Pointers, Hints, Tips and Tricks
Whenever you’re visiting a new place, there’s always little things that amount to, more or less, local knowledge.
For those of you making your way from Perth or further afar, here are some little things that we reckon might just make your journey, stay and return better.
The drive from Perth varies from 2:45 on a great day, to north of 5 hours on particularly busy days like Boxing Day or the Thursday before Easter. If you can escape from work / study / city life and be on the road from the city at 3 you’ll be laughing – missing peak hour makes all the difference. But fill up on petrol before you do – no matter the cost of oil on the world market, the price at Shell in Margaret River is $1.35/L, or, as it’s referred to, ‘tourist tax’.
If you can get away early, then it gives you the chance to stop at the wonderous Bunbury Farmers Market. Home to, and I’m not joking here, what I think is THE best sausage roll going ANYWHERE, it’s also a great place to stock up on WA produce (fruit and veg in particular) It’s open from 7:30am to 6:30pm. The coffee is decent too, and Nadia uses and endorses the sushi.
As a rule though, we bypass Bunbury. To me it’s one of those weird regional hubs that is a bit disjointed, and doesn’t know if it’s an agricultural town, an industrial town, a little city, or a bit of both. Much better to press on to Busselton, and hit up The Goose on the foreshore if you’re stopping for a coffee or a bite.
But push on down the highway, don’t stop at Vasse, and make a B-line for the south. If you’re not in a hurry, or you’ve left early and the sun is out, there are myriad beautiful beaches. Check out Meelup Beach in the north, or Quininup Falls near Canal Rocks in between, or Gnarabup closer to Margs. And if you’re lucky the whales will still be swimming on by. If you’re heading this ways, the settings at Wise or Eagle Bay make for ideal places to grab a bite, refill and get going again. (Note: if you’re swimming, be careful – swells in the South West can be big, likewise rips and currents.)
In Margs itself, the IGA is where the best groceries can be found in town – without wanting to sound corny or like I’m parroting advertising, it really is where the locals go. So stock up there, and, if you’re in before 5 or so, once you’re in Margaret River itself, hit Station Road to Blue Ginger, Garden Basket and 34 Degrees Blue for all of your gourmet / seafood needs.
If we get enougb people interested in lunching during the workshops, we’ll organize that. But if no, the best bets are The Food Room (Saturday only, on Fearn Ave, near the back of Coles) or getting a role from the deli section of IGA, and, of course, on Saturday you can go to the uber-quaint Margaret River Bakery at the bottom of town.
On a Saturday the other option is to stock up at the Margaret River Farmer’s Market, which starts at 8am down at the TAFE campus (in the southern part of town, on the West side of Bussell Hwy. Especially recommended are: Romano and his amazing pasta (both gluten-full and gluten-free), Jo from Patchwork Farm grows fantastic veg, Dave Hohnen and his Farm Shop meats are delicious, ethically reared pork and lamb products and Leeuwin Grassfed Beef sell genuinely terrific quality beef that will ruin you for more conventional product in the best possible ways. But for the dusty, post-distillery crowd, there’ll be B&E rolls and coffee, the former of which goes to fund a different community group each week.