10 wine free things to see and do in Margaret River, Western Australia
Mention the Margaret River region of South West Western Australia and people will tell you about the plethora of wineries and breweries in the area. Sadly, I cannot drink wine. Yet there is so much to see and do in this area that does not involve wineries and is well worth visiting. I spend a lovely few days in Margaret River and enjoyed these ten great venues, in no particular order.
1. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
This is where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet at the furthest South West point of Australia. To the south is Antarctica and to the west is Africa.
I took a tour of the lighthouse, which included a 176 step climb up and then 176 climb back down.
Our guide does this around four times a day! She is a lot younger and fitter than me. Fortunately, I was not the only one in our group of seven that had to stop and catch their breath half way up. Speaking of breath, the climb was definitely worth it, the views were absolutely breathtaking.
At 56m (183ft) above sea level this is the tallest lighthouse in Western Australia and the third tallest in Australia. The land formations in this area are composed of granitic gneiss. The lightkeepers cottages were built with locally mined limestone.
This area is a marine sanctuary, and if you look closely you may see the New Zealand fur seal here, as well as rock parrots and fairy penguins. In winter to mid spring each year the Humpback Whale can be seem migrating past here from their feeding in the south to their breeding and calving further north. The Southern Right Whale also visits the bays here.
Back on the ground, it is worth visiting the old Lightkeepers cottage that is now an interpretive centre. Here you can read how the children of the keepers spent their time (board games, reading books and CB radios).
There is an excellent display of photographs. Also, there are videos of people chatting to you in the photo frames. They seem so lifelike.
The lighthouse was built in 1895, a time when Western Australia was making riches from the gold. This helped to fund these buildings.
A lovely homage to the keepers of the light is on one of the walls. Every lighthouse keeper over the years is mentioned here.
All lighthouses have different ranges, depending on the reefs and hazards in the area
For those interested in the Leeuwin lighthouse technical details:
Range – 26 Nautical miles
Height of structure – 30 metres
Elevation of light – 56 metres
Leeuwin Road, Augusta WA
2. Cape Lavender tea rooms
Purple cushions, pens, products and plants are a giveaway that this is a lavender centred (scented) business. I met owner Bev Ainsworth who has been running Cape Lavender for over 21 years. Bev loves coming to work and interacting with both staff and customers. Bev said that all the lavender products for sale here are made on site, as is all the food. I opted for the lavender Devonshire tea for a late morning snack. The lavender tea was smooth, not sweet and not bitter, The lavender scone (sugar free) was deliciously complimented by lavender jam and fresh cream. The presentation was superb. You can choose to sit inside, on the enclosed verandah, or outside on the lush grass below some lovely shade trees.
2 Canal Rocks Road, Yallingup WA
3. Yahava Coffee
The smell of roasting coffee almost makes you taste the beans. Blending and roasting beans from all over the world on site daily, all coffee is used within the week. There are 12 standard coffees here, with specials during the year.
Yahava have coffee tastings as wineries have wine tastings. Sample several different blends of coffee and then you can buy your own to take home, or drink a full sized coffee at their on-site café. Also on offer are barista courses that you can take. Their safari coffee experience takes around 90 minutes. Bookings are essential. You learn a lot about different coffee brewing methods and get to roast some coffee of your own blending.
Coffee mugs, parts, kits, and almost anything coffee related can be purchased here as well.
2 Andrews Way, Margaret River WA
Named after the Aboriginal for the purple crowned lorikeet Cowara and up, which means “place of”, it is often referred to as Cow Town. In the main street there are forty two cow and calf statues in the main street.
In 2010 CowParade was held in Margaret River with over 100 life-size fiberglass cows being painted by local artists and exhibited in the area. At the end of the event, the cows were auctioned off, with proceeds going to charity. CowParade has been held in more than 50 cities around the world.
On 12 July 2014, 1352 people dressed up as cows in Cowaramup, and entered the Guiness Book of Records. People dressed as Fresian (Holstein) cows and stayed in a purpose built temporary pen for five minutes. (You can still buy cow onesies from various shops in town). Most businesses carry on a cow related theme or name.
5. Candy Cow
The amazing smell of heated sugars are the first delicious smell that greets you as you enter this shop. Any sweet tooth can be catered for here. Lollies (candy), chocolate, fudge, honeycomb are some of the mouthwatering treats that young and old alike are buying. You can watch golden Honeycrunch being made on weekends, or admire their life sized cow statue. They do stock a small range of sugar free lollies.
6 & 7. Two Cracks Coffee and Temper Temper chocolate shop
Two cracks is a micro batch coffee roastery and café. The coffee here is sourced from ethical and sustainable farms, mostly from microlots and community driven co-ops. That alone would make me want to drink it. The taste was perfect.
Temper Temper make their chocolate here. The attention to details makes for a smooth delicious mouthful of perfection. Taste tests are available.
8. Margaret River Chocolate Company
Whilst on the subject of chocolate, it is worth a stop over at the chocolate company. Free samples are given out to shoppers.
White, dairy and dark chocolate – take your pick or sample all three. The quokka shaped chocolates are very popular. As are their delectable truffles.
The grounds outside are well maintained. The manicured lawns invite you to sit and spend some time here.
415 Harman's Mill Rd, Metricup WA
9. The Colony Concept
The best outlook of my visit had to be at The Colony Concept. This view just sums up an Australian bush billabong. It is beautiful under the shady gum trees.
Inside is just as impressive. The words Harvesting Natures Nectar proudly declare that this is nature at its best – Honey. There is a café here where you can sit and watch that gorgeous billabong. Perhaps you want to purchase some of their honey products that are all made here.
Take time to step into the honey room. This is a fun way to educate both young and old. There are live bees here (well protected from customers) to gain an insight into how a hive works. Comfortable seating allows you to watch a video about bees and also the walls are painted with great information.
62 Harman's Mill Road, Metricup WA
10. Margaret River Dairy Company
Another painted cow greets visitors.
I like the hygienic way they serve the cheese samples here. I have lost count of the amount of places I have visited that offer samples, only to watch people reuse the same toothpick. Ewww. There is a selection of local cheeses to choose from, and hampers are also available if you forgot to bring your own crackers.
8063 Bussell Hwy, Metricup WA
All of these venues are close enough to each other to be done leisurely in a day or two, as I did. It is wonderful that Margaret River has so many things to see and do that are not alcohol related.
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