An easy 3-hour drive south of Perth is Margaret River, a town and region now well known for its wine production. Hardwood timber and agricultural production were the original primary industries here, but since the first vines were planted in the 1960’s, prize winning Chardonnays and Cabernets now help attract over 500,000 visitors annually to its 80 wineries.
Perhaps not as well known as the wines, but just as spectacular, are the caves that run under the spine of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, not far from town. A series of valleys, streams and springs have been formed by rapid draining of water underground; three show-caves, Lake, Mammoth and Jewel, are open to the public, each with unique formations and stories to tell. Not far from here, at the south-westerly tip of Australia where the Indian and southern Oceans meet, is Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse – also worth a visit.
In 2010, from March through to June, Margaret River will follow in the footsteps of Paris, Tokyo, London and New York and host a ‘cow parade’. Around 100 artists will have the opportunity to decorate and transform a fibreglass cow before it’s sent out to graze on public display at various sights and businesses throughout the region.