Australia is about as far from the United States as you can get, whichever direction you travel. The usual route is across the Pacific, which means flying out of Los Angeles or San Francisco. From both cities, there are direct flights to Melbourne and Sydney—but not to Perth, your touchdown city when you're visiting Margaret River. Since the train from Sydney takes 65 hours, you'll want to book an internal flight on a domestic carrier (Qantas, Ansett). Australian seasons are the opposite of ours: the first day of summer falls in late December, and winter is at its chilliest in July and August.
Bridgefield Guest House
BEST VALUE 73 Bussell Hwy., Margaret River; 61-97/573-007; doubles (with shared bath only) $55, including breakfast.
Bussell Hwy., Vasse; 61-97/554-485; doubles $110, including breakfast; dinner for two $70.
Lot 1, Kevill Rd. East, Margaret River; 61-97/573-228, fax 61-97/572-658; cottages for two $120.
Caves Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/573-664; cottage for two $130, including breakfast.
Rosa Brook Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/575-080, fax 61-97/575-083; cottages for two $130, including breakfast.
Restaurants & Wineries
Bessell Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/575-054; lunch for two $35. The best place for afternoon cream tea. To buy: superb fruit wine.
Wallcliffe Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/ 573-266. One of the top wineries, with daily tours.
Caves Rd., Willyabrup; 61-97/555-277. Another winery that offers tours.
Brookland Valley Vineyard, Caves Rd., Willyabrup; 61-97/556-250; lunch for two $45.
Gunyulgup Valley Dr., Yallingup; 61-97/552-434; dinner for two $75.
Stevens Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/576-253; lunch for two $55. You can also tour Leeuwin's winery, home of Australia's leading white.
Boranup Eco Walks
Forest Grove, Margaret River; phone and fax 61-97/ 577-576; walks from $10.50 a person.
61-97/579-084, fax 61-97/573-889; four-hour tours $18 a person. Reservations for this and other tours can also be made through the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association (61-97/572-911, fax 61-97/573-287).
Conservation and Land Management
14 Queen St., Busselton; 61-97/ 521-677. Call for trail maps.
Eagles Heritage Raptor Wildlife Centre
Boodjidup Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/572-960; admission $5 a person. Flight demonstrations daily.
Rosa Brook Horseback Tours
Rosa Brook Rd., Margaret River; 61-97/573-339; two-hour bush-trail rides $26 a person.
Swain Australia Tours
800/227-9246 or 610/896-9595. Australia's largest custom-tour operator, Swain can design Margaret River itineraries.
The Margaret River Wine and Food Festival, which brings together some 35 vineyards, is slated for the last week in November in 1997.
James Halliday's Pocket Companion to Australian and New Zealand Wines (Angus & Robertson)—With this guide you can tour the vineyards and sample their finest vintages.
Lonely Planet Guide: Western Australia by Jeff Williams (Lonely Planet)—In-depth, down-to-earth information for travelers on any budget.
Outdoor Traveler's Guide to Australia by Gerry Ellis and Sharon Cohen (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)—Explore natural areas, with maps, color photos, and descriptions of flora and fauna.
On The Web
Cruising the Cape (http://www.margaret-river.com.au/cape/index.html)—Articles and listings point you to the best caves, wineries, galleries, and spots for surfing and whale-watching.
The gallery at Margaret River's Melting Pot Glass Studio, whose works reflect Middle Eastern and Venetian designs.