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Margaret River in Western Australia is world-renowned for its stunning scenery, and the area’s maritime climate has earned it a reputation as one of the best wine regions in Australia.
France has Bordeaux, Spain has Rioja, Italy has Tuscany… and Western Australia has Margaret River.
As you probably know, much of Australia has a desert climate. But the Margaret River region is different. It’s located on the southwest coast of Australia, and its weather is influenced by both the Indian Ocean.
In fact, it tends to have the most reliable climate of the country’s wine regions, which means that the grapes grown here are some of the best in Australia.
If you’re a wine lover, or just want to spend some time at some gorgeous vineyards, then a Margaret River wine tour is a must-do activity. It’s a lovely way to spend a day (or two) exploring the region and sampling some of the amazing wines on offer. Plus, with so many wineries available in the area, taking a tour will help you narrow down the best ones to visit.
There are lots of different wine tour options available in Margaret River, and we’ve put together a guide to the best of the bunch to help you choose (and yes, that was a grape pun…)
About the Margaret River Wine Region
The main grape varieties in the Margaret River wine region are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are also many other varieties grown here including Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Sémillon, and Merlot.
Margaret River – or “Margs”, as the locals call it – was inhabited by the Noongar people before British settlers arrived in the 1850s. However, it only became a famous wine region more recently. Dr John Gladstones, a viticultural scientist, first realized the region’s potential for winemaking in the 1960s.
Gladstones set about convincing residents to grow wine, and the very first grapes were planted in 1967 by a local cardiologist, Dr. Tom Cullity. He opened Vasse Felix, which remains one of the most popular and respected wineries in Margaret River to this day.
There is a big emphasis on farming wine without the use of synthetic chemicals in Margaret River. Many of the wine farms here pride themselves on their sustainable practices, and the production of biodynamic and/or organic wine.
The local population sits at around 9,000 people, but over 500,000 visitors flock to Margaret River every year to enjoy its wine, food, surfing, and picturesque scenery. Honestly, there are tons of fun things to do in Margaret River.
What sets Margaret River apart from other wine regions in Australia is that it’s closer in climate to European regions like Bordeaux (ooh la la!). This means that the grapes here ripen more slowly, which leads to more elegant and complex wines.
Today, there are over 200 wineries in the Margaret River region, so you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to wine tasting.
It’s a truly stunning part of Australia with a gorgeous stretch of coastline, and it’s well worth spending a few days here to really explore everything the region has to offer.
The closest major city to Margaret River is Perth, which is 270 kilometers (168 miles) away. The drive takes around 3 hours (a little too long for a day trip from Perth, but great for a weekend getaway!), or you can fly into the Margaret River Airport which is located just outside of the town center.
Related Read: If you;re in Perth, be sure to take a trip out to Rottnest Island – it’s beautiful!
Are wine tours in Margaret River worth it?
One of the best things about taking a wine tour in Margaret River is that you’ll have a driver, which means that everyone in your group can drink – no-one has to miss out and take on the responsibility of being the designated driver.
Touring the vineyards is also a great way to learn about the winemaking process and what makes Margaret River so unique. Wine plays a huge role in the history and economy of the region, so taking a wine tour is practically mandatory while you’re here!
On a wine tour, you’ll learn how to taste wine properly and get lots of insider tips from your tour guide.
Most importantly, it’s a great opportunity to try lots of different wines! Your tasting fees will be included as part of your tour, and you’ll get to visit some of the region’s best wineries.
All in all, taking a wine tour is definitely a lot better than going it alone because it ensures you’ll really get the most out of the experience. We had such an amazing time enjoying wine tours, and would highly recommend the experience to anyone visiting Margaret River.
We’ve done several different wine tours in Margaret River over the years (Dan’s whole family lives in Perth, so we visit annually.) Of course, not all tours are created equal which is why we’ve compiled a list of the very best wine tours the Margaret River wine region has to offer.
What to Expect on a Margaret River Wine Tour
Almost all tours offer very similar experiences so here’s what you can expect on a typical half and full day tour!
Pick up – All the tours in Margaret River pick up from your hotel, and from there, your guide will explain the day ahead. On a good tour, your guide will also begin to educate you on the Margaret River wine region and explain its history and perfect weather conditions that mirror Bordeaux in France!
The Wineries – Of course, all Margaret River Wine tours take you to wineries, however, all tours take you to their own mix. Depending on whether you are on a half or full day will depend on the number of wineries that you’ll visit. A full day tour would usually include 5 to 6 wineries and a half day 3 to 4.
Lunch – All full day tours will include a lunch or at least a lunch stop at one of the wineries. A popular choice seems to be the Watershed and I can say the food is amazing! On one tour we did we also got a platter of cheese, salamis, olives, and crackers etc.
Other stops – The Margaret River wine region is also famous for both cheese and chocolate and stops to the Margaret River Dairy Company and Chocolate factory are a neat touch. Finding a tour with these is a great way to see everything food and drink related the region offers.
6 BEST Wine Tours in Margaret River
1. Cellar d’or Winery Tour
We’re sure you’ll enjoy this carefully curated tour just as much as we did. It’s a really fun day out that takes you to some of the finest wineries, micro-breweries, and distilleries that Margaret River has to offer, with plenty of samples of locally made cheese, chocolate, and olive oil along the way.
You’ll even get to visit Vasse Virgin Olive Oil Factory to discover how they make their award-winning olive oil and learn all about its flavor profile. Okay, so that might not sound like the most interesting thing ever, but it’s actually a lot of fun and you’ll try some seriously yummy oils along the way.
This tour is great for those who want to learn about the winemaking process and get an insight into the different styles of wines produced in the region. You’ll discover exactly why Margaret River’s chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon wines are so celebrated, and you’ll also get to sample plenty of other wines, too.
Lunch is also included in this full-day tour which is a real treat since Margaret River is known for its excellent produce. In fact, it has even been awarded a Certificate of Excellence, so you can be sure that you’re in good hands.
You’ll finish the day having learned about more than just wine – although you will have tasted some truly exceptional wines along the way.
This particular tour lasts for about 7 hours, and costs $135 AUD for the day with lunch included. It’s one of the most popular wine tours in Margaret River, so you should book is online in advance.
2. Margies Big Day Out Beer & Wine Tour
What’s better than wine?
Beer and wine!
This particular tour takes you to two breweries and three wineries so that you can sample all of the best booze in Margaret River. You’ll also have lunch at the Bootleg Brewery, which is a gorgeous spot that sits right on the edge of a lake.
There will also be cheese and chocolate tastings along the way – after all, what wine tour would be complete without them? You’ll even stop off at the Margaret River Cheese Factory to learn all about how they make their mouth-watering cheese.
This tour is perfect for those who want to try a bit of everything, and at $125 AUD, it’s also the cheapest tour on our list, although do bear in mind that it doesn’t include tasting fees, which vary between $3-10 AUD per venue. You can secure your place on this tour online here!
3. Voyager Estate: The Origins Tasting
This is more of a tasting experience than an actual tour. Voyager Wine Estate is one of the oldest wineries in Margaret River, and it produces organic wines in a sustainable way. It was founded by Michael Wright in 1978 and is now run by his daughter, Alexandra Burt.
You’ll taste a flight of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon in the cellar door, which will teach you all about the maturing process and how different winemaking techniques can affect the finished product. If you have no idea what “oaking” is all about, now is the time to learn!
After that, you can choose between a 4- or 7-course lunch in the cellar door, which is of course perfectly paired with Voyager’s outstanding wines. The food is beautifully plated and tastes even better than it looks, so you’re in for a real treat!
Group sizes are capped at 8 people, so this is a great option for those who want a more intimate and personalized experience.
Hotel pickup and drop-off isn’t included in this tour so you will need to organize your own transport to and from the Voyager Estate, but it’s well worth doing so for this carefully cultivated wine-tasting and food experience.
It costs $145 AUD for the 4-course option of $210 AUD for the full 7 courses, so you can choose what suits your budget and timeframe. You must book this wine and food tasting experience online in advance.
4. Premium Full-Day Organic Wine Tour
This full-day wine tour takes you to five of Margaret River’s best biodynamic and organic wineries so that you can learn about the emerging trend of natural winemaking.
The day starts at Yahava Koffeeworks for some specialty roast coffee to wake you up, and then once you’re well and truly awake, you’ll head to Cape Mentelle to try their internationally renowned cabernet sauvignon.
Next, it’s onto Cape Grace wines, a boutique vineyard with hand-plunged and pressed red wines. This is a rustic winery in a forest which will give you an insight into the history and culture of the Margaret River region, and the chance to see a private collection of Australian parrots.
You’ll then have a three-course lunch at Vasse Felix, the region’s oldest wine farm – paired with wine, of course. After that, it’s onto the Windows Estate for a cheese and wine pairing before a final stop at Gabriel Chocolate factory for some truly delicious gourmet chocolate.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive and sophisticated wine tour that covers all the bases, this is the one for you. It’s a little on the pricey side at $210 AUD per person, but for that price you get a 3-course lunch, all your tastings, hotel pick-up and drop-off, and lots of locally made artisan treats along the way.
This particular tour should be booked well in advance to avoid missing out.
Related Read: If you love wine, consider going on a trip to Mendoza in Argentina where there are over 800 wineries!
5. Margaret River Wine Adventure
This specific tour proclaims itself “a tour for people who don’t do tours”. You’ll see a lot more than just wineries on this adventurous day out – although, of course, that’s still a significant part of it.
We think this is a good option for those who don’t have a lot of time in the Margaret River region, because you see so much in a single day!
You’ll explore the region in a 4WD, visiting scenic beaches and an ancient waterhole, which is a great opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal history and culture of the Margaret River area. There’s also a fun off-road drive along the Cape Track, which is renowned for its beautiful vistas.
At lunch, you’ll head to The Fraser Gallop wine estate for a tasting and gourmet lunch . Although this is an adventurous day out, lunchtime will still be very much a classy affair! Fraser Gallop is a beautiful winery where Bordeaux and Burgundy grape varieties thrive.
The last stop is Kevill Road Waterfall, where you’ll stop to taste local honey and learn about Aboriginal fishing techniques.
This tour is fun, adventurous and informative, and it will give you a well-rounded perspective of the Margaret River region. It’s a good choice if you want to enjoy wine tasting, but don’t want it to be the sole focus of your day.
This tour costs $193 AUD per person, or $1015 for a private tour which can be tailored more to your specific points of interest and timescale. Regardless of the option you choose, you should book this adventurous wine tour online in advance here.
Related Read: Learn all about what it’s like to visit Penguin Island near Perth.
6. Electric Bike Winery and Brewery Tour
If you’re up for the task of riding an e-bike after a few glasses of wine, this electric bike and wine tour is a lot of fun.
On this half-day tour, you’ll visit two wineries and a brewery for tastings, starting with Stella Bella wines, where you’ll sample unique craft wines. This is a fun winery that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and tastings here are always a good time.
After that, it’s on to Arlewood Estate to sample their fragrant wines and yummy chocolates, which are perfectly paired together. Their La Bratta range is definitely worth a try.
Finally, you’ll head to Margaret River Brewhouse for a tasting paddle of their local beers. This is a lively spot with a great atmosphere, and the perfect place to end your tour.
E-bikes are a fun way to get around, and it also means that you don’t really have to break a sweat to get from one tasting to another. Of course, you do need a basic fitness level but to be honest, the bike does most of the work for you!
And if you do end up buying boxes of wine along the way, don’t worry – you won’t need to balance them on your bike. The tour company will transport it back to your hotel for you, free of charge!
The $245 AUD price tag includes an outdoor picnic lunch, during which you can take in the stunning views of the region, as well as bike rental, all tastings, and the use of your e-bike. You can check availability and book this bike and wine tour online here.
Our Favorite Wine Tour in Margaret River
All of the tours on this list are great fun and the best one for you, of course, depends on your specific interests, but our favorite tour in Margaret River was by far the Cellar d’Or one – we had such a great time!
One reason we think it’s so great is the price point. At $135 AUD, it’s one of the cheapest tours on this list but it still includes all tastings, lunch, as well as transport without breaking the bank. We really felt like it was amazing value for money and, in fact, all in all it’s the most cost-effective tour in this guide.
It also lasts just the right amount of time. To be honest, some wine tours can drag on and on (and on) and you end up getting tired. Plus, after a certain amount of wine, it all starts tasting the same, and it’s hard to stay focused after your head starts to feel a little bit fuzzy. This tour really hits the sweet spot in that respect.
Plus, some wine tours can be stuffy, but this one isn’t.
Even if you’ve never done a proper wine tasting before and have no idea about legs, tannins, or aeration, the guides will make you feel right at home and you’ll be a pro in no time.
They’re super friendly and interesting, and they go out of their way to ensure that everyone is having a good time. They’re happy to chat and answer any questions you have about the wine, and they don’t lose patience if your group ends up getting a little bit… merry.
There’s a maximum group size of 12, so it’s a great way to get to know other travelers but there aren’t so many people that it feels like a cattle herding exercise – we hate that!
The tour leaves every day but it does tend to sell out in the summertime, so we recommend booking in advance if you want to do this tour.
To sum up, the Cellar d’Or is our favorite wine tour in Margaret River because it’s great value for money and so much fun. The guides will make you feel really welcome and it’s an excellent introduction to the world of winemaking!
Note: Our favorite tour also offers pick-up in the nearby town of Busselton, so it’s great if you’re staying in Busselton, too!
How much do Wine Tours in Margaret River Cost?
Margaret River Wine tours range in price depending on a few things however, most full-day tours cost around $200 AUD and half days around $150 AUD. Of course, this varies quite a lot depending on inclusions.
Tips for having a great day/What to bring
- Don’t rush into drinking lots right away, the full day tour is long so pacing yourself is recommended
- All the wineries offer drinking water, however, most people (including me) forget to drink it while there is wine in front of them. So bringing a bottle to keep in the car is a great way to stay hydrated while driving between wineries
- Some people get so caught up in the tastings that they forget to explore the wineries. So put down that glass and don’t be shy to walk down the vineyards. The photos you get are spectacular!
- Bringing some sunscreen is a good idea. Although you don’t spend large amounts of time in the sun, it really doesn’t take a lot in the Aussie sun!
- As mentioned above, it is a long day and starting in with a big breakfast really helps!
Related Read: Heading up north? Check out the best tours in Kakadu National Park!
Where to Stay in Margaret River
If you’re going to spend a full day drinking wine, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep in Margaret River.
But where to stay? Luckily there are a lot of options for all types of travelers – whether you’re vacationing on a budget or looking to splurge on a luxury hotel. These are our top picks!
This is our top budget-friendly option because the value here is amazing! You can rent an entire cabin, either one or two bedrooms, for around $150 AUD per night. There’s a swimming pool, BBQs, and even a kids’ playground. It’s right on the edge of the forest, but only a couple of minutes from the center of town. This is perfect for families who want a bit more space.
Set close to the heart of town, this resort offers a variety of rooms from standard hotel-style accommodation to private villas. The location means it’s easy to walk around and explore and there’s a pool and private backyard area with tennis courts on site. The pub here has fantastic food and local wines to kick back with after a busy day. Rooms start at $189 AUD.
Empire Spa Retreat – $$$
You are in the Margaret River wine region, so why not stay at a vineyard? This luxurious hotel is set on 12 acres of vineyards and gardens. It’s a 40-minute drive from Margaret River, but super close to Dunsborough and sights like Ngilgi Cave and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. All the suites in this stone and timber farmhouse have comfy bedding, flat-screen TVs, big baths, and gorgeous views of the property. Rooms here start at $325 AUD per night.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you are all prepared to tour some wineries in Margaret River, now! Honestly, this area is stunning, and when you pair it world-class wine, you are sure to have a great day. I mean, there’s a reason we keep going back, right?!
Be sure to read some of our other blogs about Australia before you go, including: