Margaret River is a tourist region about three hours south of Perth and is renowned for its wineries, natural landscapes, wildflowers and beaches.
Late September I had the opportunity to visit the region for a few days on a Nissan Navara drive program where they launched their Navara ST 4WD Black Edition.
The few days was a mix of luxury, upmarket camping, exploring the region and generally relaxing.
Starting off at the luxurious Crown Towers Resort was certainly a great introduction to the drive program. Crown Towers is amongst the best resorts in Australia and the rooms were luxurious, service friendly and very helpful. Often when staying at these type of places you get nice smiles but not very helpful staff. Crown Towers staff were excellent, saying hello in the corridors and generally making you feel welcome.
We had a reasonably early start, for the drive, but no matter what, when you stay there you have to experience the breakfast. Over the years in a previous corporate life I have stayed at some fairly swish places, but the breakfast spread at Crown Towers certainly ranks amongst the top 5 ever. It was sumptuous, had everything you could imagine as a selection for breakfast, even a chocolate fountain and the food was delicious. Unfortunately we didn’t stay long, but it’s definitely on the return list.
As the group assembled outside, waiting for our safety briefing, I reflected in the crisp morning, the buzz of excitement within the group and the promise of a pleasurable drive to come. It’s at times like this when I really enjoy what I do and don’t for a moment take it for granted.
Yalgorup National Park
There was a group of some 10 plus vehicles and 25 people waiting and looking over the Black Edition Navaras. After an uneventful drive out of Perth, mainly because the Navara’s are a smooth ride on the bitumen, we headed to the Yalgorup National Park. This is one of the many beautiful National Parks that abound in the region.
After stopping to let down our tyres we headed onto the beach, engaging 4 High on the electronic 4WD selector. This expanse of sand definitely had the western beach appearance. Windswept, with lots of trees washed up on the shore, a deep drop off to the water and a wild appearance. In short, beautiful.
The plan was to head down the beach and exit somewhere further south, but as with many plans you have to be flexible and adapt. Even though the Nissan guys had run the drive two days before, a high tide and storm has washed out part of the beach and it became impassable.
So up into the dunes we went to turn around and headed back. The Navara, being very capable on the sand, just plodded along without issues and the only problem we encountered was driver error from a novice driver.
So back out the way we came. Stopping to let the tyres cool off a bit and pump them up, I had a chance to look over the Black Edition again and compare to the Navara ST-X models we also had. Both look good for a Ute, however the Black Edition has some of the popular features that many drivers will put on their Utes as aftermarket accessories, so represents good value and looks just that little bit tougher.
South we headed and through some of the forest trails that are prevalent in that area. I was driving the Black Edition with all terrain tyres fitted and the opportunity to drive from dirt road, sand, highway and then forest trails gave me an opportunity to asses not only the effectiveness, quietness and ride of the all terrains, but also to appreciate just how easily the Navara swaps from different surfaces without fuss. The key here is the suspension that provides a smooth on road ride without sacrificing off road ride and handling.
Bush Glamping in Margaret River
Night time was a ‘bush’ camp, well semi glamping, set up by Wild Goose Camping, just outside of the Village of Margaret River on a private property. A well set up catering tent, large campfire, individual tents and an amenities block all provided a glimpse of the outback experience for some of our overseas visitors. This was luxury camping and an awesome evening around the fire was had by all.
The next morning got off to a ‘fresh’ start as I was the first up and didn’t realise that the generator tripped overnight. So a cold shower ensued before we realised what had happened. At least I was well and truly awake and wanting a coffee in the morning mist.
Before us today we had more forest driving, through some of the most beautiful tracks, and then off to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park for some really interesting bush tracks that were exactly what many buyers of the Navara would explore. Remember these were standard Utes and they handled the terrain and tracks with ease.
This area is one of Western Australia’s most loved and scenic holiday spots, with rugged limestone sea cliffs and windswept granite headlands dominating the coastline, interspersed by curving beaches, sheltered bays and long, rocky shorelines.
We headed down this long, reasonable difficult trail to a remote beach, only to find a couple of hardy surfers riding the waves. They can keep that to themselves, as the water looked rough and not inviting. However the scenery was spectacular.
From here we headed to the seaside hamlet of Dunsborough for lunch beside the bay. Calm blue waters, local buzz and a peaceful environment. Unfortunately our time ended here and a quick flight back to Perth then to Sydney followed.
The Navara was an ideal vehicle to explore the more scenic areas of the region in. The leather seats kept us in comfort as did the dual zone air conditioning, while the well balanced ride and handling ensured we were comfortable no matter what the road or track surface was.
I have been to the Margaret River region a couple of times before, but in a road going station wagon. This time the Navara 4WD Ute allowed us to be more adventurous and really explore the natural beauty.
Best Things to do in Margaret River Region
- Take at least 4-5 days as there is so much to see and do
- Make sure you visit in the seasonal times for whale watching or wildflowers, Definitely worth the effort
- Be prepared to indulge in a food and wine repast. There are so many excellent eateries, farmers markets, breweries and wineries that you won’t run out of places to go.
- Visit at least one cave, and there are many throughout the region. Do your research though as some have better access for those with some physical impairments and some are definitely for the fitter amongst us.
- Make sure you have a 4WD like the Navara so you can explore more remote areas and see the natural beauty. Not only the remote and windswept beaches, but the forest as well.
- Climb a lighthouse or walk the longest jetty (1.8km) in the Southern Hemisphere at Busselton. If your keen there is even a jetty swim event.
- If you are a surfer the break at Margaret River, I’m told, is awesome and all along the region.
- Take a little extra time and visit the Kauri forests at Dwellingup, Nannup etc. These magnificent trees have stood over time to tower over the landscape.
- Enjoy a variety of accommodation, especially the famous Yallingup Caves Guest House. It’s been years since I stayed there but it was superb at the time.