You don’t have to be a surfie or a wine drinker in order to enjoy a holiday in Yallingup. Even though it’s famously known for its epic surf breaks, surrounded by an extensive winery region. This region has so much more to offer for visitors. So on my recent visit, I discovered different and interesting things to do in Yallingup that didn’t involve wine tasting the whole time!
I have visited this region many times in the past. But this time I decided to focus around the Yallingup region only. It’s located in the northwest corner of the huge Margaret River wine region. This area boasts over 90 cellar doors for wine tasting, hence the reason to base myself and explore only a sub-section.
But fear not, there are other types of attractions and venues to occupy your interests. And that’s what todays blog is about. I share with you what I discovered you can do that doesn’t involve wine and water. My five days was packed with different activities and sights. (note, I did slip in a couple of wineries though….I love my wine!).
Here are my top 9 things to do around Yallingup.
Tea and Scones - Cape Lavender Tea House
Now I wouldn't say I'm a lavender fan. I'll admit that I've used lavender oil to help alleviate headaches in the past, but I'm not a lavender freak.
However, I was so glad we decided to make a stop at the Cape Lavender Teahouse for lunch. We arrived to find that they don't have a menu but do offer soup and scones only. We were happy with that.
What a treat. The soup options were tomato and leek or sweet potato with carrots and leek, amongst other ingredients. It was sooo delicious. You could tell it was lovingly homemade soup.
I would highly recommend paying the extra $5 to add a freshly made scone with that. If you don't like savoury scones (that comes with soft butter), you can choose the traditional Devonshire scone. It comes with fresh cream and one of their own lavender tinged jams. Today on offer was the plum jam with a hint of lavender.
All of this was then polished down with herbal tea that also contained lavender.
By now you can guess, everything in this cafe/shop contains lavender. There's a huge selection of herbal teas with lavender. There’s lavender arthritis cream, lip balm, massage cream and foot scrubs. It continues with lavender shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Try out the lavender body creams and foot cream. They even thought of lavender air fresheners and heat packs or eye pillows.
All the jams, marmalades, chutneys and honey also contain lavender. It goes on and on. It is lavender heaven.
And before you leave, take with you a cone of lavender ice cream. It really is purple!
Walking - Cape Naturaliste National Park
Located right on the rugged oceans edge, the Cape Naturaliste National Park contains several easy walking trails for you to explore. Even if you're not a walker, I highly recommend following the orange trail to Cape Naturaliste Lookout. It's a perfect spot to capture the sunset over the horizon, with rocks and waves in the foreground.
If you are visiting the region between September and November, then also follow the blue trail to the Whale Lookout. You'll definitely have the opportunity to see three types of whales sheltering and resting in the area before they continue on their migration southwards.
Chocco-mania - Gabriel Chocolate
Gabriel Chocolate is a chocolatier with a difference. The owners source cocoa beans from around the world. Then processes them on site to make square chocolate bars, chocolate icecream and chocolate coffee. As each country’s bean has different flavours, so too does the processed chocolate.
There’s sweet chocolate from Java, orange zest/pineapple flavour of Madagascar chocolate or the rare fruitiness of Venezuelan chocolate (the owners favourite). There are many more ‘flavours’ to choose from.
You can pop in for a taste test, or relax in the cafe with a choice of icecream, coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate cakes.
All things olive oil - Vasse Virgin
It seems where there are vineyards, there are also olive trees. And Vasse Virgin have done an excellent job in providing a huge variety of products made with olive oil.
It started with natural olive oil soaps. Their complete range covers three tables and they all smell so good that you want to eat them!
But it didn't stop there. The use of olive oil was further expanded to create a range of skincare (cleanser, moisturiser, shampoo/conditioners, bath oils, balms, scrubs etc), fragrances and gourmet food.
You can even have a birds eye view over their workshop.
They have something for everyone - women, men and kids. Well worth a stop.
Degustation – Rustico
There are a handful of fine dining restaurants in the area offering great standard course menus. But I stumbled upon the best degustation menu I’ve ever tasted at Rustico at Hay Shed Hill. A five course meal will set you back $70 but it’s definitely worth it.
Each platter was so delicately balanced in flavour and texture. My taste buds were doing somersaults. Everything tasted so fresh. How delightful to eat scallops and beef cheeks that simply melted in your mouth. And then to finish off with that dessert platter, it was out of this world.
If you want to treat yourself to one special luncheon during your Yallingup holiday, Rustico is the place to go.
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Clothing boutique in the valley - Credaro Wines
This is the first time I’ve come across a winery that has a clothing boutique. Who would have thought you could buy clothes in the middle of a wine region (excluding the townships of Margaret River and Dunsborough, of course). It’s a lovely selection of light clothing in neutral colours. Sorry guys, they only have women clothing only.
Credaro also have a gift shop that sells homewares, books and jewellery.
Oh yeah, they also sell wine. I would recommend shop first before you commence wine tasting!!
The northern region around Yallingup seems to have the highest concentration of art and furniture galleries for some reason. You could spend two whole days just visiting all the galleries.
It is a nice break from the wines to view the local arts. You are spoilt with choice.
Yallingup Gallery – exclusive and expensive art and furniture.
John Millar Design – beautifully designed gold and silver jewellery. All unique designs.
Goanna Gallery – showcases local artisans including woodwork, photos, ceramics and jewellery. You can also relax and enjoy a breakfast or lunch in their adjoining café.
Happs Pottery – features the work of 5 potters where you can watch the potters work or take a lesson.
Gunyulgup Galleries – unusual but interesting art and crafts, with some jewellery.
Wilyabrup Dreaming Pottery – view the unique, ocean inspired ceramics and art.
The region from Yallingup to Augusta is made of limestone. This means there are many caves underground. However, only five caves are open to the public. Therefore, if you need a break from wine-hopping, why not cave hop down along the coast!
After many years of ‘tasting’ my way through this region, I finally ventured into a cave on this trip. Considering Ngilgi Cave (formerly called Yallingup Caves) was only 5 minute walk from my resort, I had no excuse. And it seems this cave was the most important one to visit.
Ngilgi Cave was the first tourist attraction for WA (Western Australia). Back in the late 1800s, travellers caught steam train from Perth to Busselton, then a full day ride to Yallingup in a horse and cart. Thankfully, today a car takes 3 hours. The ladies wore dresses with hoops and men in three piece suits. I don’t know how they did it as it gets quite humid down there. But I guess everyone wanted to be part of the birth of WA tourism.
The cave these days is fully lit to show off the best vantage points and has a wooden walkway throughout. The first section is a natural amphitheatre. And the other direction takes you further down into the depths of the cave. Be sure to look out for the fairy garden and the jewel cave.
It was impressive and well worth the one hour stroll. Next time I’ll do their Adventure Tour (closed due to Covid) and explore the other caves.
Museum and playground - Aravina Estate
Aravina Estate is most probably Yallingup's largest winery with the most variety of activities. It felt more than just visiting a winery for wine tasting. It holds something for everyone.
The style is grand with wooden paths and bridges to lead you to a large building overlooking the beautiful lake with the vines in the background.
And the inside is even grander. A first class restaurant with delicious dining. They do have an alternative where you can order bar snacks (pizzas or grazing boards), enabling you to sit outside and enjoy the live music (on weekends only).
However, if you delve further inside, you'll find a gift store with beautiful homewares. But wait there's more. Keep walking and you enter into another era. Wander through the well-designed museum showcasing the surfing history of the area,complete with old photos and old surfboards. Many a surfing champion practiced their craft in these waters. Plus for the rev heads, feast your eyes over some old cars. The Thunderbird was my favourite
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the restaurant still hasn't reopened but the bar snacks were still tantalising enough to draw in the crowds. I ordered a GF pizza and it tasted like it was freshly made pizza base (not a frozen pizza base warmed up that I usually get).
If you only had time to visit one winery in the Yallingup region, this would be the one I would recommend.
This is a bonus point especially if you can’t resist visiting a winery. Why not try something different like an organic winery. As organic produce is becoming increasingly popular and important to some, some organic wineries have been popping up in this region.
If you follow the coastal Caves Road from north to south (starting at Yallingup), you’ll be able to visit at least four organic wineries.
Both their whites and reds are on the light side. And according to my friend, it has the best dessert wine. (I'm not a fan of dessert wines so don't ask me).
Stormy Flower has a small selection. It is a small boutique winery so they do run out of stock.
Another small boutique winery, offers tastings with a view. Most of the wines are organic - they place an asterisk next to the name on the wine board. I found that most of their wines were on the fruity side.
Probably the largest organic winery in the region. And they have quite a reputation on the international scene too.
They do offer a jazzed up version of wine tasting. For a small fee you can sample 2 or 3 wines together with their signature biodynamic tasting board/platter. Saves you from getting too tipsy!
House of Cards
A playful winery, in terms of tastes and wine names. Find out which three grapes holds the Ace of Spades. Or try to catch the Queen of Hearts quickly (its a limited edition release). My favourite was The Joker, a smooth Shiraz.
You can also buy and create your own cheese platter, to eat with your wine tastings.
Your favourite things to do in Yallingup
This is just a small sample of things to do and see. Well what I managed to do in 5 days. There is plenty more when you venture further south to the township of Margaret River.
You would not be able to see everything in one visit. But hopefully this blog helps you to start planning on what you would like to see. Check out the Margaret River website for a complete list.
Book your accommodation now and then decide what would you choose to do first in Yallingup?