Our favourite Autumn activities
Autumn is truly magical in Margaret River. Today is a classic example; not a whisper of wind, the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to wear a t-shirt. At night it’s much cooler – we’ve been eating lamb shanks again, drinking red wine, and wearing ugg boots!
I love it – it’s like a wonderful relief after the hectic rush and heat of summer. The whole region seems to take a deep breath and settle into a comfy rhythm after Easter.
It’s a much more pleasant time to explore the region at a relaxed pace. A couple of weeks ago you had to book restaurant meals in advance and cross your fingers for a car park. Now it’s much quieter – surfers get more waves, you can find a seat at your favourite cafe, and it feels like you have the place to yourself!
We are still running daily tours (especially Eat + Drink + Explore) but find time in Autumn to enjoy a few adventures of our own. There are some we recommend you try out.
1. Explore an Art Trail and Meet some Artists
Margaret River Region Open Studios (MRROS) is the biggest open studio event in Australia. It runs 22 April – 7 May, and 127 artists will open their studios to the public for us to view.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists and purchase a piece of art direct. You can visit your favourites – I’ve already visited Leon Pericles and look forward to Rebecca Cool, Ian Mutch and Evelyn Henschke next – or discover new and emerging artists.
This region is a mecca for artists, with many artists attracted to the natural beauty of the coast and bush. Ever since the 1960s and 70s many creative types have been making their homes in Margaret River, Yallingup, Dunsborough and surrounds, and now we’re blessed with a thriving arts scene.
Margaret River Region Open Studios runs 22 April to 7 May
2. Witness the Annual Whale Migration
These incredible animals make their annual migration from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Kimberley, in Western Australia’s north. On their journey north they stay further out at sea; they’re in a hurry and the current tends to keep them out. They give birth and suckle their calves in the warm water north of Broome, then make the journey south, hugging the coast and coming into Geographe Bay.
Whale watching is a must-do experience. There’s several whale watching tour operators who will take you out on the boat for a close-up view of the whales.
The whale watching seasons officially launches in late May, and runs till December.
Photo: All Sea Charters
3. Get your groove on at Jazz by the Bay
We took our granddaughters to some of the free events last year, and they loved it! Dancing away to live music is always a joy.
It’s on again this year during the June long weekend; 2-5 June. There’s around 40 different performances by an eclectic bunch of jazz musicians in over 20 beautiful venues. There’s free, family-friendly events as well as ticketed performances too.
Look out for:
- Cassandra Charlick playing at Morries bar/restaurant in Margaret River
- Members of the famed Buena Vista Social Club will be performing at the Pianobox Jazz Bar at Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton – a rare opportunity to see these international stars!
- Euro Jazz Club (two events) at Rustico at Hay Shed Hill – a Friday evening sundowner and a dinner concert on Sunday bookend the weekend – both promise great music and delicious Spanish inspired food
- The Cassandra Charlick duo at Ngilgi Cave – experience the incredible natural acoustics of the cave
- Mr and Mrs Smith perform during lunch at Clairault Streicker Wines near Yallingup
Photo: Jazz by the Bay
4. Walk the Cape to Cape Track
Whether you can take a whole week off work and do the entire track, or choose a section and walk for a morning, day or weekend, it’s definitely worth doing!
Spring is a really popular time to do the trek because of the spectacular wildflowers that transform the grey-green coastal scrub with glorious pink, blue and yellow flowers.
But if you can pick a spectacular autumn day where there’s sunshine, temperature in the low 20s and barely any wind, it’s absolutely wonderful.
There’s 135km of spectacular coastal scenery. Check out the Cape to Cape Guidebook or Friends of Cape to Cape website as they break it into manageable day or half-day walks.
5. Celebrate Winter in Margaret River at Cabin Fever Festival
There’s a new festival in town, and it’s looking like fun! We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here, looking forward to July, but there’s no harm in planning ahead!
Cabin Fever runs 14 – 23 July 2017 and it’s designed as a celebration of all the great winter stuff on our doorstep; coffee and chocolate appreciation, tasting local artisan cheese, drinking red wine in front of a roaring fireplace, fondue by the fire, delicious black truffles, incredible comfort food and bonfires.
The events sound amazing – plenty of indulgent classes, degustation dinners and wine tasting at so many marvellous venues.
These sound particularly tempting to me;
- Bastille Day Lunch at Cape Mentelle – Friday 14 July
- Five for Five – Rare Wine and Food at Vasse Felix – Saturday 15 July
- Fondue by the Fire at Howard Park Winery – 15, 16, 22 & 23 July
- Cocoa Nuts with Cavalcade Desserts at Riversmith – Thursday 20 July
- Guy Grossi in Residence at Voyager Estate – Friday 21 July
- Cheese Platter PhD at Yallingup Cheese Co – Saturday 22 July
- Paddock to Plate Organic Farm Walk at Burnside Organic Farm – 18-20 July, wellies encouraged
Cabin Fever runs 14 – 23 July 2017
Photo: Cabin Fever – Paddock to Plate Organic Farm Walk, Burnside Organic Farm