Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Fly straight to Margaret River. Do not pass go. Do not stop at Perth. This is huge. Margaret River is the number one destination on Lonely Planet's 2019 Best in Asia Pacific list and so many travellers have it on their bucket list.
There are the legendary wines, the food scene, the stunning scenery as well as rugged ocean views that will take your breath away.
But getting to the Margaret River region has always meant the long haul to Perth and then an almost three-hour drive down to Margaret River and that is after you have spent time picking up a hire car.
But, from March 25 2020, Jetstar will operate three direct services between Tullamarine Airport and the Busselton-Margaret River Airport, making it possible for visitors from Australia's east coast to travel non-stop to this premium destination for their holidays.
It is the only place in Australia where visitors can easily move from award-winning wineries, breweries and restaurants, to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves.
Food and wine lovers can visit more than 85 cellar doors with many offering restaurants with vineyard and ocean views; taste the artisanal creations of the region's boutique breweries and distilleries; or tour the local farmers' markets and providores.
Local fish and chips I bought from a food van at sunset on the beach. Best fish ever. Photo @nadinecresswell-myatt
The region is home to many of WA's top producers and suppliers of cheese, chocolate, olive oil, craft beer, spirits, seafood and world-class chefs who draw their inspiration from local fresh produce and the stunning landscapes.
Beyond the great food and wine, there are picturesque walking trails, ancient caves and pristine beaches, alongside a thriving art scene, kid-friendly attractions and the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere – Busselton Jetty.
Photo Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
Where to stay in Margaret River
Accommodation options in the region range from chalets and villas to farm stays and B&Bs; caravan parks and camping to family-friendly hotels and resorts; or luxury retreats and glamping to secluded private property getaways.
View from my Airbnb - Photo @nadinecresswell-myatt
I stayed at a great Airbnb that was just out of town, highly peaceful and even had kangaroos hopping on the lawns. It was $75 a night. Click here.
When to Go
Visits can be timed to coincide with one of the region's lively annual events including the internationally renowned Western Australian Gourmet Escape (November), Margaret River Pro (May) and Cape to Cape (October), or cosy up in the cooler months for vibrant events including Cabin Fever Festival (July) and CinefestOz Film Festival (August).
How to book flights
The new direct flights will operate Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing Tullamarine Airport at 8.00am AEST and arriving at Busselton-Margaret River Airport at 9.05am WST; then returning to Melbourne at 9.40am WST.
Enjoy a long lunch of fresh local produce prepared by award-winning chefs at one of the region's many vineyard based restaurants such as Vasse Felix, Cullen Wines, Leeuwin Estate, Wills Domain and Amelia Park.
Or pull up a patch of grass for the perfect Margaret River picnic where everything is supplied. Click here.
Walk some of or all of the Cape to Cape track. The track runs 135 kilometres from Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough, to Cape Leeuwin near Augusta, with companies such as Cape to Cape Explorer Tours and Walk into Luxury offering guided walking tours.
Give surfing or stand up paddleboarding a go. Sheltered beaches, bays and epic swells are dotted along the coast.
Photo Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
Walk or take the dinky little train to the end of the Busselton Jetty, then meet the colourful fish and sea-life at the Underwater Observatory. At 1.8 kilometres, the jetty is the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere.
Photo Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
Enjoy over 2,500 species of wildflowers decorating the coastal walking tracks and forests with vivid colour from August to November.
Learn about the Margaret River region on an Aboriginal cultural tour with a traditional owner from Koomal Dreaming and Cape Cultural Tours.
Browse the beautiful boutiques and galleries of Dunsborough and Margaret River. There's homewares, florists, clothing stores, great cafes and plenty of beautiful souvenirs.
Stock up on local chocolate, cheese, olives, olive oil, nougat, bread and venison at local providores or the weekly farmers market, then picnic or camp amongst the karri trees in Boranup Forest.
Head underground and explore the ancient limestone cave formations. Join an underground tour at Lake, Jewel, Mammoth or Ngilgi Caves.
Climb the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Australia's tallest mainland lighthouse, and see where the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet. There's also the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, which has undergone a major upgrade and offers panoramic ocean views from a new observation platform, landscaped lawns, a nautical-themed playground and Lightkeeper's Inn Café.
Jump on a charter boat and watch the whales frolic in Geographe Bay between June and November. There are several whale watching tours operating in the Margaret River region, departing from Dunsborough and Augusta.
Go rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, eco quad biking, fat biking, horse riding and canoeing.
Oh, and since the region is famous for its wine, taste the region's premium drops on a winery tour. The region produces around 20 per cent of Australia's premium wine, and there are more than 80 cellar doors. No need to drive as there are many tours available.
Travellers wishing to extend their Margaret River region adventure can head further south to discover the raw, dramatic coastline and historic stories of Albany, tall tingle trees at Walpole; travel a little further inland to find cooler climate wines, fresh local marron and black truffles at Pemberton and Manjimup; or, head north to go swimming with dolphins at Bunbury.