I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in Perth, Western Australia. You can follow my musings at https://www.jennifermorton.com.au/
Published December 12th 2017
New year, new list of awesome fun to be had around Margaret River.
Another new year means another opportunity to map out your Margaret River bucket list for 2018. Bucket lists became super trendy in 2008 after the Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman movie, The Bucket List came out. The two men take off on a journey to complete all the things they wanted to do before they "kick the bucket", which is meant to be a humorous euphemism for dying. For some, making an annual bucket list or life wish-list is a chance to set new goals. It's an opportunity to dream big and live large. Travel, extreme sports, adventure, exploration, education, cultural experiences, and personal development are all popular categories that can be ticked off on your Margaret River bucket list in 2018.
Add skydiving to your Margaret River bucket list. Image Source: skydivegeronimo.com.au
If skydiving hasn't made it on to your past bucket lists, 2018 is the year to get this one done and dusted. There's no better buzz than the natural high of adrenaline pumping through your veins as you exit a well-functioning airplane. Imagine sitting in the open doorway of a small aircraft, securely fastened to an experienced skydiving instructor, 14,000 feet above the Busselton Jetty. After a minute of free-fall, the parachute opens for five minutes of casual flying towards the drop zone on the sandy shores of Geographe Bay. After your tandem skydive in Busselton with the fun team at Skydive Geronimo, you'll certainly deserve a high-five and a cool drink courtesy of Skydive Geronimo.
Take a walk on the wild seabed
If you're keen to discover what it's like to live under the Busselton Jetty but can't or don't want to scuba dive, you can SeaTrek. Actually, you don't even need to know how to swim because this is all about walking. On the bottom of the Indian Ocean. There's nowhere else on the planet offering this technology in the sea. Remember what an old-fashioned scuba helmet looks like? Think of a modern version of that. You put it on, along with self-contained air tanks, and you're free to walk around the ocean floor to experience what life's like under the jetty. You'll see a variety of fish and marine life down there. On Sundays, you may even see mermaids. This watery adventure is available during summer school holidays only. Bookings can be made via Dive Busselton Jetty.
Learn how to make gin
Everyone knows that Margaret River is chock-full of wineries and microbreweries but did you know that distilleries are also blossoming in this boozed-up region? And what better way to get to know spirits than with a hands-on gin-making class at Margaret River Distilling Co's Giniversity. Spend the day blending and concocting botanicals to make your very own brand of gin to take home. Learning the art and craft of distilling is definitely a unique skill to add to your bag of life tricks.
Upside down over Busselton, another great bucket list tick.
An acrobatic joy ride in an open cockpit bi-plane is definitely one for the new year bucket list. Tiger Moth Adventure Flights take off from the Busselton Airport and fly straight to the jetty. But this is not your average scenic flight. There's no doubt about it, you will get some amazing visuals of the 1.8 kilometre wooden icon as there are no windows in Steve's yellow Tiger Moth. It's all lovely and calm until the vintage aircraft takes a slight nose dive before backflipping 5,000 feet above the sea. Your heart and stomach will be in your throat and your bravado levels will be up a few notches.
Explore the dark underworld
There are several beautiful caves in the Margaret River region to check-out. Ngilgi, Mammoth, Lake and Jewel are the tourist-friendly caves managed by the tourism board, and well worth a visit. But if you're looking for something a little more adventurous and heart-pumping, Mick at Margaret River Climbing Co offers half day caving and abseiling tours. Imagine lowering yourself 40 metres down a hole in the ground and into the darkness. Once under, Mick will take you through the cave and you'll exit via a wire ladder. Give yourself a big tick mark and pat on the back for braving Margaret River's underworld. This tour is suitable for all levels of abseiling experience.
Zippity doo dah through the forest
Bucket lists are often full of activities that force us to leave our comfort zone (did you see the section on skydiving?). Not only that, but these famous wish lists are about getting out there and experiencing as much as possible. For nature lovers, there's Forest Adventures South West in Busselton to fulfil your need for mild adrenaline pulses while staying connected to the earth. Your feet won't be on the ground though. At most points throughout the eight acre high ropes course, you'll be several metres above terra firma. You'll be balancing on a wire and log bridge. Or riding a bike across a swing bridge before zip lining Tarzan-style through the trees. If you're up for a challenge in the treetops of the South West, book yourself and a few mates in for this one.
Spend the day sipping wine
No Margaret River bucket list is complete without a want for wine. Sure, it may have been on last year's life list but the region is so blessed with fine vino, it's worth an annual visit. And if you've never attended the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, that's the event to bookmark. The internationally renowned food and wine festival takes place each November and consists of many events spread over 3-4 days. The heart and soul of the festival is the Gourmet Village. If you can only do one experience, this is the one to choose. Held at Leeuwin Estate on the Saturday and Sunday, the village is packed full of market and food stalls, free wine tasting, beer battles, cooking classes, boozie masterclasses, live entertainment, celebrity demonstrations and book signings. It's a full day of wining and dining and one not to be missed.