February 12, 2009 – Margaret River
Grey skies and occasional rain kept me from photographing much of our route through the wine country that surrounds the Margaret River. The little town of that name is a center for tourists, artists, and people wanting alternative lifestyles, as well as for farmers and service providers.
Margaret River is internationally known as the home of some of Australia’s best-known wines. Voyager and Leeuwin are two of its most famous wineries, but there are plenty of others, such as Settlers Ridge (organic wines), Xanadu, Cullen, and Amberley. Foodies can find gourmet fare at many award-winning wineries in the region.
It was in Margaret River we found the gourmet ingredients for the meal we’d offered to prepare for our hosts. We bought fresh fruits and vegetables at River Fresh IGA, free-range chicken, harissa sauce, local cheeses, crusty bread at The Larder, and a steamed pudding with raspberry sauce at The Good Olive. In Cowaramup, north of Margaret River, we spotted a little store selling Settlers Ridge organic wines and bought a Cabernet Merlot blend to accompany the feast.
Mostly we just enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the road to Margaret River and on down to the coast at Augusta, then along Caves Road, which wanders nearer the coast, with occasional detours down to the beach.
We did stop at Voyager Winery, where buildings are modeled after a South African farmstead and eight full-time gardeners are employed to maintain acres of lawns and gardens.
Grapes are ripening, so acres of netting have been spread in an attempt to protect the harvest from flocks of marauding avian visitors.
This part of Australia is the farthest southwest corner of the island continent. The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin stands as marker.