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First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

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Coventry, England
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First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

My husband and I will be leaving Fremantle on 28th January 2012 to visit the Margaret River Wine Region and will be there till 2nd February 2012.

It will be the first time my husband will have driven in Australia do people recommend taking the costal route from Fremantle or taking the new freeway?

The first two nights we will be staying in MR town at the Darby Park Apartments.

Is it advisable to book at restaurant for 1st night, given it’s a weekend in peak summer time?. If so, any restaurant recommendations within walking distance of our accommodation for dinner?

Whilst in MR region we have booked two tours, a wine tour with Top Drop Tours on Sunday 29th January and the Discovery Tour with Margaret River Discovery Tours on 31st January.

On Monday 30th January we move accommodation to Quay West Bunker Bay so that our last few days in Australia are by a beach setting. On that day, I was thinking of leaving MR travelling to Augusta to visit the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, then travelling back down the Caves Road towards Bunker Bay and stopping at Hamelin Bay, Gnarabup or Prevelly (for lunch) before checking in at Bunker Bay. Does this seem like a sensible plan for the day?

Wednesday 1st February will be relaxing by the beach near hotel. Our flight home isn’t to 10pm on the 2nd February so I was thinking of stopping at Busselton for Lunch and to visit the Busselton Jetty. What other places are worth stopping off for a quick coffee and a stroll between Busselton and Perth Airport?

Any help will be appreciated. Gemma

rural West Aussie
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for Perth
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1. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

If you wish to visit the Busselton Jetty you would be well advised to prebook your tickets. There is a limited number of people allowed onto the Jetty at any one time and if you arrive without a booking you may find you have to wait a minimum of one hour or more, as other visitors have reported here. You can book online through their website.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
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for Perth, Margaret River
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2. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

I would suggest you make a reservation for dinner on your first night. Not easy when you have no idea of what's on offer however assuming you will probably be arriving at your accommodation mid-afternoonish a short stroll up the main street may give you enough time to select one and phone a booking for later (if not yet open) or if open walk in to see if a booking is available. If that seems like a gamble then here are a few restaurants in town I can recommend:

http://www.must.com.au/MMRfolder/index.html

http://www.arcofiris.com.au/

http://www.winos.com.au/

margaretriver.com/accom_result1/…

...or for a generous serving of pub tucker check out Settlers Tavern.

The MR visitors centre is just a stones throw from your accommodation (Cnr. Bussell Hwy. & Turnbridge St.) so you could call in there first and query the staff for dining options.

Your plan for Monday 30th looks like a good one. You'll be seeing some of the "best" of MR...the beaches (hopefully see the stingrays at Hamelin Bay), the wineries, Boranup Forest etc.

Busselton Jetty - book ahead for the train ride or the underwater observatory but if you just want a stroll along the jetty then no need to book. Just remember to allocate the time if you intend to walk to the end (3.6km return walk)

Between Busselton and Perth my recommendation would probably be Mandurah. Many cafes and shops along the estuary foreshore and just maybe a dolphin sighting if you're lucky :)

Edited: 02 January 2012, 09:31
Coventry, England
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3. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

Thanks YorkFoodie and AJ

I was originally thinking of just walking the Jetty but might check availability for the train and observatory. However the online booking system is currently unavailable. I'll see what my husband prefers to do, and if he wants to go to the observatory I will enquire by email or ring when we arrive in Australia on 16th January.

Thanks for the restaurant recommendations, AJ you guessed right I didn’t want to gamble on waiting till we arrive :-)

Finally any views on the route we should take to MR once we leave Fremantle?

Thanks again Gemma

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
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4. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

Quickest route is to get onto Kwinana Freeway which in turn becomes Forest Hwy. This route bypasses Mandurah and is dual lane so less chance of traffic congestion. Forest Hwy links back onto Old Coast Rd north of Bunbury and there is also the Bunbury bypass which also avoids any traffic. A longer route is via SouthWest Hwy which passes through many country towns...some interesting some not, depending on what interests the traveller. This Hwy is single lane with the odd overtaking lane but can be a hassle if you get stuck behind a caravan or semi. You could of course go one route to MR and a different route back. I would favour going the fastest most reliable route (Forest Hwy.) on your last day to ensure no holdups and missing your flight.

Perth, Australia
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5. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

Sounds like you have a wonderful trip booked, CoventryGems! I'm jealous, I haven't been down that way in well over a year and I miss it!

As for restaurants in Margaret River, I would personally recommend Winos. They have lovely food, and a lot of wines by the glass so you can try a few of the local drops with your dinner.

Coventry, England
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53 posts
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6. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

Thanks AJ for the route information.

Josie - Thank you, I have spent ages lurking on the forums reading advice given to other people.

Just need to post in Perth/Freo, Sydney and Melbourne Forums for a few bits of final advice! Very excited about my 1st trip to Oz not to mention escaping the english winter weather for a few weeks! :-)

7. Re: First time vistor to Margaret River - Advice needed

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