I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published November 10th 2014
Where do you go if you feel like you need a proper break but can't take weeks-long holiday? Ask any Perth locals and one of the most popular answers would be to go "down south." The Margaret River region has indeed been a very popular holiday destination for Western Australians and visitors alike.
The next question, however, is not so easily answered. Where do we go once we get there? There are so many wineries that most of us wouldn't know where to begin. One way you can go is to step into the Margaret River Visitor Centre and book a winery tour. They will take you to several wineries that would allow you to taste and, if you feel like it, purchase some wine.
However, if what you want is two or three hours relaxing in one location instead of dashing from one winery to another, then Watershed might be the answer for you.
Watershed Premium Wines is located 4.8km south of Margaret River city centre. Driving south on Bussel Highway, we easily found it on the left hand side of the highway, at the corner of Darch Road. One good tip here is to read your odometer and when you know you're close, slow down enough not to miss the driveway. If you drive at the top speed allowed on the highway all the way, by the time you see the sign it would most probably be too late and you would have to make a u-turn further down the road.
Once you enter the driveway, you can start enjoying the view Watershed is famous for. Because of its undulating ground, visitors can see quite far down into the valley of the vineyard, with the glittering water of the dam as the background. Depending on the season, you might find juicy and ripening fruit or leafless gnarly vines as far as your eyes can see.
The first room you enter once you leave your car in the carpark feels more like somebody's living room than a wine shop. A fireplace dominates here, with very inviting seating surrounding it and--I find this very clever--scores of children books to entertain the little ones while adults taste and decide on which wine to pick.
Fireplace and children's books
From here you can go on to the restaurant/cafe. Although both are located in one huge room, the seating arrangement and the menu separate them.
Entry to Cafe from the terrace
Not surprisingly, the better seats by the glass wall, which guarantee a better view towards the vineyard and dam, are reserved for restaurant clients. If weather permits, you can opt to be seated outside on the timber deck. I find this a better option as we can get closer to nature, the kids can explore the garden while we wait for our food to arrive, and the noise of others' conversations tend to be muted by the vast outdoor. You'd feel it when you step inside to go to the toilet and you'd think how noisy it is when originally you didn't really perceive it so.
The Restaurant's Deck
The cafe's menu is less extensive and expensive, with meals starting at $6. The cheapest item on the menu is not to be scorned though, as a warm piece of sourdough dipped in olive oil can cause you to just close your eyes and go "mmm."
In the restaurant's menu, entrees are priced between $14 and $16 with a possibility to order a taste plate containing every entree available for $42, while mains are between $32 and $36. The kids' menu could be ordered from either side of the venue, with prices ranging from $7-9.
Once the food has been eaten and the wine has been drunk (except by the designated driver--whoever draws the short straw), it is not yet time to leave. Either from the deck or from the main room of the cafe/ restaurant, you can step out into the garden which flows into the vineyard. Picture-taking opportunities not to be missed abound here.
Garden with vineyard as background
This is the best thing about Watershed, the fact that you can have all you want from Margaret River from one place: wine, food, and a great view. You can just let yourself relax and soak up the surroundings depending on your mood (and the wine you have just consumed), be it mellow or vibrant or whatever you want it to be. And on the way back to your car, when you pass the wine tasting bar again, maybe you decide to buy that extra bottle of white or red after all.