Your Margaret River Region Magazine Autumn 2020

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17 | Autumn 2020



Your Margaret River Region magazine

In this issue

• • • •

Meet surfing legend Tom Hoye Vanya Cullen celebrates 30 years How to do the Margaret River Pro Visit artists during Open Studios


Your pull-out guide to what’s on this Autumn | AUTUMN 2020 1








S P E C TA C U L A R W E D D I N G S s








Editor’s Letter THE FIRST DAYS of autumn are like a big sigh of relief, as the dog days of summer fade away and we look forward to cooler nights and crisp mornings. Sure, there will still be the odd blast of heat, but in the main, it’s time to dig out socks and cardigans rather than swimmers and sunhats. We’re celebrating the region's hard-working winemakers in this issue, with a special extended collection of stories about vintage. It’s the time of the region is flooded with vineyard workers from all over the world, giving much-needed assistance to the winemakers who eagerly look on as grapes are brought in from the vines. Read about our suggestions for autumnal wines, how leading winemaker Vanya Cullen plans on celebrating her 30 years in the industry, and the story behind Pierro Wines. There’s plenty happening around the region which isn’t related to wine too.The Margaret River Pro will be surfing into town shortly – we give you tips on how to enjoy it to the max. There’s plenty to feed art, music and literature lovers’ souls too with Open Studios, Jazz by the Bay and the Readers and Writers Festival all back for 2020. If you’re keen to explore the region for the first time - welcome, Jetstar passengers! – there are plenty of helpful tips from locals who can help you make the most of your time in our beautiful part of the world. Don’t miss some new venues – Meelup Farmhouse, Swings & Roundabout’s new incarnation, and cookery school One Table Farm, are brilliant additions to our superlative collection of places to indulge foodie passions. There are new tours to enjoy (I’m keen on the wine tour aboard an electric bike in particular) and ideas to make the most of a visit to Vasse. Top tip: bring a big appetite. All in all, I’m pretty happy to give summer the flick and welcome autumn with open arms.

WADANDI BOODJA The Wadandi people are the traditional owners of the South West of Western Australia. Wadandi Boodja means Saltwater People’s Country. Whilst living, travelling, visiting and holidaying on Wadandi Boodja, we ask that you respect the area and walk softly on the country, taking the time to listen to Boodja (Country) as she Wongi (talks) of the season, and leave nothing but footprints. – Cultural Custodian Iszaac Webb


PUBLISHED BY PREMIUM PUBLISHERS 26 John Street, Northbridge Perth WA 6003 | Ph (08) 9273 8933 EDITOR Gabi Mills ART DIRECTOR Cally Browning SALES MANAGER Natalie du Preez PHOTOGRAPHIC Tim Campbell ( Elements Margaret River ( INTERIOR VINTAGECOVER IMAGE By Freedom Garvey, Windows Estate CONTRIBUTORS Dianne Bortoletto, Cassandra Charlick, Danielle Costley, Tom de Souza, Brooke Evans-Butler, Fergal Gleeson, Joanne Marriott, Lizzy Pepper, Janine Pittaway, Tori Wilson. ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES 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. ©2020 YOUR MARGARET RIVER REGION MAGAZINE is published quarterly by Premium Publishers on behalf of the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association. Visit


Share pics, videos and thoughts during your stay via our social media. We’ll repost our favourites! The Margaret River Region


@MargaretRiver #margaretriver

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 or call (08) 9780 5911, seven days a week!





Mumbrella Travel Publication of the Year



Local artist @anita.revel.artist painted these larger than life cowara wings on Hall Street, just off the main street of “Cow Townâ€?. Be sure to check it out next time you visit. đ&#x;“¸ @joe_sugg

Summer days in Dunsborough – sunrise strolls along the tidal flats, mid morning dips at Castle Bay, beach volleyball at Meelup and romantic sunset walks at Quindalup. The best things in life really are free. @ally.photog

Karri trees at Boranup Forest photo-bombed by some emus. @vita_lumen escaped the office to find some peace and quiet when she stumbled across some feathered friends... guess we can’t have it ALL to ourselves...

@goldencharlie_official here looks like he doesn’t have too much stress on his mind that’s for sure, living the life at the @beerfarm.

When you’re looking for that picture perfect postcard scene to tease the rellies with, take a drive along the Meelup Eagle Bay coastal drive and you’ll be spoilt for choice. The water really is THAT blue. @dylan.dehaas

We'd love to share your instagram pics! Take a pic, make sure you use #margaretriver by May 1 2020 for your chance to see it featured in the next issue.






Eat & Drink


16 Destination news 18 Buzz over to Busso 20 New spin on an old favourite 22 Pub with no equal 24 Tree to plate 26 Farmhouse chic by the beach 28 Explore Vasse 32 One Table Farm 34 The ultimate Margs day out 38 Nature’s pantry

Nature & Environment 68 Return visit guaranteed


70 Communities with heart 72 Ask a local 76 Ancient land

26 Art & Wellbeing

78 Shape shifter 82 Hop along

102 Born and bred in Busso

Active & Adventure

110 Jazz by the Bay

104 Local Hero - Nathan Day 111 Margaret River Ultra Marathon

86 How to photograph caves

112 Creativity in abundance

88 Doing the Margaret River Pro 90 Smooth sailing 94 Let’s go ride a bike 96 Floating your boat on the Blackwood 98 Wadandi Surf Academy




42 Winemaker profile: Vanya Cullen 44 Autumnal wines 48 Rosé revolution 52 Kings of cabernet 56 Doctor’s orders 58 Taste of the terroir 62 Field work





38 90





Ngilgi Cave



Jazz by the Bay




Buzz over to Busso














Vintage workers














1hr 10min

1hr 10min



Margaret River 3hr 10min


Augusta 3hr 30min



Blackwood River Houseboats





Yallingup 3hr Cowaramup 3hr


Giants Cave


Jewel Cave




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30min Margaret River

Dunsborough 2hr 50min


Mammoth Cave Lake Cave

How to photograph caves


2hr 30min








Emergence Creative

Autumn highlights Undalup Bunuru Festival

Undalup Bunuru Festival


The Act-Belong-Commit Undalup Bunuru Festival is designed particularly with children and families in mind. It is a smoke and alcoholfree event, offering a packed program of workshops and entertainment and a variety of food experiences. The event, held at Riflebutts Reserve in Prevelly, is a meeting place between the land and the sea, bringing everyone together for a connection to culture. Undalup is very inclusive and encourages all members of the public to join them at this event.! It’s about sharing and participating, experiencing and learning and creating connections through rhythm, dance and music. The Undalup Associaiton Inc is partnering with Act-Belong-Commit and Mentally Healthy WA organisations and programs which are aimed at providing support for a positive state of health and wellbeing. Mentally Healthy WA’s mission is to enhance people’s mental health and wellbeing by strengthening individual resilience and building community cohesion. // Undalup Bunuru Festival, Riflebutts Reserve, Margaret River, March 14.

Visit for more details or follow the Undalup Association on Facebook and Instagram.


Emergence Creative Festival, to be held for the first time in the Margaret River region’s newly built HEART complex, will host keynotes from leading companies like Google and Facebook. Joining them will be heads of leading creative, tech and digital companies from across Australia and the world for the region’s

Deidre Bruhn

Open 7 days Full Menu All Day

HALL OF FAME Amanda Shelsher

own home-grown creative conference. The three-day conference and festival attracts marketeers, content-makers, innovators, futurists, leaders and artists across music, film, advertising, photography, digital, experiential and visual arts, who come to Emergence to collaborate and share knowledge, inspiration and industry insights. Festival chair Mat Lewis said; “We’re thrilled with the line-up of speakers so far and look forward to seeing the collaborations and connections that unfold at the festival. “Each year, amazing things occur between keynotes and attendees at Emergence; from developing festival beer cans with local artists that flip into national brands, to mentoring the next generation of content and film makers, Emergence has built a family of contributors that reaches far and wide.” This year’s theme is ‘Human Connection in a Post-Digital World’ and delegates will explore how to harness the benefits of new tech, dodge the pitfalls and connect as people in a post-digital landscape. // Emergence Creative Festival, HEART Complex, Margaret River, March 25 to 27. Visit for tickets.


Caves House Hotel is hosting their very first Unearthed Youth Weekend, for ages 12 to 24, showcasing local young talent all weekend. Submit your demo video to: by March 12. Caves House Hotel, Yallingup, noon to 6pm, March 28 and 29Visit

Best Regional Hospitality Venue Best Live Entertainment Venue Best Regional Casual Pub Dining Best Pub Restaurant List Best GOURMET Listing ofTRAVELLER wa Wines 2019 TOP 50Best PLACES DRINK WineTOList WA WINE 2019 2019 wa 20192019 WA’sbest Bestwine Steaklist Sandwich wa’s best steak sandwich 2019

Margaret River’s Home of Live Music


A new exhibition – Power, Place and Desire – will be opening on April 9 at the Margaret River Gallery. With works by a group of outstanding Western Australian and local Margaret River artists, visitors will be encouraged to consider and react to the artists’ works tackling today’s society, its people, their place and desires. “Each artist will be addressing a figurehead, social group or minority group of their own choice,” says Salli Coppin, owner of the gallery. “The idea of the exhibition is to bring

9757 2398 | 114 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River


11.30am – 9.00pm

Power place and desire

Autumn highlights

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 this autumn. // Margaret River Open Studios, April 25 to May 10, various locations. Visit


Browse the stalls and enjoy the laid-back vibe of this popular twilight market in historic Yallingup surrounds. Caves House Hotel, from 5.30pm, every Wednesday, Every Wednesday from 5.30pm until the end of April. Visit


awareness to our current social climate and will give viewers a chance to know more about the artists and their own concerns.” This thought-provoking exhibition will run until May 10, and there’s an opportunity to meet the artists on April 25 at 6pm. // Power, Place and Desire, Margaret River Gallery, 1/4 Charles W Ave, Margaret River, April 9 to May 10. Visit


The Margaret River Pro forms part of the World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (WCT), where the topranked 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. Grab some mates, and head down to Surfers Point, Prevelly, to watch the best surfers in the world battle it out. A contingency plan is in place for the comp to move to North Point Gracetown if necessary, so whatever the weather, you’ll be able to watch some serious surf. 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 It's a free spectator event, with plenty to




keep even non-surf fans entertained. It's open to all ages with live music and kids activities at the Margaret River skate park. // The Margaret River Pro, April 22 to May 2, free. Visit


The Margaret River Region Open Studios is the biggest Open Studio event in Australia. It’s a free event, running from April 25 to May 10. Over 130 local artists opened their doors last year, offering art lovers the rare chance to visit Artist Emily Jackson

Catch local performers singing and playing live at Caves House Hotel. On Mondays, the pianist plays the grand piano from 6pm, Tuesday night is jam night from 7pm, Thursday night sees Sean Lilico and Cassandra Charlick performing from 6pm and from Friday to Sunday, there’s live music from 5.30pm. Caves House Hotel, Yallingup, every day Throughout the year – check program for details. Visit


The Augusta Whalesong Festival is a celebration for all to experience and enjoy

Meet DARIYA GRATTE Ceramic Artist

CERAMICS HAVE UNDENIABLY made a comeback in the art world, perhaps as a rejection of our digital existence and a desire for connection with the objects that inhabit our homes. Or perhaps it is a nostalgia for this art form that goes back thousands of years, but whatever the case the popularity of handmade ceramics only seems to be gaining momentum. The Margaret River region hosts some of the most talented ceramic artists and none more revered than Dariya Gratte whose technique and design is attracting her a national and international following. Daryia’s delicate work with porcelain is inspired by the beautiful coastline of Margaret River. “I am very fortunate to live in the coastal

town of Gnarabup,” she says. “I take inspiration from the light on the water, the colours in the sky, and the beautifully patterned shells on the beach. On recent travels to the beautiful Sumatran islands of the Telos, I was taken by the beautiful and idyllic islands, its sea life and its intricately patterned coral reefs. I have tried to mimic these in my latest collection.” The patterns she uses are the ‘most important part of the process’, she says, like telling a story. “I am drawn to pattern and light and endeavour to bring these qualities to life in my work. Most of the techniques I use originate from ancient Japanese and Korean ceramics such as mishima and nerkomi. Mishima is a technique of inlaying slip, under glaze, or even clay into a contrasting clay body.” This technique allows for extremely fine, intricate design work that can be difficult to replicate in any other way. “I etch, carve, pierce and cut with a sharp blade to create intricate patterns and details often combining all these techniques on to a single pot. // Dariya will be throwing on her potter’s wheel at the upcoming Margaret River Open Studios in the courtyard yard at Payet Gallery. She supplies Payet Gallery, Jahroc Galleries, and Aspects of Kings Park as well as Chinaclay Sydney. She will be participating in Open Studio together with Nicholas and François Payet at Payet Gallery.

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Autumn highlights

stories and important events that have occurred since settlement in 1830. // Augusta Whalesong Festival, Augusta, May 29 to June 1. For further information and bookings visit


Triathlon WA (TWA) has announced further details about the 2020 SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon, which will take place on May 2. In addition to the SunSmart Ironman 70.3, which remains the premier event of the festival, there’s also an Open Water Swim, SunSmart Kids Triathlon and a 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, continuing until 7.30pm. There will be no entry fee to attend the celebrations. // Busselton Festival of Triathlon (Inc. Ironman 70.3 Busselton), Busselton, May 2 and 3. Visit


what the south west has to offer in its natural beauty and community spirit. Come along and enjoy dinner at the newly renovated Colourpatch overlooking the Blackwood River, or take the opportunity to learn about the history and the significance or dance along with a cultural dance display narrated by Wadandi Cultural Custodian Iszaac Webb of the Undalup Association. Visitors will witness the Blessing of the Fleet on Whalesong Festival Day and enjoy a huge live music line-up, market stalls and plenty of family-friendly fun. On June 1, don’t miss the chance to join a guided historical tour around WA’s third oldest settlement. This tour will be run by guides from Augusta’s historical site who will share




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 Cidery at Wilyabrup in the north. The 80km point to point 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 distance into a relay with the five different legs varying between 10km and 20km. Margaret River Ultra Marathon, various locations, May 9. Visit MargaretRiverUltra/entry/info

Matthew Reilly, New York Times best selling author


The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival (MRRWF) has become an important part of the creative fabric of the region, and this year’s line-up only compounds this view, with a stellar collection of writers who may just change the world. Read more on page 14. // Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, May 15 to 17 May. Visit


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 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. .../ continued on page 15

OPEN EVERYDAY FOR EVERYONE 11am - 5pm ph:08 97553554

DON'T MISS . . . the 2020 Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Jane Caro

WRITE ON AS LITERARY STARS GATHER The 2020 Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

Bob Brown

Tracey Spicer


Heather Rose


argaret River Readers and Writers Festival (MRRWF), presented by Arts Margaret River, is geared up for an inspiring, intriguing and thought-provoking three-day event from May 15 to 17, featuring New York Times' best-selling Australian author, Matthew Reilly. There’s a distinct thread of activism alongside Reilly’s time travel/global apocalypse theme with this year’s line-up including lifelong activist Bob Brown, former leader of the Australian Greens, who will talk about his work, Planet Earth, while Hong Kong-based writer and lawyer Antony Dapiran talks about the unrest in his island’s home. Jane Caro, the Walkley Award-winning Australian columnist, author, broadcaster and social commentator will speak about her latest book, Accidental Feminists. Jane will be joined by author and journalist Tracey Spicer AM and Russian-born, Israeli-Australian writer Dr Lee Kofman for a glimpse into the future from a female perspective and the power of the hashtag in creating social change.




Jane is looking forward to a return visit to the Margaret River region, a part of the world she knows well, and is particularly relishing the thought of a literary festival away from the big city. “I love all kinds of festivals, but regional ones are special,” she says. “They are usually contained in a small area, the writers have travelled to get there and so are keen to hob knob with other writers. “We’re usually staying in the same few hotels, so the bar is always full of fabulously interesting people, audiences are enthusiastic and kind - not jaded and cross – and I get to explore a part of Australia I might not otherwise get to see. Priceless really.” Jane has become a powerful voice for women over 55, exploring in Accidental Feminists the notion that this particular group of women were the generation who ‘changed everything’, kind of reluctant revolutionaries who nevertheless altered the world. Asked whether she remains optimistic for the future, with so many macho men in charge of powerful world economies, Jane tempers her reply with a warning.

“I am not sure I am optimistic, frankly. I am cheerful, but that’s a different thing,” she says. “I think we are at risk of real danger from climate change and that democracy may be finished. “We are now run by a few wealthy oligarchs who buy election results and disguise their overwhelming influence as the will of the voters. But I don’t despair.There is only ever one thing to do whether times are good or bad - keep going, keep being a decent person and keep speaking up in support of decency, compassion and kindness and against prejudice, injustice and stupidity. “Don’t avoid the negative, that’s denial, but remain positive about your own ability to be a good and positive person. Never underestimate the importance of that. None of us can fix the world, but that’s no excuse for not being the best person we can be in our own world.” Despite the depressing admittance that generally many seem to have an "obsession with mediocre men in power", Jane continues to be inspired by many brilliant creatives who take the road less travelled with their output and writings, revealing sometimes uncomfortable truths along the way. “I am particularly inspired by the investigative journalists who keep exposing the hypocrisy and predation of the macho men in power - Louise Milligan, Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, Rachel Maddow, Laurie Penny, George Monbiot. “But I think the people who keep me sane are the satirists - The Chaser, the Feed, the Real Australian Govt, Mark Humphries, Kitty Flanagan, Charlie Pickering, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Rachel Parrish. It remains the clowns and the fools who are the truth tellers.” Keep up to date with the full program at - call 088 9758 7316 to buy tickets or from the Arts Margaret River Box Office.

Highlights - who’s appearing? Matthew Reilly - author of The Secret Runners of New York. Jane Caro, Tracey Spicer AM and Dr Lee Kofman will discuss the future from a female perspective and how change can come about thanks to the power of a hashtag. Bob Brown will host a breakfast event at Voyager Estate to discuss the spectacular Aussie landscape with his partner Paul Thomas. Tassie writer Heather Rose, author of eight books including new title Bruny, asks what you would do to protect the place you love. Claire G Colman, author of Terra Nullius, discusses her new novel, The Old Lie.

It's beer at it's finest. Fun, thrills, adventure and refreshing alcoholic beverages await you at our Breweries. 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 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 go this June. // Jazz by the Bay, May 29 to June 1. Visit

Brewery and Restuarant 4259 Caves Road, Wilyabrup Cheeky Bar 44 Commerce Road, Vasse




Destination News

desti nation NEWS from around the region

Pickles and platters at Windows Estate

Do your research before you book a ride to a winery


ou see the signs frequently at the entrances to wineries – who’s the skipper? So it makes great sense to hire a passenger transport service, such as a charter driver, to make sure you can all enjoy safely the world-class food, wine and attractions in the Margaret River region. However, it’s important for your and other road users’ safety that the service you use is correctly licensed and insured.Western Australia has laws regulating passenger transport, which includes tourism and charter services, taxis, rideshare, limousines and bus services. These laws require that the people taking your booking, the vehicle being driven and the person driving it are fully authorised, ensuring the appropriate insurance is in place and safety standards are met. When you book a transport service via online platforms or social media, it may not be clear if the service being advertised is a legitimate, licensed business. You can check whether the passenger transport service you’re booking is authorised as an ondemand booking service provider at: transport. All on-demand transport providers must use their authorisation number or name in their advertising to ensure it can be checked. If an operator is solely providing a tourism passenger transport service – such as a winery tour to a set itinerary – then they do not require a booking service authorisation. So, when you’re planning that ‘down south’ tour, make sure you only use authorised passenger transport services and keep yourself and other road users safe. Visit for a list of professional, authorised tour operators.




Pizza on the lawn

Fancy a relaxed dining experience in gorgeous surroundings? Aravina Estate, situated in a dreamy picturesque setting, launched its new pizza bar in December, and it’s proved to be a big hit with visitors The pizza bar is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and for those guests who prefer something a little more casual, they can grab a picnic blanket and let the kids run free on the grassed area. Choose from a variety of authentic Italian pizzas to be enjoyed with one of Aravina’s own craft beers (another new feature of this award-winning winery). There’s live music all weekend until the end of April featuring local acts and if pizza isn’t your thing, there are also grazing boards to choose from, along with Aravina’s stonebaked focaccia, fries and of course Aravina’s sensational wines to try. Visit

Private dining at Caves House

Windows Estate, now a fully certified organic vineyard and farm, has opened Petit Picklesmith, a small venture that utilises the abundance of local produce while drawing attention to eating locally and sustainably. “Visitors can try some of the range of pickles before they buy, and they’re all produced using local, seasonal ingredients,” says owner Joanne Davies. “It was a conscious decision for our new venture to correlate with our ethos and the way that we operate the vineyard and winery.” There is also a tempting selection of local cheese, charcuterie and other produce (including vegan options). “Guests can either enjoy a platter under the shade of our peppermint grove or take them away for picnics,” says Joanne, who, with her husband Chris, has created, through hard, solitary labour, hand-pruning every single vine, a wonderful vineyard and farm on the border of Yallingup and Wilyabrup. “Long-term sustainability is no less important to us than the quality of every single crop of fruit, not least because we are determined to leave our children Lucas and Violette one of the finest vineyards in the region when one day the time is right for them to step up and take over our little farm.” Windows Estate, 4 Quininup Road, Corner Caves Road, Yallingup. Visit

The historic venue in Yallingup has recently opened a new, private dining area, seating 20 guests for a sit-down function or 35/40 guests for a cocktail party. Called the Meelup Rom, it's available for hire for all sorts of events, from high teas to hen's parties. The room overlooks the gorgeous heritage gardens and opens onto a private balcony. Visit DON’T FORGET . . . whale watching season starts in June. The Humpback whales head directly up north, where the pregnant females who mated last year have their calves. They then return to Geographe Bay near Busselton and Dunsborough where they rest and nurse their young from September to early December.


With direct flights arriving in autumn the first passengers from Jetstar’s new Melbourne to Busselton route will arrive in the region. There are some new visitor experiences specifically created to maximise the experience of this new influx of travellers – a nougat and wine-matching experience at Bettenay’s Margaret River, and a Sweeties Tour with a Difference from Harvest Tours and Charters Margaret River. Anecdotally, many local businesses are reporting an encouraging advance bookings, thanks to the new flights. AVIS Car rental franchisee joint owner Alan Payne has said his bookings have jumped well above expectations, and that he is sourcing more cars from local suppliers to meet the needs of passengers arriving on Jetstar. "It's great as the new focus with Avis is 'Experience a better journey with AVIS' and that perfectly describes our client’s visit to the Margaret River region," said Alan. Jetstar flights from Melbourne arrive in Busselton three times a week, landing at Busselton-Margaret River Airport on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Curd Collab now open

After many months of planning, the team at Yallingup Cheese have opened a sister store, Curd Collaborative, at the Evans and Tate cellar door in Wilyabrup. “This fabulous new space allows us to

showcase a selection of our own artisan cheeses alongside an expertly curated list of artisan cheeses from around the state and country,” said Yallingup Cheese’s Alana Langworthy. “In addition to cheese tastings, we offer educational cheese and wine pairing experiences, cheese making workshops, grazing boxes and dine-in platters.” Curd Collaborative is a family and pet friendly tasting room open seven days a week from 10.30am to 5pm. Visit

Blue Manna bistro Fresh Seafood with an Asian twist in the heart of Dunsborough 08 9786 5051 1/16 Cyrillean Way, Dunsborough



The Margaret River region wedding industry is a multi-million dollar tourism industry for the region. People come from all over the world to marry in this beautiful part of the world, with its clean, picturesque countryside and coastline offerings. Coast to Country Weddings is the local wedding directory for the region, we have a variety of venues and services that can bring your wedding day story to life. “I like to think I’m your local virtual wedding go-to person,” says Nicole Liedermoy, owner of Coast to Country Weddings. If you are not from the region, too busy to organize your wedding, event or conference and wanting to find a planner that can help bring your celebration to life then speak to the team at Coast to Country Weddings as the team have a network of planners that can do all that you need. Visit

IMAGE Paul Pichugin

Destination News

BUZZ over to BUSSO

IMAGE Dylan Dehaas

There’s no excuse, east coasters. Now that Busselton and Melbourne are on Jetstar’s flight path, it’s time to visit the Margaret River region says Lizzy Pepper.


etstar’s new direct flights connect two of my favourite places; Melbourne and the Margaret River region. An artistic metropolis and a sophisticated country region filled with natural wonders. The flights run at civilised hours three times a week, arriving in and departing Busselton mid-morning. Perthites, it’s time to tell your Melbournian mates to “buzz over to Busso” for some of Australia’s finest wines, beaches and good times.

WHAT TO DO You've got to start by exploring Busselton itself - there's so much to see and do, from the incredible jetty with its underwater viewing platform, to the cafes and eateries waiting to fill you up. You’re in for a treat with some incredible natural experiences, sumptuous winery lunches and art and wine trails. Pristine beaches are mind-blowingly good; check out Bunker Bay, Eagle Bay, Meelup and Castle Rock. “Take one look at Meelup Beach and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life: the West Australian bush parts to reveal ocean




the hue of a Bombay Sapphire bottle,” said Lonely Planet when it named the region #1 in Asia Pacific. Cruise the bay in a 41ft Beneteau yacht with Sailing Charters WA. Snorkel Yallingup’s protected lagoon and surf the region’s famous breaks; Three Bears, Injidup, Gallows and Guillotine or Mainbreak at Surfers Point. Search for the Insta-famous Aquarium in Yallingup and Injidup Natural Spa, or better still, explore the rocky coastline and find your own secret swimming spot. The maritime influence and ancient granite soils makes Margaret River a “wine paradise”, and a winery long lunch with a scenic vineyard view should be top of your list. Cullen Wines,Vasse Felix,Voyager Estate, Aravina Estate and Leeuwin Estate are globally known while Wills Domain and Amelia Park Wines are excellent options too. Be sure to book ahead and look out for tutored wine tastings or behind-the-scenes tours. Margaret River makes world-class chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, among other excellent varietals and blends, and there are 150 producers and 90 cellar doors to explore. Pick up a map from the visitor

centre, ask for recommendations, and create your own wine trail.Visit some of the big names mentioned above or find some lesser-known gems such as Glenarty Road, Blind Corner Wines, Marq Wines, Juniper Estate, The Berry Farm or Brown Hill Estate. If you've brought the family, make sure you spend time at the brilliant new adventure playground at Busselton Foreshore, and all ages will love a ride on the little train that travels along the length of the jetty. The whole region is an art lover’s paradise, with many artists, sculptors, jewellers, photographers, wood turners and glass blowers calling it home. Over 100 artists open their private studio doors for Margaret River Region Open Studios in April/May, a rare chance for us to meet artists directly in their creative spaces. Additionally,Yallingup Galleries, Christian Fletcher Gallery, The Studio Gallery, Gunyulgup, JahRoc and Margaret River Galleries represent local and West Australian artists.

WHERE TO STAY The Margaret River region is BIG; about 100 kilometres from north to south, so we


Things to experience • Go “jetty jumping” off Busselton Jetty into crystal clear water • Spend some old-fashioned family fun time at Busselton's

amazing new adventure playground on the foreshore

• Explore Boranup Karri Forest and its 80 metre karri trees • Devour a brekkie burger overlooking Gnarabup Beach at White Elephant Café

• Discover Margaret River’s “wine paradise” on the Vasse Felix Cape to Vine tour

• Learn to surf with Yallingup Surf School • Climb Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to see where two oceans meet

• Get a sugar rush at Margaret River Bakery • Marvel at Lake Cave’s subterranean wonderland • Finish the day with fish and chips and a bottle of chardy watching the sunset at Surfers Point

IMAGE Rachel Claire

recommend staying a few nights in the north and a few nights further south. Bina Maya is a decadent ‘home away from home’ ideally located in hilly bushland just seven minutes from Dunsborough and Yallingup. It’s the place to luxuriate; massages on the deck, meals delivered for your arrival, a private chef or a Flametree wine tasting are all on the menu. Surrounded by bushland, look out for wild kangaroos on the lawn and an array of birdlife. Owner Sara Greay has thought of everything; from underfloor heating and Scandinavian wood fires to keep you warm in winter to beach towels in summer. There are two architect-designed villas; the luxury villa sleeps up to four guests, and the Residence sleeps eight guests. Bina Maya Gallery opened in early 2020 as a satellite gallery for Japingka Aboriginal Art in Fremantle. Spend a few days cruising, fishing and relaxing aboard a Blackwood River Houseboat. The perfect antidote to a busy city lifestyle, you’ll find the houseboats based in Augusta, 30 minutes south of Margaret River town. A floating, glamping experience, it’s a brilliant place to reconnect with long-distance friends. Augusta is a charming town where two rivers and two oceans meet. Grab an award-winning feed from Blue Ocean Fish and Chips or sit up at Colourpatch café and watch kite surfers on the river.


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 balmy afternoons with long lunches on “The Terrace” overlooking our heritage listed gardens. It also is the time for sunset drinks or High Teas with lovers and friends not to mention weddings in our beautiful gardens as well as receptions in our many rooms on offer. It is also the time for music, dancing, romantic dinners and getaways staying in either one of our heritage hotel rooms or adjacent apartments. -

As the saying goes ... “There is something for everyone here at Caves House Hotel.” Why not come and experience for yourself in our iconic 82-year-old Art Deco building, a crowd favourite for all.

18 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup | Ph: 9750 1888 A/H: 9750 1830 | AUTUMN 2020 19

Eat & Drink

Swings & Roundabouts has undergone an imaginative reno. Janine Pittaway reports.

New spin on an

old favourite S

wings & Roundabouts on Caves Road,Yallingup, has been an institution for a number of years, with locals and visitors attracted by its rustic charm, friendly staff and delicious woodfired pizza. The popular winery, restaurant and cellar door has recently undergone a complete renovation, but thankfully its elements of fun have been retained, and complimenting them to a number of delightful new features sure to keep visitors returning for more. Swings & Roundabouts sales and marketing manager Amanda Keady said the team was thrilled with the results of the renovation, and said the style was best described as ‘industrial organic’. The changes have significantly expanded their indoor and outdoor dining space and the lawn has been expanded to accommodate numerous seating styles to cater for everyone from couples to large groups. “We were conscious of retaining our rustic charm, and still being very much a casual, approachable, family-friendly venue,” she said. “We now have a selection of interesting and versatile spaces to work with allowing us to cater for much larger groups or smaller intimate ones,” she said. “We have lots of options for weddings too, including a dedicated ceremony site among the vines. “One of my favourite spots is the sunken fire pit area. The swinging seats set amongs the gumtrees have certainly been a hit and we have plenty of happy children taking advantage of our new playground. We love the fact that we could recycle wine barrels and keep the playground in harmony with our surrounding landscape.” The use of natural materials in the new outdoor entertaining areas and cellar door fits perfectly into the stunning property which overlooks vineyards, a huge dam and rolling hills. Swings’ authentic, wood-fired pizzas, made the traditional Italian way and overseen by head pizziola Federico, are still the venue’s hero menu item, but added to these are a selection of generous grazing boards and sides including gnocchi fritti, bresaola salad, and mushroom arancini.




Walk-ins are welcome – straight from the beach or dressed to impress – doggos are too (and have their own dedicated drinking station) Swings’ great range of wine and sparkling is complemented by beers from local guest breweries and there’s a good selection of nonalcoholic drinks. Service continues to be from the counter in the cellar door. Highlights of the recent renovation would have to be the delightful swing chairs hanging along the extra-long outdoor table; the super fun adventure playground; new ‘out house’ bathroom facilities, and the great choice of seating options – high stools under the verandah, low tables under the trees, the swing seats, or grab a rug and a bottle of wine and picnic on the lawn. Just in time for the cooler months will be the completion of the second phase of the renovation, which includes a large indoor dining hall with dedicated tasting bar, plus a private VIP private dining and tasting room which will be finished in time for the cooler months with a central industrial style open fireplace. A not-as-obvious new addition to Swings is Jodie Barton who has joined the team as chief winemaker, taking over from long-time respected winemaker Brian Fletcher who is semi-retiring. Jodie hasd extensive winemaking experience in the Margaret River region and beyond (including Xanadu,Voyager, Evans & Tate and Lenton Brae) before starting her own winemaking consulting business. She believes exceptional wine begins with

good fruit and says she believes in a minimalist approach to winemaking and loves the elegant refined wine style that is the hallmark of the Margaret River region. “I love the diversity of the Margaret River region – the ocean, fine art, fine food, and especially – fine wines,” Jodie said. “For me, a great wine is fruit driven and clean with good complexity and texture,” she said. Swings & Roundabouts has won a multitude of awards for its wine, most recently three trophies at The Perth Royal Wine Show for the Swings & Roundabouts 2018 Backyard Stories Chardonnay.. Swings continues its Sunday Live Music sessions throughout autumn – check swings. or their Facebook and Instagram accounts for updates.

JahRoc Galleries is a must see destination for all furniture and ar t admirers. Situated in the hear t of Margaret River, it is the largest contemporar y galler y in the South West showcasing a diverse range of Fine Furniture, Fine Ar t, Jeweller y, Glass, Ceramic and Sculpture. It is home to their own line of award winning designer JahRoc Furniture (est 1987). JahRoc use local specialty timbers to hand craft their bespoke heirloom furniture. Visit JahRoc Galleries and f ind out why all that do, leave inspired.

FRESH VIBES Swings & Roundabouts has undergone a gorgeous make-over - with plenty of new places to hang out with friends and family.

Open daily 10am-5pm 83 Bussell Highway, Margaret River Ph. (08) 9758 7200 E.

Eat & Drink





t all began in 1993, when a sommelier was enjoying a day off from work in San Francisco. Dressed in a Cloudy Bay T-shirt given to him by Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay founder David Hohnen, he was approached by a Western Australian woman, who asked if he was a Kiwi. The dumbfounded American replied; “What’s a Kiwi?” Fast-forward one year and Rob and Karen Gough (pictured right) were married. The couple worked in the wine industry overseas for a decade, until they moved to Karen’s hometown of Margaret River in search of a new venture. Fortuitously, Settlers Tavern was for sale at the time. Eager to put their stamp on this local watering hole, the Goughs purchased the pub and began transforming it into a casual place to eat and celebrate wine. The rest, as they say, is history.

AWARD-WINNING WATERING HOLE This country pub, which embodies the genuine spirit of Margaret River, has won several awards




for its impressive wine list over the years. “Every wine region needs such a place, especially in the centre of one of Australia’s most iconic destinations,” says Rob. This industrious couple has gradually builtup an impressive wine cellar that houses over 5,000 bottles and 600 labels. “Our wine list represents the world’s major wine growing regions with a particular focus on Margaret River,” says Rob. “It’s an extension of our travels, past ventures and friendships.”

BEST WINE LIST Many emerging wine labels from Margaret River can be found on the list, often at retail price to encourage customers to try them. “We are in a unique situation unlike any other country pub where we have many winery staff wanting to learn about wine,” Rob adds. This thirst for wine knowledge has seen many staff complete the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification with lecturer and winemaker Charlotte Newton.


020 Great 2 vailable A s l a i c Spe Winter

Great 2020 Winter Specials Available AWARD-WINNING RANGEThe wines on offer at Settlers Tavern have brought the Margaret River pub to national attention. The food's not bad either.

“Who says if you’re on holidays in thongs and shorts that you shouldn’t drink Cristal? We’ve had customers do just that,” she laughs. “We’ve got the wines and they love it.” “Our bar crew are often challenged with a request for something unusual. ‘Surprise us,’ they say. And we always do.”


This additional knowledge in assessing and understanding wine styles allows staff to assist in keeping the list in order and help with customer selection. “The wine list has an incredibly diverse range of local and international wines, yet they keep the prices low for a restaurant, making it affordable for all,” says Charlotte. “Winemakers enjoy meeting there to savour such a special range of wines. I love the changing choices on the Coravin system as I can taste an expensive wine by the glass, without having to buy a bottle.”

CORAVIN WINE TASTINGS Karen says the Coravin is an extension of the vast cellar at Settlers. “Wine lovers are keen to taste rare and valuable wines by the glass they normally wouldn’t try. We pour Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnay current vintage every day of the year. We have customers who only want to drink one glass of good wine, and this suits them very well.”

Kellie Tannock runs a Walk Talk Taste tour in the township, with Settlers being one of its highlights. “Visitors love immersing themselves in what is widely acknowledged as the best collection of Margaret River wines in the world,” she says. While the tavern is renowned for its slowcooked American-style barbecue, on Kellie’s tour guests are treated to freshwater marron, which is endemic to the region. “It’s not on the menu, but the chefs prepare local marron because the Goughs understand the value of authentic local food experiences,” Kellie adds.

HISTORY IN ITS WALLS So much local surf, wine and musical history has happened in the walls of this pub, which was built in the 1970s for surfers, by surfers. “Almost every modern-day Aussie band has played there at some stage of their career and every rockstar winemaker in the region drinks there,” enthuses Margaret River Discovery tour operator Sean Blocksidge. “It attracts everyone from backpackers to high-end Cape Lodge clientele. It’s authentic. It’s levelling and it’s the celebration venue. We are so lucky to have the Settlers team delivering a world-class pub experience.”

Weddings, Private Functions & Events

The Ultimate Down South Venue

Holiday Villas on site 08 9755 2000

Weddings, Private Functions & Events The Ultimate Down South Venue Holiday Villas on site 08 9755 2000

Eat & Drink

Tree to



arvest time at Whirlwind Olives is a flurry of activity, as olives are picked, collected in buckets and transferred to the shed for crushing. “The smells in the crushing room are amazing,” says manager Ann-Marie Carpanini. “My favourite day is when we make the fused oils, using the traditional Italian method called agrumato. We add fruit or herbs to the crushing process and the smells are just out of this world.” Ann-Marie’s passion and knowledge of the olive farming process is impressive, and certainly doesn’t reveal that she moved here from Wales only three years ago. Ann-Marie and her husband Stacey first visited Whirlwind Olives in April 2016 to experience the harvest. “It was a key time for us to visit and watch the process in action,” says Ann-Marie. “It was a chance to observe everything going on and get a sense of the place. We were ready for a change, so when the opportunity came up to take on the management of the farm, it seemed like the perfect time to emigrate.” The couple arrived in Karridale in November 2017 and, within a matter of days, they were




immersed in farm life. Since then, they’ve learned everything about the tree to plate process from owners Imre and Sue Mencshelyi, and through their own research. When Imre and Sue first stumbled upon the rural property in 2002, they also had no idea about olive farming. “It was wild and basic,” recalls Imre, “with just a gravel road and a halfcompleted shack. The trees were small and all bent over in the breeze. It needed a lot of work.” And so the name Whirlwind Olives was born, to reflect the storm of chaos and energy involved in transforming the place. Unphased and excited, they took themselves off to Italy for two months and lived on an olive farm with 200-300-yearold trees, learning as much as they could. “We had to learn the entire process, from growing and pruning the tree, to fertilisation, irrigation, processing and bottling. It was a huge task,” says Imre. “We learned a fair bit in Italy and a lot through our experience at the farm - and we are still learning every day.” Initially, Imre and Sue intended their olive oil to be for family and friends, but more and more people were turning up at their shed, looking to buy some. They decided to invest in their own

Whirlwind Olives embodies the tree to plate experience with tours of the farm and olive grove, a chance to see the Italian olive press and a sensory experience in the tasting room. Joanne Marriott learns more about harvest time on the farm.

olive press and shop front. “That made a huge difference. Our olive oil became a really high quality product as we were able to press the same day as we picked,” says Imre. He believes the climate in the Margaret River region gives the olive producers here a distinct advantage. “If we handle our fruit well and process it as we pick it, we get a very unique product.” At Whirlwind Olives, the fruit is handpicked and crushed within 24 hours, then naturally filtered in stainless steel tanks. Customers can choose to buy bottles from the shop or fill up their own containers straight from the tank. After 14 years of managing the farm themselves, Imre and Sue are happy to have handed over the reins. “It got to the stage where we felt that we were seriously getting a bit too old for it,” says Imre. “Ann-Marie and Stacey have fitted in magnificently. They run the entire farm, not only the olives but they look after the sheep, the alpacas, the chicken, the dog and the cows.” Ann-Marie explains how this is all part of a carefully crafted plan to employ sustainable farming practices on the 40Ha farm. “The sheep keep the grass trim for us and the alpacas protect the lambs from the foxes. We feed the cows with the pomace that’s left over from the olive

crushing and make compost with the rest.” Harvest time takes place in April, alternating between low yield years when harvest takes a week, and heavy fruit years when it takes around three weeks. “Last year was terrible - we got cleaned out by the 28 parrots,” says Imre, “but this year should be good. “Harvest time is a hive of activity,” explains Ann-Marie. “We have eight backpackers that start at seven in the morning, picking the olives using handheld machines and collecting them in buckets from the bottom of the nets.They pile them into crates on the trailer and bring them down to the shed at lunchtime for crushing. Sue makes a two-

course lunch for everyone while we get on with unloading the crates, weighing the olives and then pressing them.Then it’s back to work in the olive grove, picking again.” The farm produces four varieties of olives; Paragon and Mission olives are pressed for extra virgin olive oil, while the Kalamata and Californian queens are brined for use as table olives. All of them are available to sample in the tasting room alongside a range of flavoured oils. Whirlwind Olives is in Karridale, 26km south of Margaret River on the Bussell Highway. Call ahead to arrange a tour. Visit

REWARDING WORK Whirlwind Olives are handpicked and crushed within 24 hours of being picked, then naturally filtered into stainless steel tanks. Images by Ann-Marie Carpanini.




Eat & Drink Lizzy and Mark Ahearn have created a gorgeous venue near one of the region's most beautiful beaches - make sure you visit Meelup Farmhouse for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or just drinks.

If the idea of relaxing and indulging with friends at an idyllic beach-style bar with chic boho styling, natural light, a fresh breeze, and fabulous food sounds like your speed, make tracks to Meelup Farmhouse. By JANINE PITTAWAY.


his beautiful, redesigned and repurposed venue for brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks and special events can be found just off Meelup Beach Road in Naturaliste, known previously as Lot 80. Meelup Farmhouse is a family affair, owned by energetic young couple Liz and Mark Ahearn, and assisted by Liz’s sister Anneliese Hvalgaard, who is events and marketing manager, and her husband Dean Williams, who is head chef. Hospitality runs in their veins. “Growing up we were involved in our parents’ work in hotel management,” Anneliese said. “We enjoyed a lifestyle moving around




Family creates farmhouse chic by the beach the country, living in properties Dad was managing. For us, it just was a natural thing that we all got into hospitality. “Pretty much as soon as we could stand behind a bar or in a kitchen we were doing room service runs, polishing cutlery and glassware. That’s how we all started our careers. “Mum’s now working for Sandalford Wines. It was basically inbuilt in us. It’s just natural. It even goes back further. Our mum’s father had a catering company, so I feel like it was always going to happen. It’s sort of in the stars that this is our destiny. “Being family, we all look out for each

other and have Lizzy and Mark’s back, but equally we’re so thrilled to be able to work in the business and get to share this experience, because it’s pretty unique. And it’s great now raising our children in a similar dynamic to how we grew up as kids, it’s pretty awesome.” Liz and Mark own and run two successful suburban cafes in Perth – Little H Café in Duncraig, and the Little Bay in Watermans Bay. It’s where they’ve honed their flair for interior design and their breakfast and brunch game, reflected in Meelup Farmhouse’s mouthwatering menus and style. From 9am, select from a farmhouse brunch

or grazing menu with a mouthwatering selection of plates including heirloom tomatoes, basil, stracciatella, Eagle Bay olive oil; pork and pistachio terrine, cornichons, tapenade; and baked Margaret River brie, fresh farmhouse grown herbs, sourdough, onion and beetroot relish; in addition to breakfast favourites. For lunch and dinner add some substantial share plates including whole Mount Barker free range chicken, pork belly, plus individual choices of aged grass-fed 500gm sirloin on the bone, deep sea local fish fillet, and gnocchi with sage cream and mushroom. Anneliese describes it as “not fussy but simple food done very well”. The wine list features a number of Wise Wines – Meelup Farmhouse is situated on Wise’s vast property – plus a number of additional Margaret River favourites. Enjoy cocktails, a great selection of tap and packaged beer, and spirits. Liz and Mark have a natural flair for design and Mark built much of the interior space himself, right down to the polished concrete

floors, plus the 5-star chicken coup! Liz has a passion for animals, and has introduced to the farmhouse Lizzy the gorgeous long-haired highland cow, along with a brood of hens. “The idea is that we create this little hobby farm,” Anneliese said. “And where we can, supplement our ingredients with fruit and vegetables from the garden. We’d love to add some more chickens, some more girls to the house. Ideally we would love to create a community takeaway of anything that we grow that we can’t use, people can have, just by giving a donation.” Kids are welcome to collect eggs from the henhouse.

Meelup Farmhouse is an adaptable space for groups, families and couples. Choose a long share table, kick back on some lounge chairs, enjoy coffee from chic poufs on the porch or throw one of the Farmhouse’s picnic blankets down on the lawn in the shade of gum trees. Picnic hampers are a speciality of Meelup Farmhouse, and come complete with cushions, a low picnic table and a bottle of wine. Pooches are welcome on the lawn and there is plenty of space for kids to play, and they have a dedicated menu. Meelup Farmhouse’s coastal chic and casual vibe are already creating excitement for future brides and grooms and the space is adaptable to events for all occasions. It is open on Monday and Thursday, 9am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday 9am to 10pm and Sunday 9am to 8pm. The Farmhouse is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Find out more online at, on Facebook and Instagram, call 9756 8848, email or drop into see them at 54 Sheens Road – just opposite the turn off to Castle Rock Beach.

designs in nature

jewellery designed and handmade in Margaret River Open daily 10am - 4pm 611 Boodjidup Road 08 9757 6885

Eat & Drink

Explore Vasse We all know the Margaret River region as a destination worth visiting. Its sparkling coastline, majestic forests, captivating arts scene, mouth-watering cuisine, and sumptuous wines form an undeniable gravitational pull. But what are its unexplored diamonds in the rough? Tori Wilson reports.


’ll give you an insider’s tip - Vasse is one of the up-and-coming areas worth booking a little extra time in your itinerary for and here are some of the reasons why.

Monkey Bar With its finger on the pulse of where to be in the region, Cheeky Monkey has extended its presence from their must-visit destination brewery along Cave’s Road to their newest Vasse-based venue – Monkey Bar. This cheeky getaway in the Vasse Light Industrial Area has been designed as a dynamic and intimate space where customers can sit and experience the brewery’s production facility up close and personal, while sipping back their favourite brew as fresh as it gets. Enter the venue and find yourself surrounded by all the key equipment – fermenters, packaging lines and the brew-house




are all prevalent; with natural timbers detailing the bar and a roof constructed from pallets that appear to be floating. And to drink? Naturally you can select from a range of Cheeky Monkey brews produced fresh on-site, including their tried and true Lager, Pale, Session Ale and West Coast IPA, as well as limited and collaborative creations such as their honey-infused Red Ale, produced with The Colony Concept. Managing director Brent Burton says it’s part of Cheeky Monkey’s ethos to keep things local to the Margaret River region, so Vasse seemed an obvious choice for the venue. “After looking at potential brewing sites in Perth, it was agreed by keeping things local we stay true to our ethos and continue to do our part in developing this amazing region. “Our brewing ethos is to brew fun, fullflavoured and approachable beers for anyone who

enjoys a Cheeky Beer with mates,” Brent says. Visit Monkey Bar - 44 Commerce Road, Vasse.

The Quill Collective

Evocative of a Hogwarts charms classroom, The Quill Collective is something a little bit magical. The Collective is primarily designed as a creative hub, regularly home to an artist in residence or occasionally a space for musicians to jam, but it doubles, or quadruples, as a café, gallery, boutique and workshop space. Step into the space and find yourself surrounded by beautiful artisan soaps, trinkets and perfumes that invigorate the senses. Up the stairs leads you to a hidden nook with Chesterfield couches welcoming your presence, walls lined with books and a chessboard among other intriguing games perched below a window encouraging a prolonged stay.

“We wanted to create a feeling of home, not just another coffee shop,” say local owners Taz and Jo Bishop. With seating scattered among a home-grown garden outside, the Collective’s menu features as much of its own produce as possible, making it seasonal and ever-changing. The café stocks no single-use items and has a no waste policy. Visit Quill’s Collective - 363 Rendezvous Road, Vasse.

Origin 153

The much anticipated and recently opened Origin 153 has become a haven for Vasse locals

looking for a fresh and refined Japanese feed. Founded by mother and daughter Sunny Yoon and Leah Kim, who act as the head chef and managing director respectively, Origin 153 undoubtedly reflects the family’s clear commitment to bringing Vasse the highest quality traditional Japanese cuisine with a contemporary twist. With the menu featuring as much local produce as possible, we recommend you try the karage chicken, made using fresh local chicken thigh before being marinaded and lightly layered in starch for a golden crisp finish.

The sashimi is vibrant in colour with a delicate texture that melts in your mouth (try the scallop, lightly seared for a smoky finish). And a crowd favourite, the soft-shell crab roll is like a treasure-chest; inside, you will find deep-fried soft-shell crab, cream cheese, and crispy salad. Outside, it’s topped with avocado relish, fish eggs and sweet chilli mayo. Enjoy your meal with a traditional Japanese sake or a local Margaret River region wine at this fully licensed venue. Visit Origin 153 - 1/15 Napolean Promenade, Vasse.

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 or call 1300 662 205.

Situated on a secluded beach in the heart of the Margaret River wine region, Injidup Spa Retreat features 10 luxurious villas, each with a private plunge pool and stunning ocean views.

31 Cape Clairault Road, Yallingup 6282, WA (08) 9750 1300 | |

Perth’s multi-award winning day spas extends it’s exquisite offerings to the Margaret River wine region with Bodhi J @ Injidup Spa Retreat. An eco-luxe spa experience, with the most breathtaking views.

Perth | Highgate 08 9466 8260 • The Westin | Perth 08 6559 1818 • Wembley 08 9387 5152 Injidup | Yallingup 08 9750 130 • Wellbeing Studio @

Qantas International Transit Lounge T3 Perth Airport





ree Monaghan and Tim Hall bought their Cowaramup property back in 2013, moving down from Perth along with their children in 2015. “The property was a blank slate, requiring the design and building of infrastructure and the establishment of the orchard and kitchen garden, which is ongoing, of course, but allowed us to finally open the doors to our cooking school in late 2018,” Cree recalls. That blank canvas is now home to an impressive 1,600sqm kitchen garden, and after years of hard work, their cooking school is one with a difference – as a “climate change aware” business. “Being climate change aware has a number of components,” Cree explains. “Firstly, we accept and embrace the science behind climate change and work towards a number of key features important in reducing our environmental footprint. Our main




approach is to demonstrate, teach and live in such a way as to reduce our carbon output wherever possible and to actually increase carbon drawdown with our choices and actions. “We turn cooking on its head and make the seasonal vegetable the focus, with the encouragement of only incorporating small amounts of high welfare, ethically-produced meat on the menu,” she adds. “We teach about cooking things from scratch, including teaching the most lovely process of baking your own sourdough. We also teach about composting, recycling, growing and how to use as much of the edible plant as possible and we keep our food waste to an almost zero level.” She adds they also discuss and work towards regenerative farming principles on the whole farm. “So you not only come here to cook, but you come here to learn about food, farming and growing or whatever take-home message is important to you,” she says. Certainly it is a cooking school with a difference, which isn’t surprising when you find out about Cree and Tim’s backgrounds. They are clearly not your typical small business owners, with Cree being a former zoo and wildlife vet, and Tim from the corporate sector. It was a big change for both of them – but the couple wanted to start a business that offered others

the opportunity to learn about the things they were both passionate about. For Cree, she loved to grow and cook and to raise animals well – and both Cree and Tim loved working with people. “We also wanted to live a little differently with a greater emphasis on a connection to the land,” Cree says. “Finding this property with good soil and water was a key factor, and we fell in love with the vista across the farm and the potential of what it could offer.” The couple’s vision has become a reality, with One Table Farm offering a number of unique workshops. Cree says their most popular courses are the sourdough and seasonal food farm experience workshops and, for 2020, they have created a new workshop that combines the best of both worlds of sourdough and seasonal eating. “In these classes we wander our garden with baskets and collect food for the menu,” she explains. “We also offer a range of seasonal workshops such as caper growing, picking and pickling, tomato passata and pasta making. All classes include time spent on our farm, walking through our gardens, interacting with animals and understanding the farming systems. We are also planning a chocolate and cake making workshop this winter, a gluten-free workshop and hopefully a preserving workshop too. We are planning to organise some special guest chefs as well.

Situated among the Karri trees and adjacent the Boranup Gallery. Cafe Boranup is the perfect forest hideaway to disconnect from the outside world and connect with those around you. Watch the fairy wrens dance around the deck as you enjoy a hearty meal, with a nice hot coffee of course.

COOKING ON GAS A new cooking school at One Table Farm in Cowaramup offers keen foodies the chance to learn the basics from an expert chef. Above, Tim Hall and Cree Monaghan.

“We also offer customised workshops for families or groups interested in our farming, cooking and baking life, and they have been great fun.” Additionally, they recently started a community supported baking scheme, where people can purchase a subscription to their 100% organic sourdough bread. “We are hoping to expand this in 2020,” Cree says. “We would also love to broaden our agriculture reach and offer more opportunities for other people who want to pursue an area of growing, cooking or farming. A combined farmstay/growing, picking and cooking experience is also on the cards.” Their big change has certainly been rewarding, with Cree saying that they have seen people with no baking experience turn out amazing sourdough loaves for their families. Cree (who trained at a French cooking school) loves

Enjoy your country style food with a ‘seasational’ view of the ocean in our historic lightkeepers cottage. Try Australian burgers of kangaroo or emu, or simply tea and scones. The coffee is hot even when the weather is not!

to teach others how to use vegetables (and all other foods) in interesting and practical ways. Cree also has an additional qualification in animal welfare and ethics, and has a particular interest in farm animals. She hopes that One Table Farm gives people an opportunity to understand more about animals and their needs and to be able to make more of an informed decision about their food choices. “Even if every visitor just takes away one small bit of new knowledge from our farm, that contributes to better health, a better life or a better community, and whether that be in the kitchen, or the garden, or when making their own food choices at the supermarket, we feel we have achieved a good outcome,” she says. “And if that knowledge gets shared, then even better.” For more information about One Table Farm, go to

Relax and unwind on the deck looking into the forest or by the fire with a coffee. Pick a pizza, panini or pie, sip a soup or just come by for cake.

All menus available at: Ph: 08 97577279 • Mob: 0459 644 934 Email:

Eat & Drink



hat to pick? You’ve got one day in the Margaret River region and you want to ensure you make the most of your time. Outdoor activity, wining and dining, an afternoon of gallery hopping or a guided tour? Thanks to the newest experience you can do all of the above in just one day with The Ultimate Ride to Wine and Dine. I team up with Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours Michael ‘Brooksey’ Brookes, and his partner Di to discover first-hand how the day unfolds. The e-bikes are loaded onto the back of the car and, I’m handed my helmet and gloves by the grinning Brooksey. “It’s a very personal tour, it’s not a group tour. Every ride is unique, depending on our customers. By the end of the ride it usually ends with a hug goodbye, it’s like they have been out riding with friends. We get all ages and all

EASY DOES IT Exploring the Margaret River region on an electric bike makes things oh so easy, according to Cassandra Charlick, above.




demographics, from hardcore fitness fanatics to total foodies. The last guy we had – I would imagine he was a billionaire – and he was really impressed with it.” I’m pretty relieved I have an e-bike, to be honest, as I know what some of those coastal hills we are heading to are like. Brooksey can see the relief on my face. “It’s a relatively flat and downhill route, we cruise down the hills not up them! Really, it’s an e-bike (electric bike) experience. We do have high end, dual suspension bikes available but most people do think they’re fitter than what they are.” Cruising down to our starting point, the sight of a ‘dangerous coast’ sign gives a little adrenaline kick. Gazing out at the aquamarine of the water, the azure blue of the sky and the white sand of the limestone rocks, it’s easy to see why this is where the day begins. “The colour is what gets people when the first come down here. The contrast of colour from Caves Road to the coastal blue, white limestone. They can’t believe how fresh the air is, and how diverse the environment is. The microsystems we go through range from granite rock to coastal heath, through to bushland, the karri forest and finishing up in the surrounding farmlands down a rolling gravel road to Leeuwin Estate’s vineyards. In one day, you see and breathe it all in.” As we ride down the coastline and into the canopy of Boranup forest, there’s a real sense of tranquility. And that’s not just because the push of a button is seriously helping with my peddle power. “Our guests just love the emptiness here. Many come from big cities, and to ride a bike for a few hours with only the wildlife and

majestic karri trees for company - it’s something they just haven’t experienced before.” Cruising through the beautiful scenery, there are plenty of stops for water and snacks and to share the history of the region along with the intricacies of the ecosystems, the flora and the fauna. There’s even a few bush tucker tips; however I’m getting my tastebuds ready for the final stop at Leeuwin Estate. The entrance has some serious wow factor, not least because it isn’t usually open to the public. Stepan Libricky, Leeuwin Estate’s

As we ride down the coastline and into the canopy of Boranup forest, there’s a real sense of tranquility.

Savour our award-winning wines and seasonal menu nestled between native bushland and old vines.

Cellar Door & Café 3277 Caves Road, Wilyabrup Open daily 10am - 5pm Kitchen 11am - 4pm

Eat & Drink EXPLORE AND DISCOVER A visit to Leeuwin Estate is a particular highlight, as riders are given a personal tour of the estate’s art gallery and the stories behind the Art Series label by Leeuwin’s hospitality manager Stepan Libricky.

hospitality manager agrees. “The arrival through the vineyards is really one of the biggest 'wow' moments,” he says. “The whole venue has been designed for access through the gardens, but when you arrive from behind the estate, down through the slope of the vineyard approaching the majestic wall of karri trees, it opens up to the full Leeuwin estate in all of its glory. It’s the start of a fantastic afternoon.” After the grand entry, I’ve been treated to a private tour of Leeuwin Estate’s art gallery, including the stories behind some of the most iconic Art Series labels, before tasting the wine itself in a unique guided flight. “Part of the whole experience is the food




You’re invited and wine pairing,” says Stepan. “It introduces five iconic wines of Leeuwin with their best matched food. It’s fun! It’s not a stubborn, old fashioned tasting. It’s inclusive and educational. “I really think that it combines all the things that the Margaret River region is famous for. The nature, from the ocean to the forest provides adrenalin and excitement; it’s the pure pleasure of being active. And then some of the world’s best wines and food in a softly luxurious setting that is not pretentious. When you finish at

3.30pm you feel like you have had a full day of jam packed excitement.” As I am dropped back off at my car, I agree whole heartedly. I feel like I’ve had an entire holiday in one day; those views over the coast this morning feel like a lifetime ago. Brooksey has the last word, “It’s one of the best days you can have in WA”. The Ultimate Ride to Wine and Dine Tour - $399 per person, running for approximately six hours. Visit


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 0888 or email

Eat & Drink


t’s the key to many a south west chef ’s award-winning success, and has been feeding Margaret River region locals and lovers for centuries. Want an access-all-areas pass to one of the most well-stocked natural pantries in the world? Here’s where to start.

BG’S FARMSTAND Tucked away near Busselton’s LIA, this grocery stalwart has been around for more than 25 years. Every time I walk into BG’s, my nose is greeted by what I can only describe as “crisp, early morning dew”. It’s a clear indicator of the freshness of the store’s fruit and vegetables, which you’ll find in abundance, along with a range of organic, health and gourmet products. And, unlike your weekend farmers market, these guys are open Monday through to Saturday, which means you’ve got access to the best of south west provisions almost every day of the week. DON’T MISS: If you’re short on time, order a Foodlosophy pre-prepared food box (featuring BG’s Farmstand produce) to be delivered straight to your accommodation door. Unit 1/77 Strelly Street, Busselton,



From award-winning farmers markets to locals’ go-tos, Lily Yeang shares where to go in Margaret River if you’re looking for top quality, farm fresh produce.








BUNBURY FARMERS MARKET The IKEA of grocery stores, the Bunbury Farmers Market features a unique layout designed for the eyes, nose and mouth. Weave (and taste) your way through aisles of colourful fruit and vegetables, in-season meats, freshly caught seafood, one of the largest ranges of WA cheeses in the country and a plethora of wholefoods, meal packs, snacks, desserts and more. Travelling from Perth to Margaret River? Instead of having to cook when you reach your accommodation, swing by the markets and choose from a huge selection of readymade family meals – think wholesome lasagnes, pastas, pies, pizzas and quiches. DON’T MISS: Dessert! A slice of decadent, salted caramel cheesecake is a must-try. 2 Vittoria Road, Glen Iris,

Into permaculture? Just 4kms from Margaret River, Fair Harvest features regenerative gardens, animal systems, an environmentallyfriendly campground and beautiful farm walks. Established in 1995, the farm grows food holistically using permaculture principles. Come along during one of its open days (March 15, April 26, May 24 and June 21) to learn about permaculture and enjoy a delicious organic lunch made using ingredients from the farm’s seasonal crops, join in one of Fair Harvest’s mindfulness and nature retreats, or camp/glamp onsite. Staying the night? There’s no need to leave to get a feed – just ask the Fair Harvest team to put together a produce box for you and your other campers. DON’T MISS: Sharing stories and a homegrown feast around the campfire. 426 Carters Road, Margaret River,

MARGARET RIVER FARMERS MARKET For the best in farm-fresh produce, head to the market that was voted Delicious Awards’ Most Outstanding Farmers Market in Australia. The Margaret River Farmers Market is the most genuine representation of a ‘farmers market’ I know. Featuring stalls filled with an array of foods that have come straight from local farms and kitchens, the market allows locals and visitors to chat to the farmers and producers directly before they buy. It’s a true paddock-tobasket experience that’ll feed your belly as well as your soul. DON’T MISS: Devouring one of Margaret River

Tel: 08 9758 7439 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




Eat & Drink

Bakery’s hollandaise breakfast croissants. Margaret River Senior High School, Margaret River,

OCEANS FRESH SEAFOOD Get your seafood fix at Oceans Fresh Seafood, the sister business to Gold Plate awardwinner Blue Manna Bistro. This Dunsborough fishmonger sells fish caught around the South West by local fishermen. Depending on what bites, expect to find pink snapper, dhufish, nannygai, black ass, hapuka, big eyed trevalla and more in-store this autumn/winter. Oceans Fresh also stock Manjimup marron, Rottnest Island scallops and new season prawns. Hankering for fish and chips? They do takeaway too! Think your traditional seafood baskets, plus bento boxes, sashimi, nasi goreng and karage squid. DON’T MISS: Knocking back a dozen oysters Kilpatrick before cooking some dhu fish on the barbecue. 2/16 Cyrillean Way, Dunsborough,

THE BERRY FARM Everything about The Berry Farm is splendid. Its country gardens, its range of jams and preserves, its sparkling fruit, dessert and fortified wines, and its fairy wrens. Come along to last year’s WA Region Country Wide Café of the Year to pick up your condiment staples, then stay for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea (scones

and strawberry jam, anyone?). Kids in tow? The Berry Farm has three playgrounds, a giant chess set and plenty of farm animals to keep all the little monkeys busy. DON’T MISS: The Berry Farm’s boysenberry pie, filled with plump boysenberries and topped with fluffy whipped cream. 43 Bessell Road, Rosa Glen,

THE COLONY CONCEPT Oh honey! How I love thee . . . And lucky for me, The Colony Concept has plenty of it. From the team behind Southern Forests Honey, The Colony Concept is home to a bee farm, restaurant, retail store and playground (designed by and for kids). Its “petal to pot” concept means you can taste more than 10 local varieties of honey, as well as locally produced mead, while gaining a unique insight into their sustainable and holistic production. The Colony Concept’s restaurant menu features a farmers market shopping list of South West produce, while their retail store offers plenty of local goodies for you to take home and eat. DON’T MISS: Adding a slab of natural honeycomb, harvested fresh from The Concept’s beehives, to your next cheese platter. 62 Harmans Mill Road, Metricup, thecolonyconcept


As much as I love a homecooked meal

sometimes, cooking is just not on the agenda. That’s where The Larder comes in. This muchloved gourmet deli has a range of take-home meals made fresh, daily. On the menu: spicy Thai green chicken curry, chicken tikka masala, four cheese macaroni, pumpkin and almond ravioli and more. A go-to for locals and visitors alike, The Larder also has its own breakfast-to-go options, chicken and duck pate and pre-ordered picnic hampers – perfect for a romantic evening by the sea or trees, sans the prep or clean-up. It’s also well-stocked with south west gourmet foodie finds, making it a one-stop-shop for all your cooking and dining needs. DON’T MISS: The Larder’s spinach and red lentil dahl, which tastes like a warm hug from Mum. 67/1 Resort Place, Gnarabup,


If you’re searching for all things wholefoods, visit The Shed Markets. A marketplace made by and for locals, The Shed (literally a rustic shed in Abbey) houses a number of small businesses, including fruit and vegetable store Provenance Farm Stall and plant-based shop LifeForce Wholefoods. Outside, find Eat Street, a food truck-style dining venue that plays host to some of the region’s most popular roving eateries, including RAW Life juices and Mattia Italian Vibes (which makes giant buckwheat wraps filled with plenty of good things), every Friday night. DON’T MISS: A healthy and nourishing breakfast featuring Golden Granola –chaispiced, myrtle-infused granola that tastes divine and is packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories – which you can get from LifeForce. 4 Skiff Way, Abbey,


ALL THE BESTFresh fish caught offshore, delicious curries to take away and local, seasonal fruit and veg - what more could you want during your visit to the region? .




Find some of the best quality foods housed under one roof at Western Growers Fresh. Open seven days a week and conveniently located along the Busselton bypass, Western Growers Fresh is a market catering for those who love to cook top quality food and those who love eating it. From seasonal fruit and veggies, to local cheeses, honey, baked goods and more, this market has everything to tickle the tastebuds. Its range of ready to eat meals are cooked in-house and are designed for holidaymakers or locals who aren’t up for cooking, while its continental delicatessen and fresh juice bar offer an easy solution to lunchtime dining on the go. DON’T MISS: Western Growers’ hearty, premade beef bourguignon. 4/99 Causeway Road, Busselton,

IMAGE Freedom Garvey for Windows Estate



A special supplement celebrating the region's winemakers as they work towards creating the 2020 vintage.



VANYA AT 30 She’s been a driving force behind one of the most important vineyards in the region for three decades what’s on the horizon for Vanya Cullen as a new decade dawns? Fergal Gleeson finds out.


ast year was a milestone year for Vanya Cullen marking her 30th year as chief winemaker for Cullen Wines.Vanya is one of Australia’s best known winemakers and has been its most vocal advocate of biodynamic winemaking and sustainable agriculture. She recently collected the Halliday Winemaker of the Year Award 2020 and Australian Woman in Wine Winemaker of Year Award 2019.

EARLY DAYS IN MARGARET RIVER Her parents, Busselton-based GP Kevin and physiotherapist Diana Madeline, were two of the pioneering winemakers of Margaret River, establishing Cullen Wines in 1971. “We grew up on the beach. Dad would catch dhufish,”Vanya recalls. “I remember as a kid cycling around with Caroline Juniper, a local artist, chewing lollies and both thinking it was great that our parents had planted a vineyard.” However the winery created plenty of chores for the young Cullens. “We were always working in the vineyard or in the cellar. Mum and dad were workaholics. But mum always made the work seem alright by preparing a lovely picnic and a thermos.” It was not inevitable that Vanya would follow her parents into Cullen Wines. She studied music in Perth and Adelaide. However, her father Kevin booked her in the postgraduate diploma in oenology at Roseworthy alongside her music studies as he wanted one of their children to know about wine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her house is full of music instruments. There’s a piano, a harmonium, a guitar and ukulele, all of which she plays “in a fashion,” she says. There was a plan to give up wine at 50 and go back and finish her music degree. That was not to be and at her 60th birthday party shindig, there was plenty of music.




“Like me, the choices were eclectic,” she laughs. Everything from Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Joel to Hare Krishna, Bach and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

MAKING WINE Vanya returned to winemaking at Cullen Wines in 1983. There were vintages working overseas in the 1980s which provided insights. Her time in New Zealand led to experimentation with trellising systems and how they affect flavour.Vanya’s time in Napa Valley coincided with the early days of Opus One, founded by Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Robert Mondavi. It allowed her to observe how a Bordeaux ‘first growth’ makes wine. Her third overseas vintage was in Burgundy where she got experience working with natural yeasts for fermentation.

SUSTAINABILITY The passion for nature and biodynamic winemaking runs deep. Her parents were environmentalists, campaigning again the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania and against mining in Margaret River. Her father saw the effects of chemicals on potato farmers first hand in his

practice. Kevin died of motor neurone disease, which Vanya believes may have been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam where he served as a doctor during the war. Cullen Wines was carbon negative this year, improving on its previous carbon neutral result. The process involves planting trees to offset the carbon used in wine production. Vanya and her mother converted Cullen Wines to organic becoming fully certified in 2003. This was enhanced by Cullen Wines becoming biodynamically certified in 2004. Biodynamic winemaking can sound “kooky”, with its practices such as burying organic material in cow horns to develop the natural sprays and coinciding activities around lunar movements, and Vanya has been subjected to some scepticism for her advocacy of biodynamics. I spoke to biodynamic Burgundian winemaker Pascal Marchand recently. When he started biodynamic winemaking he was laughed at and thought of as a “hippy in the woods”. No one laughs anymore. Burgundy now has the most biodynamic vineyards in the world. Vanya feels that Australia has reached a

“reluctant acceptance” of organic and biodynamic winemaking. “It’s pleasing that we have now reached a tipping point where for whatever reason people are moving to organic and biodynamic practices,” she says. She acknowledges it has been a lonely place to occupy on occasion however. “It’s not about me. It’s about the earth. Not putting toxic chemicals into the earth that people then eat. People understand how probiotics create gut health. This is similar. It’s about the creation of balanced aligned soils and healthy vines. Then you don’t have to add anything to correct the wines because they are coming from a balanced place.” Cullen Wines have fitted seamlessly into the trend for natural wines as evidenced by her release of a petillant naturel Rose Moon, the malbec and petit verdot blend Red Moon and Amber, a white wine. “There is a problem with the lack of definition of ‘natural wine,’ she says. “Some people just buy grapes from everywhere and you are supposed to like it because it’s a natural wine. All our wines are natural but Red Moon and Amber are supernatural.” They are totally different from the iconic classic wines like Diana Madeline, recently awarded best cabernet blend by the Halliday Companion and Kevin John Chardonnay.



VANYA CABERNET SAUVIGNON In 2012, Cullen Wines released Margaret River’s most expensive cabernet, named Vanya, which has since been awarded the Halliday Companions best cabernet in two of the last four years. The new releases of Vanya sell for $500, a considerable sum, but it’s worth noting that there are more than 25 wineries in Napa Valley releasing more expensive cabernets. It is also less than half the price of first growth Bordeaux. They are exquisite wines. “Mum loved the cabernet blend which is why Diana Madeline used the classic Bordeaux varietals cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. I loved single varietal cabernet. After nine years of being fully biodynamic I thought now we have a wine that is good enough. These decisions are made at the tasting table and in the vineyard. There are no rules.” Cullen Wines have just released a 2016 Vanya and two versions of 2017 Vanya – Full Moon and Flower Day. “It would have been easier to blend them into one wine to sell, but they are so different I wanted to honour nature and show the difference,” she says. “We are a young region and still delineating sub regions. There’s Bordeaux and there’s Pauliac. It’s a point of interest. It’s about identifying what it is that’s great,” Cullen says.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR CULLEN WINES? A milestone year like her 30th anniversary naturally caused some reflection. “It’s been a love story about the earth, nature and friends. At times it’s been really difficult. But I feel blessed. Mum and dad gave something to the world. They were people of integrity. It’s a love of all those things,” she says. “Understanding the vineyards and making them better. Keep evolving the wines and improving them. Like the holy grail,” says Vanya. “You never get there, you always believe that the best is yet to come, but you must enjoy the journey.” Visit

SOAP FACTORY & WORKSHOPS 135 Puzey Road, Wilyabrup WA | Ph. (08) 9755 6111

Open daily (bookings essential for workshops)





Cool Chenin Blanc










Smoking Gun is made from 100% barrelfermented single vineyard chenin. It’s waxy and textural with a rich river of acid running through it. All the complexity of chardonnay with the crispness of riesling. The Goon Tycoons make small-batch wines, using experimental techniques and alternative varietals from the Margaret River region and the Great Southern. Their range of whites, rosé and reds is sophisticated and very well priced. The Goons share a cellar door with Abbey Vale where there’s also an artisan cheesemaker and an olive oil producer. Visit

This is a 100% chenin blanc made in the method traditionelle fashion. It’s high quality, dry, crisp and persistent. Stylistically it has less yeast/toast flavours than champagne and is less sweet than prosecco. It’s also far better than most Australian prosecco I’ve tasted. Cape Grace is a highly awarded family-owned winery (three trophies and 175 medals). Their range spans sparkling, white, rosé and red wines. Part of the Small Family Wine Trail. Cellar door open daily. Small and beautiful. Visit



Complex Chardonnay



Uber trendy chenin can make for very good sparkling wine. The proof ’s here where chenin’s crisp acid and a creamy persistent mousse make for an excellent method traditionelle wine. Voyager are a big name in Margaret River and their project wines allow this famous winery to explore small parcels, specific clones and innovative techniques. Cellar door with highly awarded restaurant, considered one of WA’s best, open daily.Variety of tour, tasting and dining options available. Visit

Brilliantly executed and well-priced chardonnay from Mark Messenger at Juniper Estate.You get purity of fruit and complexity which comes from detailed winemaking including the use of multiple clones and yeasts, barrel fermentation and some extra time ageing on lees. More than we have a right to expect for $25. Also look out for the classy 2019 Crossing semillon sauvignon blanc. The Juniper Cellar Door won the 2019 award for ‘Best Large Cellar Door in Margaret River’ from Gourmet Traveller Wine. Open daily. Visit



It’s a distinctive chardonnay that’s drop dead gorgeous and great value for the quality.

Textured Sauvignon Blanc




Mon Tout is an exciting range of natural wines that throws out much of the rule book. There’s fermentation in clay amphora, tea bagging of fruit skins and novel blends. The inspiration is lo-fi winemaking with no fining or filtration, minimal sulphur and vegan friendly. Mon Tout is directed by Richard Burch, son of Howard Park’s Jeff and Amy Burch. Heydays has chardonnay’s characteristic flavours of grapefruit and citrus but there’s also texture and breath. It’s very cool! Look out for the range in restaurants which also includes a sauvignon blend, a pinot chardonnay rosé and a syrah/pinot red. Visit








This is a cerebral chardonnay with chalk and wild yeasty smells. It tastes of grapefruit and lime with texture woven through it. It’s a distinctive chardonnay that’s drop dead gorgeous and great value for the quality. Red wine lovers check out their zinfandel and GSM, both rare in the region. McHenry Hohnen farm biologically and organically. They hold a 5-star Halliday rating. Cellar door open daily with a variety of tasting options. Visit





Wallcliffe is one of Australia’s best SBSs. A delicious nose with a hint of toast courtesy of barrel ageing, leads to a bright and linear wine coming from Cape Mentelle’s vineyards planted in 1970.There’s no tutti frutti sauvignon excess here - it’s a very poised wine.The entry-level Cape Mentelle 2018 SBS at $28 is fresh, vibrant and smashable.Wallcliffe is that and more. Cape Mentelle is one of the region’s founding and leading wineries.The cellar door is open daily with a variety of options of tastings and private tours. Visit

Cabernet & Merlot

HOWARD PARK ALLINGHAM CHARDONNAY 2018 Howard Park Allingham Chardonnay 2018 is the jewel in the crown of this winery’s white wine portfolio. This single vineyard wine from the cool Karridale area has a cornucopia of flavours including citrus, nuts, toast and sherbet. High flyers will recognise it from the Emirates First Class range. The 2011 Allingham which is available from the winery’s museum collection is now at its peak. Allingham’s are highly age worthy. Howard Park’s architecturally awarded cellar door is open daily. A variety of tasting options are available including their “Icon Wine” tasting and booking options for larger groups. Visit

Nick and Sarah James-Martin make small-batch, natural style wines from single vineyard sites. The range includes sauvignon, vermentino, cabernet franc and a chenin blanc. The commonality is the focus on building texture in the wines through time on skins, wild fermentation and ageing in old barrels. There’s a great mouthfeel to this sauvignon because of the natural winemaking approach. A tropical nose leads to refreshing lime flavour. Serving at a hip wine bar near you. Visit




Houghton is one of Western Australia’s most iconic wineries, founded by three British army officers in 1836. Their ranges spans everything from everyday wine to premium offerings. Houghton’s Wisdom range has a single region focus with cabernet from Margaret River and chardonnay and pinot noir from Pemberton. The cabernet is a very sophisticated drop with texture, fruit depth, tannins and briary flavours. It shows off just how the good the region can be with the variety and is great value. Visit







XANADU RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 A classic Margaret River region cabernet from the cooler 2017 vintage. Elegant and silky with no hard edges. Walks the line perfectly between being easy to enjoy but holding complexity and interest. Drink now or later. Has won trophies and gold medals galore. The 2016 won the Jimmy Watson, arguably Australia’s greatest red wine prize. Founded in 1977, Xanadu’s cellar door and acclaimed restaurant are open daily (Top 50 West Australian Food Guide 2017 & 2018 and a Chef Hat, Australian Good Food Guide 2019). Visit






FRASER GALLOP ESTATE PARTERRE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 Classically balanced cabernet dominant blend (86%) with a smooth texture. Parterre Cabernet always manages fruit generosity with structure and brings to mind high quality Bordeaux more than most other Margaret River producers. Winemaker Clive Otto is a maestro at making wines that are enjoyable now but also cellerable - I have many in my own cellar. The other wines in the Parterre range – semillon sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are also exceptional. Cellar door open daily. Visit






Modelled on the great merlots of Pommerol and St Emillion, Moss Wood Merlot is now considered one of the country’s best. I’ve beaten the drum for the last few vintages and 2017 again demonstrates the point. Fresh and vibrant with glossy fruit, touch of leather and smooth tannins, it’s satisfying and age worthy. Moss Wood is one of Margaret River region’s oldest wineries with their first plantings made 50 years ago. Their range of reds includes three impressive cabernets, a merlot and pinot noir as well as very good semillon and an SBS.Visits to Moss Wood are by appointment. Visit



Treat yourself! Vanya 2016 is an exquisite biodynamic wine from the original 1971 plantings. Delicious bright, flavours of fruit, tobacco leaf and tannin are already integrating beautifully.Vanya estimates the wine has a 50plus year lifespan, but the surprise was how silky and smooth it is now. Previous editions have been awarded Australia’s best cabernet by the Halliday Wine Companion. A decadent purchase but less than half the price of Bordeaux first growths. Cullen Wines is certified biodynamic and carbon neutral. The cellar door is open daily. Private winery tour options, accommodation and a ‘two chef hatted’ restaurant on site. Visit




A lovely cool climate red from Aravina Estate. There is some good value right across the A series range which are well made wines. This blend got a lot of approving comments at a recent barbeque I held. Aravina is a well-known tourist destination in Margaret River; apart from the cellar door there is a critically acclaimed restaurant, sports car gallery, a kitchen garden and the West Australian Surf Gallery. Also try their Limited Release Range if you’re looking for wines with ageing ability. Visit





Moonmilk Red is a slinky, smooth shiraz grenache blend. Margaret River shiraz can be earthy and grenache brings the lighter notes that lift this wine. Yin and yang stuff. Has a nice mix of fruit and herb notes that bring to mind good Côtes du Rhone. A lovely wine and excellent value. Winemaker Stuart Pym has had a stellar career as winemaker at Voyager Estate, Devil's Lair and Stella Bella Wines before starting Flowstone Wines. Cellar door visits can be arranged by appointment. Visit




One of the region’s best syrah/shiraz. Great depth sets it apart with fruit that’s ripe, lively and bounces along with a jaunty stride but also intricate. Hats off for holding the wine for five years before releasing so that no cellaring is required. Clairault Streicker’s range of wines achieved excellent results in the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion and they have consistent medal success at wine shows. Cellar door open daily, tours and café on site. Visit




The Margaret River region is generally underestimated as a producer of pinot noir and plantings are small. The Berson family,Victory Point’s owners, planted pinot vines 20 years ago, having been impressed with the varietal’s potential in the region. All their wines are estate-grown on their unirrigated vineyards. Their high quality/ low volume approach has gained consistently high points from Halliday and at international wine shows.You can check out Margaret River Pinot for yourself at the cellar door which is open daily from 11-4pm. Visit


248 Tom Cullity Drive, Cowaramup


100% Gluten Free

Wine, Nougat, Liqueurs and Coffee. Small batch production, family owned and made with passion and pride.

Experience Watch the nougat being made through the viewing window or book a tour with the owner and enjoy matched nougat and wine tastings and a private tour.

Stay Family holiday or romantic getway. Stay and enjoy wine, walks and the | AUTUMN 2020 47 wonders of nature.






osé wine has had a spectacular rise in popularity in Australia in recent years. Rosé has changed both in style and substance from a deep coloured, girly, unfashionable, cordial like drink to one which is now enjoyed all year round, by men and women of all ages. Millennials still can’t resist Insta #rosé shots of themselves by the pool. I spoke to some of Margaret River region's leading winemakers about what’s leading the rosé revolution and how they make their own.

XANADU WINES “Rosé quality has never been better in Australia,” says Glenn Goodall, long-term winemaker with the highly-awarded Xanadu Wines. “I think an increasing number of winemakers are now taking rosé a bit more seriously by making decisions to produce rosé right from the get go, in the vineyard, rather than as an afterthought in the winery.” “I think that consumers have finally realised that the rosés on offer now are quite different to those that their parents may have been drinking 20 or 30 years ago. The perception of rosé has taken a while to change since then, but it seems as though a new generation of consumers has discovered that Australian rosés have evolved into much more refined wines.” “These days elegant, salmon-hued, dry savoury styles (such as we’ve come to expect




from Provence in France) are being produced locally and leading the rosé revolution.” How does Glenn choose the varietals for Xanadu rosé? “We have a small block of graciano on our Stevens Road vineyard which we have always used in our DJL Rosé (in some years the DJL is actually 100% graciano),” Glenn says. “The variety has always played an important part of the blend as it offers lovely savoury/ spicy elements, and next to no green characters even when we pick it relatively early for Rosé production. In years when we don’t have enough graciano, we’ll target a portion of estategrown shiraz to use in the DJL Rosé blend as it complements the spiciness and offers lovely primary fruits.” Given Xanadu makes a crisp, dry, savoury style Glenn feels it’s perfectly suited to dishes with a bit of spice, with tapas or a simple platter of cured meats, olives and cheeses.

CULLEN WINES Vanya Cullen, Halliday Companion Winemaker of the Year 2020, feels that it’s about time that rosé wine became popular because “it’s such a fun style which crosses many food types”. Vanya describes Cullen’s 2019 Dancing in the Moonlight rosé as a fun wine where the varietal mix changes from year to year depending on vintage conditions. The grapes are sourced from Cullen’s certified biodynamic vineyards and

fermented in wild yeast to make a genuinely natural wine. More than any other wine style, there is a lot of focus from consumers on the colour of their rosé. I asked Vanya about the relationship between rosé colour and sweetness. “The colour which is most beautiful is the Provençal rosé colour,” she says. “Sweetness is different to colour. The wine has fruit sweetness which comes from the physiologically ripe grapes off balanced biodynamic vines which have low yields, particularly in 2019.” She recommends drinking Dancing in the Moonlight Rosé with antipasto.


“Rosé has become such a popular summer drink because there are just some occasions where a red or white does not suffice,” says Steve James, manager of winemaking and viticulture at Voyager Estate. “Shared charcuterie plates and spicy seafood are perfect summer dishes,” he believes, “and lightly chilled rosé is the best wine to enjoy with a fresh fruit salad.” Voyager’s 2019 rosé was produced primarily from a selection of designated shiraz and merlot vineyards. The fruit was gently pressed to extract a free run component with minimal colour. Some viognier was co-fermented to add textural complexity and lifted aromatics. The wine was left on lees for two months prior to filtration and

CABERNET OF THE YEAR Halliday – 99 points – 2018 and 2020









PINK PERFECTION Above, Cullen Wines' Dancing in the Moonlight and Voyager Estate's Project 2019 Rosé are both delicious, any time of the year. Xanadu Wines use graciano grapes in their rosé




Ryan Aggiss, winemaker at Aravina Estate, a leading winery, restaurant and home to the WA Surf Gallery, is very enthusiastic about rosé’s wine style.




“It’s just such a great match for the Australian climate, our varied cultures and our food habits,” Ryan says. “Recent culinary influences of the middle east and Asia, along with the traditional European influence of cuisine, have paved the way for a better understanding of food and wine pairing.” Ryan varies how he makes Aravina rosé from year to year, but for 2019 it’s a blend of tempranillo, shiraz and semillon. “The tempranillo component spends around 16 hours on skins in the press, is de-juiced then fermented nice and cool in stainless steel tanks,” he says. “The shiraz spends about six hours on skins then is fermented in older French oak and matured on lees for 12 weeks. The small semillon component it put to barrel as a whole juice, wild fermented and left to sit on lees for six weeks before being blended into the base wine.” Do certain red varietals make better rosé than others? /continues overleaf


bottling in August 2019. Steve tells me that the shiraz blocks, which are planted to different clones, were chosen for the diversity of fruit flavours that they offer. Weightmans 3 offers fresh, bright, lifted fruit characters while Ullingers Block 8 and 11 offer a more savoury and earthy fruit spectrum. “The viognier adds a delightful aromatic lift, he says, “and also contributes a lovely smooth texture through the palate of the wine.”







IN THE PINKAravina Estate's rose is summer in a bottle, left. Opposite, Howard Park Wines' version is full of freshness, lightness and flavour..




“Yep, I think it depends largely on the sugar/ acid/flavour balance of the varietal in a particular region as to how suited to rosé’ it is,” Ryan says. What’s the relationship between colour and sweetness? “Zero! A common misconception is that a pinker rosé’ is sweeter and a pale rosé is dry. Sugar is a conscious decision of the wine style and is manipulated by the maker for the particular target market,” Ryan says. Ryan believes that rosé matches well with anything from charcuterie to a nice curry. “A personal favourite,” he says “is Benny Day’s beef tartare that’s on the menu at the moment,” praising the head chef at Aravina Estate’s much-adored restaurant.

HOWARD PARK WINES “Rosé is an all-occasion wine full of freshness, brightness, crispness, lightness yet with plenty of flavour,” says Janice McDonald, Howard Park’s highly awarded winemaker. “Being made from red grapes does give the

wine a depth, texture and a generally lower acidity than white wine. All in all, a natural, friendly balance that makes it easy to drink.” How did Janice make the 2017 Howard Park Miamup Rosé? “Our winemaking starts with the gentle extraction of free run juice from early harvest of separate parcels of shiraz and pinot noir grapes. After the extraction, rosé is made in the same way as white wine. The blend is what tastes best. This wine is 55 % Shiraz and 45% pinot noir.” Do certain red varietals make better rosé than others? “I feel the red grapes with the least amount of tannin and lots of berry characters are best, however I am sure opinions would differ as the style you wish to make,” she says. “I like shiraz, pinot noir, grenache and I like to blend varieties.” “Our style is about being fresh, fruity, fleshy and with a dry mineral-like finish. Not too much alcohol not too much phenolic content (that come from the skins of the grapes), so you can enjoy at any time of the day.”

Rosé is an all occasion wine full of freshness, brightness, crispness, lightness yet with plenty of flavour ~ JANICE MCDONALD, WINEMAKER, HOWARD PARK

Given that we were talking rosé I asked Janice the colour question. “The implied relationship is deeper colour, greater sweetness,” she says. “However this is not so accurate these days as even deep coloured rosé is much drier than in the past. Most rosé in Australia is modelled on the very dry, very pale Provençal style. So make no assumptions.” What’s a good food match with your rosé? “Given the light and delicate nature of rosé, food of a similar weight is best,” Janice says. “My favourite is a salad of micro greens with Persian fetta and pistachios.” Janice also had a fact for ‘wine knowit-all’s’. “There is an “official” colour coding scheme for rosé that refers to the flesh of: cantaloupe, peach, red currant, ruby grapefruit, mango and mandarin,” she says Thankfully you don’t have to have memorised it to appreciate a chilled glass of Miamup rosé.



EST. 1967

MARGARET RIVER’S FOUNDING WINE ESTATE TASTING BAR • WINE LOUNGE • RESTAURANT • THE VAULT • ART GALLERY • TOURS Open Daily 10AM - 5PM Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive), Cowaramup WA 6284 Phone 9756 5000 Restaurant Reservations 9756 5050








ll it takes is one sip to understand the world’s growing fascination with a Margaret River cabernet. And why they are dominating the wine show circuit. The recent International Cabernet Tasting, held at Cape Mentelle, further highlighted the exceptional calibre of cabernets produced here, with Deep Woods, Xanadu, Cloudburst,Vasse Felix and Cape Mentelle being stand-outs at this blind tasting event.

The Deep Woods Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has won the Best Cabernet or Cabernet Blend at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards for three consecutive years. It also walked away with the coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy its 2014 Reserve Cabernet.

UNDERSTANDING CABERNET Deep Woods winemaker Julian Langworthy, who was raised in Margaret River, fine-tuned his craft


BIG HITTERS Margaret River region's cabernets more than hold their own on the world wine stage. Deep Woods Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has won plenty of awards to prove its worth.









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in some of the world’s best cabernet regions such as Bordeaux, Coonawarra and Clare Valley. “Growing up in Margaret River in a wine loving family, I always fundamentally understood that cabernet was the one and only wine truth. As a child, I was surprised to learn they made Grange out of shiraz. I couldn’t help wondering if they’d made a mistake,” he reminisces. “Margaret River cabernets have an alluring appeal as there’s an effortless balance to them that

makes them so moreish to drink. The great wines of the world always have balance and poise.” Julian reveals that the secret to a great cabernet lies in the ability to source exceptional fruit that’s been picked at optimum ripeness. “Outstanding vineyards are particularly hard to find. Ours is sourced from a compellingly small area ensconced in the Yallingup Hills. It’s crucial to pick the fruit at the right time and treat the fruit with utmost respect. It’s also important to not be afraid of tannin or structure, as this is the hallmark of the ‘greatest grape’. “The wine from our vineyards is wonderfully blue-fruited and effortlessly ripe, while remaining fresh and balanced. At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of the fruit – and a little bit of tight-grained French oak doesn’t go astray.”


While Travis Lemm moved to Margaret River to pursue his love of chardonnay, the cabernet’s allure captivated him whilseexploring the nuances of vineyards and small fruit parcels within blocks at Voyager Estate. “While picking tiny parcels within blocks over a season, I became fascinated with how it









IMAGE Fredom Garvey


LONG LIVE THE KINGMAKERSWinemaker Julian Langworthy with the fruits of his labour at Deep Woods. Below, Voyager Estate follows an organic path when making its wines.


Voyager’s heritage block, planted in 1978, has been run organically for many years and was a driving component towards the entire property becoming organic. Its core cabernet blocks are certified organic this year, with the remaining blocks following from 2021. “The life and vitality we see in the organic soils provides an incredible substance to which great fruit can grow. Compared to conventional farming methods, we are now seeing more depth and density of fruit in the flavour profiles of the wine,” reveals Travis. Margaret River is undoubtedly producing some of the best cabernet in the world, yet its




wines represent unprecedented value, especially in comparison with the rest of the world. “Margaret River’s winemaking is in a fantastic place at present, with an exciting number of mature vineyards producing some beautiful fruit

and thoughtful winemakers framing these great sites elegantly,” Julian adds. With another exceptional vintage experienced this year, this region is poised for further dominance on the international platform. IMAGE Elements Margaret River

allowed for more distinctive and diverse blends to meld together,” he says. “There aren’t many wine regions in the world that can boast a consistency across vintages as Margaret River. The elegance and varietal notes we achieve cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. It truly is a Margaret River style. “We aim to express this in a mediumbodied style that displays the bright red-black fruit spectrum of the variety.”



t was an incredible line-up of 20 of the world’s best cabernets at this year’s International Cabernet Tasting, held at Cape Mentelle winery. Now in its 37th year, this tasting was hosted by leading

Australian wine critic James Halliday, who introduced us to the 2016 cabernets from France, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and California. All the wines were the embodiment

IMAGE Shot by Thom

Margaret River region wines shine at cabernet tasting

of elegance and finesse, yet it was the Margaret River cabernets that dominated the event. The Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was particularly stunning, perfectly balanced with each delicious layer unveiling opulent berry and cassis fruit, melding seamlessly with silky tannins and a lingering finish. The Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon also captured my imagination, with an intensity of flavour that builds with each delectable mouthful in what is a super-refined and elegant wine. It’s so approachable, I wanted to take it home with me. Cape Mentelle, Moss Wood and Cloudburst were also beautiful expressions from the Margaret River region, in what was a classic vintage for the region. The calibre of wines was superb, and while some of the European wines needed more time to shine, a spectacular vintage in the Napa Valley contributed to what was indeed a truly exceptional wine from Spottswoode. This tasting demonstrates that Margaret River cabernets indeed rank alongside the world’s best. They are sophisticated and generous, yet both complex and alluring. One can only imagine how they will evolve with further time in the bottle.

THE ART OF SPARKLING DISCOVER A NEW STYLE OF WINE TASTING EXPERIENCE Cellar Door & Wine Chapel - 543 Miamup Rd, Cowaramup WA 6284 | (08) 9756 5200 |




A DREAM WAS BORN After reading Dr John Gladstones’ report on the potential for Margaret River to become one of the great viticultural areas of the world, the seed was planted for Mike to be part of such an adventure. He studied winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College and worked alongside wine legends Dorham Mann and Tim Knappstein. After several years searching for the right site, he stumbled across a scrubby, rocky and sloping property in Willyabrup. “The land had several viticultural attributes: sunny north-facing slopes, the Willyabrup Brook flowing through, rocky but suitable soil, the Indian Ocean nearby, and Dr Gladstones’ recommendation that Willyabrup was potentially the best location in Margaret River,” Mike says. After working extra jobs to raise the money for this venture, an exhausted Mike returned three months later with a deposit and a business plan. “I persuaded Tim Knappstein to come over and appraise my new acquisition. Tim said, ‘you’ll never make it here’. But this just increased my determination to succeed,” he smiles. Mike spent the next two years preparing the site for the grapevines in what was an unconventional approach at the time.





ack in the 1970s, a doctor and budding vigneron tasted the first wines produced from Margaret River. So enamoured with their purity of flavour and elegance was he that he jumped in his Morris Minor and drove to Margaret River to take a closer look. This was a big trip for Mike Peterkin, who had never ventured farther south than Busselton. The countryside was so beautiful and untouched that it was love at first sight. It was also the day his dream to establish a vineyard in Margaret River was born. That vineyard – Pierro Winery – is one of the region’s finest wineries and recently celebrated its 40th birthday. “The 1970s and 1980s were as exciting as they were difficult, with all of us trying to make the best wine possible,” Mike says. “The region’s Mediterranean maritime climate was a vigneron’s dream-come-true. In those days, we all helped and competed with each other at the same time.”


This name seems quite fitting for a man whose first grapevines were planted in rocky soils. “It was quite a struggle to establish the vineyard and only a part-tragic, part-comic romantic character with a surname of Peterkin would have persisted,” he explains.


Quality, Integrity, Sustainability

In an era of single varietal wines, Mike garnered considerable attention when he launched Australia’s first semillon sauvignon blanc (SSB)

NOT CLOWNING AROUND As Pierro continues to make wine in its fith decade, Mike Peterkin (above) is as passionate as ever about the winery which changed everything in the region.

“I planted north-south orientated vine rows, which would receive up to 20% more sunlight. I introduced vines with half the normal row width and two-thirds the breadth to make the vines more competitive, balance their fruit yield and promote flavour intensity,” he reveals.


The site was ready, the grapevines were planted. All Mike needed was a name that signified his quest for elusive perfection. The French equivalent to the Peterkin family name is Pierrot. It is also the name of a European pantomime clown that’s forever chasing an impossible dream. “When establishing Pierro Winery, we adopted this family name but chose to drop the ‘t’ as it may have been pronounced by some as ‘Pierre-rot’,” Mike says.

blend with his inaugural vintage. “I introduced two wine styles: the SSB which emphasises the wine’s fruit flavours and aromas, and the Pierro LTC – an SSB with a ‘little touch of chardonnay’.” As Pierro settles into its fifth decade in Margaret River, Mike remains diligently at the helm with the same passion that lured him to the region all those years ago. He continues to work part-time as a GP with girlfriend Veronica Cullity, by his side at the winery. With her father, Tom Cullity, being the founding winemaker of the Margaret River region, it is safe to say this couple’s enthusiasm for wine is unparalleled. With son Nic Peterkin forging his own path with an excitingly unconventional range of small batch wines under the LAS Vino label, these guys are certainly crushing it. Visit

Cellar Door Open 7 days 10.00 - 4.30pm Restaurant Open Friday - Tuesday 11.30am - 4pm

IMAGE Russell Ord



IMAGE Russell Ord




ith more than 90 cellar doors to choose from and an array of gourmet restaurants showcasing the best local produce, visitors to the Margaret River region are spoilt for choice. But of the one and a half million visitors travelling here annually, only a fraction are dedicated gourmet travellers looking for niche wine experiences and fine dining. Research suggests that the majority of visitors want more diversified experiences - to enjoy wine tasting while also being immersed in the local culture and spectacular surroundings. “The type of wine tour experience people are looking for these days has changed dramatically in the last few years,” says Sean Blocksidge of the Margaret River Discovery Company.




“They’re looking for more personalised experiences and special access. People want to meet the winemaker and get out among the vineyards, walk through a working winery and understand why the wine from Margaret River is so ridiculously good. And to do that properly, you’ve got to connect at a deeper level.You need to understand the geology and ecology and climate. And you can have a bunch of fun while doing that.” On the Margaret River Discovery Tour, Sean provides the opportunity for his guests to venture deeper into the heart of the Margaret River region by combining exploration of the great outdoors with exclusive access to a working winery and vineyard.The tour includes a canoe trip down the Margaret River, coffee at the beach

while checking out the surf and a visit to an ancient waterhole to look for local wildlife and reflect on the Aboriginal history of the area. For lunch, a selection of wines are paired with local produce among the wine barrels at Fraser Gallop Estate, and the day ends with a four-wheel drive adventure and walk along the Cape to Cape Track. More local tour operators are stepping up and providing experiential wine tours and innovative experiences. Here are some of the best.

FOR THE FOODIE Harvest Tours have created a full day tour for those with a sweet tooth. Their Sweetie Tour showcases chocolate, nougat, coffee, honey, sweet wine and fudge producers and includes

a three-course lunch at Flutes. Even better, pick up and drop off, lunch, all tastings and an ecoshopping bag are included.

FOR THE ADVENTURER It’s 30 years since the famous Bushtucker Margaret River Tours started out on the banks of the crystal clear Margaret River in 1990. Helen Lee, the founder and Inaugural Best Tour guide from FACET Australia, is still at the helm of the highly awarded tour business. There are two tours daily that are different but most interesting. At 10 am to 2 pm meet at Margaret River Mouth to taste, touch and experience a river adventure

up the secluded and scenic Margaret River. A wild food gourmet luncheon is served half way including 20 unique Australia native produce dishes. A freshwater swim and canoe adventure make the trip unforgettable for all ages and abilities. The large four or two-seater boats are stable and comeprovided with all equipment and assistance from your friendly Bushtucker guide. The Margaret River Bushtucker Winery and a brewery tour from 11 am to 5pm includes visiting seven beautiful estates, a wild food and buffet winery lunch plus fun memories full of wine, food, cider, beer and chocolate. Bookings at

the Home of Evans & Tate


Immerse yourself in the rich history of Vasse Felix a founding wine estate, with a behind-thescenes tour of the Vault, housing the museum and historic wine collection, followed by a private tasting in the cellar door and threecourse lunch with wine pairing.

FOR THE LEISURELY CYCLIST Take in the natural sights and sounds of the bush in between wineries, with the Dirty Detours Sip n IMAGE Sean Blocksidge


IMAGE Russell Ord


DIG A LITTLE DEEPER Tours that go above and beyond the usual experience are well worth the investment of time and money. You can find out more about the region and taste amazing food and wine into the bargain.


cnr metricup & caves road, wilyabrup wa 6280



SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODYThe Walk Talk Taste Tour, below, is proving to be a popular addition to the region's tour offerings. Right, the Dirty Detours Sip n Cycle lets you explore the great outdoors and discover wineries on two wheels. Opposite, A Maze'n is a must-do part of any family visit to the region.

IMAGE Russell Ord

The tour is an opportunity to learn about native flora and fauna, with 50% of the proceeds going towards conservation efforts.

IMAGE Samuel Hesketh Photography


Cycle Tour. It’s an easy 18km mountain bike ride along tree-lined forest paths to a handful of cellar doors, and includes a lunch platter in the vines.

FOR THE SURFER Paul Berry at Surf N Dirt Adventure Tours is a qualified level one surf coach and is happy to share his local knowledge.The Surfing and Winery Tour involves a four-wheel drive to a secret beach for a morning surf, a picnic lunch in a secluded forest setting and an afternoon of wine tasting.

FOR THE NATURE LOVER The Nature and Wine Walk at Passel Estate combines a private tour of the bushland conservation sanctuary surrounding the Cowaramup vineyard with a guided tasting and artisan cheese platter. Owners Wendy and Barry




Stimpson provided refuge to a family (a passel) of Western Ringtail possums in the bushfires of 2011, and the estate continues to provide sanctuary to endangered wildlife. The tour is an opportunity to learn about native flora and fauna that coexists in their vineyard ecosystem and taste the wine in situ, with 50% of the proceeds going towards conservation efforts.

FOR THE CULTURE SEEKER Walk Talk Taste's Brunch Tour starts with coffee and a treat on the banks of the Margaret River while learning about the traditional landowners and their way of life. In the Old Settlement, visitors explore the stories of European settlement and the start of the agriculture industry. This paves the way for the culinary journey through the best eateries in town,

showcasing local produce and a taste of the food and wine culture in Margaret River.

FOR THE BIG (AND LITTLE) KIDS A maze’n is home to one of the largest hedge mazes in Australia, and also has a brilliant 18hole mini golf course when you’ve had your fill of getting lost. The maze is over 23 years old, over three metres high, covers half a hectare (made up of some 2,000 plants) and is set in five hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens.You’ll also find unusual and rare West Australian native plants, together with deciduous shade trees, proteas, camellias, hibiscus and so many different plants, which has the nifty side effect of creating a safe haven for native animals and insects. There’s also some very quirky artwork to discover, and plenty of resting places and shade for those warm days.

IMAGE Russell Ord








Bringing the harvest home - in this case, the precious vintage of the Margaret River region’s vineyards is an important, annual task. Fergal Gleeson finds out more.


intage is the most important time of year for winemakers. It’s the finale of a year’s work when armies of backpackers descend on the region to help to pick grapes and start the process of turning fruit into wine. I spoke to three winemakers about this electrifying time of year.

Cape Mentelle Firstly I caught up with Ben Cane, winemaker at Cape Mentelle, one of the region’s founding and most famous wineries. “The town is alive!” Ben tells me “It’s a veritable multitude of nationalities arriving from all over the world, to have fun and experience the surf and winemaking culture. There are bands, live music festivals, parties with DJs on the beach and in the forests. There’s a great excitement at the impending harvest. “At Cape Mentelle we have French, Italians, Argentinians, Germans and British to name just a few.The pickers can be from anywhere: Europeans, Asians, Kiwis, Americans, South Americans, Canadians, Tongans and Pacific islanders.” Ben is from Sydney originally, but has recently returned to Australia after working in Sonoma, California for 12 years. I asked him to compare vintage in California versus Margaret River. “The Cape Mentelle winery is set up very much like a US winery with lots of great winemaking toys like berry sorters, fancy destemmers and soft, low impact pumps. We also use small buckets to pick into to prevent juicing of fruit. This is all very similar to the US.”




There are, however, some key differences. “On the other hand we have vines on their own roots and clones that are unique to Western Australia such as Gingin chardonnay and Houghton cabernet. We have roos eating fruit that need to be kept out of vineyards compared to pigs and foxes in other areas. In the Margaret River region, netting is required to keep birds out – they use boom guns in other parts of the world. “We also have to be careful in preventing gum leaves from getting in to picking bins.” He notes that Western Australian vinyeards have largely avoided major bushfires this year, but California also suffers from similar disasters. Despite the fact that Cape Mentelle is now 50 years old, they are still continuing to evolve and improve each vintage with trials in the vineyard and winery. Such is the pursuit of excellence in fine winemaking. Cape Mentelle

ALL HANDS ON DECK Vintage is the busiest time of year for wineries in the region. Opposite, Hayley Munr-Tobin, owner of Aravina Estate, lends a hand picking grapes. This page, Cape Mentelle's winemaker Ben Cane, oversees the harvesting of his precious crop with pickers from all over the globe.

are picking across a broader range of ripeness to get more complexity into the wines and trying some new winery techniques for separating lees from clear juice for better quality. Vintage is famously stressful and intense for winemakers. I ask Ben how he gets through it. His advice is simple: “Make sure you rest, hydrate and sleep loads.” Ben is a social beast so catching a beer, a silent disco or a music festival are all part of his tonic. “Have fun, it’s not surgery, we are making wine!” Ben laughs.

Aravina Estate

Picking grapes seems very romantic to many wine lovers. Being out in the vineyards as dawn breaks. Birds echoing out a dawn chorus. Playing a part in an ancient cycle going back to before Bacchus. It’s the perfect dream, right? Ryan Aggiss, winemaker at Aravina Estate, a leading restaurant, tourist destination and winery puts the record straight. “I have no qualms going on record saying that picking grapes is one of the hardest, stickiest and most laborious jobs I’ve ever done. However, it is a strangely rewarding experience that is the culmination of six or seven months of hard work.” The team at Aravina all chip in. Aravina owner Hayley Tobin–Munro, is the first out in the vineyard in the morning, helping the pickers and also keeping an eye on the quality of the fruit. To reinforce the Aravina staff they also use a



MANY HANDS, LIGHT WORK The production of Voyager Estate's first certified organic wines is a new aspect to the 2020 vintage, above and opposite.

team of pickers from a labour hire company. “They get me out of a jam if needed,” Ryan tells me. Innovations at Aravina this vintage include plantings of touriga naçional, a Portuguese varietal, and they have grafted grenache onto 30-year-old sauvignon blanc vines. “We’re pretty excited about the prospect of having these two varieties to play with in the next few years,” Ryan says. “We’ve also invested in a new piece of machinery to automatically sort berries and remove petioles and other MOG (that’s short for material other than grapes, such as leaves, vines, rocks and even little creatures) which help take our wines to a higher level.”




“Small batch winemaking is what we do,” says Ryan. “We’re 100%-estate grown and vinified.” Mother Nature makes sure that every vintage is different. “2019 was a tough cool and wet year and provided plenty of challenges as a grower and a winemaker,” says Ryan. “So far, 2020 has had a much warmer lead up, with 300mm less rainfall than last year which means the vines are working hard to keep the canopies vibrant and the fruit in good order. It’s tracking about three weeks ahead of last year.” Ryan recommends their new Vintage Fortified, a tempranillo-based port that ‘proves you can make decent fortified from tempranillo in Margs.’ Their recent malbec bottling was released on December 20 and has already almost sold out. “That was a great little wine!” he says,

Voyager Estate “The most exciting new development for the 2020 vintage is the production of our first certified organic wines,” says Steve James, manager of winemaking and viticulture at Voyager. “Our Estate chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz wines will be Voyager Estate’s first certified organic wines.

“We will also be seeing the first crops from some of our recent plantings, which include some tempranillo and a really exciting new clone of cabernet franc which we have high hopes for. It has been an amazing growing season with quite moderate crops, so our hopes for a great year are high,” Steve says. Steve celebrates 20 years of working at Voyager this year. With a background in viticulture, he sees organic certification as significant. “The transition to organics is in many ways results a simpler approach to vintage – trying to

get it right in the vineyard and more hands off in the winery is the plan.” Along with the move to organics, another recent innovation has been the creation of project and small batch wines to explore various specific plots, varietal clones and new winemaking techniques. “The team really love making these wines and enjoy the opportunity that they provide for us to learn more about our vineyards and our winemaking,” Steve says. Voyager’s grapes are predominantly picked by backpacker travellers from all parts of the world. “It’s such a wonderful time to embrace the culmination of the growing season that nature has provided and we get the opportunity to meet some really interesting and fun people during the harvest period into the bargain,” Steve tells me. “The town gets busier with plenty of travellers in the area keen to do some grape picking.The roads also see increased activity with the movement of grapes and machines around the district, along with the local bars as the winery and vineyard teams require the occasional cleansing ale.” Visit for a full list of wineries in the region.



Voyager’s grapes are predominantly picked by backpacker travellers from all parts of the world.




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. Sundayand untilMonday. sold out. Open 10.30-5.00 10.30 - 5.00every everyFriday, Friday,Saturday Saturday,&Sunday Check our Check our Facebook Facebook page page for for the the latest latest news. news.

521 Cape Naturaliste Road, Eagle Bay WA Ph (08) 9755 3188

SEE. SMELL. TASTE. EXPERIENCE. Visit our Cellar Door for a wine tasting experience like no other. Guided tastings and Wine Sensory Garden Tours with the winemaker. Stay a little longer, bring you own picnic and relax in our gardens. 200 Chapman Hill East Rd, Busselton. Ph 08 9753 1394 To make a booking visit whicherridgewines


FRIENDLY COUNTRY TAVERN AND RESTAURANT Serving meals all day 11am - 9pm Local beer and wine.

Lunch • Dinner • Bar • Snacks.

Bussell Hwy, Karridale, WA Ph 08 9758 5523


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 Authentic Italian gelato and sorbetti made in-store by owner Andy using natural ingredients. Dairy and gluten-free flavours available. FOR OPENING HOURS PLEASE CHECK FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE 32 Queen Street, Busselton WA Ph 08 9751 1477 / gelatobuonissimo / gelatobuonissimobusselton


Don’t miss out next time Contact Natalie to abook your space in a the winter issue of Your Margaret River Region Magazine.

97555 555


Soak up the sunshine at Simmos. • Over 60 udderlicious ice cream flavours created from local full-cream milk. • Vegan options available. • Picnic & BBQ area. Adventure Playground. • 18 hole mini-golf – get a group going. • Barista coffee and toasted paninis. • Wonderful waffles and sensational sundaes.

ASK a LOCAl! Drop in to one of our four accredited visitor centres in Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River for friendly, expert advice.

We’re open every day 10am to 5pm. 161 Commonage Road, Dunsborough.


T A S T I N G S D A I LY 10.30AM TO 4.30PM 3 5 1 8 C A V E S R O A D , W I LYA B R U P 9 7 5 0 4 0 0 0 I w w w. r o b e r t o a t l e y. c o m . a u




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Nature & Environment

Return visit guaranteed Boomerang House in Quindalup is the perfect getaway for a weekend down south, and like Gabi Mills, you’ll find yourself planning a return visit before you leave.


utumn is a special time of year in the Margaret River region, and if you find yourself in the little pocket of paradise where Boomerang House sits, you could be forgiven for thinking you never want to leave. Built to




resemble that curved Aussie object, Boomerang House is a modern architectural masterpiece. Brushed concrete, natural wood and floorto-ceiling windows make you feel like you’re living at one with nature. And that nature is very close; you’ll wake up to flocks of parrots

bustling about in the top boughs of the trees, and, every night, our party of six was joined by a little mob of kangaroos - a mother and young joey, and a big boomer too keeping a watchful eye on his family. Later on, a mother with a joey in her pouch would quietly join the throng. It was magical watching this play out every night and made for unforgettable memories for the younger members of our household. If you can bear to leave the house, then you’ll find many of the region’s favourite haunts on your doorstep. It’s ideally located pretty much equidistant between Yallingup and Dunsborough, all our family’s must-go locations were just a short drive away. Fancy an ice cream? Simmo’s is five minutes away. Need to cool off with a refreshing dip? Drive 10 minutes to Meelup and Eagle Bay beaches’ azure and placid bays and you’ll have sand between your toes before you know it. We also spent a magical morning wading out on Geographe Bay just off

Skyfall - Yallingup

Dunsborough, joining joyful dogs and families with little ones enjoying the shallow, warm waters. If you love to cook while on holiday, you’ll find all the mod cons at Boomerang House. Top quality fixtures and fittings make this a luxury break for the most discerning guest; stock up on local goodies like the nearby Yallingup wood-fired bread and some locally produced cheese, and you’ll feast like kings. In each ‘arm’ of the boomerang, those expansive glass walls maximise the views down to the bird-filled marri forest and creek (filled with water in winter) to the rear of the property. Comfortably accommodating six people, with a master suite in one half of the house which is split by an undercover alfresco area complete with gas BBQ and fireplace, the lounge area has an epic speaker system to fill the space with your own tunes. On cooler nights, you’ll love the wood-fire burner in the main living area too - the perfect backdrop to a game of cards around the family-sized dining table. Boomerang by name, boomerang by nature. We guarantee you’ll fly back as soon as you can. Visit

Perfect Private Properties for autumn EAGLE BAY – MEELUP VALLEY RETREAT. Feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of an Enid Blyton story thanks to this hidden gem with sprawling landscaped garden with lake, bridges, shade trees, vast lawn and new tennis court. There’s also a fire pit and plenty of outdoor seating space. The best bit? Timmy the dog is also welcome! Meelup Beach is a walk away through the regional park, and the new Meelup Farmhouse and Wise Winery are a bush walk away. The bungalow-style home sleeps eight and has great character and coastal style, plus two fireplaces and plenty of living space. DUNSBOROUGH – 82 DEGREES. This funky home has the wow-factor with clever modern styling, making the most of a stunning natural outlook over Toby Inlet through glass-fronted walls. It flows beautifully across two wings, and sleeps 10 guests in four bedrooms, making it perfect for a couple of families to holiday together. It’s just across the road from Quindalup Beach, so action lovers can easily cycle, kayak, fish, SUP, jog or swim plus a new permanent table tennis table has been installed under the peppy trees. There’s an indoor/outdoor kitchen and entertaining space perfect for autumn weather, and a fireplace for cooler nights. YALLINGUP – SKYFALL. Fit for an international man of mystery with incredible views across rolling hills to Geographe Bay, and loads of indoor and outdoor space to entertain. Use of timber and natural materials gives this stunning home warmth and character. It’s in a secluded location between Dunsborough and Yallingup and sleeps eight across four bedrooms. Enjoy the manicured gardens, complete with lawn tee boxes to brush up on your short iron shots, and retire to the fireplace for a glass of cab sav, or martini, when the day’s done. MARGARET RIVER – RIVER’S EDGE. There can’t be a more authentic Margaret River experience than this. The floor-toceiling windows of the living room provide a viewing platform suspended over the stunning treetops and rapids of the Margaret River below. Although you’ll feel like a million miles from civilisation, you’ll only be five minutes’ drive from the beach and 10 minutes to town. Up to 10 people can stay (in five bedrooms) and there’s a huge activities room, dining and living areas indoors and out and a private riverside walkway to enjoy. Visit to view these and more incredible holiday homes.




Nature & Environment


heart and soul

Rosa Brook and Rosa Glen are two of the original settlements of the south west. While things have changed since the early 20th century, these areas retain a historic charm, a wealth of natural beauty, and a community of eccentric and wonderful people. By TOM DE SOUZA.





n the early days, the future didn’t look so bright for the early pioneers. Rosa Brook and Rosa Glen have foundations in Premier James Mitchell’s disastrous group settlement scheme. In the early 1920s, his government allotted British migrants parcels of land here, expecting them to clear the thick hardwood forest and set up dairy farms. After three years, however, almost half of the settlers had abandoned their plots, unable to cope with the hard-scrabble life. Still, some made a go of it, and Rosa Brook and Rosa Glen grew as dairy and timber farmland. Of course, every town needs a store, and in 1932 the Darnell family’s general store began servicing the local families. Today, Kitty Darnell, daughter-in-law of the original shopkeeper, Bill Darnell, is still working the kitchen. Kitty runs the store with the help of a few shopkeepers, including Ros Blakeney, a Rosa Brook local of 30 years. Ros and Kitty’s customers might look a little different from the early days, but Darnell’s remains one of the few general stores where everyone is treated as a friend, says Ros. “People come back and visit, I think, because we will talk to people, we tell jokes from behind the counter. It’s not all about going, 'beep, beep, beep'. I feel that’s what people are missing in the supermarket,” she says. Kitty makes and sells her own chocolate

and relishes, and much of the other produce at Darnell’s is grown by local farmers and producers. Darnell’s also sells grease and nuts and washers and axes and firelighters, and just about anything else you would ever need to live out in the bush, says Ros. “We have a big store of stuff for farmers; pipes and fittings and all kinds of stuff. It’s a onestop shop. I think that’s what people love about it – it is a genuine general store. There aren’t too many left.” In the 1980s, a subtle wave of change began sweeping through Rosa Brook and Rosa Glen. A decline in the timber industry coincided with the rise of the Margaret River region’s reputation as a bona fide wine region.Vineyards and wineries – Brown Hill Estate, Firetail, and Stella Bella – were established in the area, and remain local favourites today. The 80s was also a time when the demographic of the area changed. A wave of alternative-minded people moved in and brought new ideas and industry. Marnie McLeish and her husband Laurie Greep were two of those new arrivals. Before settling in Rosa Glen, where she still lives today, Marnie was a remote area nurse and an avid gold prospector. When she wasn’t working, she and Laurie lived out in the bush for months at a time, prospecting and living off

what they found. In 1987, they settled in Rosa Glen, built their own home, and began growing as much of their own food as possible. “We were the second lot of hippies to move into the area,” says Marnie. “We moved here because it’s just paradise. It’s got good water, it’s still just bush, the Blackwood isn’t far away, the beach isn’t far away. Town is close enough but far enough away, too." The communal nature and excellent terrain of Rosa Brook also attracted TV presenter and celebrity chef Ian Parmenter (pictured opposite) here in 1992. Ian bought one of the original group settlement cottages, intending to use it as a quiet place to escape his filming schedule and work on some recipes. But he soon fell in love with the place and settled here permanently. “The relative isolation appealed to me,” says Ian. “We were surrounded by dairy properties. It was a small enough block that we could service

it. We loved the community, we loved the store, we loved everything about it. We joined the local bush fire brigade, and attended every time there was anything happening. It has a real community flavour down here.” The Rosa Brook and Rosa Glen communities have continued to grow in recent years, with more young families moving in, and tourism, wine, and large-scale wholefood production becoming the most significant industries, says Ian. “There are grapes, cheese, olives, avocadoes, some people doing some venison. The Margaret River Free-Range Egg Farm is across the road from us. There are a Swiss couple who make goat cheese – they sell everything at the market in one day – it’s hugely successful,” says Ian. “Plus, on the other side, tourism. We have several places to stay in Rosa Brook (Moonrise Farm, Rosa Brook Cottages). There are two horse riding outfits. Jesters Flat, in Rosa Brook itself, and the Horse and Horse Men on Osmington Road. There are several wineries to visit. We have one here, Brown Hill, that is hugely popular, and that is all made with their own fruit. “It’s changing – and all for the better.”



∙ food


GALLERY Open 10am daily (closed Tuesday)

08 9756 6371 �

BISTRO Lunch Thursday - Monday Dinner Saturday 08 9756 6164 � 7 Marrinup Drive, Yallingup, 6282

Nature & Environment

Autumn fun “Head to the Kevil Road Falls (Yalgardup) as soon as the first heavy rains come through. If rains persist, head to Yallingup Maze to play with their puzzles, and buy one of their quality kites for a spot of kite flying. Ten Mile Brook Dam is a great spot for birdwatching, looking for weird mushrooms and making bark cubbies. Finally, burn off some energy at Forest Adventures South West, a groovy zip line and obstacle course in the Ludlow Tuart Forest.


Ask a local Margaret River local Rebecca Lemm spends weekends beachcombing, bird watching and feasting at the farmers market with her daughter. She shares tips on where to find the best coffee, kites and adventures with Lizzy Pepper. Walks


“Often, on the weekend, my eight-year-old daughter Kiera will say, “mummy, let’s go on an adventure.” We’ll walk a little bit of the Cape to Cape Track, the Wadandi Track or Rails to Trails. We’re big fans of nature-based adventures.” You can pick up some fantastic walking trail guidebooks in the local visitor centres, where Rebecca is retail manager. The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook and Walking Around in Circles have detailed information and maps.

“Beaches are fabulous, even in winter when it’s stormy, and we’ll find beaches off the beaten track. We often head down to the Wilyabrup Cliffs where the school kids do their rock climbing, we climb down there and find a bit of beach – it’s the best beachcombing along there! “Another fantastic secret spot is Wyadup. Rather than going to the Injidup Natural Spa, we climb down onto the beach on the other side, it’s even more fun than the spa which attracts so many visitors.




Try your hand fishing from Ellis St Jetty in Augusta then grab a bite to eat. “We get fish and chips from Blue Ocean and take them down to Flinders Bay. There’s a great pirate ship playground, the kids can snorkel around the jetty, swim out to the pontoon. Just last week Kiera was snorkelling around there surrounded by stripy zebra fish zooming around the pylons of the jetty. She was so happy swimming and watching all these beautiful fish.” “The Augusta River Festival is a fabulous family day out on the March long weekend. Fireworks down on the foreshore, the drink-can regatta, plenty of food and things for the kids to do.” The festival might be done and dusted by the time this goes to print, but put it in your diary for next year!

Caves A caving adventure is the ultimate nature experience, and there are four show caves in the region. Jewel Cave near Augusta is large and spectacular. Lake Cave features a spectacular subterranean lake. Mammoth and Ngilgi Caves are possibly the best suited to young kids as you can explore at your own pace. Beat Kiera’s record of 20 times through the tunnel of doom at Ngilgi. “Get on one of the Megafauna Nightstalks at Mammoth Cave during the school holidays – they’re fun AND educational.”

Coffee, Wining and Dining “We’re spoiled for coffee living within walking distance of Yahava. Sidekick Café do good coffees and great muffins. Also check out Two Cracks Coffee, a new Cowaramup coffee roaster and cafe. “Breakfast, I would definitely go down to Yardbyrd. Five minutes south of Margs, fantastic food and coffee and great value. Drift Café do

a yummy breakfast too, or the Margaret River Farmers Market for a Saturday breakfast.” “Do a mix of the big fancy cellar doors, whether it be Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate or Howard Park, plus some of the smaller wineries like Brown Hill where the tasting bench is in the shed. It’s always good, and they make cracking red wine!” Rebecca also recommends Woody Nook for lunch and a bottle of Nooky Delight to take home, a lip-smackingly delicious fortified wine.

And Bettenay’s for their nougat liqueur. “For dinner our favourite tends to be Swings Taphouse, Pizzica or The Tav.” That’s Settler’s Tavern, known for an award-winning wine list, awesome steaks and live music.

Birdwatching “Head to The Berry Farm where you’ll see splendid fairy wrens and New Holland honeyeaters”. The birds are so friendly/audacious, they’ll

even swipe cake crumbs right off your plate. There’s also a new larger-than-life blue wren mural painted by Jack Bromell to check out. “Otherwise, walk the Cape to Cape Track and spot the seabirds. Down at the river mouth you might see a Hooded Plover if you’re lucky. Heading north from Cowaramup Bay is beautiful and you’ll see plenty of seabirds along there, plus the odd reptile.”

Sunset Drinks “Nothing beats sunset drinks at Surfers Point. You can grab a fish taco from Hooked Up Fish and Chips – they’re absolutely delicious. Just check their Facebook page as they keep it updated for the next four days; yes, no, maybe, depending on the weather.” Find more local tips at the visitor centres or visit




Nature & Environment

SONG OF THE SOUTH Left, Marie McSweeney, singer with duo Cape Sun, wouldn't live anywhere else these days. Opposite, Caves House Hotel is one of her favourite haunts. Below, Injidup Natural Spa and and Yallingup Galleries.






hen Marie McSweeney wakes to a dawn chorus of birds in the peppermint and banksia trees surrounding her Yallingup home she has every reason to jump out of bed and leap for joy. The morning birdsong is her daily reminder that this dynamic born-again rock chick revived a long dormant career as a gutsy singer when she moved south six years ago. She also discovered another role as a yoga teacher helping people suffering with trauma, depression and anxiety. And when she is not aligning chakras or surfing the crowd at the venues where she performs with Cape Sun – the two-piece band

she formed with Busselton guitarist Bob Thomas – she’s blissfully indulging in her other loves of cooking, baking bread, ceramics and painting. All this while living within strolling distance from Injidup Spa and other idyllic spots to commune with nature. Her neighbours call with spontaneous dinner invitations. They drop off cartons of fresh eggs or produce from their veggie gardens. And Marie and husband, David, return the favour with bread fresh from Marie’s oven. It’s no wonder the couple think they have found heaven. “Two words sum it up,” says Marie. “Our paradise.” Marie says the couple have more friends down south than when they lived a busy suburban lifestyle in City Beach, Perth, raising their two children – Alicia and Matthew – while Marie worked in the retail fashion industry and dabbled in pottery in her spare time. She had long given up singing her heart out in Dice, a rock duo honed in her home town of Kalgoorlie where she was raised after her family had moved to Australia from the Netherlands. After marrying David and settling in City Beach they made the decision to move south when their children had grown up. “David is an avid surfer and we were coming

down here more and more, so we decided to build on the 809sqm bush block that we bought 20 years ago,” she says. “We were not planning to move here, but it was so expensive to rent. We built a four-bedroom, two bathroom home which has enough room to pursue our hobbies. It was at the right time in our lives because we were semi-retired.” They made the move knowing few locals but it wasn’t long before their passions for music, ceramics, yoga and surfing saw them entrenched in the community. It was while venturing out to local musical hot spots in the region that Marie had a lightbulb moment. “Most of the live music we heard was guitar solos, very laid back music, hip hop or techno,” she says. “I started to feel like maybe it was time to get back into music as I had been out of it for about 15 years. No one was doing 70s or 80s music, the stuff that people our age wanted.” Bob Thomas, who has supported Jon English, Split Enz and Cold Chisel, was equally passionate and he had invested in some hi-tech equipment which provides the backing for six instruments to make the music sound like a full on live band. With Marie on vocals, they started spruiking their act to local venues but – as a woman edging towards 60 – she found it hard. “It wasn’t easy,” says Marie. “I would be dealing with young people who would look at me accusingly and say, “will it be you performing?” I felt it was an age thing. They didn’t know I am a highly energetic performer.” That’s what Neil Jilley, the owner of Caves House, discovered when he tried them out.

Watching Marie belt out numbers by Paul Kelly, America, The Travelling Wilburys, Bob Seger, INXS and the Divinyls he signed them on the spot. “He booked us for regular gigs and now are also in constant work at Stilts and private functions,” she says. Marie says her return to music has opened up a whole new world for her and she has befriended punters in their 20s who come up to her saying they know all the lyrics of the 70s songs she does. That’s why when you ask her about what she loves most about living in Yallingup, the answer is unequivocal – “the people”.

Fast facts:

Here are some hidden secrets Marie loves about her region:

INJIDUP NATURAL SPA: “It’s a few minutes drive from Yallingup, just off Wyadup Road. When we first moved here we would sit there with friends just relaxing on a rock.” CAVES HOUSE: “I love the owners, Neil and Libby. They support a lot of local people. It is a place with incredible history and they have maintained that.” YALLINGUP GENERAL STORE AND CAFE: “It still has that old feeling, you always bump into locals like Claire Bevacqua and Taj Burrow, people from all walks of life.” YALLINGUP GALLERIES: “They support a lot of local artists.” THE AQUARIUM, YALLINGUP: “It’s a stunning natural rockpool between Canal Rocks and Smiths Beach, the most perfect swimming pool.” ARIMIA WINERY: “A family-owned business, beautiful food and wonderful service.” WILLYABRUP DREAMING POTTERY AND GALLERY: “Bill Meiklejohn is a talented artisan who works from a rustic, stone-built pottery and gallery, nestled in the bush.” Visit




Nature & Environment

Ancient land

A fascinating history lies beneath the limestone cliffs and granite outcrops of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. Once an island, the region has been through ice ages, shifting sands and a break away from India. Lizzy Pepper talks to three of the region’s guides about this ancient – and beautiful – land.

MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO – GRANITE AND GONDWANA The Gondwana super-continent, made up of most of the land masses in today’s southern hemisphere, along with the Arabian and Indian continents, broke up between 170 and 23 million years ago. Mammoth Cave guide Andrew Green explains that the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge broke away from India and slowly drifted about 70 kilometres west before breaking free.“We often joke with our visitors who ask about the granite, ‘if it wasn’t for some mini quakes, we’d all be in India eating chapatis right now’.” Gene Hardy, from Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, explains it to guests with a mud map drawn in beach sand: “For a long time, the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge was an island separated by a deep ocean, with 70 kilometres between the ridge and the scarp. Over time that channel of sea slowly filled with sediment to form the Swan Coastal Plain, Scott Coastal Plain and Whicher Scarp,” he said.




Cape to Cape Explorer Tours team with Vasse Felix to offer the Cape to Vine Tour, where you can learn how this incredible geology and maritime climate make Margaret River a wine paradise.

CAVES BEGIN TO FORM “The granite rock at Redgate is between 300 and 600 million years old, but there’s great variation. That’s the early layer of history, and the much, much more recent layer of history is where all the lime-rich sands blew ashore and put the limestone cap along the coast,” says Andrew. This limestone cap led to the formation of over a hundred caves along the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. Hence Caves Road got its name. “Our sand is made up of crushed-up coral and shell fragments, which makes a porous kind of limestone. It’s also really, really rich in calcium carbonate. Water flows through it easily which makes for lots of crystal, and that’s how we’ve got so much more crystal for the relatively young age of these caves, than caves elsewhere. " The crystal

caves must be seen to be believed; Jewel and Lake cave have particularly beautiful formations.

MEGAFAUNA ROAMED THE FORESTS Megafauna – giant animals – emerged in Australia around 25 million years ago, and fossils of a dozen species have been discovered in Mammoth Cave. Giant kangaroos two and a half metres tall, echidnas the size of sheep and massive emus to name a few, plus the terrifying thylacoleo carnifex, an Australian lion. Thylacaleo carnifex had the build of a rugby player; muscly and thickly built with an exceptionally powerful jaw. It had guillotine-like teeth for shearing meat off bones and a habit of climbing trees above known kangaroo trails. “It would wait for a kangaroo then jump down, piercing its windpipe.We often say to visitors today, Australian koalas and joeys are pretty cute now, but back in the day it was a much more bloodthirsty scene with these supremely adapted, carnivorous, predatory marsupial lions,” says Andrew Green.

The seasons according to the Wadandi people Djeran (April/May)

Left, Gene Hardy of Cape to Cape Explorer Tours and this page, Josh Whiteland, who introduces visitors to local Aboriginal stories and knowledge.

Learn more about megafauna on a self-guided audio tour of Mammoth Cave and look out for their Megafauna Nightstalks during school holidays.

PRESENT-DAY BEAUTY “Our coast is so different to most places on earth. The texture is extremely special, it’s got corners, bays, points - that makes it special,” says Gene whos specialises in guided hiking in comfort. Shifting continents and multiple ice ages created a unique geology. “It provided this little bubble between the capes. An incredible canvas for recreational opportunities and activities, it gives us the caves, the waves – all the world class waves break on limestone reefs covering granite. The limestone caves give the crayfish and abalone plenty of habitat, too.” Josh Whiteland, Wadandi cultural custodian and operator of Koomal Dreaming and Cape Cultural Tours, speaks of stories handed down by his ancestors: “Aboriginal people have witnessed a lot of things over time, from changes in climate to ice ages. I work with many interesting and inspiring,

positive Aboriginal people from the south to the north. I like sharing stories through tourism; it’s a great opportunity to create awareness.” His tours take guests to remarkable places; Cape Naturaliste, Meelup Regional Park and Ngilgi Cave. “We’re pretty blessed to live where we live. I personally love the bay; I love Meelup Regional Park. The west coast in the morning and the bay in the afternoon. We’re saltwater people so I’m in the ocean every chance I get.” “We celebrate the culture of the place by being on country and in tune with the seasons. We celebrate every couple of months the change of season, which is every two months on the Aboriginal calendar. Bunuru is one of my favourite seasons; February and March is a humid time of year, we’ve got all the marri flower, white tailed black cockatoos and migrating salmon. Lots of herring and native bees come out this time of year, and families would celebrate with gatherings along the coast, catching salmon and smoking it on the fire.”

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.




Nature & Environment



Tom Hoye moved to Yallingup from Santa Cruz over 40 years ago. The surfing legend tells his story to Tom de Souza.





ou can’t see Tom Hoye’s surfboard shaping warehouse from the street. Not unless you really look. The brick shopfront is tucked behind a row of jarrah trees. The front door is locked, so you have to walk round the back, past Tom’s battered 1985 Nissan Patrol. Tom has been here for 40 years. He’s been in the Margaret River region for half a century, during which time surfing has exploded and shaping machines have developed to meet demand for boards. But Tom still prefers the old-school approach. It’s hard physical work for a 74-year-old who bears the battle scars of a life dedicated to surfing, but he knows in his heart he will shape a better surfboard using the techniques he has fine-tuned over his lifetime. “I’m not a production guy. I’m just thinking

better surfboards,” says Tom. “I don’t use a machine because I know I will make a better shape by hand. The stuff I do, you can’t measure. It’s part art and part physics.” Tom grew up in post-WWII America, the son of a single-mother schoolteacher. They lived a few blocks back from the beach in Santa Cruz. As a child he spent most of his free time at the beach and, from the first time he saw it, Tom was transfixed by the wonder of surfing. On his 15th birthday, his mother bought him his first surfboard, an eight-foot Mike Winterburn from a hardware store for 75 bucks – a lot of money back then. Instantly, Tom was hooked. In his final years of high school, Tom started work with Californian surfing legend Jack O’Neill – the man who invented the wetsuit. It was 1962, and surfboards were rapidly progressing.

A LIFETIME'S WORKTom Hoye has made a sweet life for himself in Yallingup, a long way from his Californian roots. These days he makes just a few highly sought-after surfboards a year.


SOAK UP THE UP THE MARGARET RIVER SOAK REGION'S MARGARET BEST OCEAN VIEW RIVER REGION'S BEST OCEAN VIEW In the restaurant or bar, dining at Pullman the Moon Restaurant is an experienceOther full ofSide localofflavour. & Bar, dining at Pullman is an experience full of local flavour. Breakfast, lunch & dinner The Social Hour, daily from 3-5pm Spring whale watching Breakfast, lunch & dinner Weddings &The private Socialevents Hour, daily from 3-5pm Weddings & private events Foam and fibreglass were being used instead of fickle balsa and heavy redwood. O’Neill’s surfshop was at the forefront of that evolution. “Jack had opened up the shop, and I followed him around for a few months until he gave me a job. I never looked back. I worked for Jack for eight years, and then started my own shaping thing,” says Tom. “Jack was a father-figure because my dad wasn’t around. Brilliant guy. He influenced the way I live 100 per cent.” By the mid 1960s, Tom was a well-established in Santa Cruz. He had his own shop, was married, and had a young daughter. But Santa Cruz was becoming crowded. Tom knew he had to get out. He wasn’t sure where to go, until one night, he saw a photo which changed his life. “Paul Witzig [renowned Australian surffilmmaker] came to Santa Cruz showing the

surf movie Evolution in 1969. And on the cover of that movie poster was this photo of Wayne Lynch bottom-turning on a six to eight feet wave. I went, where is this place?” says Tom. That wave was the Margaret River Main Break. In 1970,Tom caught a boat into Sydney. He landed with a thousand bucks, his wife and daughter, and spent a year shaping for Bennett surfboards, scrounging enough money to head west. “I was enthralled with Margaret River straight away, before I even saw the waves here,” he says. “And when I saw the town, I knew that this was the kind of place I wanted to be.” Yallingup was the centre of the Margs surf scene, so Tom started shaping boards from the Lurch Shack, where the Shaana Café stands today. Twelve months later he moved to a shearing shed at Smiths Beach, and turned the Lurch Shack into

42 Bunker Bay Road (off Cape Naturaliste Road) NATURALISTE 6281Bay Road (off Cape Naturaliste Road) 42WA Bunker



Nature & Environment

“I was enthralled with Margaret River straight away, before I even saw the waves here,” he says. “And when I saw the town, I knew that this was the kind of place I wanted to be.” ~ Tom Hoye, surf legend.




a surf-shop. It was the first coastal surf-shop in the region. “It was just half-a-dozen Quiksilver board shorts, and about two-and-a-half wetsuits,” he says. “It was mostly a place just to show the boards, and for people to hang out.” More travel followed – South Africa, Hawaii, back to California – but Tom knew he wanted to settle in Margs. And in 1977, that’s what he did. A year later, he bought a block in the new Margaret River industrial area, and two years later, he built the factory he still operates from today. Tom has had to pay his dues to stay in business for half a century in Margaret River. He has held onto his shop through cancer, trouble with the banks, and two dangerous surfingrelated accidents – the most serious his black day on ‘The Rock’. One winter day in 2005, Tom and his mate Rob Mansell-Ward went to Sugarloaf Rock. A six-and-a-half metre swell was running. Tom wanted to watch the waves. “There was water on rocks that I’d never seen wet before,” Tom recalls. “We went right

up the top and watched for close to an hour. We were getting ready to go and there were two big waves on the outside. They were about 1,000 yards out. When they got to 500 yards out the rock just seemed like it shrunk. “We could have run back off the rock and saved ourselves, but it didn’t read that way. It looked like all the others. Then a heartbeat before it hit the rock, we realised two 20-feet swells had doubled up together. I knew I was going to get wet, but I was a rabbit in the headlights. “The wave hit the ledge and exploded. Then I got hit with eight feet of green water going sideways. It just wiped the rock. Rob was higher than me and had time to lay down and lock onto the rocks.” But Tom didn’t. The wave washed him down 60 vertical feet of cliff, and when it passed, he found he was wedged into a rock a metre above sea level. “I felt I didn’t fall that far. But I turned around and I was 100 feet from where I started. I was conscious. The ocean looked like it was gonna

Catering for all occasions

A TRUE SURVIVOR Tom somehow survived a terrible surfing accident, smashing his legs on the rocks near Sugarloaf Rock. He still enjoys paddling out on the ocean, but is less adventurous these days.

come get me. I knew I had to get up and leave instantly. That was when I looked at my leg.” Tom’s right leg was horribly mangled. He had snapped the tibia and fibula, and there was bone sticking out through the skin. His foot was bent around 180 degrees. He couldn’t move, but if he didn’t, death was almost guaranteed. Rob stated the obvious – they had to get out of there. Tom filled him in on his injuries, but his mate couldn’t see a way to get to him. “If I went off the edge, I was dead,” Tom recalls. “They would’ve found me three months later eaten by crabs.” Fortunately, there was a lull and, with Rob’s help, Tom dragged himself back up the cliff. A

rescue helicopter flew him to Perth. Surgeons reconstructed Tom’s leg with bolts and a 20mm titanium rod, but the climb up had seriously damaged nerves. It took 13 months to heal – and Tom’s surfing capabilities never fully recovered. His passion, however, remains immutable. You can see him paddling some days at Southsides. It doesn’t matter if he can’t ride waves the way he used to, he’s still stoked to get in the water when he can. “Jeez, I’m 74-years-old, and my passion hasn’t flickered from the day I started.” he says. “It’s a pretty amazing thing, surfing. It never leaves you.”

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Nature & Environment



t’s not just savvy locals that call the Margaret River region home, it’s also hundreds of mobs of Western Grey kangaroos too. When upright, the males can grow to be over 2.2m in height, have rippling muscles and hands as big as hammers. The females grow to be about 1.7m tall. Kangaroos live in ‘families’, or mobs, and have very close social bonds and retain family connections for years. Kangaroos breed all year round and the gestation period is between 33 and 40 days. Incredibly, females have the unique ability to delay birth of their baby until their previous joey has left the pouch. This is called embryonic diapause. The joey starts to leave the pouch at around six months of age, fully out by 11 months and independent by 12 months. When born, joeys are barely larger than a jellybean and are completely naked with eyes




that don’t yet open. Like other marsupials, newborn babies must climb up the mother’s body to the pouch soon after birth, an exhausting struggle to find and attach itself to the teat within. In a mob, there’s usually one big alpha male and any number of females. Other young males socialise in ‘bachelor mobs’ and every so often, the alpha male is challenged. Often the fight is to the death, but if the defeated alpha male lives, he sulks off and lives out his remaining days in a solitary life. Most of the time seeing kangaroos in their natural habitat is a thrill; however, that changes for drivers. Kangaroos are most active at dusk and dawn and motorists are advised to slow down and keep a watchful eye on the side of the road. Should a kangaroo bounce out in front of your car, the best thing, which will go against instinct, is to slow down as much as you can and hit the kangaroo. It’s a tragic situation to be in, but believe us when we say that erratic swerving, especially along Caves Roads, has resulted in far worst accidents and fatalities. If you see a kangaroo that’s just been hit or that is injured, call Wildlife Rescue. Farmer Steve Jones from Sunflower Animal Farm also rescues joeys, raising them for release

back into the bush once they are old enough. “We have staff to help with washing and feeds, there’s a lot of work to it.Visitors to Sunflower Animal Farm are able to help with the feeding too – international visitors love it,” Steve said. “Guests can get close and personal and cuddle the joeys, it’s just like cuddling a baby. For many of our overseas visitors, often it’s the first animal contact they have ever had. And joeys do a much better selfie than a quokka. “You might be nursing a joey while you’re watching TV, they sit on your chest, and it’s truly beautiful thing. Then they fart and boy, does that bring you back to reality. “When the joeys are half a metre tall, they start learning to use their legs trying to hop around, falling over and tumbling, it’s very cute. During the day we keep them in a pen on the farm and at night they are bagged, which is designed like a pouch.” Sunflower Animal Farm also has chalet accommodation, so you could wake up and have brekkie with the roos. Keen kangaroo observer, photographer and owner of Margaret River Discovery Co Sean Blocksidge said that it’s easy to spot kangaroos in their native habitat.


Kangaroo spotting

• Along Hermitage Road, Margaret River at dusk • Along Marrinup Drive in Yallingup at dusk • Along Kevill Road in Margaret River • Along Wallcliffe Road between Bussell Highway and Caves Road at dawn and dusk

The kangaroo, like the emu, can’t move backwards, which is why both animals appear in Australia’s coat of arms (and Australia is the only country that also eats the animals on its coat of arms). Wildlife Animal Rescue 08 9474 9055 phone lines manned 24/7

Accommodation with resident kangaroos • Sunflower Animal Farm • Yelverton Brook • Bina Maya in Yallingup • Margaret River B&B

“I see tourists who have been in Australia for three weeks and haven’t seen a kangaroo, then on their first day in Margaret River they see loads of them,” Sean said. Sean said he was excited when he saw what he thought was a kangaroo giving birth. “I was running a tour and excitedly pulled the car over and was telling my guests how amazing it was to witness a kangaroo giving birth, that it was something I’d never seen before. Usually, during the birth, the mothers are bent forward and lick the baby as it climbs up to the pouch. Sean paused and smirked. “I couldn’t believe it when the kangaroo stood upright. It wasn’t a female and it wasn’t a baby it was licking. That too was something I’d never seen before.” The Margaret River Discovery Co Instagram account is peppered with stunning photos our national icon and of the region







Affordable Dog-Friendly Range of Quality Accommodation and Camping Sites in Busselton. Tel: 9755 4082 585 Caves Road, Busselton

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JETTY, SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS, ALL AT YOUR FINGERTIPS! Fantastically located, is nestled amongst beautiful English style gardens where you can just relax or enjoy a bbq. Busselton’s famous jetty, beach, shops, cafe and restaurants are all within a 5 minute walk away. Has 7 guestrooms, all with own ensuite, r/c airconditioning and free wi-fi. Continental breakfast is included in the price. 30 West Street, Busselton, WA Ph 08 9751 5973 •

Don’t miss out next time Contact Natalie to book your space in the winter issue of Your Margaret River Region Magazine.

E: IMAGE Shot by Thom





JOHN STREATER FINE FURNITURE JOHN STREATER FINE FURNITURE AND ART GALLERY John Streater Designer and Master Craftsman of contemporary bespoke hardwood furniture. Also showcasing art, jewellery, woodturning and more. A visit to our gallery will leave you truly inspired. 105 Blythe road, Yallingup Siding 6282 WA Open daily 10am to 4pm Ph 08 9755 1211



Bookings are essential

PLAY A ROUND IN MARGARET RIVER Keen to combine some golf with a trip to WA’s wine country? Margaret River Golf Club is the highlight of any golf tour to the south west. There aren’t many golf courses in the region that rival Margaret River for scenic beauty and sheer golfing challenge. The 6,092 metre, par 72 course is highly regarded by golfers from all over WA and beyond. Clubs, buggies and carts are available for hire. Ph: (08) 9757 3161 • E 599(08) Walcliffe Road,•Margaret River Ph: 9757 3161 E 599 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River Bookings are essential

caves Discover an ancient wonderland at Ngilgi, Mammoth, Lake and Jewel Cave.

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. 5561 Caves Road, near Margaret River Ph: (08) 9757 3343 •


To book drop into your nearest visitor centre or call: (08) 9757 7411

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. Hire available. Ph: 0429 881 221





Active & Adventure

Scott Slawinski Photographer and video producer Scott Slawinski visited Lake Cave, which is one of the most photogenic caves. It has a spectacular doline entrance – a sunken circle of forest that reveals the cave entrance, then once inside there are two excellent vantage points to photograph the ‘suspended table’ crystal formation and its reflection on the lake. “Taking good clean images in the caves is a difficult endeavour. In dark environments the camera requires a slow shutter speed to get the correct exposure. Usually a tripod will help with this, but as they’re not allowed in the caves, you’ll need to get a little more creative. Any movement

to the camera will cause blurring so when taking pictures in the caves, so try to hold the camera or phone as steady as possible. Lean it against the railing or lie it up against your backpack on the path, if it’s safe to do so. Shoot the well-lit parts of the cave as the darker areas with be nearly impossible to capture. “If your camera or phone has a self timer mode, use it so you’re not moving the device as you take the photo, or use night mode. For those familiar with camera settings, aim for a higher ISO and large aperture (low f. stop) combined with a slower shutter speed. “If using a DSLR try light painting using a flashlight or similar while the shutter is open. This will only work if the camera is completely

Rachel Claire Travel photographer Rachel Claire also recommends boosting your ISO and playing around in low light conditions in advance to learn your camera best ISO range. “Every camera is different. If a higher ISO is creating too much noise - stop it down a little. “Widen your aperture - use a lens with a flexible aperture anywhere from 1.8-2.0 should be a safe range. If you find everything is a bit soft, close that down a little and raise your ISO

Hank Durlik

Scott Slavinski

How to:

steady. Experiment and get creative!” Follow Scott on Instagram @scottslawinski and Base Imagery on Facebook


Four ancient crystal wonderlands are waiting to be explored. Deep underground and quite dark, they’re also a challenge to photograph. Three photographers share their tips with Lizzy Pepper on how to photograph – and enjoy – these subterranean caves. 86

PICTURE PERFECTCapturing the ethereal sights below ground in the Margaret River region can be a challenge, but with the right advice and equipment, the results can be stunning..

Hank Durlik

to compensate. "If your camera has image stabilisation you should be able to stop your shutter speed a few stops slower than its rule of thumb and still achieve a sharp image.” She also says “be a human tripod” or find something to rest your camera on, such as a handrail. “It’s all about core strength and creating stability. Plant your feet firmly, tuck your elbows in and don’t forget to breathe!” And, importantly, embrace imperfection. “Sometimes low light conditions provide an opportunity for creative exploration! A little light blur never hurt anyone - and sometimes imperfect shots make for great memories.” Follow Rachel on Instagram @fieldnotes__

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Photogenic Spots Lake Cave – try for the ‘hero shot’ of the suspended table, but if the low light conditions are too challenging, the spectacular forest doline entrance is much easier thanks to natural light. Mammoth Cave – “Nature’s Window” as you exit the cave, natural forest light shines through, framed by the cave. Photograph your friends climbing the stairs or tackling the stepping stones on the Marri Walk. Jewel Cave – get creative in the enormous entry chamber, capturing some of Australia’s longest straw stalactites. Silhouette people on the boardwalks to show the magnitude of the cavern – and formations.

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Ngilgi Cave – the delicate Fairy Cave framed by crystal, or laugh at yourself by sharing an Instagram Story getting stuck in the Tunnel of Doom.

Tag the caves @JewelCaveMR @LakeCaveMR @MammothCaveMR @Ngilgi.Cave @MargaretRiver

Hank Durlik Hank Durlik guided at the caves before launching Margaret River Exposed Tour, where he specialises in small-group nature tours. One of his most popular tours is the Ultimate Cave and Lighthouse, exploring Boranup Karri Forest, winding roads and Jewel, Mammoth and Lake caves. Given the challenge of photographing caves in low light, Hank urges guests to focus on enjoying the

moment; “It’s only natural that we want to capture such beauty on our cameras, but I always say the best capture is through your mind.” Saying that, sometimes the camera in your pocket is the best of all. “Night mode on the latest iPhones produces some great results, and you can share your experience the minute you finish a tour – how good is that! More on Hank’s tours at


A local resource run by a local girl – Nicole Liedermoy Photo credits: Ben Yew Photography

Active & Adventure


like a pro

The region is renowned for pumping surf and there’s nothing better than watching the world’s best carve it up. By DIANNE BORTOLETTO.


elly Slater, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore and other big-name surfers love coming to Margaret River – and it’s not just for the waves. Florence is known to frequent a local studio for some deep mediation during a floatation session, Slater loves the food and wine of the region, and Gilmore loves the region’s natural beauty and how raw and rugged the coast line is. Plus she loves that she can always find a wave to surf in one of the 75 surf breaks in the region. The big names in surfing are set to return. The 35th Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the 11-stop World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour, will be held at Surfers Point from April 22 to May 2 and, best of all, you can get a great seat and watch all the action live for free. There are now two locals to cheer for with Jack Robinson qualifying for the Men’s Championship Tour for the first time, joining




Bronte Macaulay who has been an inspiring competitor in the Women’s Championship Tour since 2017 when she won WSL Rookie of the Year, her results improving year on year. Surfers Point is the place to watch all the action as the bulk of the competition takes place on Main Break, South Side and The Box. It’s the event hub there’ll be big screens showing replays, expert commentary, food trucks, merchandise stands and young hopefuls can get up close and personal with their surfing stars. It’s inspiring to watch the surfers take their time after their heat and chat to groms who line the walkway to collect autographs and selfies. Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane said Surfers Point is one of the best spectator points on the World Tour. “The viewing at Surfers Point is incredible

with tiered areas to create an amphitheatre and the atmosphere is electric during competition and accessible to everyone,” Mark said. “There will be heaps of food trucks and healthy eats, coffee and a licensed area.” For those looking for the full deluxe experience, there's the VIP area in the upstairs marquee. There are options to purchase a VIP day pass or an entire VIP event pass. Both come with full service including breakfast, lunch, drinks, snacks, plus big screens and speakers so you won’t miss any commentary. On April 21, the day before the Margaret River Pro begins, Main Break will host the Drug Aware WA Trials, guaranteeing a place in the Margaret River Pro a male and female West Australian surfer to compete alongside the world’s best.

“The guy and girl that make it through the Drug Aware WA trials and get into the Pro to compete in the main event will win minimum $15,000 in prize money from WSL. What that does is help them fund their travels to other qualifying events. Margaret River local Jacob Wilcox won Men’s Drug Aware WA Trials last year. “Winning the WA Trials allowed Jacob to travel more and compete more and it was only by the narrowest of margins that he missed qualifying for WSL Championship Tour this year. It was agonisingly close,” Mark said. Returning in 2020 is the Healthy Habits Festival that includes WA biggest skate competition. Sanctioned by the Australian Skateboard Federation i’s run by the local crew Soggy Bones that has shops in Margaret River and Dunsborough. Healthy Habits Festival will be held during the school holidays and there’ll be heaps of free activities at the Margaret River Skate Park including basketball, skating, music, an eight-metre climbing tree trunk with qualified instructors and indoor activities such as art workshops. Designed for kids from eight to 20 years old, the Healthy Habits Festival is a celebration of youth culture with a focus on healthy risk taking. This year sees the version two of Our Coast Our Climate Summit, a free environmental event that will be held on April 21. “We’ve teamed up with Precious Plastics Cowaramup and the focus will be on how everyone can play a part for the betterment of the environment – after all, we’re all shareholders in the

environment and we all own the coast,” Mark said. The summit includes workshops and guest speakers that include WSL surfers. Margaret River retailers will also act as surfing hot spots providing up to the hour information and TVs showing the live broadcast in shops, from grocery shops to clothes boutiques. The WSL Championship Tour attracts the best 34 male (plus 1 WSL and 1 event wild card entry) and the best 17 female surfers (plus 1 wild card entry) in the world to Margaret River each year. To find out more and stay up to date, sign up to the WSL event alerts or download the free WSL app. For more information, visit

Open now! Adrenaline fun for the whole family

Ti p If you love surfing, then there’s no better surf competition than watching the world’s best take on The Box. If the Box is called “On”, grab your binoculars and head to Surfers Point for the best viewing. How to follow the Pro Every morning the WSL Commissioner decides on the contest based on conditions, this ensures that surfers compete on the best possible waves. Sign up to alerts or download the WSL app to get notified if the Margaret River Pro is called “On”, “Off” or “On Hold”. Instagram @wsl Twitter @wsl Facebook /wsl Website

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Active & Adventure



SAILING T he dazzling aquamarine waters lapping beneath the bow of the yacht are too enticing to refuse. I dive through the shimmering surface and let their cool embrace permeate my whole being. There’s a cloudless sky over Geographe Bay and the afternoon sun is intense. I’m on a two-hour afternoon cruise to Eagle Bay, but after leaving Dunsborough behind, raising the mainsail and unfurling the genoa, it only takes a few kilometres of sailing past weathered granite headlands and peppermint forest before the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters are beckoning. We decide to moor up at Castle Rock to indulge in a swim and a snorkel. The yacht is a sleek 41ft Beneteau skippered by Luke Johnston and his company, Sailing Charters WA. Sailing has been a part of Luke’s life for as long as he can remember. “My dad has always been into sailing and his father also. They both had sailing boats when I was growing up and some of my earliest memories are mucking around on boats with them. Dad was famous in his local community, winning many state and national championships, and Pop made all of his racing boats by hand. He was a great craftsman.” Luke’s family sailed out of Fremantle and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht clubs in Perth,




exploring up and down the Swan River, swimming and fishing from the boat. Luke was enrolled as a junior member at East Fremantle Yacht Club when he was eight years old, and given his first sailing boat, a 10ft Pelican training dinghy. “I’d sail around the river with my crew,” says Luke, “learning how the wind moves the boat on the water.” Luke’s grandfather on his mum’s side, Tom Kenny, also took up sailing, but at the ripe old age of 50. “He nearly died from a major stroke when he was 49 years old and was paralysed for six months,” explains Luke. “When he recovered, he decided to take up sailing. He handed over his business to his brothers and built a 49ft sailing yacht called Madelon. His maiden voyage took him from Fremantle all the way to Auckland for his daughter’s wedding - quite a feat at the time.” Madelon went on to sail all over the world, reaching destinations as far as Bali, Fiji, India and Greece. As one of 15 grandchildren, Luke remembers listening to his grandfather’s stories of adventure while staying on Madelon at Rottnest Island over the Christmas holidays. “They were great memories,” he says with a smile. “They set me up to be very interested in sailing from a young age.” With sailing playing such an important role in his family, it’s no surprise that Luke has been


It’s peaceful and calm, there’s no engine noise as we’re powered along by nature’s energy, and the light on the rocks and contrast with the water is amazing.”

Active & Adventure SHIP SHAPE See some of the most beautiful , secluded bays while aboard Madeline with Sailing Charters WA.

inspired to start his own sailing business. “I’ve been working as a commercial skipper for nearly 20 years, sailing all around the world,” he says and reels off an impressive list encompassing the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Antarctica, the US and Europe. Of all his worldly experience however, he notes that there’s something special about this stretch of coastline. “I’ve been coming here for holidays and surf trips since I was little - it’s such a pristine natural area and the waters around Geographe Bay are really sheltered. The consistent winds and prevailing direction make it ideal for sailing.” Luke began searching for a boat in 2015, unsure whether he would be able to afford one. Then, one fateful day in January 2016, he saw a second-hand yacht for sale in Fremantle. Her name was Madeline. “It was perfect,” says Luke. “The name of the boat inspired me to go ahead and start my business.” Luke brought Madeline down to the Margaret River region two years ago and started Sailing Charters WA, offering cruises from Dunsborough throughout the week. In addition to the two-hour Eagle Bay Cruise, customers can also choose between a three-hour Lunch




and Swim Cruise or a two-hour Sunset Cruise. “The Lunch and Swim Cruise is great for making the most of the beautiful waters around Meelup Beach and Castle Rock,” says Luke. “We anchor just off the beach and provide snorkelling gear and inflatable donuts to relax in.” The Sunset Cruise is a gentle sail and a chance to relax while soaking up the golden rays. “Sunset is always a special time of day,” says Luke. “People like to take in the view and think about the day. "I think being on the water just amplifies the experience. It’s peaceful and calm, there’s no engine noise as we’re powered along by nature’s energy, and the light on the rocks and contrast with the water is amazing.”

Guests can also charter the yacht exclusively for a full day and choose to explore east along the sweeping white sandy beaches towards the historic Busselton Jetty or west around Cape Naturaliste to take in the Lighthouse. More adventurous sailors might consider an adventurous two-day sail down the coast to Hamelin Bay with an overnight stay included. “We regularly see dolphins and whales along this coast,” says Luke. “Sometimes they get really close to the coast and dolphins will surf in the bow wave. It makes for a really magical experience.” Sailing Charters WA operate from October through to April. Bookings can be made through or


f you’ve worked up an appetite on the high seas - but still haven’t had your fill of watching the waves go by - then head to Bunkers Beach House. It’s Nestled in the dunes blending beautifully with its natural surrounds, and is one of the few absolute beachfront cafes in Western Australia, complete with boardwalk access to the Indian Ocean. The stylish cafe offers spectacular vistas of the crystal clear waters and white sands of Bunker Bay, giving plenty of food for thought whether you’re a keen sailor or happy to keep both feet on terra firma. As autumn changes the seascapes from placid azure blues to sometimes dramatic ocean activity, Bunkers Beach House is the perfect place to watch the (sea)world go by. The menu, always innovative and tempting, is particularly delicious at this time of year. Whether you’re there for breakfast (think Yallingup wood-fired fruit toast or Shakshuka tomatoes with a Cape Effect latte on the side), or for lunch, when local seafood and seasonal produce plays a prominent role, the relaxed vibe on Bunkers Beach is reflected in this lovely venue. Bunkers Beach House, Farm Break Lane, Bunkers Beach - visit bunkersbeachhouse. to book.

Everything’s cooler south of the border. Cellar Door | Open Daily | 10am to 5pm BYO picnic + wine by the glass || 9758 8611 205 Rosa Brook Road, Margaret River

Active & Adventure

There are plenty of ways to explore the region on two wheels, whatever your age. Cassandra Charlick reports.


he benefits of jumping on the humble bicycle are countless: better health, fitness levels, stamina and strength, minimal environmental impact and so on. Of course it also just feels so darn good to feel the wind whistle by and the sun on your face as you cruise along on two wheels. Once you get on a bike, you’ll be a bike rider for life. Everyone has to start somewhere though, and what better timing than to learn the ropes on holiday down south? Whether the kids are mini mountain biking pros, or still on trainer wheels there are plenty of bike paths and trails to suit.

BEACHSIDE BIKING Jumping on two wheels to get to the soft white sand at the beach is part of most Aussie childhoods, so it’s time to pass this down to the next generation. Busselton and Dunsborough are ripe with beachside cycling opportunities. The




IMAGE Russell Ord

Let’s go ride a bike

two towns are actually linked by about 31km of gentle coastal cycle and walk paths, with plenty of stops in-between for lunch and a cold drink. For families with older kids up for the challenge, you can make a whole day of it and take a trip filled with beach swims and ice-creams. Littler legs will be happy with one of the smaller stretches or a shorter loop. Pop into the Busselton or Dunsborough visitor centres for a map to help with finding your way around one of several routes. The Geographe Path is a leisurely 14.1km return cycle along the Busselton foreshore, while the Foreshore Explore is a shorter option at just 3.8km, heading through a fantastic playground if the wheels have been worn out. The Bush Loop of South Busselton is another gentle loop, slightly further into the town from the beach. Head down to Dunsborough and there is plenty more beachside cycling throughout the

quiet roads of the town. The bay is beautifully calm for a dip or to hire a SUP and get the arms working alongside those legs. If kids are already confident on a bike, and have experience with gravel and a bit of off road legwork, the intermediate level paths in and around the Dunsborough Country Club network are a good spot to get sweaty. As entry is through the golf course, there is an entry fee of $5 for these trails. Down in Margaret River, you’ll also be safe on two wheels with the kids while enjoying ocean views. Peddle from the kids playground at Rifle Butts along to the White Elephant for a well-deserved hot chocolate, or, for those with a bit more stamina, you can even cycle all the way into Margaret River along the freshly refurbed pathways next to Walcliffe Road. It’s an easy ride with only one or two hills for older kids, be sure to set aside about 30-45 minutes one way.

IMAGE Russell Ord

Margaret River Winery and Brewery Tours 10am to 5pm daily – Free pick up from Margaret River, Dunsborough and Busselton

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.” ~ HG Wells

Where to find your wheels There are plenty of options when it comes to bike hire. Here are a few to get you started. The Hairy Marron – Margaret River Visit

Visit seven Margaret River attractions with 40 local wine, food, beer, cider, chocolate and cheese tastings! $110 adult, $50 child including lunch.

Life Cycle Bikes – Margaret River Visit IMAGE Elements Margaret River

The Golden Jersey – Cowaramup Visit Bike Shed – Dunsborough Visit Spinway WA – Busselton Visit Fat Duck Cycles – Busselton Call 08 9754 2000

FOREST-FUELLED FUN Head inland and there are some of the most luscious tree lined paths for the whole family to get out on, starting right from the centre of Margaret River townsite. The Wadandi Trail will provide as long or short a return trip as you desire. Head northwards on the flat and well maintained gravel path and eventually you’ll hit Cowaramup, or southbound the trail leads towards Witchcliffe. It used to be a railway line (hence the alternative nail of ‘rails to trails track’) so there are no surprise hills on this one. Alternatively, set off from Rotary Park and there is an abundance of routes to choose from. A short loop around the river on the River Walk path, crossing at Barrett Street Weir is a pretty ride with a scenic stop on the bridge. In the hotter months, it’s even suitable for a refreshing dip for kids that are game. Another easy option is the flat path out to the Darch Trail. Heading

south from Margaret River, the trail runs parallel with the town through cow and kangaroo filled paddocks, certain to be a talking point for the little ones. The Ten Mile Brook Trail is a 15 kilometre return trail, also from the same starting point, meandering along the peaceful river all the way out to the Ten Mile Brook Dam site. It’s a lovely spot for a lunchtime picnic if you’ve packed one.

Bushtucker Canoe Tours Adventure down the pristine Margaret River with a Bushtucker guide!

MOUNTAIN BIKING BASICS Certainly not for training wheels, but great fun for kids who already have the basics down pat, the mountain biking trails from the Carters Road car park are some of the best in the state. The trails run from easy beginners routes, all the way through to advanced paths with jumps and twist and turns, so be certain to follow the maps and clearly guided trails to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong route.

For full details on all of our tours call (08) 9757 9084 or visit | AUTUMN 2020 95







lackwood River Houseboats owners Pam Winter and James Austin know a thing or two about giving visitors a memorable holiday – they’ve been doing it for almost 20 years from their HQ on the edge of the pristine Blackwood River in secluded West Bay in Augusta. This is not the houseboating you’ve done in Europe, or elsewhere! Be prepared to have 28 kilometres of undeveloped national park to cruise through at your leisure, beautifully clear safe water to enjoy a swim, accessing places only possible via the water, and a choice of 17 swing moorings for each night’s stop. If you’ve holidayed in Augusta in the past, a houseboat experience will allow you to see this beautiful corner of the south west in a new way and you don’t need to have a skippers ticket, all the training you need is provided on arrival. “Our trainers give guests a full induction. We continuously assess our operations and ease of handling, driving and mooring to ensure guests have an excellent experience,” Pam said. “Guests like the ease of the swing moorings and straightforward operation of the boats. Blackwood River Houseboats guests typically seek a nature-based adventure but with comforts of home. “Like a hot shower, comfy sheets and unique surrounds,” Pam said. “There are different sized vessels with a variety of layouts, cabins and decks to suit different sized groups, which can all be viewed online. “All our houseboats have galley kitchens, a full supply of linen, bathrooms, barbeque, top front and rear decks with a dinghy also included. “Many guests like to travel consciously and are keen to maintain the pristine environment. The swing moorings minimise impact on the riverbed and banks and we also allow other boats to use our moorings as a courtesy service when not required. The moorings are perfectly positioned in the best spots, and we can now welcome larger groups, catering for two or more houseboats at several locations. What’s the one thing that surprises Pam and James’ guests? “The stillness.You’re in a National Park under the stars. There’s no light pollution, and no sound other than nature. And there’s plenty to do on the river for those not satisfied with just kicking back and dropping a line in the water. “Go bushwalking, orchid spotting, bird watching, or swimming,” Pam said. “As well as the powered dinghy, our boats come with

kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and life jackets for children. “You can barbeque, bake in the oven, grab a hamper of local produce through us, book a winery beforehand and remember to toss in a book. “It’s the perfect getaway for couples or groups of family or friends, celebrating a special occasion or just taking the time to slow down. All you need to do is just pack your food, drink, fishing rods and adventurous spirit,” Pam said. “When we see guests on their return, the relaxation of a few nights on board is quite tangible. The pleasure of being rocked to sleep for a few nights is visible on their faces.” And her final tip? “And add an extra night to your booking – it’s the one thing our guests always say they wished they did.”

Abbey Beach Resort Beachfront Holidays

WHAT’S NEW IN AUGUSTA Pam said there was no better time to visit Augusta, with so many recent additions and improvements. “Augusta is being rediscovered. The Forrest Highway was the first step, bringing us closer to Perth. The new Jetstar flights to Busselton have put the eastern states on our doorstep. “The combination of improved accessibility and offering a quieter alternative to Margaret River have been key attractions for our recent guests. The popular Colourpatch café on the water’s edge has recently completed a $2 million refurbishment, and up river guests can access award-winning wineries and enjoy fresh local produce in local restaurants.” She said much work had also been done to protect and care for the unspoilt Blackwood River environment. “We’ve witnessed a highly successful 20year bream restocking program with Murdoch University and serviced by local fisherman Trevor Price. “Regular water testing carried out by the University of Western Australia WA will positively impact the river reserve along the Lower Blackwood, helping to maintain its pristine condition. “Lower Blackwood Landcare are working with local farmers in a voluntary fencing program to protect the riverbanks as well.” The Blackwood River houseboating season extends from September to July and all boats are fully kitted for the cooler months. For rates and information visit or call Pam on 0439 959 638.

595 Bussell Highway, Busselton, WA +61 8 9755 4600 |

@abbeybeachresort /abbeybeachresort | AUTUMN 2020 97

Active & Adventure


Training Indigenous surfing champs of the future


ewly formed with the first program held in late 2019, the aim of the Wadandi Surf Academy is to create a sustainable Aboriginal Surfing Academy that will hold events, deliver dedicated surf coaching programs for Aboriginal people and train Aboriginal surf judges and officials. The six-week program is a pathway for Indigenous surfers in Western Australia that starts with a ‘Learn to Surf ’ introduction and concludes with a cultural induction program, led by Wadandi cultural custodian Iszaac Webb. The ultimate aim is to up-skill the region’s youth in the sport of surfing, bring them into the Surfing WA Talent squad and assist them in entering state




rounds with the focus on eventually having an Indigenous surfer competing at the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles. Twenty-two students aged from 12 to 16 years from Busselton Senior High School, Cape Naturalists College and Margaret River Senior High School participated in the six-week program. Justin Majeks, from Surfing WA, said that funding though the Department of Sport and Recreation, sponsorship from Southern Ports, and support from MRBTA and local businesses made it possible to reinstate an Indigenous surfing program. “There had been a lack of Indigenous surfing programs for the past decade and we identified the great impact a program could have, so we engaged with the Undalup Association to help set one up,” Justin said. “The Wadandi Surf Academy is more than getting Aboriginal kids learning to surf, it’s building their ocean confidence, getting them into the water and connecting them into the local culture.

“I went to a couple of the sessions and it was amazing to watch Iszaac and the engagement he had with the students, the connection to country was incredible to see. The students are learning what it is to be a young Indigenous person in the south west. “We’ve been blown away by the response. It’s been so successful in the Margaret River region that Surfing WA is looking at ways to expand the program into other regional areas. “Western Australian has created many Indigenous surfers over the years. The Academy will help unearth the next generation of champion Indigenous surfers,” he said. The National Indigenous Titles will be held at Bells Beach from May 29 to 31. “It’s been a while since WA had an Indigenous surfer compete, so we’re hoping that through the Wadandi Surf Academy that we’ll soon see a West Australian competing once again,” Justin said. Margaret River surf school, the Josh Palmateer Surf Academy had a team of seven surf coaches involved in Wadandi Surf Academy. Josh is a former professional surfer and was on the World Surfing Tour from 1988 to 1994, achieving a world ranking of 45. In 1995 after leaving the tour, Josh launched his own surf academy. “The Wadandi Surf Academy is about engaging with young Aboriginal people from

Busselton to Augusta, bringing them together through surfing, which is what I do, plus helping them get in touch with their cultural side and connecting them with country, which is what Iszaac does,” Josh said. “It’s a great program and easy to see why the students reacted so positively. One day per week, the session starts with us learning to surf, which includes ocean awareness and surf safety – and it’s a lot of fun,” Josh said. Students learned new skills including how to identify rips, how to get themselves out of dangerous situations and skills on surfboards. Iszaac Webb, Wadandi cultural custodian, said that learning about country and culture has helped developed a sense of identity in young Aboriginal people. “We share the local culture, songlines of country, giving understanding of the connection to Boodja (country),” Iszaac said. “Some afternoons we went on a canoe trip and I told them about the story of creation and the cultural importance of the river which is at the heart of the Wadandi Boodja. “They learned practical skills like toolmaking and rope-making, learned about bush tucker and bush medicines, and most importantly how everything is connected as one.

“We also had special guests, legendary Aboriginal surfers, and the students listened to stories from Simon Zurich, Len Collard and Mick Shaw, hearing their life experiences and seeing their memorabilia and trophies from when they used to compete in Wadandi Surf Classic,” Iszaac said. Gwen Gray, Aboriginal Islander education officer at Busselton Senior High School, said that one of the most positive outcomes was that students were able to continue and practice connection to culture with the extra value of learning to surf. “Connection to culture has strengthened their identity and has reinforced their self worth,” Gwen said.

“The Wadandi Surf Academy challenged students with the surfing aspect, they undertook different activities that they may not have never tried and it took them completely out of their comfort zone. “They had to learn to trust Josh and his crew, and once students were ready, it was hard getting them out of the water. Most of all, the level of respect the students showed for Josh, Sarah and the instructors was terrific. “It’s been a very positive program for students and teachers.” The next Wadandi Surf Academy is due to be held in November/December. For more information about the Undalup Association, visit and for Surfing WA visit

Holiday in WA When you holiday in WA, book with Quality Tourism Accredited Businesses and you’ll get a quality assured operator wherever you go. From hotels and guided tours to shops and services, you can expect quality, reliability and great customer service.

To book your holiday with Quality Tourism Accredited Businesses, visit | AUTUMN 2020 99



Discover the southwest with Avis.

place. Your place. Our place. Stocker Preston spans across the Southwest in four beautiful locations. Combining over 100 years of Real Estate Property experience, our team of over 70, each share an undeniable passion for the region’s spectacular landscapes, environmental assets, unique creatures and soulful communities.

With our locations at Bunbury, Busselton and Busselton-Margaret River Airport.

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We visit a selection of the following wineries daily; Stella Bella, Leeuwin Estate, Xanadu, Voyager Estate, McHenry Hohnen, Vasse Felix, Woodland Wines and Brown Hill. Full Day tours feature six wineries and lunch at Xanadu. All tours enjoy complementary vineyard platter as well as tastings of smallgoods, cheese & chocolate.




Professionally guided HORSE RIDING TOURS, suitable for all abilities. From forest treks to beach rides, we have a horse riding adventure just for you. 1549 Rosa Brook Rd, Margaret River Ph 08 97574 562 /JestersFlat

Ph: 0419 917 166




Art & Wellbeing

Born and Bred in

BUSSELTON As far as beautiful places to live go, you can't beat Busselton. Dianne Bortoletto chats to a couple of locals who are Busselton born and bred to find out some of the town's charms.

Chip Yelverton Age: 61 Occupation: Business owner and cattle and macadamia nut farmer He might have been officially registered as Hilton Yelverton when he was born in the original Busselton Hospital 61 years ago, but he left as Chip, because, as they said, ‘he was a chip off the old block’. Chip Yelverton is a fifth-generation Busselton local and farms grass-fed cattle and grows macadamia nuts on his 250-hectare Quindalup farm. He is also a director of Cowara




Contractors, a civil works and bulk haulage company that he established in partnership some 35 years ago, which employs 50 local staff. His surname is well known too, with a local district named in his family’s honour. In 1849, Henry Yelverton emigrated from England, pioneering jarrah timber milling and a shipping enterprise. He was later awarded the contract to construct the first section of the Busselton Jetty. “In the early years, this region was primarily a timber milling and dairy district that, following deregulation of both industries, could’ve seen the economics go into serious decline. Thankfully, through the diversification of agriculture and the sustainability of the wine and tourism industries, the region has grown in economic strength,” Chip said. Chip, who has lived in the region most of his life, has seen the way Busselton has changed and grown. “Quality tourist attractions have been created and it’s not only attracting visitors from Perth, but attracting visitors from all over the world and it’s become a world class destination,” the 61-year-old said. “Over the years, development has gone ahead without taking away from the natural environment that we have. We don’t have highrises everywhere, which is a good thing.

“Busselton is vibrant and it’s retained its character. The Foreshore is tremendous with The Jetty and the cafés and the new brewery going in.” Chip said that modern-day Busselton would be beyond the wildest imaginings of his forebearers. “Even in my father’s generation, to see this area now compared to what it was like 50 years ago is beyond comprehension – the technology, the transport, facilities, and what has been created here,” he said. “The climate is excellent. Geographe Bay is a north-facing bay and virtually protected, there aren’t too many north-facing bays in Western Australia. And just a short drive away is the wild and dynamic west coast. “I like fishing, entertaining and enjoying all that the region offers. We have that many highquality restaurants and wineries, there’s always something new and exciting to visit within our region. “I travel a lot, and I see no real reason to live anywhere else. My farm is fertile and productive, and the area has offered me awesome business opportunities. It’s such a fantastic place to live.” Chip said that Busselton can offer something for everybody, from young families to retirees. “If you can’t find what floats your boat in Busselton, well, you might as well just give up.” It’s pretty hard to argue with that.

Jason Credaro Age: 34 | Occupation: Brewer For fourth-generation local Jason Credaro, it’s the lifestyle and opportunity that Busselton offers that makes it a great place to live. “I’ve lived in other parts of Australia and overseas, so I know how good we’ve got it in Busselton,” the 34-year-old said. “I love the community atmosphere of the town, the location on the beach and the lifestyle that it provides. Busselton has amazing beaches, great walking and mountain biking trails and forests. “I like the climate too. Summer is incredible with warm sunny days, great for the beach but winter has its own charm too when the storms come in, as long as they aren’t too intense. Autumn and spring are calm, not too hot, not

too cold, and you get the magical pink sunsets over the Cape. “I love going fishing, I go to the beach nearly every day, occasionally I’ll go for a surf or a kite surf and I’ve recently started mountain biking. I also like to spend time out on the farm.” If the Credaro name seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen Credaro signs at one of four vineyard sites in the region. The Credaro family produce all of their own wines in their 1200-tonne winery in northern Margaret River. Jason’s father Robert was part of the family’s first commercial vine planting in 1988 along with his grandfather Albert. It was his great-greatgrandfather Cesare who first moved to the region in 1922 to work on the region’s first railway. Nowadays, the Credaro vineyards are managed by five of the family members; Robert (father) and

his sons Matthew, Jason, Michael and Christopher. “We all get along quite well which is incredibly fortunate because it can be difficult when working in a family business. We’re a close a family,” Jason said. Jason moved away from wine and is working as consultant brewer. When I spoke to him, he was in South Korea working a contract to oversee the installation of brewing systems at two breweries while waiting for the construction to be finished at a new brewery, Shelter Brewing Co. Jason is Shelter’s head brewer as well as a director along with his three brothers and joint venture partners Zeb Packard-Hair and his brother Asher Packard-Hair, who incidentally are also fourth-generation locals. Situated in prime position on the Busselton Foreshore, Shelter Brewing Co is due to open in spring 2020. “Busselton has progressed a lot and it’s still growing,” Jason said. “There are more venues to go to in town, lots of cafes, the Foreshore development that’s providing extra opportunities, there’s more concerts and other events like Ironman and Cinefest Oz. “It may not have all the amenities of, say, Perth, but it’s not a capital city either. Busselton’s proximity to other places such as Bunbury, Margaret River and even Perth means you can fill those gaps when you need to.” Jason said that everyone in his extended family, besides one aunt and his sister, live in Busselton. “We all live close together and see each other most days. I’ll pop around to one of my brother’s places at a drop of a hat and that’s really nice. If we all lived in Perth, we couldn’t do that as easily,” he said. “What do I love most about Busselton? It’s home.”

Art & Wellbeing

Contemporary timber furniture designer Nathan Day creates masterpieces in the traditional manner. Janine Pittaway reports. LOCAL HERO

Carving out a


ears of persistence and a clear vision have proven Nathan Day was destined to be a timber craftsman, but it’s taken some years for the Dunsborough furniture maker to realise his dream of designing pieces in a modern style using traditional furniture making techniques. His plan was always to veer away from the typical south west furniture style of slab tops and chunky proportions and instead create something visually lighter, more contemporary and considered. Even in a simple table with four legs, Nathan manages to create beautiful lines and highlight subtle details that showcase the innate beauty of the timber and finishes his pieces in natural oils rather than lacquer. Fresh from high school, Nathan turned down a fine arts degree and took his dad’s advice to get a trade. He landed a job with respected furniture maker Rob Malcolm, owner of Yallingup




Galleries and stayed until fellow furniture maker John Streater offered him an apprenticeship. Once completed, Nathan had his sights set on England for further training. “I’d read a lot of books on English furniture makers and the work was so different to what I’d learnt to make,” Nathan said. “I was frustrated that I had no idea how to make most of what I was seeing. In my mind, the best approach was to get them to teach me.” His target was English furniture maker and teacher John Makepeace. Undeterred by John’s lack of response to phone calls or emails, Nathan flew to England, borrowed a car and took off with a mate to John’s village and door-knocked until he got directions. “We pulled up and knocked on the window of his studio. He wasn’t overly stoked but he was accommodating and took us through his house. It was like a contemporary art gallery and housed

many of the pieces I’d long admired in his books. That was a really inspiring experience.” Makepeace ran the world’s most successful furniture school for 20 years, but it was closed by the time Nathan visited, and John was working on his own. Nathan persisted and he recommended he try the Edward Barnsley workshop in Hampshire. The Barnsleys were leading figureheads of the English Arts and Crafts Movement, popular from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Their hand-made expertise and traditions continue in the Barnsley workshop today, where they train fee-paying students and five-year apprentices supported by a charitable trust. It’s fiercely competitive to be selected. Nathan won a scholarship that assisted qualified Australian tradespeople to broaden their experience overseas. He eventually convinced the Barnsley Workshop to sponsor him on a paid

parents to hand over their 6m x 6m garage as a workshop. Luckily, they agreed. They moved their cars, he scrounged some compact equipment and Nathan Day Design was born. Nathan later worked for a period at Midland Atelier and was mentored by leading Australian designer Jon Goulder. Jon’s advice effectively changed the direction of Nathan's business. He suggested developing a small collection of

products and selling them through a retail outlet rather than producing work on consignment for galleries as he had previously been doing. “I returned to the garage and started work on some new pieces. My sister started a sales job at Zenith Interiors in Perth around the same time and six weeks later I had the Zenith state manager in the garage discussing how we might do business together.” Zenith is now an international company with showrooms around Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. After a period with pieces in their Perth showroom, Nathan was invited to create a custom design. They were impressed with his work and grew his first collection. Six years and four collections later Zenith is still an integral part of Nathan’s business. Nathan says there’s currently growing demand for well-crafted timber furniture. “We’ve got backing from architects, interior designers, and local retailers as well who are specifying and distributing products from small manufacturers and recommending us. I think we were ready to go at the right time.” As well as jarrah, he’s working with American aak and walnut, and has developed a method of ebonising jarrah using vinegar. The nearblack finish is proving popular with clients who appreciate the quality of local timber, but are looking for a more contemporary statement piece for their home. Nathan’s work can be found in head offices around the world, including Apple and Louis Vuitton. He and his partner Savannah now employ four carpenters, and took on their first apprentice in 2019. They’ve had craftsmen from

Germany, UK and Ireland join them in recent years, and will soon have a fellow Barnsley grad joining them for a six-month stay. Nathan’s HQ is now a vast new manufacturing space in Vasse – a long away from his parent’s garage. He’s busy creating a bespoke range for a new Perth retail outlet called Loam, and you can find examples of his work at


traineeship for 12 months. “Initially my work permit was rejected, it was very disappointing.The manager told me they could appeal, but didn’t hold any real hope. To everyone’s surprise, the appeal was successful and I was in. “It was invaluable. I learnt a completely new way of building furniture. There’s skills that have been learnt, passed on and honed over hundreds of years. That’s what I got excited about.” Nathan came home with a head full of ideas. He shared a small space with another furniture maker but success didn’t come, and he was forced to throw it in after a year and take paid hospitality work. He was making technical, timeconsuming pieces that he thought justified a high price and hoped would sell, but didn’t. Wanting one last shot, Nathan begged his




P 9757 2729 E W Shop 4, 1 Charles West Avenue

Eat & Drink

Women on top of the waves

Jeanne Abbott, unidentified, Stef Meyer and Tina Daly - WA Newspapers, Cottesloe 1963.

Female surfers have historically been excluded from the mainstream surf media, but a new exhibition at Aravina Estate’s WA Surf Gallery is celebrating West Australian women in the sport. By TOM DE SOUZA.


he exhibition at Aravina Estate’s fascinating and ever-changing WA Surf Gallery is a real treat for surfing fans. It showcases some of the female pioneers who shaped women’s surfing into the world of opportunity which exists today, says event organiser, Thea McDonald. “Girls today are so welcome in the water. They can make a career out of surfing very easily. They are welcome in all competitions in all places, it’s easy for them to get sponsors, for them to be taken seriously. It really does feel like what women did through the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s really pushed to create a stress-free pathway for girls who can compete and make a career of surfing today,” she says. “The exhibition is a snapshot of some of those really significant women in surfing.” One of those women is Yallingup’s Claire Bevilacqua, a former professional surfer and




Pipeline Master. Claire began competing at a world level in the early 2000s, aged eighteen. At that time, girls on the tour were not accepted in certain line-ups, she says, and had to tread a delicate line between being tough and masculine and also being themselves. “Almost all the girls at that time were tough and were all raised by the boys,” she says. “You sort of had to sit on the inside and blend in and hide in the shadows and not stand out too much, but be liked enough that you were invited to come along to places. “That generation was a lot tougher, girls weren’t really embraced. The boys didn’t really want girls around.” But that began to change while Claire was on the tour. In 2002, the feature film Blue Crush was released, and Claire remembers it was around this time that women began to be seen differently in surfing.

“I think that movie changed things a lot,” she says. “It revealed a different side to women. “It was around that time that girls [on the tour] started to become more athletic, and it was acceptable for girls to be a little more feminine, and more sensual and in touch with their sexuality. We became marketable. In a way, we became more relatable and more inspiring. Rather than trying to be like the boys, we started trying to be strong women. We didn’t want to be like the men, we wanted to be up there with them.” Today, women’s surfing is at the forefront of the global social movement for gender equality, with the World Surfing League recently becoming one of the first global sports leagues to announce gender pay equality. Professional surfing is a now a world of opportunity for women, says Claire. “There is a lot more opportunity now. It’s a lot more serious and elite,” she says.

REST, RELAX, RECONNECT Romantic, secluded couples’ retreat in self-contained chalets with candlelit sky-view spas, kingsized beds and tranquil forest outlooks, on 240 acres of natural beauty.

Below: Tina Daly, Jeanne Abbott & Stef Meyer - WA Newspapers, Cottesloe 1963.

The generational differences in women’s surfing were on display on the opening night of the exhibition, with some of WA’s first female state champions standing beside the current state title holders, says Thea. “It was really interesting for those first ladies to talk to the girls now and talk about some of their experiences. For 18-year-old girls now, many wouldn’t even really understand how hard it was for them [the first generation of female surfers] to even carry a surfboard to the beach, get a lift with the guys, or be accepted in the line-up. That was really cool when they all stood together,” she says. The collection of images, stories, and memorabilia begins in the early 1960s, when lightweight foam and fibreglass materials made surfboards more accessible, says fellow organiser and WA’s unofficial surfing historian, Jim King. “Surfers started coming down to Margaret River surfing in about 1955,” he says. “Most were ex-clubbies (surf-lifesaving club members) and they had these big thick wooden boards that were mostly used for racing. They were called toothpicks, and they were about R E ST, R E ST, R E LRAX, E L AX, R ECO R ECO N NEC NNEC T T Romantic, Romantic, secluded, secluded, self contained self contained chalets chalets with candlelit with candlelit sky-view sky-view spas, Kingsize spas, Kingsize

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Eat & Drink

Ric Dighelli, Jenny Shackley & Murray Smith, Scarborough 1965.

Kaye Hocking, Maureen Farrell & Carol McDonald, 1967 State Titles, Cottesloe.

Teena Christon with trophies, Leighton 1965

16 feet long and weighed around 20 kilos. “Then in the early 60s, fibreglass boards came in, which were a lot lighter and made surfing a lot more accessible. It was also around that time the Gidget film came in. It was the first cultural association of women with surfing. Things really took off after that.” While the exhibition charts the rise of women’s competitive surfing throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, it also focus on the changes women made to surfing media and lifestyle. The media section features women like Lizzy Nunn, the first woman to write a Tracks Magazine column. Thea, also a surf-writer, credits women like Lizzy for blazing the trail for her career. “Some of the stuff that Lizzy pushed for women and for surfing… those things are still in place, and that’s a testament to her and to everything she’s done,” she says. Thea also began writing for Tracks in 2014, and says she is proud to be a voice of today’s generation of women in surfing, and part of the global movement for gender equality. “Back in 2014, I was reading women’s surfing stuff in magazines and online. The writing was really poor, and really ridiculous. Like how to decorate your bedroom, and what is your favourite Beyonce track?” she says. “It was at a time where the media was making the effort to include women, but not in a genuine way. It seemed a little bit tokenistic. I thought, you know, girls have actually got more




Claire Bevilacqua free surfing pipeline Hawaii, 2009

Jodie Cooper, winner 1993 World Cup of Surfing, Sunset Beach Hawaii.

substance to their background story than just what’s on their iPod playlist. “I just wanted to have a go. I thought, if I’m not enjoying what I’m reading, instead of complaining about it, why don’t I write something myself. That started off a year where I followed the women’s world tour around the world.” Thea is now settled in Dunsborough, where she

works in the surf industry, among other pursuits. Thea says the lifestyle component of the exhibition also celebrates ordinary female surfers and community surfing groups like Surfing Mums, who meet to swap child-minding for surfing. “It’s quite a stronghold, the ones [Surfing Mums group] in Dunsborough and in Perth. It shows that through everything – careers and life

Crystal Simpson surfing Tombstones, 2005

Claire Bevilacqua, Margaret River 2015

Crystal Wallace, Yallingup 2018

Handcrafted pottery and ceramic art by Master Potter Ian Beniston changes and having kids – these women have always just wanted to go surfing. “It’s saying the ocean has always been their love and has always been what they have wanted to do.” Women in Surfing,WA Surf Gallery, Aravina Estate, 61 Thornton Road, Yallingup.

QUEENS EXHIBITOR Opening Hours Visit Studio Gallery 17 Huntington Court, Quedjinup (08) 9756 6666

Art & Wellbeing

Jive away to the winter blues

Chill out, tap your feet, swing your partner on the dance floor and sway to the rhythm of some incredible live jazz talent. Janine Pittaway looks forward to Jazz By The Bay 2020.


azz by the Bay returns from May 29 to June 1 with more than 40 live performances across 20 great venues spanning the region, and concentrated around Dunsborough and Yallingup. The music festival combines talented jazz, soul and swing artists with the region’s gourmet delights at sit-down lunch and dinner events, cocktail soirees, smokin’ late-night sessions and more casual affairs where you can kick up your heels. This year will be the eighth staging of the festival, which event director Cindy Wiese said grows each year in popularity. “We learnt from market research at last year’s Jazz by the Bay that it’s now the fourth largest jazz festival in Australia based on audience attendance. “And we have an incredibly loyal following - an extraordinary 22% of our visitors have attended all seven festivals since we began in 2013. They come from Perth, interstate and, increasingly, Europe and Asia” she said. Jazz by the Bay covers the largest geographic territory of any jazz festival in Australia, so whether you’re staying north or south of the region you’ll likely find a live Jazz by the Bay event to enjoy. As well as live venue performances, there are music workshops, artist Q&As and plenty of free and roving events through the region’s popular retail hubs, with many events happening at Yallingup's Caves House Hotel.




MUSIC MAKERSThere'sjazz for all tastes at this year's Jazz by the Bay - with swing, soul and funk set to light up venues in the region.

One of the most accessible festivals around, the events are largely free to attend with the only costs being food and drinks at the venue. Events with ticket prices typically range in cost from $10 to $150 at the highest end for a fine dining and jazz experience. Cindy said the region was blessed with great musical talent. “One of the main reasons we created Jazz by the Bay was to showcase our extraordinary local musical talent. “The Margaret River region seems to attract singers and musos not just from Perth but around the world who now call it home. “Talented local performers who make regular Jazz by the Bay appearances, delighting attendees, include Songbirds of the Southwest, Hoots,

Jazztrix, Michelle Spriggs Trio, So What Funk Edition, Mel Tuoma Trio, Mr & Mrs Smith, Cassandra Charlick, Serge Le Goueff, The Sets and more. “Jazz by the Bay provides them with an opportunity to collaborate and perform with visiting talent from Perth, the east coast and often from overseas.” While Jazz by the Bay more than caters for serious jazz aficionados, it’s also hugely popular with lovers of jazz fusion, swing, soul and funk and there’s plenty of opportunities to brush up on your dance moves. Keep an eye on or their Facebook and Instagram accounts @jazzbythebay for updates and this year’s talent line-up. Book your accommodation soon as it’s held across a long weekend.



he Margaret River Ultra Marathon is an 80km trail run from Hamelin Bay in the south to the Cheeky Monkey Brewery in the north. There’s not one ounce of bitumen – it’s all off-road in pristine wilderness. Runners can either take on the full 80km solo or split the journey between two and five team mates. The majority of runners are aged 45-55 with a good mix of young and old on the perimeter. As well as a great run, it’s also a great day out so bring the whole family down for a weekend of memory-making and a good pinch of food and wine. The race starts at the crack of dawn on Saturday May 9 and you’ll be done by midnight if you’re fit and firing. Then you can spend Sunday relaxing and exploring one of the many world-class wineries and eateries nestled in the Margaret River region. Spend Friday the day before settling the butterflies with a meal at the award winning Cheeky Monkey Brewery. There’s a training weekend on March 28 and 29 in the lead up to the event too if you want to get a taste of the action beforehand. 2020 will mark the third year of the Margaret River Ultra and numbers are growing each and every year. Race directors, however, are committed to ensuring the event remains

“boutique”. “It’s a tight group come race day. Runners have ample time to get to know each other the night before and on race day.You end up with this really awesome vibe come Saturday night. It’s a really special day without feeling overwhelmed by mass crowds” said Rapid Ascent general manager Sam Maffett. “We can’t wait to deliver the 2020 edition.” So come and join the action and see what all the fuss is about. It’s a ‘runcation’ we guarantee you won’t forget. Head to the official website at for more information on race entries, the training weekend, course maps, the chance to volunteer and more.




Art & Wellbeing Rachel Coad

Joelene Hewison

Christian Fletcher

Creativity in




uring Margaret River Region Open Studios (MRROS), more than 110 artists throw open their studio doors to welcome art lovers and share their passions. Now in its seventh year, MRROS features painters, sculptors, illustrators, jewellers, printmakers, glassblowers, ceramicists, potters, photographers, furniture makers, woodworkers, textile artists, metalworkers, mixed media artists and upcyclers who share a love of this beautiful part of the world. MRROS chairman Jim Davies said each year the free event grew increasingly popular with visitors seeking out their favourite artists or discovering someone new. “We see the momentum growing in the lead up to Open Studios each year as art lovers from Perth and around Australia plan a visit to the Margaret River region to meet with and see new work from their favourite artists, and discover new talent along the way,” he said. “Others plan their journey by location or by a particular medium or artistic style.They might be




seeking out a new artwork for their home or garden, a memento of their visit to the region, or simply using Open Studios as a means of connecting with the people who have made it home. “I recommend planning ahead, picking up a copy of our event guide or viewing it online to plan your route, get off the highways and explore our stunning region while being inspired by some amazing people and art.” Renowned Margaret River region artists participating this year include Leon Pericles, Rachel Coad, Lauren Wilhelm, Rebecca Cool, Mary-Lynne Stratton, Patricia Negus and Christian Fletcher. Wildlife artist Kay Gibson has been participating in Open Studios since its inception and said the impact of the event lasted well beyond its 10 days. “Benefits to the artist are immeasurable. The people you meet during your studio opening often return each year, or come back to you after the event – sometimes years later. “Because my work is wildlife-based, I get a lot of people who tell me about the wildlife in

Lauren Wilhelm’s studio

their backyards. I also attract visitors who work in the field of wildlife care, like rangers and ornithologists. There’s a lot of storytelling and good conversations. People who are studying art love to talk to artists too. It’s meeting people and talking to them and trying to find out about them is the most rewarding. “I get direct feedback about my work through Open Studios. When you’re represented by a gallery you don’t usually get to meet the clients who buy your work. People want to see where I work and how I make my work so they use the opportunity Open Studios presents. “Artists can do experimental work within Open Studios, and show small works you wouldn’t submit to a gallery. I like showing my visual diaries so visitors can see the process. “We’re becoming known as a region for the arts and creative pursuits. It’s great to see people now starting to time their visits here with Open Studios, and when people happen to stumble upon us they are so pleased they’ve added value to their time spent here.” Margaret River glassblower Gerry Reilly

from Melting Pot Studio has also participated in every Open Studios and agreed with Kay that making connections was a feature of the event. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with our collectors and make new glass-loving friends. It’s always a good opportunity to showcase new designs and get feedback. Gerry also gets a kick out of seeing the joy in people’s eyes as they witness the fluidity and magic of hot glass as he demonstrates glassblowing, or as they participate in one of his Open Studios workshops blowing a bauble or creating a wine cup. Cowaramup tattoo artist Karl Heussenstamm brings Mexican and Americano tattoo art to the living room with his tattoo art on timber. His studio is also his tattoo shop and he said he loved the response he received from Open Studios visitors when he participated in his first event last year. “Some people love that it’s so different to other studios and a lot of people have never seen a tattoo being done live so they get pretty interested. But some jaws drop - it’s pretty sweet. “It’s a really good way to get people to see your work. But for me the best this is the inspiration. It forces you to step it up and finish some new pieces because you know there will be people having a look. “It brings people together with imagination and freedom of expression. To see an artist at work in their studio and work space allows visitors to get a feeling of where they are coming from with the work they produce,” Karl said. Artist studios are located from Busselton, to Dunsborough, Eagle Bay,Yallingup, Cowaramup, Margaret River, and Witchcliffe – and everywhere in between. Most studios are open from 10am to 4pm daily, but check the event guide for individual artist opening days and times. Don't miss a visit to Caves House Hotel too during Open Studios the venue has many works of art and historical images on show, and will be serving lunches, high teas and dinner to refresh famished art lovers. See the website for full artist and studio information. From March, pick up an event guide at your local Jackson’s Drawing Supplies store or local visitor centres and attractions. The event is made possible thanks to Tourism WA, City of Busselton, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Cape Lodge,Yahava Coffee, Jacksons Drawing Supplies,Vasse Village, Leeuwin Estate, John Miller Design, Scott Print, Millers Ice Cream, Cape Mentelle, and Margaret River’s Secret Garden. More information is available from or via Facebook (@mrropenstudios) and Instagram (@margaretriverregionopenstudios).

Kay Gibson

Karl Heussenstamm



TRANS WA Trans WA19 travels from Perth to Margaret River every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with optional drop-offs along the way and returns to Perth the same day. Keep hold of your ticket and return to Perth at a later date. Visit

SOUTH WEST COACH LINES Catch the express coach service connecting Perth, Perth Domestic and Perth International Airport terminals with Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River. Visit



at your own pace with a rental from Avis Southwest Car Hire in Busselton. One-way rentals are available back to Perth. Visit


MCLEOD TOURS Take in Margaret River’s scenery and attractions with the knowledge of local expert and awardwinning guide Neil McLeod. The three-day Escape tour provides pick-up from your Perth hotel or Perth train station, comfortable bus transport, three days touring with a dedicated tour guide, delicious food and wine, and an exciting itinerary. Visit


Offering delivery and pick-up throughout the south west, Busselton & South West Rent a Car is a local, family-owned car rental company. Visit

Depart from Jandakot Airport as the sun rises and enjoy stunning views of the Swan River, Fremantle Harbour, Rockingham, Mandurah, the Peel Inlet and Bunbury then on to either Busselton or Margaret River. Westward Aviation will transfer you from the airport to the city and take you back at no extra cost.Your return journey will be just as spectacular with the sun setting over the Indian Ocean and the night lights of the City of Perth. Visit



Explore the beautiful Margaret River region

Want to travel in style? It doesn’t get more stylish

To see the best of the region, hire a car or people mover from Margaret River – all you need is a driver’s licence, even if it’s an interstate or international one. Visit





than in a Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce from Esquire Classic Charters. There’s no better way to enjoy a private charter, special event or winery tour in the Busselton, Dunsborough,Yallingup and Margaret River region. Visit


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. Available online and offline for both Apple and Android devices, the app also features an audio tour of the Busselton Jetty.

WINERY EXPLORER APP Explore Western Australia’s incredible wine regions from the palm of your hand with The Winery Explorer App. It lists every WA cellar door and wine region in beautiful detail and offers up-to-date information. The app is available to download for free for Apple devices.

OUR FAVe INSTA ACCOUNTS @australias_southwest @elementsmargaretriver @margaretriver Don't miss the Wine Unearthed Podcast too - head to



2 Delicious Breakfasts Sparkling on Arrival Priced frm $360pp (group of 6) and $450pp (group of 4) Add a Wine Tour for $100 pp For Ladies Getaway Packages book through The Holistic Hen



Yoga Pilates Champagne Pilates Release & Recovery Meditaion Wine & Cheese Pairing

Male Life Drawing Class Cocktail Class Make Up Class Indian Spice & Cooking Class Two Course Winery Lunch Horse Trail Ride


PHONE +61 (08) 9759 1117

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LADIES GETAWAY PACKAGE OUR COUPLES GETAWAY PACKAGE INCLUDES 3 Nights Accommodation Breakfast each morning Wine on Arrival Gourmet Grazing Board Two-course Lunch at Aravina Estate $50pp Spa Credit at Injidup Spa Retreat Priced at $350pp (Group of 2) or $280pp (Group of 4)

OR BOOK OUR “STAY 3 PAY 2” PACKAGE PHONE (08) 9755 2116 97 Smith’s Beach Rd Yallingup, WA