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Girls weekend – Margaret River (WA)

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For those looking for a short getaway, this five-day experience has to be experienced first hand to be believed. After some to-ing and fro-ing between several destinations for our escape from the daily grind, Margaret River ticked all the boxes: beautiful scenery, some premier Australian wineries and great food for five long-standing friends to catch up, recharge and reconnect.

We each had relaxation in mind, but being spoilt for choice with activities and a plethora of “things” to discover, we were bound to find much more than merely pretty beaches, vineyards and long lunches.And find more we did – from boutique wineries to giant trees, the pace for this holiday was suitable for everyone. With such variety, everyone was catered for.

Getting there and the experience

Fortunately for us, all domestic carriers fly daily to Perth which gave us a host of options, particularly as three of us were travelling from Melbourne and the other two were from Sydney and Adelaide. Upon our strategically scheduled arrivals at Perth airport, we hopped into our ready-and-waiting Toyota Tarago, courtesy of Drivenow. It was unanimously decided that our first night was spent in the lap of luxury at the historic Melbourne Hotel in Perth, complete with a long overdue and drawn-out dinner at the renowned onsite Melbourne Restaurant, which catered for five weary travellers from the east coast extremely well (check out the wine list!)

DAY 2

On Day 2 we hopped into the people mover (sunnies well affixed) and after checking out Kings Park, the Swan River and the inner suburbs of Perth, we departed Perth and travelled along the spectacular coastline to Busselton. Nestled in Geographe Bay 229km (three hours) south of Perth, Busselton is home to beautiful beaches, top fishing spots, caves, coastline beauty, untouched bush surrounds and, of course, it’s on the doorstep to the renowned Margaret River wine region. An overnight stay at Martin Fields Beach Retreat provided a perfect casual end to a busy day of travelling and sightseeing.

DAY 3

Day 3 of our Margaret River adventure took in stunning Cape Leeuwin and it’s eye-catching Lighthouse. Worth a look while you’re here is Caveworks and Mammoth Cave to witness some impressive limestone formations. All done by lunchtime, we meandered off to explore the Margaret River township and finished our afternoon on the lawns of the picturesque Leeuwin Estate, tasting some local wine and fare. Ah, the serenity …

DAY 4

Day 4 was an early start to get to the Valley of the Giants in Albany.This included the famous Gloucester Tree (which is used as a fire lookout) and the amazing Canopy Walk – a magnificent walk literally among the tree canopies, 40m above the ground. Also, the giant Karri and Tingle trees have to be seen (and climbed!) to be believed.Accommodation in Albany is easy to arrange – there’s an array of self-contained accommodation on offer for a group like ours. On this occasion it was the Dolphin Lodge where we parked our well travelled Tarago and rested our weary heads after another beautiful day in WA.

DAY 5

On Day 5 we were up early to make the most of our 409km trip back towards Perth. We took in more of the same stunning scenery and broke the trip up with a sumptuous luncheon at Xanadu Wines.Only five minutes from the coast, Xanadu was worth the detour. We treated ourselves on our last night in the West by staying at the glorious Richardson Hotel, complete with a dining experience at the Opus Restaurant.

In summary, there’s no better way to explore an unknown region than with people whose company you enjoy, who can also read a map and are happy to drink some bevvies with you. This is a trip for old friends.

ROSETTA BAKER

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