Boodjidup Beach, Margaret River. Vasse Felix vineyard, Cowaramup.
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South West cave, near Margaret River.

How much fantastic food can you fit into a short break? That is the question when you set off on a food odyssey in this area known the world over for its fresh produce, world-class wine and chefs who come here for sun, sand and surf and stay to create amazing regional dishes.

But there is more here than just adventure for the palate. Some of Australia’s best waves come crashing down on the south-west coast, there are towering karri forests and the famous Cape to Cape coastal walk can have you hiking vertiginous cliff tops for days.

All this just a three-hour drive south from Perth with more than 100 cellar doors, 200-plus vineyards and markets and providores to distract you along the way.  DAY ONE: THE JOURNEY SOUTH

It’s only a short drive south, but make sure you stop at Miami Bakehouse, an unassuming shipping container in the middle of a field just off the Forrest Highway in West Pinjarra. Depending on the time of day you might grab a vanilla slice or a spinach and feta damper, but it is the gourmet pies that fill the parking lot with cars on any given day; try a garlic prawn pie to experience gourmet food you can hold in one hand.

Stop for a lunch that is going to set the bar sky-high in a region known for high food bars. Wills Domain winery, just outside of Yallingup, is a sprawling 60 hectares of sun-kissed vineyards, best viewed from the terrace of the cellar door with a glass of wine in hand. Head chef Seth James is a master of refined elegance, having done time with Andrew McConnell at Cutler & Co in Melbourne.

The focus is local with most of the produce coming from a short drive away and James is not afraid to get hands-on, even going diving for local abalone himself.

Dishes might be a tartare of wallaby with lilli pilli, bush tomato and saltbush or market fish in a tiger prawn bisque with turnip, almond and orange. The food is all designed to go with some of the more interesting varieties produced at Wills Domain, like the scheurebe​ (ask for help with pronunciation, or just point), an aromatic Germanic white.

Further south, drop your gear at the Darby Park apartments in the Margaret River village conveniently located for all things in town, including the Settler’s Tavern across the road. Head over for a no-frills pub meal, a local brew and a blues band in the band room out back that has played host to acts from the Screaming Jets to Augie March. DAY TWO: COASTAL ADVENTURE

Pull up a pale, sky-blue chair at the White Elephant Cafe that sits right on the beach at Gnarabup. This is where the locals come to start the day with a killer coffee and a Brekkie Burger (toasted brioche bun, Swiss cheese, garlic aioli, smoked tomato relish, crispy bacon and an egg) or a raw bircher muesli.

Then strip off to your swimmers and walk down the steps to Gnarabup Beach and take a mid morning splash in turquoise waters before heading back up to the showers outside the White Elephant Cafe.

Drive around to Surfer’s Point, Margaret River’s premier surf spot and home to the Margaret River surf classic since 1978. This is also where you can stand at Rivermouth, the point where the Margaret River flows into the ocean, and if you are here at lunchtime keep an eye out for the Margaret River Burger Company truck.

If you’re feeling active in the afternoon you can tackle a section of the Cape to Cape track. This epic coastal wander is a five- to eight-day ramble along the wildflower-laden coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin but you can always slice off a manageable piece for an afternoon stroll anywhere along the coast here and see dolphins taking the waves alongside surfers and whales breaching in the big blue.

You will have worked up an appetite, so head to Swings Taphouse and Kitchen back in Margaret River, a buzzy joint from the people behind Swings and Roundabouts winery, where the wood-fired pizzas are the go-to after a day touring the region and some of the local drops are available on tap. DAY THREE: FOREST ON FOUR WHEELS

From the coast to the forest, via a quick breakfast at Morrie’s Anytime, a sister eatery of the White Elephant Cafe smack in the middle of Margaret River. It is a dark and arty affair which does weekend breakfasts, but recently shifted to doing late nights and cocktails as well.

Take a morning stroll around the town, dropping in to the must-shop Margaret River Fudge Factory on the main street. Here you will find the gloriously sticky stuff in a range of gourmet flavours like choc-chilli and lemon cheesecake.

For lunch, head to Cafe Boranup, a rustic shack secluded in the south-west bushland. Grab a lightly fried fillet of Augusta whiting or some Augusta abalone served in a tempura batter with chilli lime aioli, and checkout the Boranup Gallery next door. Then it is off for some  four-wheel-driving in the forest.

EcoAdventures Margaret River specifically designed their electric quadbikes so they have minimal impact on the Boranup Forest and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park but they still kick up dust and are a hoot to hoon around on. These towering karri forests were once logged, with the wood being sent to the UK, and now the replanted karris are about 150 years old, with some of the original trees as old as 600 years.

But they are not even the oldest things in these forests.In Devil’s Lair cave, which is a special Indigenous place that cannot be visited by tourists, there is a 50,000-year-old old camp fire, one of the three oldest in Australia.

Each tour also comes with iPads to help you understand the flora and fauna of the area, as well as the history. Hamelin Bay is the sight of the famous wreck of the SS Georgette. Unable to launch the lifeboats, the crew and passengers of the Georgette decided to run aground at Redgate Beach and were eventually saved by Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs and 16-year-old Grace Bussell.

Learn about and explore the forests and beaches of Margaret River on these one-of-a-kind eco bikes, where you get a shot of adrenaline and the warm fuzzy feeling that goes with saving the environment. DAY FOUR: GRAPE ESCAPE

You simply cannot travel through here without visiting some cellar doors, but there are more than 100 of them, so where do you start? A good kick-off point is the original estate that started it all.The sprawling, art-laden grounds of Vasse Felix first played host to vines in 1971.Now the cellar door is a slick, wood-panelled place to taste the award-winning vintages.

Another veteran is Leeuwin Estate, a family-run affair that is one of the founding five wineries in the area. Leeuwin combines the artistry of wine with works from visual artists to create the famous Art Series wine label. Grab a taste of these amazing wines as you sit out on the terrace that looks down on the stunning surrounds that plays host to outdoor concerts and the annual “village” at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

But the Margaret River region is no longer just about wine, so why not grab lunch at Eagle Bay Brewing Company, a concrete-and-slate monolith set in Margaret River farmland? Eagle Bay offers tasting flights of its beers – Vienna lager, Mild Ale, Pale Ale and special one-off brews – to go with share plates that might include spiced Lebanese chicken wings with pomegranate molasses and yoghurt or a wood-fired pizza topped with spiced eggplant, feta, currants, pine nuts and a mint dressing.

Part of the joy of touring Margaret River is just stopping at places that take your fancy so the afternoon is best spent exploring, though a hot local tip is the Fraser Gallop Estate. DAY FIVE: GOING DEEPER

Having explored the coast, the inland and the cellar doors, our final day in the region sees us going underground. Margaret River has a wealth of cave systems to explore but the most famous in the Ngilgi Cave. Originally known as Yallingup Cave, due to its proximity to the town, this 500,000-year-old cave is now named after the Indigenous spirit Ngilgi, who warded off evil spirits here.

Tours depart every half an hour from the main ticketing area and take explorers down several levels of brilliant white stalactites with names like the Arab’s Tent and the Mother of Pearl Shawl. The natural formations are lit with coloured lights, and for the full experience guides recommend you lay down on your back and stare up at the natural formations which appear to move before your eyes.

For the final night of the short break, move house to spend the night in the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, an upmarket resort with an absolute beachfront location, accessed via a walkway from the bungalow-style rooms.

Have an early dinner in the hotel restaurant with views across the ocean, then set off for a sunset wander around the nearby Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, ending your Margaret River experience at the secluded beach spot of Shelley Cove, where you might see fur seals diving in and out of the protected bay as the sun goes down on a memorable short break. TRIP NOTESMORE INFORMATION

westernaustralia老域名出售GETTING THERE

Qantas (qantas老域名出售), Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tigerair all fly to Perth from the eastern states. The Margaret River region is about 3½ hours’ drive south of Perth along the Bussell Highway.  STAYING THERE

Darby Park has doubles starting from $172, Bussell Hwy, Margaret River; darbypark老域名出售备案老域名. Pullman Bunker Bay Resort has doubles starting at $309, 42 Bunker Bay Rd, Naturaliste; pullmanhotels老域名出售. EATING THERE

Stop at Miami Bakehouse for one of their famous pies at the corner of Forrest Hwy and Paull Road, West Pinjarra; miamibakehouse老域名出售备案老域名. Wills Domain, Cnr Abbey Farm Rd and Brash Rd, Yallingup; willsdomain老域名出售备案老域名. Settler’s Tavern for food and music, 114 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River; settlerstavern老域名出售. Breakfast spot the White Elephant Cafe, Gnarabup Road, Margaret River; whiteelephantcafe老域名出售备案老域名. Margaret River Burger Company food truck, 1654 Osmington Rd, Margaret River; facebook老域名出售/margaretriverburgerco. Swings Taphouse and Kitchen, 85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River; swings老域名出售备案老域名. Morries Anytime, 2/149 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River; morries老域名出售备案老域名. Margaret River Fudge Factory, 152 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River; fudgefactory老域名出售备案老域名. Cafe Boranup, 7981 Caves Rd, Forest Grove; cafeboranup老域名出售. Vasse Felix, Tom Cullity Dr, Cowaramup; vassefelix老域名出售备案老域名. Leeuwin Estate, Stevens Rd, Margaret River; leeuwinestate老域名出售备案老域名. Eagle Bay Brewing Co, 236 Eagle Bay Rd, Naturaliste; eaglebaybrewery老域名出售备案老域名. Fraser Gallop Estate, 493 Metricup Rd, Wilyabrup; frasergallopestate老域名出售备案老域名.  SEE + DO

Margaret River Eco Adventures, Terry Dr, Margaret River; ecoadventuresmargaretriver老域名出售. Cape to Cape tours, capetocapetours老域名出售备案老域名. Ngili Cave, Yallingup Caves Rd, Yallingup; margaretriver老域名出售.

Paul Chai was a guest of Western Australian Tourism.

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