A bike, a fork, a bottle and a cork. Cycling through Margaret River

  • Posted by Julian Bradder
  • July 12, 2011 1:13 AM AEST

Ten years ago I headed through France on a Cycling for Softies holiday. Clearly I was softer than soft as the challenge of cycling 20km a day, punished my then very unfit body. Despite this, I really enjoyed the holiday, the social aspects of it and the change it made from the usual. It also succeeded in re-igniting a childhood passion for cycling. Now, a few years on and considerably fitter than I was, I was looking for a similar activity in Australia.

I work hard at keeping fit these days. Going away on holiday strikes a fear into my heart. A fear that the effort that will be required to get back to fitness after the holiday will be a hurdle that I don't want to face. This holiday to Australia is over 4 weeks in duration. Two more than the usual holiday. I need something that will keep me physically active during this period.

Wine is a passion that is probably even stronger within me than the notion of keeping fit and Australia produces some fine wine. Discovering a cycle tour through the famous wine growing Margaret River region of South West Australia struck not just one note but a chord.

Organised by CyclingTours.com.au this 4 day, 45km (28m) cycle ride is perfect for all kinds of cyclists and will appeal to intermediates as much as it will the advanced. This is a beautiful region of south west Australia, rich and varied in landscape with a climate comparable to that of Northern Mediterranean regions with four distinct seasons.

Place of love is the meaning of the aborginal name of the town of Yallingup and is the starting point for Day 1 of the Margaret River cycling tour. Famous for it's surf, this a laid back place which has bred many of the world's leading surfers. The cycle journey takes you through rolling hills, to famous wineries, breweries and a chocolate factory on route to Cowamaru. Vasse Felix and Cullins Wines provide the wine stops for the day.

Cowamaru is foodie heaven set as it is amongst farmland and offering fabulous gourmet shops and top notch restaurants. Arrive here in November and you will find yourself in the middle of the Margaret River wine festival.

Fed and well watered, Day 2 is a ride through the Marri Forest. After a delicious lunch at Berry Farm, a stop at the Brookwood Estate for wine once more, followed by a lazy cycle on to the picturesque and cosmopolitan town of Margaret River. Once again a feast awaits at the town's top notch restaurants to be enjoyed with wine from one of the regions 200 vineyards. A perfect reward for that oh so tough cycling that has dominated the day.

Day 3 is a round robin, taking the cyclist from Margaret River 11km out to the coastal town of Prevelly, an internationally renowned surf destination. Enjoy a delicious lunch, some time on the beach before stopping at Metelle Winery on the return trip to Margaret River, where yes you can suitably reward yourself again for that hard day on the treader.

Day 4 is busy and spectacular taking you from Margaret River south to Augusta. Here you stop at the impressive Mammoth Caves Nature Reserve and yes you guessed, stop to enjoy a few glasses of wine at the Voyager Estate Winery. This is a fabulous day cycling through the dense forest Karri forest on some remote roads.

This trip is perfect. It is four busy days. Four busy days in which a combination of exercise, great food and great wine leave you relaxed and sleepy at the end of each day, awakening reenergised to see more of the region the next day. Perfect for older families as much as for the single traveler, this trip provides the opportunity to make new friends and explore this spectacularly beautiful region of Australia.