Want to be by the ocean or nestled in forest? Would you prefer a romantic couples' break, or a holiday with a foodie touch? Or maybe you just want to bring the dog?
Visiting the Margaret River region during the winter months brings the benefits of fewer other visitors, which means better deals on accommodation, with added savings often available for longer or midweek stays. One of the strengths of the area is the range of places to stay, catering to diverse budgets and requirements. Here are a few options to suit different trips ...
If you want to be close to town: Riverglen Chalets
With 14 chalets ranging from studios for couples to four- bedroom getaways for family groups or friends, Riverglen Chalets is walking distance from the centre of Margaret River.
It’s set on 2.8ha of bushland and gardens, with a creek running through the property.
Each self-catering chalet has a kitchen or kitchenette and a barbecue and outdoor setting on the deck. Some also have a gas fireplace or wood-fired pot belly, a laundry and even a spa. The largest, which sleeps up to eight, has an entertaining deck with a wood-fired pizza oven.
There’s a games room on site with table tennis, darts, board games and reading material. There are also wheelchair-accessible options.
Prices start at $175 per night for a Studio Chalet for two. Until September 21, get 10 per cent off two-night stays, 15 per cent off three nights and 20 per cent off four nights or more.
- riverglenchalets.com.au or 9757 2101
If you want to be beachside: Margarets Beach Resort
Although this self-catering accommodation is only 500m from Gnarabup Beach and a five-minute drive from Prevelley’s Surfers Point — both exceptional spots to watch a South West sunset — if you snag an apartment with a sea view, you might find it difficult to tear yourself away come sundown.
If you don’t feel like cooking, popular food options (The Common, for dinner and weekend lunch, and White Elephant Beach Cafe, for breakfast and lunch) are also a couple of minutes’ walk away.
The property combines resort-style amenities such as an outdoor pool, a playground and staff on site 24/7 with self- catering convenience, including a kitchen or kitchenette, TVs with Foxtel, free DVDs, bike hire, laundry facilities and free wi-fi.
Options range from studio apartments to one and two- bedroom apartments and townhouses (some with a spa) plus a four-bedroom beach house sleeping up to eight, and include wheelchair-friendly accommodation.
Rates are from about $195 per night for a Studio Apartment or about $180 for a last-minute online deal.
A winter getaway special includes a two-night stay, dinner at The Common or lunch at Watershed Winery, a bottle of wine and free bike hire. It’s valid to September 21.
- margaretsbeachresort.com.au or 9757 1227
If you’re a foodie who likes luxury: Cape Lodge
An established name in the region, Cape Lodge (pictured at top) offers five-star luxury and the ambience of an upscale country house in landscaped grounds with lakes and a vineyard producing sauvignon blanc and shiraz exclusively for hotel guests.
The 22 rooms include twin or king garden-view rooms with larger lake-view suites and a two-room Lodge Suite. Then there’s the Private Residence for up to eight, set on 1.2ha beside a private lake and putting green.
Amenities include a swimming pool, tennis courts and spa treatments, plus a lakeside restaurant for breakfast and dinner overseen by Swedish-born executive chef Michael Elfwing, who has worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck. Also available are cooking classes followed by a three-course long-table lunch.
Bed and breakfast rates are from $399 per night in a Lodge King Room from Sunday to Thursday, including internet.
The Winter Harvest special includes two nights of accommodation, a dinner platter for two and daily gourmet breakfast from $299 per person twin share in a garden-view room. It’s valid for bookings by June 30 for stays from Sunday to Thursday until August 31.
- capelodge.com.au or 9755 6311
If you want a bush break: Wyadup Brook Cottages
On a 101ha family farm five minutes drive from the beach and 10 minutes south of Yallingup, each of these six self-contained cottages — set in a grove of peppermint trees — takes its name from native wildflowers and trees, from the picturesque Cowslip and Pixie Mop cottages to the more bracingly named Snottygobble.
They vary in size from a one- bedroom cottage sleeping up to four to a three-bedroom double- storey cottage sleeping up to nine. All have an open wood fireplace or pot belly.
Guests can also enjoy the farm and take part in activities such as feeding the chickens, handfeeding calves and the like.
The property is well located for the Cape to Cape Track and walkers can take advantage of a pick-up and drop-off service. Packages for walkers start from $480 for two people including two nights in a two-bedroom cottage, pick-ups and drop-offs, a breakfast hamper and two days of packed lunches. They’re available from February to November.
Rates are from $180 per night per double. Weekly rates from February to October, excluding public holidays and school holidays, are from $790 for up to two people in a two-bedroom cottage.
- wyadupbrook.com.au or 9755 2294
If you’re a couple: Hidden Valley Forest Retreat
These self-contained cabin retreats are popular with honeymooners and it’s easy to see why: secluded in the forest about half-an-hour north of Margaret River, you’re more likely to see bandicoots and birds than other people during your stay.
Of the four cabins, three are set well apart in bushland and the other — a converted stable with a private courtyard — is by the owners’ farmhouse, where you might well run into the friendly family goat.
The retreats’ contemporary architecture is a big part of their appeal and enhances the connection with nature, with big windows and private outdoor space.
Depending on which cabin you choose, you can enjoy features such as a glass-walled shower, a spa cabana amid the bush, a secluded timber deck and even your own jetty on a private lake. Meals including breakfast baskets and tasting platters are available, as are the services of a private chef, in-lodge spa treatments and even elopement packages.
Prices are from $300 per night per couple, with a minimum two-night stay. Until September 30, book and stay two nights between Monday and Thursday and get 10 per cent off, or 15 per cent off for three nights.
- yourhiddenvalley.com or 9755 1066
If you want to bring the dog: Caves Road Chalets
While Margaret River has earned a name for being super fancy, it’s down to earth too. Unpretentious spots such as Caves Roads Chalets prove it. As you approach up the driveway, you’re greeted by a sign reminding to you please take care as “kids, dogs and chooks are playing”.
As this suggests, Caves Roads Chalets is pet friendly, and each of its six self-contained chalets has an enclosed outdoor dog run. The property is also child friendly, and can supply equipment such as cots, highchairs and stair guards.
The one and two-bedroom loft-style chalets are 15 minutes in the car from Margaret River and 10 minutes from the beach. They may not be super-modern, but there are upstairs balconies to enjoy the peaceful setting in 26ha of bushland, along with wood-burning barbecues outside during winter. The chalets also have wood-burning pot bellies inside.
Until September 29, stay for four nights and pay $570 for two people in a one-bedroom chalet, or $600 for two in a two-bedroom chalet. Dogs are $11 each per night, with up to two allowed per chalet.
- cavesroadchalets.com.au or 9755 5266
DisclaimerGemma Nisbet was a guest of Australia’s South West tourism.
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