More than any other town on our Top 100, AT’s panellists clamoured to make positive comments on Margaret River, the unofficial capital of WA’s southwest.

“A recipe of surf, grapes and rainforest, best served with company,” said the MyPOWER team, who cycled through on their big lap of Australia and found it very difficult to leave.

“More than possibly any other wine region stopping point, Margaret River is a town in its own right,” said panellist Justin Wastnage, “with great places to eat and real pubs for those odd occasions when you don’t have any cellar door purchases to BYO.”

Golf nut Matt Cleary said, “Great wine, great beaches and a laidback rural feel with great food and fine golf. I would live there. I might yet.”

And from Perth-based Fleur Bainger, who more than any other on AT’s panel can be considered an expert local: “A weekend in Margaret River never seems long enough. Surrounded by tall trees and household-name wineries, and close enough to the ocean that you can almost feel the salt in the air, the township is a mix of tree-change greenies, surf addicts and gourmands.”

AT Editor Greg Barton had the final say, with this: “Do not leave town without visiting the Margaret River Pottery, home of local ceramic artiste Ian Dowling. Ian built it himself out of mud bricks using the clay from a nearby riverbank. Talk about authentic.”

Where? // Around 275km (4.5hrs) south of Perth along the coast.

Did you know? // Forget the wines and the waves; Margaret River is in the centre of an internationally recognised “biodiversity hotspot” (one of only 34 in the world, and the only one in Australia), with nearly 80 percent of its plant species found nowhere else on the planet.


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