A Meander Through Margaret River, Western Australia
In the southwest corner of Western Australia, about 3,300 kilometres east of Sydney as the crow flies, lies the magnificent Margaret River region.
I recently spent five nights with my partner in Margaret River, which included two nights at Bunker Bay in the world-class, award winning Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, and three nights at the perfectly located Margarets Beach Resort, just a stone’s throw from some of the best surfing beaches in the world.
This was our first time to Margaret River. We’d always heard about its rugged coastline, magnificent surf, world-class wineries and national parks, but it was not until we actually went there that we could comprehend the dramatic beauty of the region.
The Pullman Bunker Bay Resort is located at the northern end of the Margaret River region. Close by is the sparkling Bunker Bay, with its plethora of beaches and its many great surf breaks and national parks.
Once settled into our gorgeous studio villa, we took a casual walk though the resort and within minutes we wound our way down to Bunker Beach where some resident fishermen, a few surfers and a local walking his dog were enjoying this piece of paradise.
After a most refreshing swim in the sparkling Indian Ocean and a walk on the beach we were soon in the car making the short drive towards Eagle Bay, passing some magnificent countryside on the way.
Our first stop was Point Picquet, a popular local surf spot. For a veteran surfer like myself, I couldn’t get my borrowed 9’6” mal off the roof quick enough. The conditions were perfect – a one-metre swell, gentle offshore wind and not too many people in the water.
After a heap of waves I dried off and we continued our journey a few more miles further down the coast to Castle Rock, where we took a two-hour return walk to the town of Dunsborough. The walk took us through bush and over beaches with only the company of the local birdlife.
One doesn’t go to Margaret River without stopping off at a winery or two (there are 187 wineries in the region), and our first port of call was a place called Wise Wine. Our host at the cellar door was a champion bloke. He went glass for glass with us as he explained the history of the place and described each wine with a casual approach that left us thoroughly entertained and a little tipsy. Needless to say I had to pass the car keys over to my more sober significant other who wisely held back after a couple of wines knowing that the occasion and company would almost certainly get the better of me!
On our way back to the Pullman we ventured to the rugged and renowned Yallingup Beach (a must visit for any surfing tragic) where the surf was, thankfully, wild and windblown. I’m not sure I would’ve gone too well among the breakers with a belly full of the region’s finest sauvignon blanc (and more than my fair share of cheese and crackers).
From there, with the sun slowly setting, we stopped off at nearby Sugarloaf Rock, a spot known for its dramatic coastal sunsets, where we were duly rewarded as the melting sun slowly slipped into the Indian Ocean and disappeared from sight.
The view was so spectacular it was difficult to know whether to sit back and enjoy the moment or get heavy on the camera shutter and ensure it was captured for eternity – luckily the iPhone camera’s time lapse mode and a handy little travel tripod allowed us to do both!
We reluctantly left beautiful Bunker Bay for our next destination, the Margarets Beach Resort, which is located smack-bang on the spectacular Margaret River Coast. We soon forgot all else as we stood on our balcony taking in the epic views of the Indian Ocean swell crashing onto the outer reefs and beaches.
We had planned our trip to coincide with the last couple of days of the WSL Margaret River Pro surfing contest, but due to some large, uninvited great white sharks, which attacked two surfers just six kilometres from the contest site, it was agreed to end the contest prematurely, a decision that caused the contest CEO and the local community much grief.
I decided to have a surf where the contest was held before it was cancelled and looked up at the headland to see the abandoned empty stands and the vacant judges’ area. Just days before the place was going off, with huge crowds watching the world-class surfers doing their thing.
I caught a heap of waves, didn’t see a single shark and, thankfully (at this stage of my surfing career), the predicted larger swell was yet to arrive!
We absolutely fell in love with Margaret River and we’ve now got fond memories embedded in our minds and on our memory sticks forever.
Pullman Bunker Bay Resort
(08) 9756 9100
Margarets Beach Resort
(08) 9757 1227
(08) 9750 3103