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Cruising Southwest Australia (Part 2)

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After covering Perth, Albany and Denmark in Part 1, this second of a two-part feature highlights the wine growing region of Margaret River and the former convict settlement of Fremantle.

Margaret River

Surfers Point, Margaret River

Margaret River is known around the world for its top-quality wines and food. While the region produces less than 3% of Australia’s wine, it accounts for more than a fifth of its premium wine. If you are an oenophile, you will be pleased to know that there are more than 120 wineries to explore, many of which have cellar doors where you can sample the wines for free. Many of these wineries and vineyards also boast a restaurant. Some of the more famous estates include Vasse Felix, Leeuwin, Voyager and Cullen.

Leeuwin Estate Winery – Image courtesy of Leeuwin Estate

Don’t miss the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Village. Held at Leeuwin Estate Winery, this celebration of locally produced good food and drink will be open from 16–17 November 2019, and is part of the Western Australia Gourmet Escape, which takes places from 8–17 November 2019.

Margaret River Chocolate Company

Perth, Australia – Mar 2019: The Margaret River Chocolate Company has been creating mouth-watering, hand-made premium chocolate products since 1999 at Swan Valley -hand craft award winning chocolates

For those with a sweet tooth, there are two must-see sites. The first is the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s original factory. On offer are not just different types of chocolates, but also fudges and biscuits — many of which are prettily packaged already. Best of all, there are plenty of free samples to be had! The second is Bettenay’s Margaret River Nougat. If you’re looking for French-style nougat, there are close to 30 varieties, so it’s no wonder the place boasts a nougat tasting room.

When you’ve had your fill of wining and dining, why not try something a little more adventurous and go caving? A guided tour of Jewel Cave Augusta, home to the longest straw stalactites in any tourist cave in the world, is highly recommended.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse on headland of Cape Leeuwin, south-westerly point of the Western Australia

After that, take a 15-minute drive south to the most southwestern point in Australia: Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Join a guided tour of the lighthouse (the largest of its kind on mainland Australia), and watch the tempestuous meeting of the Indian Ocean and Southern Oceans.

Adventure lovers have the option of hiking along the coastline. The longest and most well-known track is the Cape to Cape, a 140km-long path that traverses the ridges and beaches of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. It hugs the coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. The walk offers breathtaking views of the sea and landscapes, including the stunning Indian Ocean. However, if time is a concern, you do not need to cover the entire length —short walks along the track are easily accessed and include equally interesting highlights. Parts of the track are boardwalk or hard-paved to allow access for all levels of fitness and abilities.

Busselton Jetty

Another must-see for any visitor to the Margaret River region is Busselton Jetty. It is the second-longest wooden jetty in the world, at 1,841m. The Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory is one of Western Australia’s most popular eco-tourism icons. Allowing you to descend 8m below sea level to view an amazing marine world of schooling fish and tropical coral, the Observatory is a favourite with people of all ages!

Another place worth visiting, especially for animal lovers, is Jesters Flat. This working equestrian farm and vineyard is situated in the charming region of Rosa Brook, 18km east of Margaret River. Jesters Flat has a varied group of beautiful horses, most of which are Australian stock horses. It also offers a large range of tours and activities to suit riders of varying abilities.

A scenic drive away is the seaside city of Mandurah. Go on a cruise and try to spot a dolphin or two. Chill out at a coffee shop or check out the Australian Sailing Museum.


The commercial centre of Fremantle

An hour’s drive from Mandurah is the city of Fremantle. Settled by convicts in 1829, Fremantle has transformed its infamous historical buildings into cultural centres. After steeping yourself in history at Fremantle prison, shop till you drop at Fremantle’s weekend markets — there is an amazingly eclectic array of goods available from the more than 150 stalls, from local produce and unique food offerings to indigenous crafts.

If you want to read about the places covered in Part 1, click here.

The 8D7N Perth & Southwest Self Drive Convoy will take place from 10–17 November 2019. Check out the full itinerary here. Registration closes on 11 October 2019, so there’s still time to sign up. Do it now!
For enquiries, please email to AA Events & Activities department at aa-events@aas.com.sg with subject ‘8D7N Perth & Southwest Self Drive Convoy’ or call 6333 8811 (ext 140).