Wine and Much, Much More in Australia’s ‘Napa Valley’

Red grape and wine on the table. (Getty Images)
Red grape and wine on the table. (Getty Images)

 

Described as the love child of the Napa Valley and Hawaii, Australia’s Margaret River region is arguably the country’s wine capital. And its charms don’t end there, says Travel + Leisure in a feature report on the area.

Located in one of the more remote ends of Australia, Margaret River isn’t easy to get to, but it’s worth the travel time. Nearly 100 wineries are waiting for you there, all of them open for tastings. Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are the most popular grapes in the area, and apparently none of these wineries bother to charge tasting fees.

The most famous winery in the area is Leeuwin Estate, a former cattle ranch that’s known for its farm-to-table restaurant and summer outdoor concert series, as well as its rich and complex chardonnays. The owners estimate that they receive more than 100,000 visitors a year, which they credit to their idyllic surroundings and climate.

Australia - Western Australia - Margaret RiverFire Gully vineyard, Wilyabrup. (Getty Images)
Australia – Western Australia – Margaret RiverFire Gully vineyard, Wilyabrup. (Getty Images)

Virginia Willcock, chief vintner at the Vasse Felix winery, agreed, describing Margaret River as “a warm region with an air conditioner.” Apparently, the same qualities that make the area so nice to live in—close proximity to the ocean and plenty of cool, dry breezes—are a boon to wine production as well.

But like we said, there’s more to do in Margaret River than drink. Its natural splendor alone will take your breath away. Most of the river’s banks lie within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, a wonderland of granite cliffs, forests, and pristine beaches. As one might expect, surfing is big there, too.

Rows of grape vines, winery, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia, Pacific (Getty Images)
Rows of grape vines, winery, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia, Pacific (Getty Images)

 

If you’re a spa-lover, the Injidup Spa Retreat makes excellent use of the surrounding landscape as well. The spa overlooks the Indian Ocean, and offers incredible coastal views from private, individual plunge pools. If you’re trying to relax, there’s arguably no better way of going about it.

As we speak, a $46 million airport expansion is nearing completion in nearby Busselton, Australia, and there is some worry that it will change the region’s complexion once it’s done. Luckily, that won’t be until 2018 at the earliest, so you still have two years to soak in the unspoiled atmosphere. Or drink it in, as the case may be.


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