Tucked into the patchwork hills of the Margaret River wine region, Cape Lodge is a three-hour drive or 45-minute flight south of Perth. This country getaway sits on 40 acres of vineyards, native bush, and lakes a short drive from peaceful towns like Margaret River, Dunsborough, and Yallingup. The region is celebrated for food and wine, and the award-winning Cape Lodge Restaurant is arguably the best place to sample everything from White Rocks veal to prized black Périgordtruffles. Bellies filled, guests can meander rows of vines, relax by the lake, or retreat to their spacious rooms, graced with country-style quilts, embroidered pillows, and fresh-cut flowers. Travelers will want to explore the area’s wild beaches (the lodge is less than two miles from the Indian Ocean), karri tree forests, winetasting rooms, artisan markets, and cave systems once inhabited by Aboriginal Australians.
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Radiating out from a fertile river valley in the southwest corner of Western Australia, Margaret River is one of the country’s most picturesque wine regions. And it’s not all about the wine. Pristine beaches, windswept forests, and ancient caves also attract nature lovers. A Mediterranean climate invites travelers to spend summer days outdoors and crisp winter afternoons drinking shiraz and cabernet sauvignon by the fireplace. Wine lovers should visit the cellar doors of Mosswood, Vasse Felix, Cullen, and Pierro as well as the restaurant at Leeuwin Estate. Outdoor enthusiasts might favor a paddle down the languid Margaret River or a day hike through the coastal heaths along the Cape to Cape Track. Travelers who come in July or August have the chance to see humpback and southern right whales from the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, or from a boat in Busselton’s Geographe Bay. In September, it’s possible to see blue whales cavorting in these waters. Any time of year, Cape Lodge guests can be entertained by bursting farmers' markets, craft workshops and boutiques, and sacred Aboriginal sites such as Ngilgi Cave.
Need to Know
Rooms: 5 rooms, 17 suites. From $432. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:The lakefront Cape Lodge Restaurant has long been a leader in paddock-to-plate cuisine. The seasonal produce is harvested from nearby oceans, farms, and the estate’s kitchen garden and crafted into French-inspired dishes like confit veal tongue and risotto with local asparagus, scallops, and goat’s curd. Being in Margaret River, the wine cellar is fantastic, featuring such top local vineyards as Vasse Felix and Cullen plus standout labels from across Australia and around the world. There’s also a small selection of the lodge’s own sauvignon blanc and shiraz. Guests can even bring the farm to bed by ordering the harvest produce platter to their room. Spa and gym details: Fitness buffs should hit the tennis courts or swimming pool. French, Swedish, and Hawaiian-style therapies in the spa treatment room or in guest accommodations take care of muscles post-workout.
Who's it best for: Food and wine lovers with a penchant for beaches, forests, and farms. Our favorite rooms: The high-ceilinged Garden View rooms have wooden rafters, country furnishings, and plush window seats that run the length of the outdoor courtyard. Lake View suites were updated in a gray and charcoal color palette in 2014. Each has a large soaking tub and a patio beside a private lake. Good to know: Executive chef Michael Elfwing runs regular cooking classes. They tackle three-course menus focusing on everything from soufflés to wine pairings. He has worked with the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Mathias Dahlgren.