To say Margaret River, three hours South of Perth, is synonymous with wine is a well-established knowledge. It is a destination that caters to all ages and interests. In fact, many families visit Margaret River with kids because it is such a family-friendly region in Western Australia.
For the gourmet foodie, the region is a haven with restaurants featuring regional produce and artisanal delicatessen products.
For the nature buffs, the region is dotted with subterranean caves that are of cultural import to aboriginal ancestry, along with striking landscapes abundant with native plants and wildlife.
For families with young children, all these and more can be enjoyed together, along with family friendly wineries, animal farms and heady chocolate shops and luscious ice cream parlours when visiting Margaret River with kids in tow!
So, when an opportunity for a visit to Perth came up, we geared our agenda towards Margaret River, and crossed our fingers that we might survive the three-hour drive from Perth with two fidgety kids! Here are some excellent, family-friendly ideas of things to do in Margaret River with kids.
We couldn’t come to Margaret River and ignore the wineries; it’s pretty much the main draw of the region. Luckily, having kids in tow didn’t mean that we had to skip the joys of wine tasting, as so many of the Margaret River wineries have child-friendly facilities such as playgrounds on the grounds and large grassy lawns.
Moreover, some of these wineries boast the best Margaret River restaurants, dishing up wine pairings with seasonal produce, and also providing kids’ menus to keep the little ones happy.
Our firm favourite was the Brookland Valley Cellar Door with its long winding drive past sun dappled vineyards and elegant Flutes restaurant overlooking a lake. The huge rolling lawns and rustic chic décor of Will’s Domain Cellar Door were also a great space for the kids to explore while we adults sampled its delicious offerings. And if you ask my youngest, the Hay Shed Hill was the most fun due to its friendly canine mascot Becky, and the overflowing toy box in the tasting room!
As with most city-dwelling kids, high on their agenda of things they wanted to see in Margaret River were petting farms to see the animals up-close. The Sunflower Animal Farm was such a treat and recommended when visiting Margaret River with kids. There are a variety of things to do, from cuddling rabbits and guinea pigs to chasing after waddling ducks to feeding goats, sheep, kangaroos and even llamas and alpacas with special feeding pellets.
And if you come in Spring, your little ones might even get a chance to bottle feed lambs and goats!
Cape Light House and Caves
If your kids fancy themselves to be adventurers, head to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse at the tip of Geographe Bay! For a small entrance fee, the little ones can imagine themselves to be keepers of the lighthouse watching out for ships and passing whales. The lighthouse’s promontory is suspended over the edge of the Bay, and offers stunning views out to sea.
There is a playground and a quaint café on the premise, which is filled with vintage era toys and chess sets, but don’t miss out on its selection of toasty sandwiches and pastries too.
For older thrill seekers, a descend into one of the over 100 subterranean caves that run the length of Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge might do the trick. The most popular caves in the Margaret River region are Jewel Cave, Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave and Ngligi Cave. Once they acclimatise to the humidity and warmth of the caves, the beautifully lit stalactites, stalagmites and other natural calcium sculptures that seem to drip from the ceiling and rise up from the cavernous grounds are a sight to behold.
Chocolate , Ice cream and More!
And with any family vacation, a visit to a chocolatier or ice cream parlour is a must! Gabriel Chocolate was a fun stop when visiting Margaret River with kids, nestled between wineries along Caves Road. Upon entry, the heady perfume of rich cocoa greets you, along with the long wall of shelves, laden with candy coloured packaged chocolates that are within reach of tiny little hands.
Simmo’s Ice Creamery was a little off the main thoroughfare but worth the side trip. Traditional family favourite flavours along with bold new ones are on offer and the shop opens up to extensive grounds filled with slides, swings and sand pits.
Suffice to say, Margaret River excelled as a family-friendly destination. Other attractions around the Margaret River region include family-friendly mazes and even beaches. And, it being just a hop and skip flight and drive from Singapore, it is a destination which we would return to again!
Tips for Planning a Trip to Margaret River with Kids
– Prepare a playlist of the kids’ favourite songs helps to assuage boredom on the long drives.
– May/June are considered low season for hotels during Australia’s winter months. As such, hotels might offer good deals on packages or rates. We stayed at the Pullman Bunker Bay, which is nestled in a nature reserve, which had three resident kangaroos who return to the premise at dusk.
– An important thing to note for self-drive holidays, roads in Margaret River tend not to have street lights outside the centre of town and many roads are listed as animal crossing. As such, it is recommended to avoid driving after dark for safety reasons.