Travel Story Glamping it up, Tuscan style, in WA's South West

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

Margaret River region boutique olive oil producer Olio Bello is now offering accommodation alongside spa treatments, yoga, cooking classes and more.

Olive groves, award-winning olive oil, organic beauty products, orchard fruit and heirloom vegetables, hand-rolled pasta, local wines, long-table lunches and afternoon siestas. Sounds a lot like Tuscany, doesn’t it? But it’s not, it’s Olio Bello in the Margaret River region which this year launched a glamping initiative, opening its farm gates to allow guests to stay for the first time.

The boutique Cowaramup olive oil producer has launched itself into agritourism, using its fully operational working farm as a beautiful backdrop.

“Visitors are looking to connect with nature and to understand the source of their food and beauty products,” Olio Bello director Garry Garside says.

“By adding glamping accommodation to the mix, Olio Bello now offers an integrated ecotourism experience, where people can get up close and personal with the farm and its organic produce,” he says.

The popularity of technology-detoxing, nature-based breaks and spending quality time with family and friends were all factors in Olio Bello’s decision to move into agritourism. “And glamping ticks the boxes,” Mr Garside says adding that the farm’s move into agritourism also reflects a European trend.

The lakeside glamping features six luxury bungalows, or eco-tents, that come with private ensuites, viewing decks and customised interiors.

Mr Garside describes the tent’s interiors as “European style meets the beauty of the South West”. Spacious wooden decks with lake views, custom-made furniture, fans, bathrobes, board games, mood-lighting and French linen all feature in the bungalows. 

The safari-style bungalows are designed by Eco Structures Australia, the team behind the Eco Beach Resort in Broome and other global projects. They have been designed for low environmental impact while retaining all the creature comforts.

“For Olio Bello, it’s all about getting back to basics and letting nature take centre stage. Our olive trees are the real stars of the show,” Mr Garside says. 

The bungalows are nestled around the lake on the 130ha organic olive farm and surrounded by Italian stone pines, macadamias and some 8000 olive trees.

Guests can choose to stay within the tranquillity of the bungalows or join the atmosphere of the farm’s cafe restaurant and tasting room.

Among the farm activities on offer are walking trails, a picnic in the groves, massage and spa treatments, yoga, bocce by the lake, four-wheel-drive tours to local wineries and attractions, cooking classes and olive oil tastings with oil makers. 

From May 1-June 17, Olio Bello’s annual Harvest Festival celebrates the Olio Nuovo (new oil) known for its quality, rich textures and medicinal properties.

The festival allows visitors to learn about the production process and includes a series of pressing tours, tastings, talks, dusk walks, lunch specials and a long-table “liquid gold” lunch.

Glampers can participate in the 24/7 cycle of harvest with private tours and tasting sessions, guided walks and special events. This year, guests are invited for a lantern-lit evening tour of the mill to watch the new oil roll in from the press.

Picture at top by Frances Andrijich.

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