dunsborough, you’ll also find Australian giftware in the gallery space. 278 Hayes Road Dunsborough.
Unexpected gem Yardbyrd is a little gem of a café with a wood fire inside the shop, and a pretty courtyard filled with plants. Everything is made in-house except the bread from Margaret River Woodfired
Bakery, and ingredients are sourced locally. Try the breakfast tortilla with plenty of scrambled eggs, nitrate free bacon and relish – even the tortillas are made on-site. Coffee made with Pound beans is some of the region’s best; owner Rob Mayberry used to run Little Willies and The Dancing Goat cafes in Perth. Look out for Rob in the latest Your Margaret River Region videos. 10413 Bussell Highway,Witchcliffe.
Lakeside glamour Ideally your Cape Lodge breakfast follows a night in their luxurious lakeside suites, but it’s a little-known fact that you don’t have to be a guest to dine here. Dinner is reminiscent of your best French bistro experiences, and breakfast is blissful, served overlooking a lake and peppermint trees. Pannacotta with perfectly formed pieces of French toast and caramelised banana is a dish I’ll remember for years. Chef Tony Howell is a real local legend. 3341 Caves Road,Yallingup.
Brekkie with the blue wrens Boranup Café is an oasis in the Boranup forest. Kid friendly, dog friendly - even the blue wrens are friendly and may approach looking for crumbs. Don’t go past the coconut milk pancakes with bacon, ice cream and maple syrup or the eggs benedict with bacon on Margaret River Woodfired sourdough. Available in kiddy portions, too. Eat up then check out Boranup Gallery next door, or Lake Cave five minutes down the road. 7981 Caves Road, Forest Grove.
Best for kids Joint winners The Equinox Bar + Restaurant and The Goose Beach Bar + Kitchen boast sweeping Geographe Bay and Busselton Jetty views – I’ve even spotted a dolphin from The Equinox. And Christmas came early when a stupendous new adventure playground opened
between the two restaurants. Wolf down a tasty big brekky at Equinox, or smashed avocado at The Goose, then stroll over and let the kids burn off some energy. Read more about the playground on page 74. Foreshore Parade, Busselton.
Best roving feast Margaret River Farmers Market is an exciting place to grab a feed – for breakfast, and ingredients to cook up something special. My kids make tracks for Claudio Biscotti’s mixed biscuit bag while I can’t resist the apricot raspberry Danish from Margaret River Bakery’s stall. Stock up on Margaret River Woodfired Bread, goats’ cheese haloumi, Burnside Organic avocadoes, bacon, free range eggs and more.
01-03 JUNE 2018
Art Deco Divine Caves House Hotel was built in the early 1900s to accommodate honeymooners and visitors to the nearby Ngilgi Cave. A buffet breakfast is served in the sumptuous surrounds of their art deco styled rooms. Help yourself to something delicious then find a table either on the terrace overlooking the heritage gardens or in the beautiful dining room. 18 Yallingup Beach Road, Yallingup. margaretriver.com
Eat & Drink Armed with the passion and wisdom of his late father-in-law, Scott Butson took out the 2018 Backyard Brewing Tournament with his winning Fischer’s Weisse. Joanne Marriott learns the story of the men behind the beer.
ou might not think it possible to taste the Alps in Margaret River, but sitting under the karri trees in the beer garden of Brewhouse Margaret River, my first taste of the Fischer’s Weisse transports me right back to ski holidays in the Italian Dolomites - relaxing outside on the veranda of a little wooden rifugio, soaking up a cool Hefeweizen in the sunshine with music blaring and a hearty carbonara on the way. It was in this little corner of Northern Italy known as South Tyrol, that Scott Butson got his first taste of Hefeweizen in 2006. Only a few hours drive from Bavaria, it’s a place of tall limestone peaks, little chalets, pine forests, hearty food and hardy mountain folk. In a small village just outside Bolzano, one of his first encounters with his father-inlaw was over a bottle of Weihenstephaner. While sitting in the lounge together, Gerhard Fischer clonked two bottles firmly down on the table. “This is the beer we drink around here is the best beer in the land, a real man’s beer” went the unspoken commentary playing in Scott’s head. Gerhard was a generous and intelligent man, but a man of few words. “It was definitely a ‘meet the father-in-law’ kind of experience, just in a beer, not in a grilling questions kind of way.” No amount of trying
Taste of the
to impress his new father-in-law could have helped his Australian tastebuds adjust to this explosion of flavours. “At that time, I thought it was the worst beer I’d ever had.” In the name of true love, Scott stayed in Bolzano and over the course of the next year, his German gradually improved, he became immersed in South Tyrolean life and his thirst for Hefeweizen was born. “I came to really understand what a good beer was and understand the different styles - particularly the
Bavarian styles that I was so heavily surrounded by at the time.” After another three years living in Lake Konstanz in Germany, he returned to Western Australia in 2011, fully converted with a real craving for decent German beer. His brewing experiments began as he attempted to craft his own Hefeweizen, but it took a good year to get somewhere close. “I kept brewing it and brewing it but it just didn’t taste right - I couldn’t nail it. I wasn’t happy with it because I knew the quality of the German beers. Turns out I was using the wrong malt or
forest, by the river and within walking distance of town, the Brewhouse crew pride themselves on being a brewery for the town, a place for everyone to meet up, relax and keep things simple. “We were all home brewers at one time,” says Iliya Hastings, about himself and co-founders Andrew Dykstra and Aaron Brown. “We’d been thinking about how to reconnect with the home brewing community at a grass roots level. We wanted to create something for the local community, and give something back to the home brewers - to offer advice and encouragement and help them improve their craft.” With a rigorous judging process and constructive feedback from the likes of Ryan Ashworth from Brewhouse Margaret River,
the wrong hop or the wrong yeast or I wasn’t using the right method.” With the help of his German friends and brewing forums, he gradually perfected the recipe until one Sunday afternoon, he went out to his shed to check the results and that was it. That was the winner. “I poured my heart and soul into that recipe. I remember long brew nights after work and doing 2am visits to the shed with a vessel full of wort and my head torch on, dodging all the kangaroos on our little farm. Turns out something had happened in that time and I’d hit the nail on the head with the different malts and the fermentation temperatures.” Scott was thrilled to see his Hefeweizen win
MOUNTAIN MEN Brewhouse brewers Scott Butson (left) and Ryan Ashworth (opposite). All smiles behind the bar at Brewhouse Margaret River (image by Jessica Wyld).
the Backyard Brewing Tournament in 2018. “I don’t think Gerhard would have ever thought I’d be able to brew a really decent Hefeweizen. Unfortunately he passed away about a year and a half ago now, so he never got to taste it, but it’s just so fitting that I won the brew comp with the Hefeweizen.” Gerhard Fischer was passionate about his Hefeweizens and taught Scott all the principles behind brewing them, and also about the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ - the beer purity law in Germany that strictly limits the ingredients of
all beers to just water, barley, hops and yeast. No preservatives. “Gerhard was a grumpy, mad, Hefeweizendrinking South Tyrolean,” laughs Scott. “He was immensely proud of his heritage and his beer and I think he would have been super proud of this Hefeweizen.” The Fischer’s Weisse is on now on tap at the Brewhouse Margaret River. Brewhouse has been supporting amateur home brewers with the Backyard Brewing Tournament every year since opening in January 2016. Nestled in the
Jeremy Good from Cowaramup Brewing and Josh Thomas from Beer Farm, the Backyard Brewing Tournament is inspiring amateur brewers, building their confidence and skills and creating a supportive community. As testament to this, Scott raves about his experience. “The Backyard Brewing comp is unreal - the way that the guys make you feel like part of the family and provide a platform for everyone to come together. It’s not about who wins - the best part of the night was actually talking to everybody, all the amateur brewers there and actually just having a good old chat with them, just talking shop.” The Backyard Brewing Awards night takes place on July 20 during the Cabin Fever Festival. margaretriver.com
Eat & Drink
At one with
Arimia Estate is staging a quiet revolution in its perfect, off-the-grid spot. By DANIELLE COSTLEY. Images By TIM CAMPBELL.
ucked away among the forest and overlooking Cape Clairault ridge lies a special place, one that is completely off the grid and where sustainable living is a way of life. All it takes is one visit to Arimia Estate and you will understand why owner Ann Spencer fell in love with this precious patch of organic earth 20 years ago. Once in Ann’s hands, the grazing pastures were replaced with grapevines and Arimia Estate was born. This enterprise thinks green in every aspect of the estate – whether it’s the vineyard, the restaurant or the estate, which is completely solar powered. By working with the surrounding environment, Arimia is able to breed trout in
the Quinninup Creek that courses through the property, and rear pigs for both consumption and weed control as part of its land regeneration program. If this is not enough to keep Ann and her team busy, there is also an olive grove, bee hives, freshwater marron in its dams, eggs, vegetables and fruit trees. Ann’s interest in food provenance and sustainable living led to the introduction of environmental initiatives that are run completely by nature. And while this estate may be small, it certainly has a big vision. “We work with nature in everything that we do. It is a labour of love and a long process, but each day we are achieving something more,” Ann says, filled with pride. “Currently, we are
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Eat & Drink in conversion to organic certification, which we expect to receive this year,” Ann tells.
FROM FARM TO PLATE As I stand on the deck immersed in the bushland and treetops, it is easy to understand why Ann was enamoured with this land. In the distance, pigs are roaming in the paddock and its creek is brimming with trout. The grapevines are laden with fruit and there is a soothing hum from the bees foraging in the gardens. There is a sense of provenance in chef Evan Hayter’s (pictured right) modern restaurant cuisine, with each dish being controlled by seasonality. The food is creative with earthy, honest flavours driven by a sustainable approach to food and its production. “We grow as much food as possible on the property. There is a regeneration program in place to rid the property of arum lilies and bracken.
Once we learnt that pigs eat the lilies, without effect to themselves, we invested in some animals. Until they are processed, these animals spend their days foraging around the property and digging up the bulbs, which are later disposed of,” Evan explains. “They certainly don’t mind swimming in the dams either,” he grins. “We only use whole animals and respect the animal by using every part.This ‘no waste’ approach allows us to be more creative with our cuisine.”
POWERED BY NATURE The estate has taken sustainability to a new level in the region with the implementation of a solar energy system that generates power for the office, cellar door and restaurant. Recycled timber was used to construct the cellar door, water is sourced from dammed creek lines and the region’s abundant rainfall, and the garden
THE FOREST AND OCEAN INFLUENCES ARE CAPTURED IN THE ESTATE'S HONEY BY OUR CLEVER BEES . . .
has been established to supply the restaurant with a fresh source of produce. With a philosophy that centres around minimising environmental impact, when you leave Arimia, your appetite will be sated. And you will leave with a clear conscience, knowing your visit has had little impact on the surrounding ecosystems. It’s peaceful here and as the sun slowly
descends over Cape Clairault Ridge, there is a faint scent of jarrah and marri blossom in the air, intermingled with wisps of the sea breeze from the nearby Indian Ocean. “The forest and ocean influences are captured in the estate’s honey by our clever bees,” she says. “But there is still so much more we can do. There are big plans in place for us at Arimia. This is only the beginning.”
Eat & Drink
Called to the bar DRINKING DENS ARE ON THE RISE IN THE MARGARET RIVER REGION. MATTHEW MILLS GOES EXPLORING.
t’s no easy task setting foot in the Margaret River region and making a snappy decision on which drinking den you should put your first dollar bill towards. Wineries you’ll find in abundance. And with the diversity of bars expanding too, we’re here to help you navigate some top spots to try. With its impressive architecture, placid lake and pristine vineyards, Caves Road Collective is one that’s hard to miss. Despite the lavish exterior, what you’ll discover inside is a down-to-earth, sophisticated representation of what Margaret River has to offer; with wine, beer, spirits and fresh local cuisine within the Collective’s repertoire - all produced on site. The Collective, previously known as Black Brewing Co, rebranded late last year to reflect this diversity. While Black Brewing Co remains the name of its beer, Dune Distilling and Ground to Cloud Wines also sit under the
Collective’s umbrella. “What we’re trying to create is effectively a one-stop-shop for a Margaret River experience,” co-owner Stewart Sampson explains. “We decided from the outset we didn’t want to be another brewery doing burgers and pizzas.” He says a major part of that ethos included local collaborations like the easy drinking Honest Ale designed by surfers Taj Burrows, Jay Davies and Dino Adrian, and brewed by the Black Brewing team. “Our venue, I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again. It’s a huge space so why not have people share it? If we could incubate more businesses like Honest Ale, then that’s what gets us excited.” Not only can we expect more collaborations from Black Brewing Co, but also a renewed focus on farmhouse-style ales, Stewart says, which involve rustic brewing techniques and allow room for experimentation with local fruits
and collaborations with wineries. Keep an eye out for Dune Distilling’s expanding range too. With a new still on the way, the company’s range of gins, made using local botanicals, will grow from one to three by April this year, with a rum also on the way further down the track. Darleen’s in Busselton is also high on our radar and a drinking den worth watching. Darleen’s was opened in October by Hamish Coates and Mel Holland, creators of the eyecatching and mouth-watering beers coming out of Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. This funky, vibrant venue caters to the craft beer, wine and spirits lovers of the south west. So, who’s Darleen? Well, according to Hamish, she’s a bad-ass granny that embodies the somewhat rebellious nature of his and Mel’s grandparents, but also the love, care and nurturing that grandparents offer. Darleen is always out for a good time. “We’ve tried to make this a venue that is approachable, engaging and most of all bloody good fun,” Hamish says.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL Caves Road Collective (main pic) is a down-to-earth place for a drink despite its epic exterior. Far left, Darleen’s is a new addition to Busselton’s drinking scene.
“During the day we tend to be catering to more discerning customers, at night the DJ booth rolls out and it’s the younger guys coming in and partying till close.” Kolsch Karaoke, the venue manager (Liam) serving drinks on skates, and Beer Yoga are just some of the quirks that set Darleen’s apart from the crowd. But what Hamish and Mel take pride in most is the Stupidly. Good. Beer. Looking for something a little more intimate? Like Darleen’s, Yonder (based in the town of Margaret River), is a quirky gem of place drawing influence from the Melbourne small bar scene. This unassuming, small venue based in the carpark adjacent to Coles can seat just 25 people, making it the place to be for regulars who want a casual drink seated at the bar and a chat with
the very cool and approachable bar staff. An amalgamation of eras, one side of the venue is decked out with '70s lounge style décor, while the other pictures plenty of punk. It serves up reasonably priced drinks with a focus on local wines, interesting beers and innovative cocktails. Owner Leon Carroll recommends you try the Razzle Dazzle Basil. A fresh drink that packs a punch with both gin and tequila in the mix. You’ll find all kinds of characters of all ages in this spot thanks to the unpretentious, communal atmosphere and dynamic tunes that change depending on the crowd. Yonder boasts heart and soul in abundance. Visit margaretriver.com for more ideas.
Eat & Drink
SOMETHINGS Easter wouldn’t be the same without something sweet, but what happens when you have slightly more developed taste buds? Red Tulip eggs and a bag’o’buns from the local supermarket are fine for the kids, says Cassandra Charlick, but there is a long list of local grown-ups treats that need to be sampled at this time of year.
ow the temperature is starting to dip it’s a hello to jumpers, jackets and comfort food; autumn is practically made for indulging. If you are visiting the region at this time of year hit up some stops on these sweettoothed trails below. Just be sure to keep a few belt notches empty for the next sugary indulgence (and maybe a second day up your sleeve!). Starting in Margaret River it’s going to have to be a breakfast of champions at the Margaret River Farmers Market. Home to a stash that will make the Easter Bunny blush; feast on freshly cooked crepes, followed by a fresh pasty or very generous serving of the best granola in town at the Margaret River Bakery’s stall (you
can pop down to their actual shop from Monday to Saturday each week). There you'll fall in love with their astonishingly voluptuous meringues, streaked with cocoa, freshly made slices and bakes. Nadia Haskell from Cavalcade Desserts is right next door and has a range of elegant, handmade chocolate truffles in her Harlequin Chocolate line. She is also the doughnut queen of town, with her goodies found at Yahava down the road. Seasonal bakes and cakes include current creations such as apricot fennel upsidedown cake, raspberry orange and mint cake and Persian love cake. Sample a slice of one up at Gourmet Food Merchant in Cowawarmup if you can’t make it down to Margs. More
chocolates await at the Temper Temper stall – you can find their main store just a five minute drive away. Taste your way around the world with their variety of single-origin chocolate bars, and more adventurous chocoholics can try some of their Willy Wonkesque flavours. Most recently a cauliflower chilli bar and sushi bar have been surprise hits. Next up, get ready to gaze at the magnificent display of Claudio Biscotti’s Italian biscuits, pastries, tarts and cakes. Originally from Rome, Claudio’s Italian touch with the sweet stuff is legendary in the south west. Take your pick from his range of regional Italian biscuits, or, for a decadent start to the day ask for a couple of cannoli filled fresh with whipped ricotta. Do a loop of the market picking up a up a few holiday essentials (read: cheese, wine, woodfired bread and local olives) and head back to Claudio for one last sugar hit before leaving. His empire of Italian sweet treats has recently expanded to the most delicious traditional gelato experienced this side of the Med. With a gelato cart shipped all the way from the shores of his motherland, each elegant golden lid hides an intense burst of pure flavour. Heading up towards Yallingup you will pass Cowaramup, home to a hub of indulgence. Bettenay’s Nougat is made in the traditional French method, with almonds and honey creating a melt-in-your-mouth soft nougat. Over 35 flavours have evolved; don't leave without a taste of their unique nougat liquor. Nougaretto comes in two flavours and is dreamy on ice or poured over a dense vanilla bean ice-cream. Just around the corner is The Margaret River Chocolate Factory and Margaret River Providore. Chocolate Liquor and melt-in-your-mouth truffles are for adults in the entourage, while if there are kids in tow they will get excited with plenty of samples. Keep on driving along Caves Road and fans of fortified should get their glasses at the ready. Gralyn Estate have several fortified wines to taste, including their renowned Ruby Chocolate Fortified.Yes, it really does taste like chocolate. Simmos and Millers are another couple of stops within a 15-minute drive for kids (big and small). Both are local ice cream producers in the area with family friendly playgrounds to settle in for a slurp. Finally, if you find yourself south-bound there are some famed saccharin stops for your journey down here too. The Ragged Robin has cakes that look almost too good to eat in Augusta, and it is a well-known fact that the best scones in the state are found at Boranup Café. You will just have to plan your next trip to the Margaret River Region; we have barely reached the tip of the icing sugar iceberg!
Sweet Spots from Margaret River’s Chefs Who better to ask than those behind the stove top? Read on for guilty pleasures and favourite desserts from some of the region’s top chefs: Vasse Felix | Brendan Platt At the moment, my favourite dessert on our menu is the cherry, coconut, tonka and bitters. It uses amazing cherries from Manjimup and the coconut and tonka whip we make is nice and light for summer, while still having richness and body. The burnt cherry and bitters puree add a really nice smoky and savoury element helping it to not be too sweet. Guilty Pleasure: Doughnuts are definitely my sugary indulgence. I don’t have a massive sweet tooth, but a good donut can definitely tempt me. Leeuwin Estate | Dan Gedge The feature for our autumn dessert menu will most likely be passion fruit. It’s such a fresh flavour to end a meal with. We are working on dessert that will incorporate burned citrus, chocolate and passion fruit. Guilty Pleasure: It would have to be Toblerone or sour lollies! Xanadu | Melissa Kokoti My favourite dessert on the menu would have to be the Nannup apricots, lavender ricotta, puff, burnt honey ice-cream. The apricots are in season and really nice at the moment. The ricotta is made in-house
Margaret River Chocolate Factory
infused with lavender from our garden and the honey is local Marri honey from John, who works in the warehouse here at Xanadu. As we go into autumn I will look at using figs until they finish. Same with plums and I generally like to keep a chocolate dessert on the menu. Guilty Pleasure: My favourite all-time sugary treat would have to be Peanut MMs says Mel with a laugh, I’m just a simple girl! You can’t go wrong with the classic combo of chocolate and peanuts. Cullen | Iain Robertson At the moment, our mulberry trees are covered in fruit and I’ve been using them on our dessert menu. The dessert is: Mulberry, elderflower, macadamia, white chocolate. It incorporates fresh mulberries, mulberry sorbet, mulberry meringue and mulberry powder. Elderflower from the garden is also used to make an elderflower custard. Margaret River macadamias are combined with white chocolate to make a crumb and macadamia gel. Guilty Pleasure: I myself am not huge on sweets but I do enjoy a dessert which has coconut or citrus flavours.
Open 7 days Full Menu All Day
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Eat & Drink
The SPIRIT OF The creator of WA’s first whisky distillery has his sights fixed on greater heights says Tori Wilson.
hen it comes to breaking the mould and looking towards innovation, Cameron Syme fits the bill. Having established Western Australia’s first legal whisky distillery, Great Southern Distilling Co, in Albany 15 years ago, Cameron then set his sights on new ventures, extending his vision to gin. And he saw Margaret River, the state’s primary wine region, as the place to do it. In 2015 he took what was once a local vet’s clinic, tucked away among the native bushland and within walking distance from town, and transformed it into what is now Margaret River Distilling Co, home of Giniversity Gin. “I think the region has always been diverse,”
Cameron says. “The Great Southern has its focus on whisky and rum. Here in Margs, we distil gin and other non-whisky spirits.” It’s from inside the distillery that the innovation flows, with new gins crafted all year round using native and exotic botanicals and small-batch distilling techniques. “'Innovation in gin through ingenious experimentation' are the exact words in our business plan,” Cameron says. “In 2005 we were the first to use West Australian native botanicals in an Australian gin. “We were the first distillery in Australia to make a barrel-aged gin, in 2006. At that time there were only two barrel aged gins to be found globally,” he says.
AWARD-WINNING DROP Giniversity has introduced 'students' to the gin-making process in the heart of Margaret River. Left, why not turn your hand-crafted gin into a delicious cocktail?
LONG PEACH TEA Ingredients 30ml MRDC Vanilla Vodka 30ml Giniversity Botanical Gin 15ml Seven Seas Lemongrass & Ginger Tea squeezed lime juice 4 tsp peach coulis Top up -Â˝ soda water, Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Elderflower blossom and mint leaves (optional) Method Build in long tumbler glass filled with ice. Garnish with elderflower blossom and mint leaves. Staple Cocktail
LADY MARMALADE Ingredients 30ml Giniversity Barrel Aged Gin 2 tbsp blood orange marmalade 90ml grapefruit juice Dehydrated orange (optional) Method Shake with ice and strain into small rock tumbler. Garnish with dehydrated orange. Off the Menu
CLUB GIN PINEAPPLE PUNCH Ingredients 120ml Barrel Aged Gin 45ml Oleo Saccharum (sugar and lemon muddled and left for several hours to create syrup) 75ml pineapple syrup (from can or created at home) Green tea Soda water Mint Method In a jug or carafe add your gin, oleo saccharum, pineapple syrup and stir. Top with green tea and some soda water. Garnish with mint and pineapple leaf. margaretriver.com
Eat & Drink FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH The team (venue manager Ben Tassone, centre, Sophie Forbes and Tess Ashworth) at the Margaret River Distilling Co is always on the look out for new innovations. Right below, Cameron Syme.
WE'RE WORKING ON A SPECIAL GIN IN TIME FOR WINTER
“And in 2018, we were the first in Australia to release a gin with hemp - our Smoked Hemp Gin, which we make in collaboration with the Margaret River Hemp Co.” The Giniversity Experience is another ‘first’ to take note of, Cameron says, with the experience being gin-making classes, a chance for the everyday punter to innovate too. The classes offered include: a two-hour blending class, with a vast selection of botanical distillates available for the purpose of blending a bottle of gin like a master distiller; and a four-hour distillation class, with raw botanicals available to craft your own gin essentially from scratch, using a working still. In each class, you’re taken through the highlights and lowlights of gin’s rich history and - to make things even more fun – you get the opportunity to taste the Giniversity range of gins, first neat before they give you a splash of
Fever Tree Tonic. Taking Giniversity beyond the classroom, a collaboration with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal was also in the mix of last year’s projects, with the resulting gin featuring at the Melbourne restaurant Dinner by Heston. For the locals, the distillery’s most recent gin to be released was their 2018 Christmas Gin, made using macerated quandong sourced from local farms, fig, apple, berries, citrus, and juniper. This one flew off the shelves as fast as one can ‘sip’ back a shot, so be quick if you want to get your hands on this year’s annual Christmas release. “We’ve released four new gins in the last six months,” Cameron says. “My staff are asking me to slow down.” But that hasn’t put out Cameron’s fire to keep creating. “I worked on a small batch of a very special gin for Valentine’s Day - so of course it included
some botanicals of love and passion,” Cameron says. “We’re still debating whether we allow any aphrodisiacs to make their way into the botanical basket - so watch that space. We’re also working on a special gin in time for winter. There’s plenty of innovation in ‘distillery only’ releases coming.” What we do know for certain is the first-time collaboration between Great Southern Distilling Co’s flagship brand Limeburners Whisky and Giniversity Gin can be expected to be released within the coming months. Cameron says this one is something of significance to look forward to. “We’ve aged a special Giniversity Gin recipe in an old Limeburners Champion Whisky Cask,” he says. “This is a fantastic gin, which I have to say is very fine when neat. “I haven’t had access for cocktails yet, but I can see this easily forming a base for a classic VOC - with apricot brandy and green tea, simple syrup and lime juice, garnished with orange zest, served in a chilled Martini glass.” While we wait in anticipation for that one to hit the menu, why not try out their latest cocktail creation Long Peach Tea or make one at home – see the MR Distilling Co's recipes on the previous page. Lady Marmalade is another top pick to taste test on your next warm day in Margs. Made using orange marmalade, grapefruit juice and Giniversity Barrel Aged Gin, it’s dangerously refreshing. If the cocktail list isn’t appealing enough, the convenience of its location helps. “Margaret River Distilling Co is one of the closest must-do experiences to the Town of Margaret River,” Cameron says. It helps if you’re staying a stone’s throw away too, at Riverglen Chalets. Cameron says Riverglen Chalets, which he acquired following the founding of Margaret River Distilling Co, shares a property with the Distillery and is also known as the ‘Giniversity Campus’. “Set on eight acres, surrounded by 65m tall forest, right on the north bank of Margaret River, across from the town weir, the property is alive with birds and surrounded by mountain bike and hiking trails,” he says. “We now have bookings for upcoming weddings at Riverglen, with the reception being at the Margaret River Distilling Co right next door.”
family-owned farmed and crafted wines for the good life
98 Tom Cullity Drive, Cowaramup
As part of an occasional new series, meet the winemaker behind the label, in this case, Mark Messenger of Juniper Estate. By DANIELLE COSTLEY Images SIMON PYNT PHOTOGRAPHY.
MA RK ME S S E N GE R, Juniper Estate
Wine & wineries
Behind the label
s that you, Mark?” I call as I wander through Juniper Estate winery in search of its winemaker. Eventually, I see a pair of legs attached to muddy work boots atop a ladder. After a bit of scuffling, I faintly hear, “Be right with you.” Moments later, a dusty head emerges from the ceiling and I am face to face with Mark Messenger, or Mes, as he’s affectionately known. Not only can Mes fix the winery lights, but he also makes some incredible wines – and is one of the most unassuming blokes you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Mes moved to the Margaret River region for a four-month vintage contract. That was nearly 30 years ago, and he has no intention of leaving.
A SPECIAL PLACE “This is my home. I instantly fell in love with this place and the people, let alone the exceptional wines produced here. How could I leave?” he beams, as we sit on the banks of the picturesque Willyabrup Brook at Juniper Estate. “Living here is a way of life. It’s not only a beautiful environment, but the lifestyle allows me to swim at pristine beaches or mountain bike before work,” he smiles. After Mes’s quick stint at Amberley, he spent a decade at Cape Mentelle before the temptation of cabernet vines lured him to this small vineyard, where he has been here ever since. So much so, that Mark has just completed his 21st
vintage at Juniper Estate. “I was drawn to Juniper Estate because of the vineyard site. Margaret River’s isolation encourages innovation as it forces you to look at what is around you to work with and then focus on how to extract the best from that,” he reveals. “I am constantly searching for new ways to explore the vineyard’s potential.”
WINEMAKING PEDIGREE But when Mes joined Juniper Estate in the late 1990s, it was a one-man show. “I was the team back then, so I managed both the vineyard and winemaking. Apart from hiring grape-pickers during vintage,” he reminisces with a slight grimace. Fraser Gallop Estate winemaker Clive Otto
and Vasse Felix winemaker Virginia Willcock were another two new arrivals to the region around that time. Mes and Clive even shared a house at one stage. “In those days, there were around 30 wineries in the region, so everyone knew one another and socialised regularly. If only the walls could talk in that house,” he laughs, reminiscing about many a party in the early days.
FRIENDLY RIVALRY There were annual baseball games between Cape Mentelle and Leeuwin Estate, and a Willyabrup Descent, where the winery teams had to move a barrel from Ribbon Vale to Pierro winery by whatever means possible.
“This race was particularly challenging during drier months when there was little water in the Willyabrup Brook,” Mes laughs. “We had to push the barrels over rocks and down waterfalls, so there was definitely the odd broken barrel and broken bone.”
Cellar Door | Café
A NEW LABEL When Mes isn’t enjoying his favourite pastime of mountain bike riding through the nearby forest, he has recently launched a small wine label called Beneath the Kite, with his wife Vikki. His first release is 100 cases of a 2016 malbec, which has been whole-bunch pressed to retain more savoury and spicy characters. As I sit on the banks of Willyabrup Brook and allow the plum, coffee and herbal flavours of the malbec to glide blissfully down my throat, I certainly understand why Mes’s wines are so highly revered. “I am drawn to malbec as it is such a versatile grape variety that can stand alone or be blended with cabernet sauvignon or shiraz,” Mark says. Interestingly, the inspiration for this wine came from his wife, who self-published a book – Crush – last year. “The main character in Vikki’s book is a winemaker who produces malbec at Beneath the Kite winery. This story planted the seed for our new wine label. Who knows what we will produce next? Let’s see what characters she creates in her next book,” he grins. PASSION FOR THE GRAPE Mark Messenger, the winemaker behind Juniper Estate's is drawn to malbec thanks to its versatility .
The Clairault | Streicker Estates have been producing some of the finest wines in the Margaret River Region for over 40 years and we invite you to visit our Cellar Door to taste the fruits of our labour. Open seven days a week from 10am until 5pm, our cellar door is an iconic venue where the knowledgeable staff can guide you through the range of Clairault and Streicker vintages. Clairault | Streicker Estate 3277 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup 6282 +61| 8AUTUMN 9755 6225 margaretriver.com 2019
Wine & wineries
VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE Revelation Wines lives up to its name, the creation of a Frenchman with a passion to do things a little bit differently. By ANNA PELLEGRIN-HARTLEY.
estern Australian by way of France, New Zealand, and London, the man behind Revelation Wines, François Ribaud, was initially attracted to the Margaret River region by its quality of light and proximity to the sea. But this Brittany boy also saw a great opportunity for his kind of winemaking, which he describes as ancient and non-interventionist. Raw, non-interventionist, natural, biodynamic… the ways to describe what Ribaud makes are many and varied, but actually he eschews them all. “I just like to call it wine,” he says. I push very hard to produce good fruit, then I just turn it into grape juice, then ferment it. Then I let it settle, put it in a bottle and cork it.” François does not use herbicides, pesticides or fungicides in his vineyards, although he will use organic anti-fungus to discourage fungal growth, and the occasional copper spray to prevent mildew. With his wine, as with all organic products, everything begins with a healthy ground and soil. “I am very blessed with what I have. The fruit grew well, we had no problems with diseases,” he says. So far, so simple.Yet biodynamic winemaking goes much deeper than that. “We follow the movement of planets and constellations around us.” According to the astronomical calendar that he uses, the four elements are symbolised by four parts of a plant: root, leaf, flower and fruit. François uses this guide to decide when and how to plant, harvest, bottle his wine. To the unaccustomed ear, discussions of biodynamic winegrowing can rapidly sound like hocus-pocus, but François rejects the idea that it is unusual. “I don’t see natural wine as being weirder than conventional wine,” he says. He points out that humans have been cultivating grapes for about 10,000 years and wine for approximately 8,000. The routine
introduction of adding sulphates to stabilise wine is only a relatively modern innovation, and indeed what we now call “traditional” winemaking only has a 60-odd year history. Seen from this angle, the idea of using astrological calendars (rather than international markets and rigid work days) to guide harvest no longer seems so unusual. Regardless of how it gets to them, François believes that people are increasingly demanding natural, uncomplicated wine; in the same way that they are seeking purity in everything from their food to the clothes they wear. Transparency is a principle he holds dear, in every step of his wine-making process. “I want to be true to people, I have nothing to lie about. I say what I do, and I do what I say,” he says. If people are put off by his approach, he doesn't care. “The wine is what it is. I like that people don’t like it because it means that I am doing my job properly. I make wine with identity so of course, as humans we like some people, we dislike others. Someone that is universally liked is not as unique.” Above all, personal taste and preference is the most important thing. “There is nothing very fancy about wine. People should follow their instincts and go with what they like.” Natural wine can vary quite a lot in taste and texture from conventional wine, occasionally even becoming a bit fizzy, but François says we should not be put off by the unexpected nature of the product. For someone tasting natural wine for the first time, he has simple advice. “Go open-minded. Close your eyes, swallow, find out if feels good going through the body or not.” Revelation is now onto its second vintage, and as his audience grows, François is only too happy to share his love of his adopted region with his fans, implanting the terroir in his wine to create what he calls “a drinkable picture”. It’s early days yet, but the young viticulturist, along with his backers based in Singapore, hopes to see more and more polyculture and biodynamic agriculture in general and believes that the region is ripe for more independent wine stores. In the meantime, he’ll be out among the vines, watching the stars, and doing his thing. Visit revelation.wine
ONE OF A KIND François Ribaud follows his own path making wines according to the movement of planets and constellations.
CELLAR DOOR OPEN 11AM - 4PM 4 9 3 M E T R I C U P R OA D, W I L YA B R U P, WA 6 2 8 0 | P H : + 6 1 8 9 7 5 5 7 5 5 3 F R A S E R G A L L O P E S T A T E . C O M . AU
Eat & & Wine Drink wineries
A Matter of Taste It’s something that many people living in a wine region take for granted, but what does wine actually taste like? What makes a good vs a bad wine? Do particular wines have recurring characteristics? Cassandra Charlick pours a glass or two with some of the region’s most respected winemakers.
live Otto has been making wine for many years, including 16 years at Vasse Felix, and is currently Fraser Gallop Estate’s chief winemaker. “I used to judge a lot in the past,” he says. “Part of my training was sensory evaluation classes. I learnt to taste good wines but also bad wines. Faults and things like that, several hours tasting a week. They would doctor wines to show faults as well as bring us really nice benchmark wines from around the world.” He has some top tips for those that aren’t (yet) in the wine business.
“For general purposes, the best way is practice, really. Get wines in front of you from all over the place. Put your wines up against benchmarks. Once a month or fortnight have a tasting group with a few friends – all chip in or get someone to buy. The more you do it the better you get at it. “Everyone is able to taste wine, but if you do it blind – that’s where you really improve,” says Clive. “If you have all the wines masked then you can really hone in without prejudice about what the wine tastes like. Colour gives away a lot in wine. The vibrancy and the hue helps with picking a wine’s age. Can you tell the variety by taste – a peppery shiraz? Or is it herbal and more likely a cabernet or cab merlot? Guessing the country is a bit harder, but with practice you get to know styles. Bordeaux is often more rustic and Australian cabernets are more fruit-driven, with sweeter mid palates. The more you do it the better you get at it.” Head a little further south towards the heart of Margaret River, and Leeuwin Estate’s senior winemaker, Tim Lovett, shares what he looks out for when tasting wine. Having been named 2018 winemaker of the year by Ray Jordan, and a recent graduate of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial, he certainly knows what he’s talking about. So, what makes a wine great according to Tim? “To be specific, it’s where the fruit comes from. Wines speak of their place. How we manage that in the vineyard here at Leeuwin is
co-related to what we try to protect and nurture in the winery. Block 20 – the famous Art Series block – is planted on a beautiful gravel, loamy site over clay. The soils aren’t too fertile so they don’t produce too much fruit. The chardonnay ends up perfectly balanced overall. From the winery, it’s about nurturing and translating what we see from the site and seeing that in the glass,” he says. “The most important thing in the glass is to see a brightness, purity and clarity of fruit. To look at the wine as a whole you want to start with sensing the energy on the nose. There should be textures and layers without anything out of place – its nose, aromatics, texture or flavour. The best wines have all of those elements in harmony.”
Experience the magic First Sensory Steps Many people know the basics of how to taste wine. However, it is easy to forget we all need to start somewhere, and tasting wine can be very different to drinking wine. Here are a few key pointers to start swirling and spitting like a pro.
SIGHT Before you even put the glass to your lips it is important to have a good look at the glass. For a clear view, hover the glass over a white piece of paper or napkin. Check out the colour and hue. With practice, you will become familiar with varieties of wine. Generally, the clearer and lighter the white, the less chance of oak. A slight green tinge is common in varieties such as sauvignon blanc. A deep gold can be a sign of ageing in oak; think of those big, buttery chardonnays of the 80s. Pale reds contain less red pigment and include varieties such as pinot noir and grenache. Brighter red shades indicate a higher acidity while opaque, deep blue-reds have much higher levels of pigment and lower acidity – think malbec and shiraz. Give it a swirl and see the viscosity of the liquid. The higher viscosity indicates a raised level of alcohol or residual sugar. You can also look out for the ‘legs’ of wine as they trickle down the glass. The slower they move, the higher the alcohol content.
SMELL This is important. Don’t skip the smell! Take a quick sniff, holding the glass right under your nose, then swirl to release the aroma and smell a second time. What are you picking up? Primary aromas might include gooseberry in sauvignon blanc, fresh cut grass in semillon or the floral hints of a pinot noir. Secondary
aromas develop in winemaking from reactions in bacteria and wine yeast. Think of that nuttiness found in chardonnay, or the spice on the nose of a rich shiraz. Finally, tertiary aromas come from ageing and oxygen. That whiff you get with a lovely aged sherry or vintage French champagne? That’s it. The nose on a wine is also where you will get the first hint of any wine faults or damage through storage.
SIP It’s time. Sip and swirl, coating the inside of your mouth. What do you taste? Do it again. And again. What flavours are you tasting? Fruity like berries or stone fruit, or is it more of a spice-driven experience? Perhaps there is a touch of dark chocolate or eucalyptus? Is it buttery? Nutty? A touch of vanilla from some French oak perhaps? Can you identify tannins? That ‘grip’ that you get from tea leaves? If your mouth is feeling pretty warm, it is likely a sign of a higher alcohol level. A good quality wine will go through a range of different flavours from start to finish in your mouth. A longer profile can be a good indication of a higher quality wine. Is it balanced? Do any flavours seem to overpower? What do you think would pair really well, food-wise?
SAVOUR Now is the time to put it all together. What are your thoughts on the wine? Positive? Negative? Is it simply too young or a bit past its peak? Start keeping a wine diary and you will soon start tracking similar traits in wine varieties and regions. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and drinking something YOU find enjoyable.
International Women’s Day Wine Tasting PASSEL ESTATE is holding an educational wine appreciation evening to mark International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8. Local winemaker and wine educator Charlotte Newton will lead a short comparative tasting of the Passel Estate range alongside benchmark wines from renowned wine regions across Australia, to showcase stylistic differences and build confidence for women in tasting,
describing and choosing wine. Finish the evening with a glass of your favourite wine from the tasting, accompanied by a light platter, in the beautiful surrounds of the estate. 5.30pm to 7.30pm, March 8, Passel Estate Tasting Room, 655 Ellen Brook Road. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to reserve your place.
Enjoy soaking in your own secluded hot tub under the glorious star-filled skies and watching the friendly wildlife on your spa chalet doorstep. Visit wineries, jewelled caves, white sandy beaches, towering karri forests, or just enjoy our meandering walking trails and picnic sites. Special food is provided for the wildlife.
YELVERTON BROOK & Conansectrvuaatryion ECO SPA RETREAT
Suitable for families and couples Check our independent reviews on tripadvisor
To learn more call, email or book online now for your next vacation: ph: (08) 9755 7579 margaretriver.com e: email@example.com | AUTUMN 2019 39
Wine & wineries
Autumnal drops WHITE WINES
A change in season means it’s absolutely acceptable to ring the changes with your choice of wine too, says Fergal Gleeson.
f you’ve just come through one of Australia’s hottest ever summers, you’ll probably welcome autumn’s cooler days and evenings. At various times you’ll have been slow cooked, roasted and fried by the antipodean sun. The wine for those days is something cold, fresh and simple. With autumn upon us, the drinks menu changes.You should be thinking about more complex, textured white wines and approachable reds. It is vintage 2019 in Margaret River now, when winemakers work feverishly to harvest their fruit at its best. These wine recommendations show the fruits of their labour from vintages past featuring wines from 2015 through to 2018. Enjoy!
ROSABROOK CHARDONNAY 2016
Rosabrook Wines are owned by the Calneggia family, who have operated in the region for 20 years. They focus on Margaret River’s classic varieties along with shiraz and tempranillo. The chardonnay is rich and satisfying but elegant too. In other words what Margaret River does best. The flavours are of nectarine and grapefruit combined with nutty flavours and subtle toasty oak. It has the added bonus of being inexpensive for the quality. They also make a lovely reserve chardonnay. Visit rosabrook.com.au
ARAVINA ESTATE ‘BLOCK 4‘ CHENIN BLANC 2016
Aravina Estate is a major tourist destination in Margaret River. Apart from the cellar door there is a restaurant, sports car gallery, a kitchen garden and the West Australian Surf Gallery. They also happen to make one of the region’s best chenins. Winemakers note: A special wine from a world class selection of 30+ year old vines made in small quantities to truly capture the essence of the style. Hand harvested, whole bunch pressed straight to new (18%) and old French oak puncheons where natural ferment was undertaken and maturation occurred for nine months. A lifted and vibrant wine that showcases primary apple and white citrus flower. A textural and precise wine that will evolve for many years to come. Visit aravinaestate.com
CLAIRAULT ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016
CULLEN KEVIN JOHN CHARDONNAY 2017
GOON TYCOONS FIANO ‘HIPSTER PISS’ 2018
The Goon Tycoons are the highly awarded Julian Langworthy and the Fogarty brothers of Deep Woods. Their focus is on experimental techniques and alternative varietals from Margaret River and Great Southern and cheeky labels! This is their first fiano (pronounced fee-AHH- no), a southern Italian varietal of promise in Australia, given its warm climate origins. It’s a distinctive wine with flavours of spiced pear and apple. The label recommends that you 'slip into skinny jeans and drink with a bearded friend for the full experience.' Though clean shaven men and women will enjoy this too! The Goons share a cellar door with an artisan cheesemaker and an olive oil producer. Visit goontycoons.com.au
The cat is out of the bag regarding the quality of Margaret River chardonnay. Jancis Robinson and a number of other leading UK critics have been singing the region’s praises in the last few months, making favourable comments in comparison to white Burgundy. Here’s a beautiful example from Clairault that walks the line perfectly between refreshing, linear, acid flavours and complexity courtesy of barrel fermentation and ageing. The quality is excellent across the range, which is made by the very talented Bruce Dukes. Cellar door open daily, tours and café on site. Visit clairaultstreickerwines.com.au
Kevin John Chardonnay is a very personal wine for winemaker Vanya Cullen, named after her father and released every year on his birthday. Her parents Kevin and Diana were among Margaret River’s pioneering winemakers. The detail involved in making a wine of this quality is startling. Biodynamically grown fruit is picked from eight different sweeps of the vineyard to source each parcel of grapes when they are at their very best. Wild yeast is used to ferment and the wine is stored in a variety of vessels from barriques to ‘ancient Roman’ style amphorae. Kevin John has rich and powerful white peach flavours. They combine with bright natural acid making for a balanced, refreshing and satisfying wine. The Cellar Door is open daily. There are private winery tours options, accommodation and a “two chef hatted” restaurant at Cullen. Visit cullenwines.com.au
Wine & wineries
HOWARD PARK MIAMUP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
FRASER GALLOP ESTATE CABERNET MERLOT 2017 Fraser Gallop Estate has enjoyed critical acclaim and wine show success since inception in 1999, including the Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for Best Bordeaux blend. They offer three ranges of wines: the entry level Estate, Parterre and the ultra-premium Palladian. Fraser Gallop Estate's Cabernet Merlot is floral and fruit driven. They don’t do fruit bombs so there’s still a nice savoury line running through to a refreshing finish. It’s very interesting to taste alongside the more structured parterre cabernet. The new cellar door is open daily. Winery tours are offered through December and January. Visit frasergallopestate.com.au
Howard Park are one of Western Australia’s most successful family-owned wineries operating across both Margaret River and the Great Southern region. Their wines include cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and their internationally-awarded methode traditionelle sparkling wine. The range spans everyday value wines to iconic such as Abercrombie. Winemaker Janice McDonald was awarded 2018 Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year. Janice’s philosophy is to make good wine at every price point. Miamup Cabernet is a silky smooth and very approachable now. It’s bright and gluggable with tar, tobacco and cedar in the background. It has a real depth and completeness which is great to see for a cabernet at this price.The architecturally awarded cellar door is open daily. Events are held regularly. Visit howardparkwines.com.au
FISHBONE BLACK LABEL SHIRAZ 2017
PASSEL ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
Shiraz is important in Margaret River. It’s the second most planted red grape after cabernet. The Black Label Shiraz is bright, savoury and medium bodied. It’s sourced from a single vineyard and the high quality leathery tannins make it cellar worthy. Fishbone Wines have two tiers of wines: the Black Label range of premium, age-worthy wines and the Blue Label of easy drinking wines. Long serving winemaker Stuart Pierce is a ‘Jimmy Watson’ winner. Cellar Door open daily. Their Japanese Restaurant at the Cellar Door was a finalist in the 2017 Gold Plate Awards. Visit fishbonewines.com.au
Some drinkers used to soft, fruity reds can find cabernet’s tannins challenging. This would make a nice entry point for them as it captures cabernet’s strengths without being forbidding! Blackcurrant and plum flavours are integrated with soft cedary tannins that complete the wine. It’s very approachable but has plenty of interest. Passel Estate has made great strides in a short period, earning a 5-star Halliday rating and ‘Best Small Cellar Door in Margaret River’ by Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine in 2018. Cellar door open daily. Visit passelestate.com
ROSILY VINEYARD RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015
CAPE MENTELLE WALLCLIFFE CABERNET FRANC 2016
Cape Mentelle are one of Margaret River's founding wineries started in 1970 by the Hohnen brothers. Every year the contents of ‘Wallcliffe’ change reflecting Frederique Perrin Parker’s wish to capture the best of the vintage. This time it’s a rare single vineyard cabernet franc from 30-year-old vines. There’s freshness, bounce and savouriness to this medium-bodied wine with a great depth of fruit. It will delight any wine lover. Cellar door open daily. Cape Mentelle also offers a wide variety of tours and events such as movie nights until March 23, and the famous international cabernet tasting in November. Visit capementelle.com.au
Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” ~ RUMI
An imperious red, that stamps its authority immediately with a dark brooding presence. Black fruit and chocolate flavours are prominent but tannins are smooth. Rosily Vineyards are certified organic and Winemaker Mick Scott reckons they have already seen the difference in the quality of the wine and their success at wine shows. They’ve also recently released a sulphitefree white wine. The good value of their range (from $20-$28 with the exception of the reserve chardonnay and cabernet) deserves highlighting given the fruit is estate-grown and handpicked. Cellar door open at weekends and holidays. Visit rosily.com.au
MOSS WOOD PINOT NOIR 2016
Moss Wood Pinot Noir is very good indeed. It’s medium to full bodied with a depth to the strawberry and cherry flavours. There’s also a tangy sourness and earthy complexity. It finishes brightly. Moss Wood released their first pinot noir in 1977 long before pinot became widely embraced by the Australian public in the mid2000s. Keith and Clare Mugford’s craft and experience are apparent here. If you haven’t tried it before it might well defy expectations of what can be done with pinot in the region. Moss Wood are one of Margaret River’s founding wineries and make a range of wines recognised as among the best in the region. Visit mosswood.com.au
Wine & wineries
Picking VINTAGE AT TWO OF THE OLDEST VINEYARDS IN THE REGION - MOSS WOOD AND CAPE MENTELLE - IS AN EXTRA SPECIAL TIME. FERGAL GLEESON FINDS OUT MORE.
Cape Mentelle Ben Cane, winemaker at Cape Mentelle, loves vintage time. “Harvest is the culmination of 12 months of work and the start of the wine’s life,” he says. “There is a certain energy, especially at sunrise.You are up early and out late. The decision of when to pick is the single biggest style decision for the wine. We hand-pick the majority of our fruit and bring the grapes to the winery in gilded gloves.” Ben is Australian and spent many years making wines in Sonoma, California, but he couldn’t resist the offer to join Cape Mentelle, one of Margaret River’s most iconic wineries. Given the timing of the pick is so critical to the finished wine, how does Cape Mentelle decide when to harvest? “Our technical director Frederique Perrin
Parker says ‘the grapes tell you when they’re ready.’ They have a clear and present voice. They virtually shout to you,” Ben jokes. “You’re not just looking at numbers,” Ben tells me. “At Cape Mentelle we taste as a panel with the viticulturist, the winemakers and the technical director. We look at physiological ripeness such as the seed colour, the pulp’s firmness, the skin ripeness. The absence of greenness is the start of the window and then you are thinking about the style you are after. Richness versus leanness? “During the winemaking process we taste the juice every day to see if the juice has tannin and structure for reds. We are looking to preserve freshness and vivacity for whites. Our size allows us to leave the reds to ferment for up to 110 days to develop tannins and to pick the moment of when to press the grapes.”
Being part of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) gives Cape Mentelle access to some incredible research and technology. They use a scanner, which is mounted on a vehicle, called Physiocap, which maps the whole vineyard capturing statistics on the density and vigour of each individual vine. “This was originally used in the Champagne region,” Ben tells me, “where the soils are poor and the slopes are steep so there is a lot of variability in the vines. Using vine vigour, soil mapping and drones we are able to understand the vineyard better. In some ways, the technology echoes old world winemaking like in Burgundy where the winemaker will know each vine and each vine is treated individually.” For some of Cape Mentelle’s older vines the yield is as low as one bottle per vine so you can see why the detailed analysis is valuable. Not only is there bespoke management of each vine but for the flagship Cape Mentelle Cabernet they typically do 8-10 passes through the vineyard to pick the grapes at their best. Having recently returned from California, Ben can see that Margaret River Cabernet is significantly under-priced compared to Napa Valley’s. Visit capementelle.com.au
Moss Wood “I like everything about vintage!” beams Keith Mugford, who has completed more than 40 vintages at Moss Wood. “It’s exciting! The winery is busy. There are lots more people around so the workplace environment is different. It’s intellectually and physically stimulating, but tiring. We try not to run more than 12-hour days because there are risks in fatigue but also in safety. When you are watching the weather every day you can also start to feel the pressure. People can get grumpy too!” he laughs. I asked Keith how he knows when it’s time to pick. “Well it’s partly technical.You take a sample of the grapes. Get the juice out and measure the sugar levels which is indicative of the alcohol levels. “It’s also artistic in terms of the flavours perceivable in the grape juice and imagining what they will taste like in the finished wine.” Winemakers often talk about the age of their vines. I asked Keith how vine age makes a difference to what you see in the bottle. “Scientifically I’ve never seen a justification between the vine’s age and the quality of the wine,” Keith says. “However my thinking is that the old vines have the best root systems
and, in an unirrigated vineyard like ours, this comprehensive root system withstands heat stress which we know affects quality. As vines get older they produce less crop but have bigger root systems, which protects them.” Do vines ever get too old? “Moss Wood turns 50 in September and some of the vines are showing their age, though the yields continue to be commercial,” he says. “Eventually the performance of old vines means that they are no longer viable and you must start again with those vines. Theoretically for vines that’s somewhere between 60-70 years of age. Our cabernet, semillon and pinot noir vines are all going strong. The chardonnay vines are not ageing as well. There is no hard and fast rule.You just observe the vines.” Hand-picking grapes is a tough physical job. I asked Keith who harvests their grapes. “For many years backpackers on 417 visa made up a big part of the teams. For the last decade we have been employing former Afghan refugees, who are now Australian citizens, making a new life for themselves. They are from the Hazara tribe. They are a great bunch of people, so friendly and respectful.” The current releases by Moss Wood are impressive in quality. The winery has a substantial following and some of the range has already sold out from the winery, but is available in restaurants and from wine retailers. Some of my favourites include the Semillon 2018, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018, Amy’s 2017 and their Pinot Noir 2016. Visit mosswood.com.au
RICH PICKINGS It's the busiest time of the year for the Margaret River region's wineries, as the fruits of their year-long labour are finally collected in anticipation of a new vintage.
Pick of the bunch Join the Cape Grace Wines team for their Winemaker’s Pick on April 20, and help harvest and process their award-winning red grapes, laying the foundations for the ferment of the Cape Grace 2019 red vintage. Kick off will be at 7.45 am for a picking debrief. Teams will harvest succulent, ripe bunches of red grapes straight from the vine while examining the flavour profiles of the grape and the biology of the vine under the expert guidance of winemaker, Dylan Arvidson. Owner Robert Karri-Davies will also provide viticultural insights about why Cape Grace is such a special site on which to grow grapes. Then it’s on to Winemaking 101 as you process the grapes you have harvested and prepare them for ferment, again under Dylan and Rob’s guidance. Enjoy a sneak peek at up-andcoming vintages with a barrel tasting. Your hard work will be rewarded with a Vineyard Worker’s Lunch, including tasty snippets off the BBQ followed by a tasting of current releases. All participants will then be offered the opportunity to secure their allocation of the 2019 Storyteller Red. Cape Grace Wines, 281 Fifty One Road, Cowaramup. Visit capegracewines.com. au - $50 per person and are strictly limited. Note: you will get dirty so please don’t wear white.
Wine & wineries
Walk then Immersing yourself in briny wild rockpools seems worlds away from sipping fine wine in a polished cellar door. A new suite of tours lets you explore the natural assets of the region and discover what makes the wine so special. By LIZZY PEPPER.
CAPE TO VINE Margaret River’s stellar reputation makes perfect sense when you experience the new Cape to Vine tour by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours and Vasse Felix. The day begins walking a loop of the Cape to Cape track near Yallingup, across a dramatic granite gully to a natural rock pool. It’s a privilege to walk the coast and bush tracks with a knowledgeable and passionate guide, and Kristie talks about biodiversity and how certain plants were used by the Indigenous owners of the land. She sketches a map of Gondwanaland in the sand, explaining how India and Australia separated, creating layers of granite and limestone
which now forms the Leeuwin Naturaliste ridge, and the perfect terroir to grow grapes. It’s the perfect prelude to visiting the original Margaret River vineyard; “the power of the Indian Ocean, the pristine flora and fauna ties in and complements the journey – the unique geology and climate now defines the beautiful wines of Vasse Felix.” We snorkel the rock pool and hold our breath to listen to the ‘click-click-click’ of hidden western rock lobsters. We spy a beautiful carpet python (non-venomous) then drive along Caves Road to Vasse Felix. Dr Tom Cullity founded Vasse Felix in 1967.
A study comparing Margaret River’s climate to that of Bordeaux inspired him to plant his vineyard, the first in the region. Helen, a former winemaker who works in cellar door, shows us the vineyard, starting with the original cabernet and shiraz plantings. Into the winery, an impressive space lined with chardonnay-filled barriques, and winemaker Mick Langridge shows us three new 3,000 litre French oak foudres ready to make some “wild, funky sauv blanc.” A guided tasting of eight wines is a fabulous opportunity to find out what you love about a particular wine, and the science behind it. A
sumptuous five-course lunch follows on the balcony overlooking the vineyard, gazing across at the 52 year-old vines, watching the flow of visitors arriving and departing. We pondered the story about the peregrine falcon adorning the bottles, and Dr Tom Cullity’s humble plan to make “the best possible wine”, and how fortunate we are that things worked out, just so.
designs in nature
WORK UP AN APPETITE Voyager Estate is one of the destination dining rooms in the region (above, image by Shot By Thom). Left, Vasse Felix is one of the oldest wineries in the region. Opposite, explore the region by canoe (image by Sean Blocksidge).
WALK, WINE & DINE AT VOYAGER ESTATE
MARGARET RIVER DISCOVERY CO Sean Blocksidge’s Discovery Tour reads like a “best of ” guide to Margies; canoe the river, lunch behind the scenes at Fraser Gallop Estate and 4WD out to a remote and spectacular clifftop spot. “Margaret River is the most consistent wine-producing region in Australia, if not globally,” says Sean. “But if you just drink the wines without understanding the environment or the people who produce them you really are missing half the experience. There’s something remarkable happening here and you really need to understand why the wines are so consistently good. “To do that, you need to connect with the environment where they are produced. You need to get out canoeing on the actual Margaret River, hike a section of the iconic Cape to Cape Track or ride a bike in the karri forests. Get a deeper knowledge of the geology, ecology and climate. And ideally you should meet the people who grow the grapes and make the wines.”
Boodjidup Creek runs through the vineyard, so the good people at Voyager Estate volunteer their time to prune and maintain the Boodjiup section of Cape to Cape Track. It’s this stretch of coastline they showcase in the new Walk, Wine and Dine tour, pointing out significant plants – we’re in a biodiversity hotspot with over 7,000 flora species. Back at the estate, with a glass of sparkling in hand, you’ll sit down for a wine-inspired sevencourse degustation. Chef Santiago Fernandez crafts dishes which complement the wine styles, with superb local produce such as abalone and blue swimmer crab; you’ll understand why this chef and his kitchen are so lauded.
CYCLE, SIP, SWIM The Hairy Marron offers self-guided bike tours, so pop a picnic in your pannier bag and follow their map of the “dress circle” wineries – Cape Mentelle, Xanadu,Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate and Watershed. Includes the Wadandi track. Fraser Gallop Estate just launched their winery tours. Cellar door man Peter de Cuyper takes you through the boutique process, berry to bottle, and talks about the inspiration behind the three cabernets. Finish the tour by tasting the ultrapremium Palladian wines.Will resume in late March / early April, in time for holidays and long weekends Due South Tours take in southern delights like Boranup Forest and meeting the Hamelin Bay sting rays. Go wine tasting in the vines (what better place?) with a passionate vigneron.
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Redgate Forest Retreat
Nature & Environment
Give me a home among the
Wide verandas and a comfy seat to watch the kangaroos bounding by. Lizzy Pepper finds the perfect antidote to city life in the Margaret River region’s idyllic holiday homes. BRING YOUR BIKES, hiking boots and a good book and get ready to smell the gum leaves.
Redgate Forest Retreat
Redgate Forest Retreat Images by Billy Menzies
Nestled in 167 acres of serene countryside, Redgate Forest Retreat has paddocks where cattle graze quietly, 70 acres of blue gum plantation, an olive grove which is a magnet for the vibrant green parrots and 50 acres of superb native bush. You might be lucky enough to spy kangaroos, emus and blue wrens on your early morning walk through the bushland. The entire property is criss-crossed with woodland and paddock walks, so bring your walking shoes, or bikes for the kids. Beautiful any time of the day, we especially loved our sunset bush walk when the light filtering through the trees glowed gold and cicadas hummed. Kanana Homestead – one of four homes on the property - offers modern comforts in a bucolic Australian setting. Completed in 2017 it sleeps up to seven guests – and happily, dogs are welcome too. Owner Sheila Ashenden has thought of everything, from the extra wide halls and grippy tiles to make the property truly
Peaceful, private, perfect. Have the holiday you deserve redgateforestretreat.com.au T: 0433 776 888
wheelchair friendly, to the enclosed dog space so your furry friend feels safe and secure while you’re out. She’s decked out the kitchen with beautiful appliances and utensils – you’ll find everything you need to cook up a roast dinner. Leeuwin Estate lies within walking distance, and Witchcliffe town is a few minutes’ drive. Finish the day with a BBQ (also wheelchair friendly) under the gazebo with kids bouncing merrily on the trampoline. Watch the sun set with sweeping views across the paddocks and a bottle of something special from Leeuwin. Visit redgateforestretreat.com.au
The Farmhouse, Yallingup One of the original farmhouses in the region, The Farmhouse which is operated by Serenity Holiday Properties, is just the place for serious rest and relaxation. There’s plenty of space for the whole family to stretch out – pull up a chair on the large timber-decked veranda that stretches around the entire property and watch kangaroos feeding on the lawn. Or warm up in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of cab sav – the spacious living room features a stone fireplace and polished floor boards. Ideal for families, the house sleeps 10 people with three queen bedrooms and a bunk
Nature & Environment
room for kids. The property sits high on a hill overlooking the Gunyulgup Valley, and is a stone’s throw to superb restaurants such as Studio Bistro, Lamonts Smiths Beach and Little Fish. Smiths Beach and Yallingup are a five-minute drive, as are numerous wineries, breweries and art galleries. Visit serenityholidayproperties.com.au/thefarmhouse
Pearl River Houses, Wallcliffe There’s something very special about Pearl River House and the nearby River Valley Villa. Perched high with sweeping views over to the LeeuwinNaturaliste National Park, down the Margaret River to the famous River Mouth and out to the Indian Ocean, sunset hour is pure magic. The two properties are the former residence and converted studio of West Australian artist Sean Atkinson. Booked together, the two houses
accommodate 14 people, but are oriented in different directions for privacy. Dogs are welcomed, too. Just a few minutes from Surfers Point Prevelly and Margaret River town, Pearl River House feels like a well kept secret, yet is perfectly located for adventures aquatic and gastronomic. Borrow the house kayaks and take a leisurely paddle up river or down to the river mouth. Take an outdoor shower in the secret garden. Snooze on the daybed on the veranda with a book and a glass of wine. Light the BBQ during golden hour and watch the emus, kangaroos and birds. Visit pearlriverhouses.com.au
Mile End Glamping, Yelverton Two Star Wars-esque dome tents set among eucalypts take glamorous camping to the next level. Surrounded by ancient gum trees which
Pearl River Houses
TIME TO CHILL Whether you book a weekend away in a space age pod (Mile End Glamping) or in a treesurrounded house (Pearl River Houses), you're sure to find peace.
Pearl River Houses
Mile End Glamping
are home to a wealth of Australian native animals and birds such as parrots, cockatoos and kookaburras, Mile End Glamping is situated on a 144-acre estate with a mixture of native bush and farmland. The view from the domes changes dramatically from season to season; the paddocks turning green after a crispy summer. There are usually kangaroos aplenty who will stop by the paddocks for a graze in the evenings. The domes capture a panoramic view of the bush and farmland, with unique bay windows and the adjacent decks provide perfect viewing areas. After sundown, there is equally as much to see on a clear night as the stars make an appearance. Visit mileendglamping.com.au
Wildwood Valley Cottages, Yallingup Blue Wren Cottage is a quintessential Aussie holiday home; a timber clad cottage decked with bush poles, jarrah boards, a wide veranda and ripper views down Wildwood Valley to the Indian Ocean. Come winter you’ll find the wood fire stacked ready for your arrival and the wonderful sound of rain on the tin roof. Just add uggboots and hot chocolate. Owners Sioban and Carlo built the cottage
Wildwood Valley Cottages
for their family, so there’s plenty of room and it’s safe for kids to run around. They moved to the original homestead where they now run cooking schools over summer. There’s a huge bath for when they come home grubby, and three big bedrooms, sleeping eight people in total. There are three other cottages dotted along the hill, far enough away that you don’t hear them, but close enough if you’re looking for somewhere to bring a group. The kitchen is the heart of the cottage and there is an open-plan living room. Glance up from breakfast and catch a glimpse of the ocean. Take the family for a walk around the property and meet the resident horse, kangaroos and sheep.Venture further afield to Yallingup Beach, Ngilgi Cave, Dunsborough, boutique wineries and restaurants. Visit wildwoodvalley.com.au
OPEN EVERYDAY FOR EVERYONE 11am - 5pm ph:08 97553554
IMAGE Joanne Marriott
Ca pe Leeuwin
Nature & Environment CAPE NATURALISTE AND GEOGRAPHE BAY ARE HOUSEHOLD NAMES HERE IN THE MARGARET RIVER REGION, BUT JOANNE MARRIOTT REVEALS THEIR INTREPID ORIGIN, UNCOVERING THE HISTORY OF FRENCH EXPLORATION ALONG THE SOUTH WEST COAST. LAND AHOY A ship’s mast stands tall on the bow of the Baudin Memorial, presiding over the still waters of Eagle Bay. The memorial commemorates the landing of the French scientific expedition to Australia’s shores on May 31, 1801. The coast of Australia (then known as “New Holland”) remained largely unexplored by the powers of Europe and they raced to chart new territories. The expedition was lavishly funded by Napoléon Bonaparte, at a time when the Enlightenment (the “age of reason”) brought a hunger for knowledge and scientific discovery. Two ships left the port of Le Havre on October 19, 1800, under the command of Nicolas Baudin, filled with 22 scientists and more than 230 officers and crew. The Géographe was a corvette, small and nimble, captained by Baudin himself, while
the Naturaliste was a large and robust store ship, captained by Jacques Hamelin. After a long and difficult voyage, riddled with delays, disease and the desertion of many scientists, the expedition finally reached Australia. Land was sighted at Cape Leeuwin on May 27 and the ships proceeded north in fine conditions, making coastal surveys and careful observations. The expedition rounded Cape Naturaliste on May 30 and found safe harbour in Géographe Bay. The memorial at Eagle Bay represents the site where Henri de Freycinet first landed on May 31 in search of water. Other shore parties were organised over several days as the naturalists, including zoologist François Péron and botanist Théodore Leschenault, were eager to commence their studies. Point Picquet marks the place where Antoine Picquet attempted to land, on
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
a mission to determine the position of Cape Naturaliste. He was stranded at sea for the night and then reprimanded on return to the ship the next morning. Baudin himself led an excursion with astronomer Bernier and geographer Boullanger, during which they encountered a local Wardandi man fishing. The artists, CharlesAlexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, busied themselves creating detailed watercolours of Australian fauna and Aboriginal life. One of Lesueur’s sketches of an Aboriginal dwelling at Géographe Bay is thought to be the earliest European portrayal of life in Western Australia. The fine conditions deteriorated and the expedition was confronted by wild storms and the worst weather encountered since leaving France. A longboat became stranded during an excursion to shore and helmsman Timothée
2,500 new species were discovered. The intricate watercolours of Lesueur and Petit captured in detail the first European records of Australian animals, landscapes and portraits of Aboriginal people.
NATURE'S WAY (opposite, top) Baudin Memorial at Eagle Bay, (left) Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. (Above) Starfish Archaster angulatus. Watercolour on paper by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur. Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Le Havre. (below) View west from Castle Bay.
The expedition made two complete surveys of the south and west coasts, heading as far north as Timor and travelling east to Tasmania. After crossing the Great Australian Bight in April 1802, Baudin met British Captain Matthew Flinders and the crew of the Investigator, discovering that they had already surveyed much of the unexplored coast. In the race to return home and publish the first chart of Australia, Flinders was arrested in Île de France (Mauritius) at the
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Vasse was swept away in the surf. Anchors were raised and the ships became separated, only to be reunited again three months later.
VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY The ships operated as artists’ studios and floating laboratories, packed with scientific equipment to study and collect live plants and animals. By the time the Géographe returned to France in July 1804, its decks were crowded with crates. A selection of the plants, ethnographic artefacts and live animals were sent to Josephine Bonaparte’s estate at Malmaison, while skins and specimens were delivered to the Museum of Natural History and kangaroos and emus were released into the botanic gardens. Over 100,000 specimens were collected over the three-and-a-half years of the voyage and
outbreak of war and subsequently detained for seven years, allowing the French to publish their charts first and leave their legacy in the French place names that prevail along the coast today. Unfortunately Baudin never made it back to France, and was never able to glory in the discoveries of the voyage. In July 1803, after leaving Timor and failing to push further east, he made the decision to return home. His crew were sick, stocks of food and water were dangerously low and Baudin was coughing blood. He died in Mauritius from tuberculosis and the official account of the voyage, penned by Péron, mentioned his name only once. The ship’s mast stands tall on the bow of his memorial at Eagle Bay - a reminder of Baudin and his momentous voyage of discovery. 4259 CAVES ROAD, MARGARET RIVER, WA, 6285 PHONE: 97 5552019 555 margaretriver.com | AUTUMN
Nature & Environment
The beautiful Blackwood River is a hub of activity for visitors and locals, and home to an amazing amount of wildlife. We ask the experts and locals who know the river best about what makes the Blackwood River so special. By BROOKE EVANS-BUTLER.
Water works ABOUT THE RIVER Ben Tannock, district parks and visitor services coordinator for the department of biodiversity conservation and attractions, parks and wildlife service – Blackwood district, says the Blackwood River is unique in terms of the size of the catchment (over 28,000km). It is also home to many species of wildlife. “There are a range of species of fauna including the red tailed and white tailed black cockatoo, that roost and nest in the surrounding canopy, black swans and ducks on the Hardy Inlet and various waders, monitor lizards and various snake species including western browns and tiger snakes, water rats, a diversity of frog species including some that are rare and endangered, and of course the marron which makes the Blackwood such a popular fishing and camping area during the Marron season,” he says. “Other species that are often seen are Australian hobbies, ospreys, particularly closer to the coast, splendid wrens, golden whistlers, and at night tawny
frogmouths, nightjars and barn owls, as well as brush tailed and ring tailed possums.”
ON THE RIVER A great way to experience the river is on the water – so why not explore on a houseboat? Pam Winter, owner of Blackwood River Houseboats, says the experience is for families and friends that seek adventure with comfort. “We offer a completely different way to experience the region, driving your boat and relaxing literally on the water,” she says. “Popular with our guests are fishing, swimming, skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboards and lazing around on the decks. There are a couple of popular wineries accessible from Alexandra Bridge for that classic wine region experience and the private walk tracks get you in to some interesting bush that’s rarely seen.” Pam says visitors love the Blackwood River and the houseboat experience. “Once in the river system, guests are protected from the
weather by the banks and buoy positions,” she says. “Visitors appreciate that we do not disturb the riverbed or banks and our vessels are sealed, creating a clean and green experience. Most people don’t get to see the Milky Way twinkling in the water like that or experience that quietness, with no noise or light pollution.” Another up-close-and-personal way to check out the river is by cruising on the Blackwood with a river tour (or sunset tours, available on request for groups). Augusta River Tours conduct river tours and sunset cruises, and owner operator Graeme Challis says cruising the river is relaxing and scenic, and a haven for birdlife and fish. “You can expect a lot of wildlife, with a big variety of birdlife to see,” he says. “Hopefully we see dolphins; I don’t guarantee it, but we have had trips where you get a great look at them.”
BY THE RIVER As well as enjoying the river on the water, there is plenty to do by the river banks – and
at Turner Caravan Park, you can even stay in chalets right by the Blackwood River. Hettie Enderes, caravan parks and camping ground manager, says the three chalets were opened in December 2017 and have received amazing reviews. “There is a large grassed area in front of them with a few peppermint trees and unobstructed views towards the Blackwood River and rivermouth,” she says. Hettie says in the last year in particular, her and her husband have marvelled at all the action on the Blackwood River. “Not only do people bring their traditional tinnies and larger boats, but nowadays the number of canoers, paddle boarders, kite surfers when the wind is up, and everyone else on or in something that floats has been amazing to watch,” she says. “Not to mention people fishing everywhere. Watching everyone along the river between the caravan park and the river mouth is awesome.”
CELEBRATING THE RIVER A wonderful example of people using the river and surrounds to the full is the annual Augusta River Festival (held every year in March). The community event has music, stalls and a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including the Blackwood Regatta – a fun-filled regatta of boats made from recyclable materials, with the glistening Blackwood River as the picturesque backdrop.
Caring for the river It is very important to care for the river and its surrounds. “Tourists should ensure that they stay, where possible on designated tracks and trails and camp in designated campsites,” says Ben Tannock. “The Blackwood River National Park has a number of recreational sites associated with it including Sues Bridge and Warner Glen campsite. It is important that visitors leave a minimal footprint so that their experiences can be shared by others in the future. It is also important to exercise care and caution when having fun on the river. This includes swimming and on water activities. The river can be subject to flash flooding and in this respect the public need to remain vigilant particularly during the winter and spring.”
the southern regions neW local online marketplace supporting local owners, artisans and makers.
CONTACTS Augusta River Festival augustariverfestival.com.au Augusta River Tours augustarivertours.com.au Blackwood River Houseboats blackwoodriverhouseboats.com.au Turner Caravan Park turnerpark.amrshire.wa.gov.au
WET AND WILD Enjoying the Blackwood River is easy - just book a stay onboard a houseboat, join a river tour or watch the Augusta River Festival.
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Prepare for a voyage of discovery into the depths of the Margaret River Cave system. Joanne Marriott shares an overview of the best cave experiences and some fun facts to kick start your underground adventure.
What lies ben eath
idden beneath the blazing tarmac of Caves Road, beneath the rustling karri and marri forests, beneath the undulating Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, lies a winding labyrinth of underground tunnels and echoing caverns. The extensive karst system has been hollowed from the limestone of the LeeuwinNaturaliste ridge over the last one million years by the pervasive flow of rainwater penetrating through fractures in the limestone, opening up channels for subterranean rivers to flow. The calcium carbonate-rich solution has been redeposited in the form of dazzling crystals and intriguing formations. It’s a magical world to take in for tiny tots, a treasure trove of geological gems and a voyage of discovery for more intrepid adventurers.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE There are over 100 caves hidden beneath the surface of the 120km Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, but only a handful of these are open to the public. Every
cave offers a unique experience, so you can decide whether you’d prefer to hear about fossils of extinct animals, explore the hidden depths of the caves or take in the mesmerising formations. Here’s a few ideas to kick start your adventure: At Lake Cave, descend down the 325 steps on a beautiful journey past towering karri trees to the sanctuary of the forest floor, where you’ll enter the deepest of the Margaret River show caves and find fairytale formations reflected in the subterranean lake. Peer over the balcony of the viewing platform and down through the glass floor into the forest canopy below. Learn all about cave formation and features in the Lake Cave interpretative display. Venture to the furthest point in the cave for a unique experience as cave formations are revealed in a new light. At Mammoth Cave, explore at your own pace, playing audio segments on demand. This is the most accessible and the first palaeontological
cave site discovered in Western Australia. Learn about the first megafauna discoveries in Western Australia and the 10,000 fossil specimens that were excavated. Search for the fossilised jawbone of the Zygomaturas trilobus that lived 50,000 years ago - a snouted marsupial the size of a cow. See the underground stream in flow if visiting in winter or early spring. At Ngilgi Cave, explore the labyrinth of underground tunnels, initially with a guide and then at your own pace. This was the first cave to officially open and it played a prominent role in the development of the region. Learn about the Aboriginal legend of how Ngilgi the good spirit of the ocean, chased away the evil spirit Wolgine from the cave. Squeeze through the “tunnel of doom” - a special secret passage for little explorers. Don helmets and head torches for the adventure tour (note: this is a different experience to a guided tour of a cave). At Jewel Cave, the largest show cave in WA, take a fully guided tour through the largest show cave in the region and marvel at the elaborate formations that decorate the roof of the enormous chambers. Witness the tree roots spiralling down through the roof of the cave. Spot the longest straw formation in Australia at 5.43m long and features such as the frozen waterfall and the organ pipes. Solve the mystery of how the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) came to perish in the cave.
Fun Facts Cave Men of Margs Aboriginal hunter-gatherers sheltered in the cave at Devil’s Lair some 32,000 years ago, leaving evidence of stone tools, fires for cooking and speared animal carcasses - including a Tasmanian Devil. Supersized Species Palaeontological evidence shows that the animals living in Margaret River during the pleistocene (the last 2 million years) were typically 30% bigger than their closest relatives today. Lion’s Lair Probably more like a leopard than a lion, the Thylacoleo Carnifex (marsupial lion) roamed the region with enormous teeth and long claws for hunting prey.
YVONNE ZAGO, IAIN DEAN, ANDY QUILTY THE LAND IS NOT ASLEEP
EXHIBITION OPENING SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY, 6-8PM Exhibition continues until 25 March
Whopper Wombat Weighing in at 100-150kg and measuring 1.7m long, the giant wombat (Phascolonus Gigas) found in the caves, was a bit of a heffalump and twice the size of wombats living today! Tongue-tied The giant echidna (Zaglossus Hacketti) had a sticky tongue that was half a metre long - all the better for licking up termites! Blind as a bat “Troglobytes” are creatures that have adapted to live in underground environments. Bats found in the caves can hunt in the dark using echolocation and eat more than a thousand little insects in an hour.
ALICE LINFORD FORTE, DI WEST UNBOUND
Fantastical formations Cave formations are called “speleotherms” and they are formed when acidic water dissolves the limestone forming calcium carbonate solution. It gets redeposited as calcite crystals in the form of stalactites and stalagmites.
With a selection of small works by: KATE DEBBO, MARTINE PERRET, SHIRLEY CLANCY, JEANNA CASTELLI, NATASHA HILL, DEIDRE BRUHN, JO MCDONALD, GARANCE CAMISON, SALLI COPPIN, VERITAS, SARMARIE, JENNIFER LOVEROCK, MELISSA BOUGHEY, TOM ANSELL AND MORE.
Mind the gap Frances Bussell, daughter of pioneer Alfred Bussell, first stumbled upon the opening to Lake Cave while out searching for cattle in 1867. It took another 30 years before it was explored and developed for tourism.
EXHIBITION OPENING SATURDAY 27 APRIL, 6PM Exhibition runs 20 April - 18 May
Shop 4, 1 Charles West Avenue, Margaret River E firstname.lastname@example.org P 9757 2729
Nature & Environment
‘Fallon’s Fund’, a special fund set up by Keith and Leonie as a legacy after they tragically lost their daughter to asthma just days prior to her 21st birthday. The family has raised close to $100,000 in the past two years and continue to be active fundraisers. “In 2016, I walked from Byford (Perth) to Augusta and raised $40,000,” Keith says. “It took me twelve days and fourteen pubs. The last leg to Next door to Boogaloo is MUNDAY CAMP Augusta was wonderful, there must’ve been 30 GROUND, situated on three acres that’s also people walking with me.” home to kangaroos, kookaburras, and a ton of “I’m going to keep doing that last leg every bird life including blue wrens and robins. It has year as a fundraiser for Fallon’s Fund – it’s about a beautiful outlook over a vineyard and there are YOUR MARGARET fifteen RIVER REGION HAS RECENTLY kilometres.” about 500 grass trees on the property. Originally from Armadale, sheep country, the Visitors can stay in the hand-built tiny house PRODUCED A NEW TOURISM VIDEO ON AUGUSTA. Munday’s moved to Augusta about three years ago. or camp on one of nine powered sites or myriad “I love the people in Augusta, there’s not one of large unpowered sites – it’s large rig friendly THE END RESULT IS INSPIRATIONAL TO SAY THE LEAST. person I’ve met from Augusta that I wouldn’t site too. The ablution block that includes a invite to dinner,” he says. “Like our neighbours at laundry is described by visitors as one of the Boogaloo – we work closely with them to give best in the country with each bathroom cubicle our guests the best experience we can.” containing a shower, basin, toilet and a dry area. Visit kuiparks.com.au/parks/munday-camp-ground Built by Keith and Leonie Munday and opened in Februay 2017, the couple focus on YOGA ON THE LAWN IN YALLINGUP offering good country hospitality. There’s a large Historic Caves House in Yallingup is making central covered camp kitchen that caters for about the most of its stunning garden and lush lawns 60 people with a fire pit that Keith lights in the by offering outdoor yoga Friday, Saturday cooler months for roasting marshmallows, a fully and Sunday at 8am. Find your flow in natural equipped kitchen, fridge, pizza oven, microwave, a surrounds followed by a two minute walk for a fusball table and even a book exchange. surf or a refreshing dip in the Indian Ocean Keith Munday says that five o’clock is beer sounds like the perfect way to start the day. o’clock at Munday Camp Ground. Entry is $15, mat hire is $3 and bookings are “We love to mingle with guests during happy made online at caveshousehotelyallingup.com. hour and chat about their day and what they au/special-events/ have planned for the following day. While we’re Caves House Hotel relaxing, there’s a half-acre lawn for kids to run 18 Yallingup Beach Road, Yallingup themselves tired or kick the footy.” 08 9750 1888 The Mundays hold special events and Visit caveshousehotelyallingup.com.au fundraisers for the Asthma WA that goes to we see our Boogaloo as a blend of modern and classic, I guess bringing back classic ideas but with a modern twist,” Toni explains. Boogaloo 22 Baker Close, Augusta WA 6290 0478 899 398, Email: Boogaloo.email@example.com Visit boogaloosurfyoga.com.au
OLD-SCHOOL CHARM Stills from the latest tourism campaign showcase Augusta's relaxed beauty and laidback vibe.
ou know that feeling of looking through your old school photos, or a childhood diary? Thumbing through the pages and enjoying the nostalgia of memories of growing up. Well that’s what it was like for film director, Adam Rule, when he travelled to Augusta to shoot Your Margaret River Region’s latest tourism campaign. Adam has fond memories of Augusta – he used to holiday there when he was 8 or 9. Adam recalls biking on the foreshore, boating across to Molloy Island, and fishing with his brothers off the jetty. He said it all washed over him again when revisiting the town for the shoot. “I was surprised about how little Augusta had changed since my childhood. The main street has different shops, but at first glance it appeared unchanged. The Augusta hotel (where we stayed during filming) was also the same. It just felt safe,and reminded me to take my own kids there for holidays again.” Geoff Longwood owns an old shack on Flinders Bay that featured in the Western Australia feature film ‘Drift’, as well as in the new tourism videos. He lives in Cowaramup but regularly escapes one regional town for another, finding comfort in Augusta’s sense of community. “I describe Augusta to my friends as a place which has the old-school coastal beach vibe where all the locals are friendly to newcomers and still wave at each other in the street.” Augusta is worth visiting for the epic highlights like The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia), Jewel Cave (biggest show cave in the south west), Hamelin Bay’s famed sting rays, and the gloriously untouched Blackwood River. But staying on in Augusta just allows that extra experience. Discovering the hidden gems of Glenarty Road Winery, The Ragged Robin café, new Turner Caravan Park chalets, and the bowls club - with 1970’s priced bevies! As Geoff will testify - the town gives that sense of really unwinding and stopping the clock “It’s that feeling that you are "actually' getting away from the day to day rat race. You can relax, unwind, grab the paper and enjoy a coffee in town, then explore along the coastline down to the lighthouse.” margaretriver.com
Nature & Environment
Now in its latest reincarnation, Ellensbrook has reopened its doors this February with plenty on offer. Autumn is the perfect time to visit with golden afternoons crying out for a garden picnic and an exploration of the historic site. By CASSANDRA CHARLICK.
llensbrook is situated in one of the prettiest parts of the region: full of rolling hills and just out of reach of the sea spray of the Indian Ocean. The site is rich in history, of interwoven stories from the settlement of the Bussell family right back to generations of Wadandi. Familiar with locals for thousands of years and known as Mokidup, the site was a popular summer camp in Wadandi Country, thanks to abundant fresh water and a sheltered landscape. Alfred and Ellen Bussell arrived in 1857 with their three small daughters, Fanny, Bessie and Edith. A Wadandi guide showed them the location and they made their new home and dairy farm with the help of a small community of Wadandi, ticket-of-leave men (paroled convicts who had proved their trustworthiness), servants and whalers. Building the house room
by room, it was developed in three stages from 1857 and its success was largely due to the women in the family. Edith Bussell remained unmarried and spent most of her life working and living on the farm as an independent and strong-willed woman. She was one of the first tourism operators in the region, offering accommodation for visitors. She also set up the ‘Ellensbrook Farm Home’, caring for and teaching a small number of Aboriginal children with the support of the then named ‘Aborigines Department’. The region’s caves became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century and the enterprising Edith also took in lodgers – even producing a postcard advertising her accommodation. Edith left in the 1920s and the property went through several refurbishments and inhabitants
before being gifted to the National Trust of Western Australia in 1978. It took several years of conservation work before the property was first opened to the public in the 1980s. Now, the National Trust’s CEO Julian Donaldson is extremely excited to be reopening the property. “Heritage buildings require ongoing conservation and maintenance. Simple structures such as the house at Ellensbrook were not built with an expectation they would still be standing over 160 years later. A visit to Ellensbrook now offers an enhanced visitor experience with insights into the significance of the place to the Wadandi people and the stories of what became home to the Bussell family and provided them with a livelihood.” The Trust is a community-based organisation working to preserve and protect important places, customs, and values from the past so they can be enjoyed by present and future generations. “This work enables continuity of culture,” says Julian. “The trust aims to enhance people’s understanding of why heritage is important, how it enables us to explore our identity and our place in the world and how an understanding of the value of heritage contributes to a sense of
Website: ellensbrook.com.au Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday and public holidays 10am – 4pm (closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day) FOR THE DIARY: The upcoming Australian Heritage Festival runs from Thursday April 18 – Sunday May 19. As part of the Festival the National Trust will be opening Ellensbrook for Free entry weekends during this time. well-being in society.” Today the National Trust’s work is based on connecting Western Australians with the story of their heritage. “The stories found in the rich and diverse natural, Aboriginal and historic heritage of the state are the embodiment of our memories – the vast collection of things, both tangible and intangible – that have survived and we have chosen to keep, says Julian. Heritage forms a storyline that ties generations together. It is a conduit to past generations who shaped the environment in which we live and the society we share, helping us make sense of our place in the world. Most importantly though, it’s a bridge to the future through the legacy we leave for generations to come.” The Ellensbrook redevelopment has definitely focused on engaging generations to come. Kids young and old are bound to be excited by a race to the finish line playing the new Ellensbrook board game when visiting. Learn about the challenges and triumphs that previous inhabitants of Ellensbrook would have faced. Creative minds
and tech savvy kids can hit up the socials with the Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Get snap happy and upload each find as you get closer to the end of treasure hunt trail. Of course, there is also the option to enjoy a tranquil picnic and relax in the peaceful surrounds, explore the stories told throughout the house, wander the nearby trails. The next chapter in Ellensbrook’s journey has begun, with the reopening of the historical property in February. Funded with generous grants from Lotterywest, the project began in 2016 and recognises the importance of this piece of living history. “The Ellensbrook project has provided an opportunity for significant research, community consultation, conservation and interpretation to ensure the structural integrity of the place,” says Susan Hunt, Lotterwest's CEO. “It's important that both the Aboriginal and settler stories of Ellensbrook can be shared with the community.”
Picnic at the Brook will be held Sunday, May 5, 2pm – 5pm Bring your picnic, family and friends and join us in celebrating Ellensbrook. There will be guided tours, activities for the family and live music throughout the afternoon. Further Education: Curriculum-aligned programs for years 2 and 5 have been developed. These are available online and include comprehensive teacher guides with suggested activities and student booklets. If you would like to visit Ellensbrook with your school please email trust@ntwa. com.au or telephone 9321 6088.
HISTORY PRESERVED Ellenbrook's redevelopment has focused on keeping future generations engaged with this important part of the region's heritage .
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Nature & Environment
Labour of love Holidaying in Augusta just went up a notch at Private Properties’ Flinders Bay House writes Janine Pittaway.
erth couple Jane and Tim have fond childhood memories of holidays spent on the beach in Augusta, WA’s most south-western town. Augusta’s not on the way to somewhere else, it’s a destination you have to know about to find, and visits to this coastal hamlet evoke memories of old-school family getaways. Jane and Tim built a breathtaking luxury holiday home in the town seven years ago that pays homage to simple pleasures. Jane’s childhood holidays were spent in her family’s cottage at Augusta’s Flinders Bay. The house had been there since the 1960s. “It’s a charming area and we’d return each year as kids, then adults, to the old asbestos house until it started falling down and we knew we had do something special with it,” she said. Work then took Jane and Tim to New York where they spent five years. “We had a house in East Hampton and spent weekends taking photos and getting inspiration for our dream home. We fell in love with that part of the world and the Hamptons style.” They bought furnishings, art and collectables
along the way and the Augusta home’s look and décor came together quite naturally. Flinders Bay itself feels like a step back in time with its narrow roads winding around quaint homes with sprawling cottage gardens.
STATELY HOME FROM HOME Augusta's Flinders House is one of the stunning holiday homes available to rent through Private Properties .
There are lovely swimming beaches for kids. It was important for Jane and Tim to have the new house feel like it belonged in this environment. The home’s striking grey granite was excavated from the site and helps to anchor the home. The gardens were established to envelop the house. “The timber work was designed to fade over time and the way the house is ageing has made me love it even more,” she said. Although it’s a much grander scale than the original, the house retains aspects of Jane’s old family cottage, including the layout and flow of rooms. They’ve created a holiday home with whimsical
charm, modern luxury, and a light, fresh style. Until quite recently there was no TV in the house and there is only a small one now, tucked out of the way in a corner nook. “We put away all the devices as soon as we arrive and replace them with puzzles, games, books and Mother Nature and everyone loves it. “We really decamp when we’re there. We shop locally, go to the beach, and we might visit Leeuwin Estate for lunch, but really, we barely leave the house. “Cooking takes over the day from about lunchtime. It starts with meal planning and then prep, it doesn’t feel like a chore. I underestimated how much I would like cooking in there. “The kitchen is really well appointed, it has more than our house in Perth.” Leisurely breakfasts, long lunches and dinners can each be enjoyed in a different space. The front balcony captures the morning sun and has sweeping ocean views. Escape the wind in the back garden on comfy outdoor lounges, complete with an open-air fireplace, or curl up on a sofa with a book from the vast collection. Flinders Bay House sleeps up to 12 people in five luxurious bedrooms all with individual décor, loads of natural light, and ensuites. The master bedroom has his and hers bathrooms and the kids’ bathroom is adorned with a playful mosaic mermaid. Jane’s bathroom is one of her favourite spaces in the home, sitting in her bath, looking out over Flinders Bay and spotting whales. She also loves the kids’ shared bedroom. “We
put a lot of time into the kids’ room. We had a bunk room in the old house and I really wanted to replicate the feeling of how great it was as kids. “If we have three or four families staying the kids can get to know each other by sharing the space.” The best thing about Flinders Bay House is that Jane and Tim are happy to share it. This enchanting home is available for short-term stays through Private Properties, the go-to for memorable holiday homes in the Margaret River region and along the WA coast. Although Jane’s so personally invested in Flinders Bay House, she is comfortable sharing her idyllic holiday home. “It benefits the house to be in regular use. We’ve tried to create an immersive experience and guests respect that. It has a level of comfort and luxury to allow you to retreat. “It’s for people who don’t want to recreate their Perth life down south and really want to get away from everything.You can sometimes feel like you’re in another country here.” If you love the look of Flinders Bay House’s interiors you can also replicate some of the looks at Jane's Cottesloe retail boutique, Jordan Baker, which celebrates all she loves about the US shopping experience. At the time of our interview Jane was getting ready to head down to Augusta for a break. “I’m so excited! It suits me so well as I’m a bit of a home body and love a repeat holiday stay when I find somewhere I really love,” she said. Visit privateproperties.com.au.
The seasons according to the Wadandi people Djeran (April/May) Djeran is temperate and pleasant as the cooler weather begins. Known as the ‘season of adulthood’, this was often the time for marriages and courtship ceremonies. Djeran is noted for southwesterly winds, an abundance of native flowers, swamp box banksia, silkyleaved blood flower, couch honeypot and stinkweed. Native fruits begin to appear at this time – bulbs, zamia palm nuts and tubers, all of which are collected for food. The burning season continues, as does fishing in lakes, dams and inland estuaries.
Makuru (June/July) Known as the ‘season of fertility’ Makuru is cold, with the first heavy rains, storms and gales occurring more frequently. The Boodja (Country) cools down. Many local Noongar people moved to inland areas for shelter, to escape the fierce winter storms coming off the Southern Ocean. This is the wettest time of the year in the ranges and escarpments. With the cold coastal winds prevailing, the Yonga Booka (kangaroo skin cloak) was turned inside out so that the fur was against the skin, while the outside was oiled to provide waterproof protection against the rain. Annual hunting by herding animals using fire, provided bountiful meat supply. It was important that the Wadandi people ate a heavy meat diet during Makaru, so as to keep their energy and fat reserves for warmth. margaretriver.com
Nature & Environment
surfing legend and innovator
By TOM DE SOUZA. IMAGE BY SOPHIE MATHEWSON.
ic Gath’s innovative water-sports helmet idea began with an earache. A surfer since his early childhood, Ric developed surfer’s ear at the ripe young age of 16. Constant exposure to Western Australia’s cold water and incessant wind caused excess bone growth in Ric’s ears and, with no desire, of course, to give up surfing, Ric began experimenting with ways to prevent his earaches. “I did a crazy thing one time, trying to shut my ears off. I pulled the ear muffs off of some worker’s ear muffs, and went out surfing wearing those. The ball joint was pushing into my ear. After that surf I had lockjaw.
“I also tried wearing a divers balaclava, but surfing large waves it just got ripped off my head. It did give me a good understanding of what the design criteria might be though.” Ric kept on experimenting, but the earaches persisted.Then one day, while teaching his infant son to surf at the beach, he had a sudden revelation. “It was a summer's day and we were sitting there on the shore, and he fell off, his board nose-dived and his fins went really close to his head, and I thought, jeez, maybe the ear protection could work on something more than just ear protection,” says Ric. “At the time, I was also learning to windsurf.
If I had a surf in the morning and a windsurf in the afternoon my face was always fried. Basically the first concept was to design something that would keep the sun off your face, protect your ears, and something practical to protect surfers in the water.” This gave Ric the inspiration to create the world’s first surf helmet. He knocked on doors, trying to get his idea off the ground, and soon found himself at Perth’s product innovation centre, a government initiative. “They seemed to think it had merit. They connected me with people in the industry that might be able to help make the prototypes. So I started dealing with a company in Perth that did vacuum forming. The first prototype looked nothing like my drawing, but as soon as I learned their process then I actually did all my own pattern making and made up all my own forms.” Ric developed his helmet without any specialised technical knowledge, only a pragmatic
IT STARTED OFF AS A SURF HELMET, BUT IT'S BECOME VERY DIFFERENT TO THAT, SAYS RIC GATH and tenacious approach. Using the prototype as an initial guide, he developed a streamlined helmet, and sought test subjects in his close friends down at Surfers Point. “Once I was confident I was going to make a surf helmet, I made a pair of wooden surf calipers, and was running around measuring all my friend's heads, trying to get an idea of different sized heads. A helluva lot of work went into it, I didn’t copy anything and went off my own track and worked through it. “Then I started knocking on the doors of injection moulders. The process of vacuum forming for prototypes is OK in small numbers, but when you do it in high volume you need to go to injection moulding and its big money.” Ric managed to secure the funds he needed to get his product off the ground, and began manufacturing the helmet from his garage in Margaret River. Ric launched the product at the Margaret River Masters in 1989, and his idea gained immediate international traction from the very spot where it was born. “We had a dream product launch. Dave MacAulay was the local boy that won the Masters that year, and when he came in and was greeted by his wife, the footage showed the side shot of this surf helmet. Then Tom Carroll ended up winning the Pipe Masters in the helmet, then Gary Elkerton, then Tom Carroll again.”
But despite the initial boom, Ric says the surfing market was slow to adopt the helmet, due to the liberal nature of the sport. “The thing with surfing is it’s a freedom sport, and if we could just go for a surf with our board shorts and our board and no leg rope, then we would all be doing it. “For a few years we were still a little family business working out of a modest backyard shed, and we were just keeping our head above water. So what I ended up doing was developing and expanding the range and started doing more on the wave stuff: jet skiing, sea rescue, white water rafting.” Ric still assembles all his helmets in Margaret River. Gath helmets are now worn by the US Navy and French coastguard. They've become popular among skydivers, and Ric was even approached by Dolce and Gabbana to use his helmet in their displays around Europe. His range includes seven helmets for various extreme sports, and Ric says the product’s success lies in its innovation, and the ability to adapt to a changing market and to go with the flow. “It started off as a surf helmet, but it’s become very different to that.The Jedi for sea rescue is our growth area, our number one seller, and we have a comprehensive range that caters for all water sports. “The key was being there first on the market, and building on the momentum of professional acceptance.”
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FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
Active & adventure
With its new date in late autumn come new opportunities. Dianne Bortoletto uncovers what’s happening at Western Australia’s premier surfing contest. 68
he World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) attracts the best 34 male (plus one WSL and one event wild card entry) and 17 female surfers (plus 1 wild card entry) in the world to Margaret River each year. This year, the 34th Margaret River Pro has moved from its usual place as third stop on the WSL Championship Tour to fourth, pushing the event window into the beginning of winter, from May 27 to June 9. With a new date, there are new opportunities. Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said that the new date could see improved surf conditions for competitors.
“At that time of year, the swell pattern is different and that could mean a great likelihood of favourable conditions at our available competition breaks – Main Break, South Side, The Box and North Point,” Mark said. “What is also does is move the event away from the busy school holiday and Easter period, so it’ll give the region a tourism boost and attract visitors during what’s usually a quieter time of year.” There’s been some speculation to the future of the Margaret River Pro with its WSL contract expiring this year, but sources say that discussions for 2020 and beyond are ongoing and looking positive.
Did you know…? Margaret River is known as one of the most consistent big wave destinations in the world and is the only place where there are world class waves, awardwinning wineries, ancient caves and talltimber forests all in close proximity The Margaret River Pro is one of 11 World Surf League Championship Tour events held in the world.
Connect with the Margaret River Pro Surfing WA World Surf League @surfing_wa @wsl /surfingwesternaustralia /wsl Website Surfingwa.com.au Worldsurfleague.com
The first Margaret River Pro was held in 1985 and the judges’ area was nothing more than a double decker bus parked at Surfers Point. Nowadays the Margaret River Pro is a top-tier competition with three competition breaks. Nowadays it attracts about thousands of spectators to Surfers Point with the 2017 event attracting 6,200 visitors, generating an economic boost for the region to the tune of $5.4 million. Since the Pro was granted top tier status in 2013, it has generated over $25 million for the region. The entire event, including the new initiatives, is totally free with the hub again held at Surfers Point in Prevelly. Expect big screens showing replays, expert commentary, food trucks, merchandise stands and groms lining the surfers walkway to collect autographs and selfies. New initiatives this year include a Healthy Habits festival held at the recently opened Margaret River Skate Park held daily from 4pm to 6pm from May 27 until May 3. Organised in conjunction with the Augusta Margaret River Shire and the Youth Advisory Group, there’ll be DJs, demonstrations, music and concerts and workshops for young people about developing healthy habits. Another new initiative is the world’s first climate change summit held in conjunction with a surfing event. Developed in partnership between Surfing WA and the Augusta Margaret River Shire, the summit will focus on sustainability, the environment and reducing carbon footprint. “The Margaret River Pro has a good track record in regards to looking after the environment,” Mark said. “The Pro has reduced onsite emissions by 70 per cent in the past three years and there’s a massive a massive amount of recycling done as it moves towards a zero plastic policy in 2020. “The event policy is to use biodegradable
LEGENDS IN ACTION Opposite, Stephanie Gilmore and Kael Walsh are just some of the big name surfing stars who'll head to Margaret River's Main Break this May.
products, the competition rashies and clothing are made from recycled plastic, the fencing mesh is recycled and vendors are strongly encouraged not to use plastic straws.” The day before the Margaret River Pro begins, Main Break will host the Drug Aware WA Trials, which guarantees a place in the Margaret River Pro for one male and one female West Australian surfer to compete alongside the world’s best. The world’s best surfers, including John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore and local surfing inspiration Bronte Macaulay, will compete for World Surf League Championship Tour points over 12 days. There’s free entry to all events, free parking and free shuttle buses transfers.
Active & adventure
The Margaret River region has deservedly earned a reputation as a world-class surf destination - but just around the eastern tip of Cape Naturaliste, a vastly different set of world-class conditions facilitate another kind of water sport. By TOM DE SOUZA.
eographe Bay is home to world-class sailing conditions, says Geographe Bay Yacht Club secretary Barry Brown. Since 1987, Barry has raced yachts at most of the local weekend regattas throughout the summer season, and says the conditions lend themselves to both the recreational and racing varieties of sailing. “Geographe Bay for yacht racing is outstanding,” says Barry. “It’s beautiful flat water most of the time, and the wind conditions are really quite variable. On any given day you could be sailing with wind directions from anywhere on the compass. “It makes it more challenging and interesting to keep on reading the wind in a yacht race.” Every February, the Geographe Bay Yacht Club welcomes international visitors for the Geographe Bay Race week, a regatta for large keel boats that runs over a six-day period. The regatta attracts entrants from as early as May the previous year, and, for the first time this year, an international boat has competed in the race. “This year we have a team coming from New York who are chartering a yacht and will be competing in the regatta. In past years we’ve had lots of international crew members on
different boats, and a lot of crews coming from the east coast to participate in the regatta. But this was the first international crew we have had,” says Barry. Barry began sailing yachts in 1987, when he relocated to Busselton from Perth. He had grown up windsurfing, and living close to Geographe Bay inspired him to take up a different kind of water sport more suited to local conditions. He admits he was instantly hooked the moment he first took to a yacht. “I just love being on the water. From surfing, windsurfing, and diving, and sailing, they’re all water pursuits that I love doing. Sailing is enjoyable from a lot of aspects: the competition, the technical skill. Every time you go sailing the conditions are different, so the way you trim your sails, the way you sail the course, you always have to be aware of changing conditions and trying to maximise the performance of your boat. There is a great social side to it.You have all your crew you’re working with, and you get to enjoy the camaraderie of a club as well.” Twelve years ago, other members of Barry’s sailing club helped to establish a program that works to share the magic of sailing with less able-bodied people. Geographe Bay Yacht Club
member, David Eyres, established the Sail into Life program with the support of the Busselton rotary club to start the Sail into Life program, and says he is thrilled to be able to share the magic of sailing with others.” “It’s a great program. On any given day we have probably 15-16 volunteers helping out, and everybody thinks it’s fantastic. “Certainly, we can see how much they enjoy it when they come out of the boats,” says David. Busselton is also home to a raft of dedicated recreational sailors, like Nic Bowan-Sant, who has lived permanently on his 40-foot catamaran for the past four years. Nic runs a mobile graphic design business from a converted office cabin on his yacht, and after a pleasant summer moored up at Geographe Bay he is preparing to head North for the winter. “I’ve got a little studio that I work in here, it’s pretty comfy. We’re just anchored out in Geographe Bay for the moment,” he says. “It’s so protected out here. At the end of March start of we’ll take off up North where it’s a bit warmer. It works out pretty good. Pretty happy with this life. We usually just drop the anchor where we feel like it, where it’s convenient.”
Nic grew up sailing with his father, Chris, and he was inspired to buy his own boat and live on the ocean after what he describes as a life-changing sailing trip from Exmouth to Fremantle in his early twenties.
“It was a dream I’ve always had. After that trip, I thought, well this is pretty bloody good. I realised I’m never going to be able to afford to buy a house near the water, so bugger it, why not live on the water instead. “There are quite a few people doing this, more than I expected. There is a real good crew of young and diverse people, and everyone is so likeminded.You’ll perch up somewhere and be hanging out with all you ‘neighbours’, having ‘street parties’, and all that sort of community stuff.” While Nic admits that a peripatetic life sailing the seas is “pretty bloody good,” it also comes with its own unique challenges. “The shopping run is pretty interesting,” says Nic. “There is always a pretty damn full dinghy when we’re coming back, and usually there are
SAIL AWAY Geographe Bay is the perfect place to anchor up for the summer season with excellent local conditions for all skill levels.
a few trips back and forth from the jetty. Some towns are good, but it can be a pretty long walk with the shopping trolley from the supermarket.” Nic says Geographe Bay is one of his favourite spots to anchor up for the summer season, and says local conditions are excellent, all kinds of sailors: recreational or racing, experienced or beginners. “Geographe Bay is like a playground, you can always have your sail up, and it’s really smooth. All out in the Cape you’ve got these beautiful little anchorages: Castle Rock, Meelup, which is such a nice place to spend the night. “It is actually the perfect place to sail, and to learn to sail.”
Take the Leap Méthode Traditionnelle Sparkling From Western Australia Margaret River Cellar Door 543 Miamup Road, Cowaramup Open 10am - 5pm daily
Active & adventure
THE SCENERY ALONG THE 80KM ULTRA MARATHON IS SO BEAUTIFUL THAT YOU FORGET YOU’RE RUNNING A CHALLENGING COURSE, OR SO THEY SAY. JANE HAMMOND TALKS TO RUNNERS WHO HAVE TACKLED THIS UNFORGETTABLE COURSE. Images MATT HULL
Run with a view
he overwhelming take-away from last year’s runners, who rave about the ocean views, beautiful forest and the fun of rock-hopping, is that the Ultra Marathon is a must-do event for keen competitors. This year’s event takes place on May 4, and as we look forward to another great event, I speak to competitors who took part last year.
Kate Kate is wildly enthusiastic about running, especially along coastlines. She’s seen ultra marathons and trail running grow exponentially in the past few years. “I used to live in Perth and love Margaret River, but I’d never followed the Cape to Cape coastal trail. The clifftop views were incredible. We think we spotted dolphins and my partner is certain he saw seals. The scenery definitely takes
your mind off the physical challenge!” she says. “The twisting trail through karri forest was the most beautiful section for me. The most difficult was the long stretch of sand: most people power-hiked that section - a nice chance to chat. “Apart from the marathon, I wanted my partner to see the region - the beaches, wineries, surf. We stayed in the bush, waking up among trees and kangaroos, yet still close to town. I became addicted to Gracetown and the White Elephant Cafe at Prevelly - we had brekkie there every morning!”
Deb Deb was the fastest female runner in 2018 and will be back again this year. She raves about the wonderful community that gathers to cheer on and support the participants.
TESTING CONDITIONS The Ultra Marathon gives competitors the chance to test their fitness and enjoy amazing scenery. Left inset, Deb Nichols, the fastet female runner in 2018.
“It felt like we were in the Tour de France! People either side of the course cheering, amazing encouragement from total strangers, and everything we needed at the aid stations,” she says. “Running the Cape to Cape is quite different from walking it. I love a challenge and managed to jog along the sandy section - it makes the hard surface towards the end feel fantastic! “There’s so much to do either side of the event too, like really pretty drives and walks. We loved the beer, and the food is fantastic, especially the Chocolate Company and Margaret River Bakery! “I came with a large group of friends and we’re still talking about what a great holiday it was. The ocean’s just there, you can meander along the beach - you don’t need to rush. It’s really quite special.”
MARGARET RIVER MAZE, GARDENS, MINI GOLF & CAFE
More Information THE ULTRA MARATHON caters for runners of all abilities. You can either run solo (80km) or in a relay team of up to five, where the leg lengths vary from 10.5km to 20km. Visit the website to plan your trip: rapidascent.com.au/ MargaretRiverUltra/ Online entries close at 10am WAtime on April 30. Places to Stay To find private accommodation, contact Serenity Holiday Properties and Private Properties Holiday Homes. The following are all approximately 15 minutes by road from the Cheeky Monkey Brewery: Margaret River Hideaway, Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat and Forest Rise Chalets and Lodge.
Martin Martin has assisted with training sessions for the Ultra Marathon and has detailed knowledge of the course. He’s also lived in Margaret River for six years, which he says makes him feel spoilt. “The Ultra Marathon organisers, Rapid
Tel: 08 9758 7439 Ascent, do an amazing job, starting from the minute you sign up.You receive emails about the race, what gear you need, and the app to download to make sure you don’t get lost,” he says. “The course winds mostly along the absolutely stunning Cape to Cape track, which includes karri forest, rock-hopping, a single track with ocean views and some beach running. The volunteers do an incredible job at the aid stations, with enough food and drinks for a small banquet. “The weekend starts on Friday night at Cheeky Monkey Brewery with the race briefing. Saturday is race day, finishing back at Cheeky Monkey, where everyone can enjoy food, drinks and even a massage. On Sunday, we’re back at the brewery for the awards. “I can’t recommend Margaret River enough - there are countless cellar door wineries and of course great foodie places to eat. What’s there not to love?”
Giant Hedge Margaret River Maze, 18 Hole Mini Golf and 5 ha Botanical gardens, 4km south of Margaret River More mazes, games and puzzles amongst the gardens | Unusual WA native plants, attracting abundant birds and wildlife | BBQ’s, picnic ground, playground | Amazen café overlooking Amazen gardens and lake for breakfast and lunches | Wheelchair accessible paths
9978 Bussell Highway, Margaret River firstname.lastname@example.org
Active & adventure
SEA PLAY ON THE BAY BUSSELTON’S FABULOUS NEW PLAYGROUND IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES TO LET OFF STEAM. BY LIZZY PEPPER.
brand-new maritime adventure playground adorns the Busselton Foreshore between Busselton Jetty, The Goose and The Equinox. Inspired by the city’s maritime history and coastal landscape, it features a wrecked clipper ship beautifully crafted in timber, with cargo holds, climbing nets, telescope, cannons and a crow’s nest children can climb. On a sunny day you’ll find it swarming with children climbing, ringing the jetty bell and pumping water and families picnicking under Norfolk Island pines. Clipper ships transported cargo to and from
the Busselton Jetty in the mid 1800s, and the playground is a nod to the important role they played in local maritime history. Says City of Busselton CEO Mike Archer: “The ship is named after the Halcyon, an American vessel carrying whale oil which came to rest near Dunsborough during a storm in 1844. Some of the original timbers were used to build John Molloy’s house in Fairlawn near Busselton.” The huge whale tail water spout was inspired by the creature's annual migration. Around 35,000 magnificent humpback whales make their way through Geographe Bay each year.
FUN AND GAMES The new playground in Busselton gives young minds plenty of room for their imaginative to run riot.
on a seaside playground that respects the location and its prominence in WA maritime history.” Mike Archer is thrilled with the results: “Sea Play on the Bay taps into the region’s rich maritime history and provides children with the opportunity to immerse themselves in adventure-style play.” Some of the play space elements are quite challenging, however, representing the City’s rugged coastline.Younger children still finding their feet might prefer the other new nature style toddler playground on the eastern side of The Goose, near the skatepark. Sea Play on the Bay completes a major foreshore redevelopment project spanning several years, and Lisa Shreeve, CEO of Busselton Jetty Inc, said that the foreshore had become a popular destination attracting more visitors than ever by providing them with a greater experience. “Visitors can spend a whole day at the foreshore exploring the jetty, playing in the new playgrounds, swimming and eating,”she said. She went on to divulge exciting new plans:“We’re launching some amazing new experiences including Underwater Dining in the Observatory and a new village 1.8km out to sea
with food and beverage options, marine zone, education facilities and a safe swimming area.” People of all ages love the jetty train which makes the 1.8km journey to the end of the world’s longest timber pile jetty a breeze. There you’ll find the Underwater Observatory, a view into the aquatic life around the timber piles. Both The Equinox Bar + Restaurant and The Goose Bar & Kitchen both offer quality dining with show-stopping bay views. There are takeaway options too; Busselton Beach Shack Takeaway next to The Equinox has fish and chips, seafood baskets and a multitude of burgers plus milkshakes, smoothies and hot drinks. Salt Burger & Barbecue has an American BBQ style menu – fried chicken and slaw, beef brisket burgers and loaded fries plus ice creams and coffee. It’s easy to spend a whole day here with the kids indulged and happy. Just bring bathers, towels and a change of clothes and you’ll find yourself exploring the jetty, cooling off at the beach, having a bite to eat at one of the many excellent restaurants or takeaway and playing to your heart’s content. Bravo, Busselton – we love your new playground!
Look out for whale watching cruises in Flinders Bay Augusta during winter, then Dunsborough and Busselton from late August to December. A popular pastime for generations, squidding for southern calamari off the Busselton foreshore has inspired the awesome giant squid emerging from the sand. Bright orange tentacles emerg from the sand holding a nest swing and are perfect for climbing. Commissioned by City of Busselton, designed by Plan E landscape architects and built by a team of local tradespeople, lead architect David Smith says: “The result is a quirky, original, fun new take margaretriver.com
Active & adventure
Join the clubs
THERE’S NO NEED TO LET YOUR GOLF HANDICAP SLIP WHILE YOU’RE ON HOLIDAYTHE MARGARET RIVER REGION HAS PLENTY OF PLACES FOR YOU TO RAISE YOUR GAME. BY DIANNE BORTOLETTO.
olf is game that polarises the population, you either love it or hate it but everyone can play it regardless of ability. We explore four spectacular courses in the region to take a swing. The Margaret River region is quite the paradise for golfers. There are highly-rated and picturesque courses in Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta that, by golfing standards, offer exceptional value for money. Visitors are able to play at any of those courses without a membership and if you didn’t bring your clubs, club hire and buggy hire are available. The great thing about golf in the south west is that the courses are in top condition, well-maintained with some offering spectacular views. Often golfers will share the fairway with a few hopping locals, great for Instagram. Golf is game suitable for all ages and fitness levels and it’s a pleasant and rewarding way to
maintain fitness (or work off that long winery lunch). It must be said that a favourite with golfers is arriving at the 19th hole to wet the whistle. Golf WA chief executive Gary Thomas says golf is a healthy athletic pursuit suitable for everyone. “When you’re on holiday, it’s about having a hit and having some fun.” According to Gary, studies show that those who play golf live a few years longer and their happiness index is higher. Start swinging!
Busselton Golf Club Busselton Golf Club is Western Australia’s biggest regional golf club in terms of membership and its regarded as one of the best in regional WA, a reputation it has held for many years. It’s a pretty tree-lined course that’s simultaneously challenging and rewarding. The Pro Shop had an upgrade in recent years and offers excellent facilities. Busselton Golf Club was the first course in the south west to introduce an innovative new gold tee. Positioned down the fairway, it takes the golfer’s starting position closer to green. As an example, teeing off from the gold marker shortens a 357-metre par four to a more accessible 261-metres. The gold tee is perfect for beginners, seniors, those with injuries and those
who prefer a shorter game. Gary says it offers tremendous value when you consider it costs $45 for essentially four hours of entertainment. BUSSELTON GOLF CLUB 277 Chapman Hill Road, Busselton 08 9753 1050 Visit busseltongolfclub.com.au
Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club Compared to other golf clubs in the region, the 18-hole Dunsborough Lakes championship course is relatively new. It was built as part of residential development. Besides one section of course, its layout is hidden from the homes and it doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of a housing estate. The coastal elements, namely the wind, make some of the holes longer and some shorter than they appear. The course is challenging and also fun. It’s a beautiful course with natural dunes and habitat and lots of water traps so bring plenty of golf balls. The driving range is fun as you get to hit off grass and over lake. If hitting balls into a lake is your ideas of fun, then you’ll love Dunsborough Lakes. It’s a good all-round course that will challenge both the devout and the occasional golfer. “Dunsborough Lakes offers great holes, and
the three finishing holes are tremendous,” says Gary. “It offers some of the best I’ve played on.” DUNSBOROUGH LAKES GOLF CLUB Clubhouse Drive, Dunsborough (08) 9756 8733 Visit dunsboroughlakesgolfclub.com.au
Margaret River Golf Club Situated on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Coastal Ridge the Margaret River 6092-metre, 72par, 18-hole course is one of regional Western Australia’s most highly regarded. Although not heavily bunkered, the course features numerous water hazards, mostly on the front nine holes and undulating fairways with large trees on the back nine. Margaret River Golf Club pro is Lincoln Reemeyer, former assistant pro at Royal Perth Golf Club. The course is beautiful and offers spectacular views, particularly from the elevated tees. The course which was once sand greens, is maintained to a high standard and is at its perfect best in cooler months. It also has many resident kangaroos, making it favourite with visitors. “The Margaret River Golf Club offers two totally different nines to challenge golfers,” says Gary. MARGARET RIVER GOLF CLUB 599 Wallcliffe Rd, Margaret River (08) 9757 2197 Visit margaretrivergolfclub.com.au
Augusta Golf Club There isn’t a more quintessential country golf experience than that of the Augusta Golf Club. Just leave your green fees in the honour box before you tee off and you’re set to go. If you need to hire clubs or a buggy, be sure to call ahead and book in. It’s a sand green course, so rather than grass greens, they are in fact made with oiled sand. Located on the top of the Leeuwin Ridge surrounded by native bushland, the 18-hole, 72-par course will challenge golfers to focus on their game rather than the incredible views over the Indian Ocean and the Blackwood River. The layout is a favourite among golfers, with beautiful landscapes. The undulating fairways are wide and lined with heavy bush land. Look out for the five-metre grass trees. “It’s well known as a sand green course and happens to be one of the very best sand green courses in the state,” says Gary. AUGUSTA GOLF CLUB Hillview Rd, Augusta (08) 97581432 Visit augustagolfclub.org.au
Golf with kids AMAZEN Don’t expect a walk in the park at Amazen Mini Golf. The 18-hole course has plenty of shade and shelter and has proven to be a hit with families. Entry to mini golf is separate and you can just play or combine your ticket for entry into one of the largest hedge mazes in Australia, set on half an acre with three-metre high hedges. Amazen 9978 Bussell Highway, Margaret River Phone (08) 97587439 Visit amazenmargaretriver.com.au SIMMOS Enjoy some delicious Margaret River ice cream then keep the kids entertained for an hour playing Simmos mini golf course within Simmos Family Fun Park in Dunsborough. provides 18 holes of pure putting fun – astro-turfed and landscaped for all-year round play, the 18-hole course includes mock water courses and sand traps. SIMMOS 161 Commonage Road, Dunsborough 08 9755 3745 Visit simmos.com.au/family-fun-park.html
*Margaret River Golf Club
WE ARE THE STATE BODY FOR AMATEUR GOLF IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA We provide opportunities for everyone to play and learn the game of golf at all levels. Stay up-to-date with all the latest news and events on clubs, courses and high-performance athletes by signing up to our fortnightly e-newsletter; golfwa.org.au
Art & wellbeing
Words with friends
READ ON (clockwise from left) Kim Scott, Anna Funder, Germaine Greer, James Massola and Katie Noonan.
This year’s Readers and Writers Festival offers a cornucopia of talent for book lovers. By JANINE PITTAWAY.
eaders and writers festivals are a joyful experience for people who love thought-provoking conversation. With the line-up of iconic Aussie talent featuring at this year’s Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, prepare to be inspired, to question, be challenged and delighted. Writer, contrarian, activist and feminist Professor Germaine Greer is headlining the May 3 to 5 festival, and will speak about her life and career, as well as her latest book, On Rape, and her environmental work in rehabilitating rainforest at her Queensland property. Greer has been a major voice of the feminist movement for almost 50 years, since creating controversy with her first book, The Female Eunuch.
(Opposite) Another Way of LIfe by Michael Leunig, 2018.
Joining Greer at festival venue Voyager Estate will be Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet Michael Leunig. It’s been about 30 years since Leunig was last in Margaret River and he’s looking forward to returning and enjoying some time with festivalgoers and to see a bit more of the place. “I do particularly like regional writers festivals – they’re more relaxed and friendly, not impersonal,” he said. Leunig will be speaking at two Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival events, sharing his love of cartooning and human observation. “Country people are a pretty interesting crowd, and they don’t mind if you spill your guts a bit. It’s not as manipulated, and it’s something good, not controlled. They want you to say
what you think and there’s a more easy-going frankness. That opens you up,” he said. Leunig is an observer and thinker and has had much to ponder upon in recent times, following a serious accident on his farm three years ago resulting in a near-fatal head injury, and a recent skin cancer diagnosis and operation. “Experiences like that help filter out what does and doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’ve come into more focus, and just say what I want to say. I’m at that age anyway,” he laughs. “You become more philosophical. There’s a freedom that comes with an accident, a near death experience and aging.You become more frank, and thoughtful. These things are all liberating.” During his Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival sessions, Leunig will be touching
on subjects currently making him ponder … the changes to Australian culture, identity, political correctness, idealism, the demise of journalism, the rise of social media, and the importance of humour and connection.
Fans of Leunig will be familiar with his philosophies and introspection, communicated through his poetry, art and much-loved cartoons with the whimsical Mr Curly,Vasco Pyjama, ducks, and the oft-appearing teapots, dogs, trees and nature, published regularly in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and in his volumes of books. Many of his works are in response to world events, issues, horrors, absurdities and wonders. “On certain occasions, humorous absurdity is the only way to counter malignant absurdity,” he says in the introduction to Ducks for Dark Times (Penguin Random House, 2017) “Humour is so valuable to humanity. Humans need each other, people still need humorous connection, and a need for the metaphysical,” he said. His recent cancer scare hasn’t slowed his creativity. He’s still painting regularly and said it’s helped him through his cancer, or “existential crisis”. He’s also touring with Katie Noonan and Elixir for a collaboration featuring spoken-word poetry, live drawing and music. “Painting brightens me up. I’m not a trained artist, I never used to think of myself as an artist. We never had ‘creativity’ when I was in school, we had daydreaming and play.You can’t stop that,
and you’ll do it ‘til the day you die.” Additional Margaret River festival talent includes James Massola, a south east Asia correspondent who was on the ground at last year’s cave rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team in Thailand. He’ll share his story as told in The Great Cave Rescue. Journalist turned novelist Chris Hammer will join James for what’s expected to be a sell-out breakfast event. Enjoy an evening with one of Australia’s most popular writers and actors, William McInnes, or find yourself seeing stars with Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith - award-winning astrophysicist, presenter of ABC television’s Stargazing Live and author of When Galaxies Collide. Dr Gregory Peel Smith will speak about his remarkable memoir Out of the Forest, which follows his journey from living in near total isolation in the forest, foraging for food and eating bats, to his life today as a university teacher. Literary icons Kim Scott, Anna Funder, Liz Byrski and Amanda Curtin will also feature, as well as a range of other established and emerging writers. The festival is being held earlier this year, so get your accommodation and tickets booked early to avoid missing out.There’s a range of packages available - visit mrrwfestival.com for details. For the full program, visit mrrwfestival.com
Getting there is half the fun Kick back, relax and explore the scenic Margaret River region on one of our luxury road coaches. Leave your car at home and enjoy WA’s stunning South West with Transwa instead. You get to unwind and enjoy the scenery while we do the driving. Our five-star road coaches are fully accessible and air conditioned, with on board entertainment, USB ports and toilet facilities. We travel between Margaret River and Perth 12 times a week, and offer a variety of concession discounts. Plan your journey by visiting transwa.wa.gov.au or call 1300 662 205.
Bringing WA closer
Art & wellbeing
Lord of the rings John Miller has moved his gallery into the centre of Margaret River and it’s the perfect place to discover this master craftsman’s work. IMAGES AND WORDS BY MIA LACY.
ohn Miller’s eyes sparkle as he looks lovingly at the multi-coloured sapphires glowing softly in the display beneath us. The airy interior of his new Margaret River gallery is light and bright – almost like daylight – and the faceted stones look amazing. “I was just hoping to retire to a little workshop with the forest fairies and all of a sudden my dream turned into this!’ he laughs, his hands spread wide indicating the space that surrounds us. John tells me he speaks through his work and, that being the case, the work is speaking volumes. Luminous pearls join the precious sapphires and diamonds, hosted in pieces made by John’s creative hands in Sterling silver and beaten gold. Everything is inspired by the natural world John loves. From intricate ocean scenes to dancing dragonflies, his work is a canvas of Australia. From a young age, John always had a workshop of some kind with tools, found objects, coins and treasure. He gained his first appreciation of stones from being a keen rock hound. He says he struck gold when offered a job in a little silversmith’s store in Cottesloe. “I was 18 and studying art, but not yet found a medium that really suited me. The day I walked into that shop, I thought ‘Oh, I’ve got a career here!’ The tools, the raw metal forms available; it all made sense to me. It was 1973 and silver was all the rage so I was an instant rock star! Just to realise I was good at this and could go on learning forever gave my life direction in an instant.” Over time, John worked with some truly great jewellers, travelling through Asia and Europe, often on buying trips and meeting many people in what became a very interesting and exciting industry. “Old world techniques were disappearing so I focused my attention there. Hand engraving, forging, fusing, etching and applique became my main fare. Making my own steel pattern punches was also a good idea. I now have probably the biggest set of handmade punches in Australia. Many are Australian flora and fauna, which both our Margaret River locals and our visitors both like. To me, the concept of Australian jewellery seem to have been largely ignored so I spent a lot of time working on that, with some success.” John also wanted to make durable things he could guarantee. As a member of the Gold and Silversmith’s Guild of Australia, all his work is identified with a registered hallmark which can be traced forever. “I’m sending little messages into the future
and the pieces may be around in ten or twenty thousand years. Jewellery has a rich and celebrated legacy. From medieval, art deco, art nouveau through to today’s masters - it’s a long list. I delight in discoveries of ancient treasure and fantasise it may one day be my work found.” A Swedish client once bought a silver ring from John’s Fremantle outlet in the 1990s. Some years later when he came back from Sweden for more, they told him John was in Broome. He went to Broome, only to be informed John had moved to Yallingup. “So, he came and bought some more down here! That’s a lot of kilometres in total . . .like about 25,000!’ John says. John has long had a daily routine of pen on paper, thrashing out forms and ideas, which he still does today, often well into the evening. “Creativity is intensely individual. My work comes from somewhere beyond my conscious mind. Everyone has a different antenna that picks up something unique.” He believes a great part of his job is being able to pass on skills to aspiring crafters. “I’ve mentored many people over my 46 years in the trade. The biggest thrill really is just being reasonably successful and employing 12 people. For a one-man arts-based business I think that a bit unusual.” John Miller Design is gold sponsor of the Margaret River Open Studios – a wonderful annual event that brings the entire region together and showcases the incredible variety of artists working in the region by allowing visitors into their studio spaces. “I’ve always felt blessed to be a part of the Margaret River creative community. I’ve never been much of a city person. I have a wonderful garden full of birds and lizards and bats and frogs and beautiful trees. The beach is a few minutes away. I love the sea, I love the bush. “I love it here.” Find John Miller Design at 135 Bussel Highway, Margaret River and 51 Marrinup Drive,Yallingup.Visit johnmillerdesign.com
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Art & wellbeing
Keep that Summer Glow KEEP YOUR SKIN GLOWING WITH NATURAL SKINCARE MADE IN THE MARGARET RIVER REGION. BY DIANNE BORTOLETTO.
alent in the region isn’t limited to wine makers, chefs and surfers. It also includes wellness professionals who create natural skincare and body care products. After all, our skin is the body’s largest organ, so it makes sense not to use any toxic products on it.
CORRYNNE’S NATURAL SKINCARE From humble beginnings hand-making soap for Fremantle Markets in 1995, Corrynne’s Natural Skincare has grown to include a Dunsborough workshop and retail store, two more retail outlets in Margaret River and Fremantle Markets, plus a wholesale business. Owners Elise and Mike Hanley have recently taken full ownership of the business from partner/sister Corrynn, but remain focused on delivering the same high quality products customers have come to love. “We are focused on making truly natural products that people can trust, especially those with health issues,” Elise says. “We make natural soaps, clay detox masks, moisturisers and oil moisturisers, scrubs, foot soaks, bath products, shampoo bars and more. But we don’t make conditioner bars because we haven’t been able to find an all-natural recipe for it. “We also sell pure high-grade essential oils at much better prices than the popular pyramid marketing brands – we buy the oils from the source country in bulk to make our products, so
we can pass those savings onto our customers.” Elise says that the Margaret River shop is moving away from packaged products to offer refills to meet customer demands. “Across the business we are moving away from plastic packaging and into glass and tins – it’s better for the planet and for all us.” Keep an eye out for recipe cards coming soon that will guide customers to the uses of essential oils and other products currently in development. Corrynne’s Natural Skincare Town Square, Margaret River Ph 08 9759 141. Visit soaps.net.au
Vasse Virgin was born when Louis and Edwina Scherini were looking for a safe alternative for soap for their three children who were all diagnosed with eczema. The only way they could guarantee that the products were natural without skin irritants or toxins was to make their own. And so the process of experimentation began in the family kitchen, testing the healing qualities of extra virgin olive oil. Fast forward 20 years and Vasse Virgin has grown to include a shop and soap factory in Margaret River and in the Barossa Valley (South Australia). Walk into their Wilyabrup store and you’re immediately hit with heady fragrances that coax you into staying longer. The product range that started with soaps now includes face oils, moisturisers, masks, hand and foot creams, room diffusers and a gourmet food range. Vasse Virgin’s products are centred on cold pressed Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is combined with only the purest natural ingredients such as essential oils, 100 percent pure plant extracts, organically grown teas, clays, flowers, herbs and spices. Visitors can try products, see the soaps being made in the factory, taste olives, olive oils, tapenade, dips and other products, join a DIY workshop or masterclass and get advice from staff about the benefits of natural products.
Vasse Virgin 135 Puzey Road, Wilyabrup, Ph 08 9755 6111 Visit vassevirgin.com.au
BELLE MAKE UP ARTISTRY Cowaramup-based make-up artist and spray tanner Belinda Wood is passionate about only using ethical products whether she’s preparing a bride or graduate heading to a school ball. “I strictly use cruelty-free, vegan, organic and natural products that are not tested on animals,” Belinda says. “My spray tans are certified natural spray tan and contain no synthetics. “It’s never felt right using synthetic products. Our skin absorbs everything - your health is widely dependant on what you put on your skin. “I’m passionate about women’s health and I feel that our hormones are disrupted when you apply toxic products to your skin. If you can’t ingest it, then don’t put it on your body.” Belinda says that to keep that summer glow going, ensure you have beautifully hydrated skin before applying make-up, use illuminisers for a glow and natural serums for a dewy effect. If you’d like to learn how to achieve the look, Belinda offers make-up lessons and in the coming months will start offering facials and holistic massage. Belle Make-Up Artistry Belinda Wood, Ph 0431 486 023 Visit facebook.com/bellemakeupandtanning/
DISCOVER THE ULTIMATE OLIVE OIL EXPERIENCE
SOAP | GOURMET FOOD | SKIN CARE | WORKSHOPS
PETRA OLIVE OIL Petra Olive Oil’s beauty range includes 17 different products from shampoo to baby oil. My favourite is the facial serum, a blend of EVOO and avocado oil, jojoba, rose hip and vitamin E, as well as delicious smelling essential oils geranium, clay sage, frankincense and lavender. As Petra’s Melina Somas says, olive oil has been used since the beginning of time in beauty regimes – Cleopatra used to bathe in it. Petra Olive Oil 251 Sheoak Drive, Yallingup, Ph 0438 627 767 email@example.com. Visit petraoliveoil.com.au
WE ARE FEEL GOOD INC. The Dunsborough-based team at We Are Feel Good Inc. has made what I consider the best natural sunscreen on the market. Their sunscreens are preservative, paba and paraben free and do not contain any reef-harming UV filters. The sunscreen is packed full of goodness to moisturise and hydrate the skin so it feels like you are wearing a moisturiser, not a sunscreen. Visit wearefeelgoodinc.com.au.
SOAP FACTORY & WORKSHOPS 135 Puzey Road, Wilyabrup WA | Ph. (08) 9755 6111
Open daily (bookings essential for workshops) margaretriver.com | AUTUMN 2019 www.vassevirgin.com.au
Art & wellbeing
anny Taylor is in a rush when we meet for a coffee in a cafe in Dunsborough. This state of permanent motion is by no means unusual, it turns out; he and wife Tania are in the middle of a maelstrom of extraordinary activity which shows no sign of letting up since a series of incredible developments for their business Bodhi J. I’m glad he’s got time to sit down and sip a cuppa with me, but I’m aware that this is a brief pause in an otherwise hectic schedule. The Bodhi J success story started simply enough in 2007 with a single wellness venue in Wembley which the pair took over and remodelled in the now-familiar Bodhi J way. At the time however, it was ground-breaking, taking a holistic approach to the beauty business. Think restful hues, gentle new age music, beautifully designed treatment rooms and a definite East Asian influence to the client experience. “It wasn’t long before the Wembley branch was booking weeks in advance and we realised we had to expand,” says Danny. “We made the spa bigger and then an opportunity to create another new venue at Pier Street in Highgate came up.”
Danny and Tania Taylor are the brains (and beauty) behind one of WA’s great success stories, and if you’re lucky enough to stay at the Injidup Spa Resort, make sure you book in for one of their signature treatments. Gabi Mills reports.
The launch of the Bodhi J Wellness Spa Retreat attracted all the A-listers who turn up to events and spread the love via their Insta pages. It was an instant hit and, just like the Wembley spa, is booked up weeks in advance. It seemed that Perth couldn’t get enough of the Bodhi J USP - an eco-focused yet uber luxe spa experience which tapped into a certain clientele’s desire to be pampered without literally costing the earth. “Nobody in Perth was offering the full organic experience - literally everything we use in our business is low impact or organic,” says Danny. Running two such successful luxury retreats may have been enough for most people, but Tania and Danny are not most people. The dynamic duo were considering their options when, late 2017, the opportunity to take over one of the Margaret River regions most luxurious resort’s spa offering came their way. “When the chance to run Injidup Spa Retreat’s offering came up, we jumped at it,” Danny says. “We opened in September 2017, the very same week we got the call from The Westin Perth and Qantas to open spas for them.” Quite a week, by any description. The exquisite Bodhi J @ Injidup Spa Retreat
features three discerningly appointed treatment rooms - one a double room for couples - each with a beautiful and unique serenity of their own, with spectacular views spanning the south west coastline. The team of six expert therapists will cater for guests of the resort and visitors to the area, and offers an extensive world-class spa treatment menu with eco-luxe Australian skincare brand Sodashi, hand-made in North Fremantle, as well as the signature Li’Tya Marta Kodo Rock Massage. “We’d stayed at Injidup many times - it’s our go-to place to unwind,” says Danny. “We knew that thanks to our big following in Perth, those
same clients would love to visit a Bodhi J when they’re holidaying down south.” And that’s the magic formula; whether you’re enjoying a hot rocks massage in Injidup or a facial at The Westin, you can be assured that the experience will be identical whatever the venue, down to the way the fruit is sliced and presented at the end of your treatment. “Consistency and service is the key to success, we’re very customer-oriented,” he says. “Now that there are five venues we work extremely hard through training our staff that the offering is the same across the board.” Back to that incredible week in September. The Westin Perth is just the latest in a pipeline of luxury hotels that are springing up in the CBD, and it was extremely pleasing for Danny and Tania to receive a call from the world-wide brand asking them if they’d like to set up a Bodhi J in the new dedicated spa floor in the new destination. “We got the call and they said that they’d heard that Bodhi J was the best wellness spa in town, and would we like to be part of the new hotel,” says Danny. Needless to say, they said yes. Since April 2018, Bodhi J at The Westin Perth and Injidup Spa have taken the wellness
experience to decadent new heights. The experience is superlative from the welcome to final, reluctant goodbye. They are both beautiful sanctuaries, offering top notch experiences for those who stay or visit. Despite the pressures on their time running such a rapidly expanding business, it’s just as likely you’ll be greeted by Tania or Danny behind the reception desk as one of their exceedingly well-trained staff members. They don’t shirk from being hands-on and keep an eagle eye on consistency of experience, wherever they happen to be in their wellness empire. The latest piece in the puzzle is an innovative
Open now! Adrenaline fun for the whole family
The Bodhi J tree encompasses the group’s holistic philosophy to beauty and wellness; to enhance each guest’s overall wellbeing using the purest botanicals in an environment of complete serenity.
one; a wellbeing studio at the international transit lounge at Perth Airport. “Being approached by Qantas, such an iconic Australian brand, was definitely a highlight so far for us,” says Danny. Partnering with the airline, premium passengers can enjoy a 15-minute Bodhi J-driven session as they wait for or disembark the non-stop Perth to London route. So instead of browsing duty free, why not give yoga a go or brush up on your breathing and meditation techniques? “The ideal for us is that passengers will arrive via Qantas, check into the Westin, then go down to Injidup for a break, enjoying the same Bodhi J experience at each venue.” It’s almost like they planned it. Visit bodhij.com.au for information.
zip-line ropes course Nature playground
open 7 days 1710 Caves Road, Dunsborough next door to clancy’s fish pub
Ph 9717 6670 Book online @
Art & wellbeing
south west of the
Most people who have chosen to call the Margaret River region home have a song in their hearts, but a group of talented locals have gone a step further, forming a bold big band that celebrates the songbirds of jazz. By JANINE PITTAWAY.
argaret River GP and saxophonist Louise Marsh brought a group of like-minded local singers and musos together in January 2018 for what was to be a oneoff performance at a sunset concert in Cowaramup. They called themselves Songbirds of the Southwest and had such a great audience response and fun time performing together, they just kept going! Fast forward 12 months and Songbirds of the Southwest are playing at Jazz by the Bay, the opening of the redeveloped Margaret River Cultural Centre, now known as Margaret River HEART (Hub of Entertainment, Arts and Regional Touring), and gigging at Perth’s premier jazz venue The Ellington where they recently had a sold out performance. The Songbirds are a rare breed, featuring six sassy vocalists and up to eight musos with a hot horn section. They perform works from their favourite jazz artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Astrid Gilberto, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Adele. How did Louise manage to get so many musos together in a relatively small region? “Margaret River and the region has some pretty amazing talent,” she said. “It’s great to be able to tap into it. A lot of us play together in different combos so most knew each other but it’s been great to welcome in some new talent too.”
Members of Songbirds of the Southwest range in age from 17 to 68 and even had an 80-year-old guest pianist recently. “It can be a challenge getting everyone together for a rehearsal when they come from Denmark to Dunsborough but we all love the collaboration. I feel very privileged to be among them. I’d love us to go as far as we can.” The Songbirds include both professional and weekend performers and, as well as a GP, also includes a dentist, an engineer, an electrician, teachers and mums. “It’s a great diversion from the pace of my day job and provides me with balance and the chance to catch up with friends and perform,” the 20-year Margaret River resident said. The group’s core members are: Louise Marsh (singing Peggy Lee and tenor sax), Andrea Frances (singing Astrid Gilberto), Janine Andrews (singing Ella Fitzgerald), Michelle Spriggs (singing Amy Winehouse), Tilly Kelleher (singing Nina Simone), Scott Wise (singing Louis Armstrong with Ella and guitar),Viv Booker (bass), Cleo Wiese (singing Adele) Gary Larkin (drums), Mike Wiese (clarinet, sax), Kevin Jones (trombone, flute), David Rastrick (trumpet), Kevin McDonald (guitar) and Sean Lillico (piano). Surprisingly, Louise only took up the sax when she was in her early 20s. “It wasn’t a
lifelong ambition, but as simple as the fact that my sister was learning the sax and I thought I could do it better! My dad was really into jazz when we were growing up and is a huge music lover so I grew up with the songs our band is now performing.” The Songbirds will be returning to the line-up of the much-anticipated Jazz by the Bay festival this year, on May 31 to June 3 across Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River. This year’s festival will bring together worldclass musicians from Western Australia and the northern hemisphere, pairing live jazz, funk and soul with spectacular venues and the region’s best gourmet food and wine for four days. Expect a choice of more than 40 music, wine and gourmet food experiences. Free local, national and international performances are programmed over the Saturday and Sunday of the festival in the heart of Dunsborough. The program will also feature free and ticketed events at surrounding venues. Whether you’re into big bands, classic jazz, bebop, swing or scat – Jazz by the Bay has you covered. See the Songbirds perform at the opening of Margaret River HEART on March 22, and Jazz by the Bay (May 31 to June 3). For program details visit jazzbythebay.com.au and find them on Facebook. Book your accommodation early to avoid missing out.
art | food | wine
Left to right, Simon Hemsley, Robin Pensini, Mel Brigg, Lori Pensini, Joanne Duffy.
Don’t miss a unique opportunity to experience the rugged landscape of the Pilbara seen through the eyes of four highly regarded artists at The Studio Gallery.
hen artists Mel Brigg, Lori Pensini, Joanne Duffy and Simon Hemsley decided to collaborate on a fascinating painting expedition to the Pilbara, the final results were never going to be anything short of extraordinary. Each artist packed up their art supplies and headed north to a remote pastoral station, some arriving by plane while others drove up from Perth. Anticipation was high as the stunning landscape unfolded in front of them. A warm welcome from Robin Pensini at Cheela Plains Station and a quick meeting was followed with a 4x4 drive out to the riverbed campsite. Camping in roomy tents with comfortable beds, everyone was catered for. Wholesome, nourishing fresh meals were served around the enormous camp fire, with a special camp dining room set up for all to relax in.
A LITTLE ABOUT CHEELA Cheela Plains Station is a family owned and managed cattle station located in the semi-arid, pastoral rangelands of the Pilbara in Western Australia. While Cheela is a fully working cattle station it is highly regarded as a unique outback experience, offering an ideal stop-over between the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and Karijini National Park. Facilities include a fully serviced air conditioned multi bedroom complex with shared kitchen and ablutions, camping areas, conference rooms, wireless internet access, cell phone coverage and approximately 150 square metres of undercover area. The pastoral lease now known as Cheela Plains Station was part of Wyloo Station, owned by the Pensini Family until 2001 when Evan and Robin Pensini established it as its own individual
station. Their vision to be industry leaders in sustainable and renewable pastoral practices has given proven results with the knowledge of keeping pastoral rangeland in excellent condition for future generations. The artists spent each day exploring the incredible gorges, waterholes, riverbeds and more at their leisure, absorbing themselves into the rugged landscape. They set up easels and tables at favourite spots, sketching and painting the amazing colours and shapes surrounding them, some set up under trees listening to the birds and sounds coming from the environment, all walked and photographed – thousands of photos were taken. The many paint, pen and pencil sketches and photographs created on location were then used to create what will be an amazing exhibition. Each artist holds a different interpretation of their experience in The Pilbara - viewers will sense the soul and passion that was felt within the artist and be given a unique insight into what The Pilbara holds both physically and spiritually. Featuring four exceptional and professional artists, this exhibition is one not to be missed. The official opening in The Studio Gallery (Yallingup) is 6pm April 20 (Easter Saturday). Wine and canapés will be provided. Meet the artists on the open night and hear their stories first hand of this extraordinary experience. BEYOND KARIJINI: THE PILBARA AND CHEELA PLAINS - One Landscape, 4 Responses - Mel Brigg | Lori Pensini | Joanne Duffy | Simon Hemsley. Beyond Karijini will be on show from 20 April to 6 May,The Studio Gallery & Bistro, Yallingup.Visit thestudiogallery.com.au (for restaurant bookings and gallery enquiries). Call 08 9756 6371.
GALLERY Open 10am daily (closed Tuesdays) T 08 9756 6371 W www.thestudiogallery.com.au BISTRO Lunch | Thursday - Monday Dinner | Saturday T 08 9756 6164 W www.thestudiobistro.com.au 7 Marrinup Drive, Yallingup, 6282
Art & wellbeing
THE INCLUSIVE REGION By BROOKE EVANS-BUTLER. Images courtesy SHIRE OF AUGUSTA MARGARET RIVER.
THE MARGARET RIVER REGION IS RENOWNED FOR ITS WINERIES AND TOURISM ATTRACTIONS, BUT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE BETTER KNOWN IS THE REGION’S DEDICATION TO INCLUSIVENESS. WE LOOK AT A FEW OF THE MANY WAYS THE REGION IS A HAVEN FOR ALL. ARTZABILITY Artzability is a popular not-for-profit organisation in the region that runs arts workshops for people with disabilities. Gail Warren, one of the founding parents of Artzability, says the idea came about 10 years ago. “It started with some parents that had kids who were finishing high school at the Margaret River High School. We thought the kids needed something to do after leaving school,” she recalls. Gail says the not-for-profit organisation employees a coordinator who comes up with arts-related activities for the participants to do. The coordinator contacts people in the local area who can run an arty activity, such as painting, pottery, drama or dance. Artzability is currently running at capacity, with 20 people participating, who each attend with a support worker.
Gail says the program has filled a gap. “(The participants) all love it because they do so many exciting things. Each week they are challenged with something different. “After a while the art became secondary to what we thought it would be, because what they get out of it is friendship,” she adds. “You have people that otherwise would have never come in contact with each other, so they have all made friends with each other.” She says the shire has been a wonderful support, and has provided grants, as well as a venue (The Zone Room) for the weekly gettogethers at no cost. “I cannot sing their praises highly enough,” she says. Artist Francesco Geronazzo, from Margaret River Printmaking, has taught art to Artzability participants on two occasions and says the experience was amazing.
BEST FRIENDS Monika Volpi with seeing eye dog Junior with the new swim lane signage at the Margaret River Recreation Centre.
. “I wish I could work there once a month – I would love to do that,” he says. “I hope in the future to collaborate more with them.’ For other artists thinking about taking part, Francesco says it is something everyone should do. “You get more than you give,” he says. “You learn more than you teach; it is such a great experience.”
ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION If you’re looking for accessible accommodation in the region, you can’t go past Redgate Forest Retreat, which owners Tim and Sheila Ashenden have spent much time and effort ensuring accessible accommodation options are available, even down to the smallest details. “I have worked with wheelchair-bound colleagues so that, combined with questions we were getting from guests about the house that was already on the property when we bought it, is what led me to want to do the chalet that was wheelchair-friendly,” Sheila says. “It is not just people who are wheelchair bound; it is about children and adults and family members of all ages who are mobility impaired.” On a picturesque 167 acres, Redgate Forest
the region, for locals and tourists alike, including: • A beach wheelchair at River Mouth from mid-December to the end of April (during lifeguard hours). • An accessible fishing jetty in Augusta at Dead Finish. “The jetty is made of steel instead of timber planks, so it is a smooth surface and there is quite a bit of room at the end for a wheelchair to fish off the jetty,” says Katie Taylor, Community Development Officer, Shire of Augusta Margaret River. • Margaret River Youth Precinct. Katie says this has recently been redeveloped with ongoing consultation with people with disability. “ • Mammoth Cave is accessible for wheelchairs. • Forest Adventures South West can cater for
DID YOU KNOW? The Shire of Augusta Margaret River was awarded the Most Accessible Community in WA Award (Regional Town/ Shire Category) by the Regional Capitals Alliance of WA last year.
Retreat has two wheelchair-friendly chalets. “We made sure that the corners are right, that the corridors are wide, that the bed heights are right. We made sure the main bathroom in both chalets are open wet rooms. One chalet has a wheelchair-friendly barbeque, so if the person in the wheelchair wants to do the cooking they can do so easily. We want them to have a great experience.”
HAPPS WINES 40 wines on tasting
Happs OPEN TO ALL Wheelchair accessible drink fountain at the Margaret River Youth Precinct.
people with disabilities. • Margaret River Recreation Centre. Katie says it is well known to be an accessible and inclusive facility, with recent access initiatives including vision impaired swim lane signage and the construction of autism-friendly family change rooms. • Alexandra Bridge nature-based camping ground, a ‘less-able’ camping bay. “This bay is close to the amenities and is on the most level part of the camping ground, and there are plans to concrete that path in the future,” says Katie.
Picnics & platters to share Watch Artists at work
Explore the garden
There are also many accessible areas throughout
Redgate Forest Retreat guest experience “My son Jack has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair chair. As a family we don’t have many chances for a holiday, usually because I work away most of the time. When we do manage to go somewhere overnight, our options are severely limited due to the limited number of places that can accommodate a wheelchair bound person. Sheila’s place met these criteria and more with such a beautiful location. Not only that but also stylish furniture and appointments. I would not hesitate recommending the house to anyone with similar limitations.” ~ Redgate Forest Retreat guest Jim Sharp
Rustic - Warm - Relaxed Visit us @ 575 Commonage Road margaretriver.com | AUTUMN 2019 89 Dunsborough or www.happs.com.au
Art & wellbeing
Meet the makers Satisfy your artistic curiosity and celebrate originality at Margaret River Region Open Studios (27 April to 12 May). By JANINE PITTAWAY.
ore than 100 painters, sculptors, illustrators, jewellers, printmakers, glassblowers, ceramicists, photographers and furniture makers are participating in the sixth annual Open Studios, and 24 artists are throwing open their studio doors for the first time. From Busselton to Augusta, meet artists in their home towns and off the beaten track for a unique behind-the-scenes creative experience in this stunning region. Margaret River Region Open Studios Chairman Jim Davies said the 16-day event ticked many boxes in providing art lovers with a memorable experience. “This year’s artistic line-up includes many old (and young) favourites, plus a number of artists new to the event, so it’s perfect for both firsttime and regular visitors,” he said. “There really is something for everyone, whether it be learning about creative intentions
and techniques, sharing ideas, admiring art, exploring out-of-the-way back roads, or owning a piece of art created by an artist you have had the opportunity to meet.” Local artists are the stars of the show and talent this year includes recognisable and respected names such as Leon Pericles, Rachel Coad, Rebecca Cool, Lauren Wilhelm, Ian Mutch, Christian Fletcher, John Streater and John Miller. The work of some artists is available exclusively from their studios. There are many personal and interactive experiences to be had in visiting artists across the region. Leon Pericles will give printing demonstrations and will be signing his new 50year retrospective book. Interactive artist Britta Sorensen invites visitors to immerse themselves in colour and watch or join in her interactive experiential recycled textiles installation. Ceramicist Dariya Gratte will be demonstrating
fine porcelain techniques. Attend a ‘learn how to paint’ workshop by Heidi Mullender, or enjoy painting demonstrations with many of the Open Studios artists. Glass guru Gerry Reilly will be providing glassmaking experiences and showing how to ‘blow your own bauble’. At Ian Mutch’s home studio, watch a film of his public artworks and flip through his artist sketchbooks. Ian Thwaites will give woodworking demonstrations and Nalda Hoskins will share how she makes her stunning glass beads and jewellery. Enjoy a chat and a chai from a mug handmade by ceramicist Sally Mills in her beautiful garden, or have a go on her pottery wheel. Using the event’s handy maps, explore studios
ART IN ACTION Margaret River Open Studios gives visitors the chance to see local artists at work. From left, main pic, Josh Windram (Wish You Were Here), Patricia Negus, Lauren Wilhelm (and her work, No Need To Talk), and Rachel Coad. Below, work by Ian Mutch, Gerry Reilly and Ross Miller.
within artist’s homes, in country cottages, on winery properties, in peaceful bushland, on working farms with friendly barnyard animals, in a '70s beach shack, at an ice-cream farm, a maze, in a tattoo studio, and in a homemade mudbrick studio ‘Swallow’s Welcome’ where artist Patricia Negus invites visitors to view her artwork, admire the gardens, bring a picnic and relax. Living in the Margaret River region inspires Open Studios artists. Painter Alice Linford Forte said the clean country air rejuvenated her. “Being in such an artistically rich environment also keeps the imagination buzzing and it helps to be surrounded by the most beautiful, untamed and incredibly powerful ocean to serve as constant inspiration.” Illustrator Tamika Hogan said it was impossible for the region not to inspire her art. “The waves and all the pockets of coast,
the forests and access to the Cape to Cape... Everywhere you go there are panoramic, breathtaking views and you can always find a private corner of a beach to seek solitude or even indulge in a cheeky skinny dip. My senses are constantly alive down here and I never grow immune to her beauty.” In keeping with the creativity of Margaret River Region Open Studios, this year’s event has a new visual design, which will feature on
the cover of the event guide and website. The free large-format event guide includes new-look maps showing studio locations, cross-referenced with artist images and biographies. Margaret River Region Open Studios is free to attend and bookings are not required. To find out more visit mrropenstudios. com.au or follow the event on Facebook (mrropenstudios) or Instagram (@margaretriverregionopenstudios).
ABBEY BEACH RESORT LUXURY HOTEL AND APARTMENT ACCOMMODATION IN A RESORT SETTING, LOCATED ON THE BEACH IN BUSSELTON Enjoy fully serviced, self contained apartments and studios, each with a private double spa and balcony. Abbey Beach Resort is a 4.5 star leisure resort with countless facilities and amenities. The Resort has an atrium restaurant, pool side café, several bars, a 25 metre indoor heated swimming pool, 2
outdoor pools, tennis and squash courts, spa, gym and sauna for your enjoyment. Stroll to the beach, tour wineries, art galleries and many other local attractions. For a holiday or short break you are assured of comfort and style at Abbey Beach Resort
595 Bussell Highway, Busselton WA Freecall 1800 017 097 • Ph 61 8 9755 4600 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.abbeybeach.com.au
DUNSBOROUGH CENTRAL MOTEL
GETTING AROUND THE REGION TRANS WA Trans WA19 travels from Perth to Margaret River every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and returns to Perth the same day. Visit wa-getaway.com.au
MARGARET RIVER RENT A CAR Hire a car or people mover from Margaret River – all you need is a valid driver’s licence. Visit margaretriverrentacar.com.au
BUSSELTON & SOUTH WEST RENT A CAR Busselton & South West Rent a Car is a local, family-owned car rental company.
DUNSBOROUGH CENTRAL MOTEL IS NESTLED IN A TRANQUIL GARDEN SETTING IN THE HEART OF TOWN Dunsborough Central Motel is ideally located on the doorstep of world renowned beaches, dive sites, premium wineries, art galleries, wildflowers, caves and the incredible coastal scenery of Cape Naturaliste. Just a 600 metre stroll to the beach or a short drive to surf beaches, the Dunsborough
50 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough WA Ph 08 9756 7711 • email@example.com www.dunsboroughmotel.com.au
AVIS SOUTHWEST CAR HIRE Explore the beautiful Margaret River region with a rental from Avis Southwest Car Hire in Busselton.
YOUR MARGARET RIVER REGION APP The latest version of the Your Margaret River Region app features more than 1,000 things to do, as well as service points located throughout the region. The app also features an audio tour of the Busselton Jetty. Search for attractions, activities and tours, wineries, restaurants, breweries and cafes as well as accommodation options. Visit margaretriver/mobile-app
Central Motel is adjacent to restaurants and cafes, wine bars, supermarket shopping centre, beauticians, banks and a very well informed Visitor Centre. Simply relax in style by our outdoor pool and BBQ area, indulge in the Bali Style Gazebo Spa, or just kick back with a good book and a glass of wine in the privacy of your well appointed room.
Affordable Dog-Friendly Range of Quality Accommodation and Camping Sites in Busselton. Tel: 9755 4082 585 Caves Road, Busselton
R O F Y D A E GET R
E T A M I T L THE U
E R U T N ADVE ON T L E S S U IN B
ADRENALINE FILLED HIGH ROPE ADVENTURE PARK FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
(08) 9780 5908
FOREST ADVENTURES SOUTH WEST
W W W. F O R E S TA D V E N T U R E S . C O M . A U
FOOD & DRINK
DUNSBOROUGH INN BACKPACKERS
SUNFLOWERS ANIMAL FARM & FARMSTAY
Nestled by the forest in the town of Margaret River
ASK US ABOUT OUR SPECIALS!
SUPERIOR BUDGET ACCOMMODATION SITUATED RIGHT IN THE HUB OF TOWN
Phone: 08 9758 7188 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those on a budget, the self-catering aspect of the complex and it’s proximity to the supermarket can be a great money saver. Dunsborough Inn Backpackers provides a variety of accommodation ranging from self-contained units to our non dormitory hostel style rooms. Our large communal kitchen/dining room and spacious recreation areas provide an environment for guests to relax and exchange experiences of the day or just to meet new people.
We offer farmstay accommodation in 4 fully self contained units, sleeping between 5 and 9 people, near Margaret River in the South West of Western Australia. Sunflowers Farmstay is ideal for big groups of friends or families (max 28 people). Wander through the Animal Farm, with over 350 very friendly (mainly) farm animals, at any time during your stay. Sip local wines while admiring our stunning views: wild kangaroos grazing on rolling hills covered in beautiful wildflowers.
50 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough WA Ph 08 9756 7277 • email@example.com www.dunsboroughinn.com.au
5561 Caves Road, near Margaret River Ph: (08) 9757 3343 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.sunflowersfarm.com
BIG VALLEY CAMPSITE
JACARANDA GUEST HOUSE
NESTLED AMONGST THE HILLS OF OUR FAMILY OWNED WORKING SHEEP FARM, JUST TEN MINUTES SOUTH EAST OF MARGARET RIVER.
PARK YOUR CAR AND WALK EVERYWHERE
The farm encompasses a beautiful secret valley secluded from the outside world by natural forest. Bring your Caravan, Motorhome or Tent to relax and enjoy the open space, amazing nights skies, friendly farm animals and the family friendly atmosphere. Pet friendly.
Busselton famous Jetty, beach, shops, cafe and restaurants all just a short walk away. Jacaranda Guest House is centrally located, has 7 guest rooms all with own ensuite, r/c airconditioning and free wifi. It is nestled amongst english style gardens, where You can just relax or enjoy a bbq. Continental breakfast is included in the price. 30 West Street, Busselton, WA Ph 08 9751 5973 • email@example.com www.jacarandaguesthouse.com
Ph 08 9757 5020 bigvalleymargaretriver.com.au
CAFE BORANUP COUNTRY ATMOSPHERE IN THE FOREST 10am-4pm Weekdays. 8am-4pm Weekends.
FRIENDLY COUNTRY TAVERN AND RESTAURANT
Great coffee. Home baked scones and cakes. Augusta Abalone and Whiting. Variety of vegetarian and GF options. Breakfast and Lunch Menu.
Serving meals all day 11am - 9pm Local beer and wine.
Lunch • Dinner • Bar • Snacks. Next to Boranup Gallery. 7981 Caves Road, Forest Grove WA 6286 Ph 08 9757 7279 | www.cafeboranup.com
Bussell Hwy, Karridale, WA Ph 08 9758 5523
FOOD & DRINK
EAGLE BAY OLIVES A GOURMET EXPERIENCE WITH A FOCUS ON OLIVE OIL AND OLIVES Premium extra virgin olive oil. A wide selection of table olives, naturally processed. Tapenades, pesto, dukkah, dressings and jams, all preservative free. Unique giftware including olive wood boards and kitchen utensils. Picnic boxes to enjoy in our shady gardens. Sunday until sold out. Open 10.30-5.00 10.30 - 5.00every everyFriday, Friday,Saturday Saturday&and Sunday Also Monday public holidays. Check our Facebook page for the latest news. Check our Facebook page for the latest news.
521 Cape Naturaliste Road, Eagle Bay WA Ph (08) 9755 3188 eaglebayolives.com.au
BLUE OCEAN FISH & CHIPS AUGUSTA Come eat where the two oceans meet in the spectacular location of Augusta. Experience the taste of our mouth-watering local fish, grilled or fried with yummy gluten-free chips. Variety seafood products, combo packs, selection of kids’ packs, burgers, drinks and ice creams available. Blue Ocean is located in the centre of town.
Open 7 days a week Lunch 11.30am ~ 2.00pm • Dinner 5.00pm ~ 8.00pm Tel: 08 9758 1748 • 73 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta
AUTHENTIC ITALIAN GELATO AND SORBETTI
08 9588 8877 107 BUSSEL HWY (MAIN STREET)
Authentic Italian gelato and sorbetti made in-store by owner Andy using natural ingredients. Dairy and gluten-free flavours available.
w: www.elkamo.com.au • e: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR OPENING HOURS PLEASE CHECK FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE
COCKTAILS + TAPAS + FOUR HOTEL SUITES
32 Queen Street, Busselton WA Ph 08 9751 1477 / gelatobuonissimo / gelatobuonissimobusselton
Book your spot in the winter issue Contact Natalie to book your space in our next issue of Your Margaret River Region Magazine.
Call 0426 752 352 margaretriver.com
FOOD & DRINK
ARTS & ACTIVITIES
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm everyday 08 9755 5555 4259 Caves Road, Margaret River
(08) 9757 9351
HOME OF GINIVERSITY
CORYNNE’S NATURAL SKINCARE
ARTGEO CULTURAL COMPLEX MRDC_YMRRM.indd 1
Truly natural, chemical-free skincare made on-site in Dunsborough. Come visit our cute little shop and factory – essential oil soaps, mud masks, moisturisers, interesting gifts too. Second shop now open in Town Square, Margaret River.
T: 08 9759 1419 86 Commonage Rd, Dunsborough email@example.com | soaps.net.au
d i s t i l l e r y. c o m . a u
19/02/2019 5:18:25 PM
WHERE ART AND HERITAGE MEET ArtGeo creative hub for the visual and performing arts features galleries, studios, workshops, coffee house and theatre in heritage-listed buildings close to Busselton foreshore. open daily 10am ~ 4pm Queen Street Cultural Precinct, Busselton 08 9751 4651 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.artgeo.com.au
ARTS & ACTIVITIES
WA’S BEST BEACH SKYDIVES Tandem Skydive from 10, 14 or 15,000ft over the spectacular Busselton and Margaret River regions! Enjoy a breathtaking flight to altitude, taking in views of Geographe Bay, the famous Busselton Jetty, Cape Naturaliste and the wineries beyond. Then it’s time for the door to open, and ready? set? GO! Feel the rush of free falling when you and your Instructor plummet toward the earth at 200km/hour, before safely landing on the beaches of the beautiful Busselton foreshore alongside the Jetty. We are open 7 days from October to April, so book today!
Ph 1300 449 669 email@example.com www.skydivegeronimo.com.au
JOHN STREATER FINE FURNITURE JOHN STREATER FINE FURNITURE AND ART GALLERY
Professionally guided HORSE RIDING TOURS, suitable for all abilities. From forest treks to beach rides, we have a horse riding adventure just for you.
105 Blythe road, Yallingup Siding 6282 WA Open daily 10am to 4pm Ph 08 9755 1211 www.streaterfinefurniture.com
YALLINGUP SURF SCHOOL
WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S PREMIER SURF AND LIFESTYLE ACADEMY
0428 058 157 WWW.SCENICHELICOPTERS.COM.AU
ASK a LOCAl! Drop in to one of our four accredited visitor centres in Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River for friendly, expert advice.
Yallingup Surf School provides group lessons or private coaching for the absolute beginner to aspiring champions and we cater for kids, mums and dads, tourists, corporate and school groups and everyone in between. Ph: 0429 881 221 firstname.lastname@example.org yallingupsurfschool.com
1549 Rosa Brook Rd, Margaret River Ph 08 97574 562 email@example.com www.jestersflat.com
75 HALF + FULL DAY Wine & Scenic Tours
Sample plate at Venison Farm Sample French Nougat at Bettenays Cellar Door Cheese & Crackers at Knotting Hill Samples at the Cheese & Chocolate Factories Sample Liqueurs & Cocktails at The Grove Free bottled water on board Gourmet Lunch at an Iconic Restaurant (full-day tour only) See our NEW CHEERS MARGARET RIVER VIDEO online!
. affordable . quality .
Margaret River Food & Wine Tours phone: 0417 948 933 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.winetoursmargaretriver.com.au
9757 2270 or 0474 721 836
MARGIES BIG DAY OUT BEER & WINE TOUR
MARGARET RIVER TOURS
MARGARET RIVER’S ORIGINAL
EXPERIENCE THE BEST… OF WHAT THIS WORLD FAMOUS REGION HAS TO OFFER! Visit 7 venues including 3 wineries, 2 breweries and the Cheese & Chocolate Companies. Enjoy a lunch of delicious local produce at a Margaret River Brewery. Make friends, have a laugh and relax whilst your friendly Tour Guide takes you on an amazing day out in the Margaret River Region. Pick up and drop off to your accommodation included. CALL US TODAY!
Ph 0416 180 493 margaretrivertourswa.com.au
GREAT RATES & SERVICE at Bunbury, Busselton & Collie Oneway Rentals (to Perth) available
Margaret River WA
Half Day and Full Day Gourmet Wine & Dine. Visiting 6 wineries daily, including Voyager, Watershed, Leeuwin, McHenry Hohnen, Vasse Felix, Brookland Valley, Juniper Estate, Stella Bella & Brown Hill. Full Day tours feature lunch at Watershed. All tours enjoy complementary vineyard platter as well as tastings of small goods, cheese & chocolate. Ph 0419 917 166 email@example.com www.margaretrivertours.com
Don’t miss out next time Contact Natalie to book your space in our next issue of Your Margaret River Region Magazine.
Call 1800 679 880
To make a booking visit avis.com.au
Call 0426 752 352
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AUTO Road, Victoria Park WA.Tel Tel9311 93117533. 7533.autoclassic.com.au autoclassic.com.au LMCT2271 AUTOCLASSIC CLASSIC48 48Burswood Burswood Road, Victoria Park. LMCT2271 margaretriver.com | SPRING 2018 99
The definitive guide to the Margaret River region, published on behalf of the MRBTA. Read all about the people who make this part of the sou...
Published on Feb 25, 2019
The definitive guide to the Margaret River region, published on behalf of the MRBTA. Read all about the people who make this part of the sou...