“After living in [Margaret River] for 5 months, I can definitely say that YOU HAVE TO go there”
We finished our holiday from Australia in Ubud after spending 3 months in Singapore, Malaysia, and of course, Indonesia.
On our flight day, we ordered a Uber and drove the hour drive to Denpassar Airport. This airport is no exception and everything was incredibly overpriced! Especially if you are in the international terminal, for some reason I suspect it is not exactly the case in the domestic one…
Anyway, a three hours flight later and we landed back in Perth, Western Australia, with absolutely no idea on where to go next. Okay, we still had to go back to Merredin to pick up our car, but after that zits. So on arrival to Perth, we established a post of command in the food court and set for a night of research on “What to do next”.
It’s only after 6 hours of search that we stumbled on an advertisement for “Free Accommodation in Margaret River” on Gumtree. We read thoroughly seeking the trap, but there was none: in exchange for 10-12 hours of morning work in an Eco Bush Retreat, we would get free accommodation in the same place. We then sent a wee cover letter and our CVs, in hope we would be picked.
And just before taking the train to Merredin, after a SPLENDID night at the airport, we received an answer from the retreat manager saying they would be pleased to take us in. YAYYY!!
“We were in a little corner of paradise”
From then on our plan was to stay there for around a month while trying to find work. Then we would work a bit and travel slowly to the east coast by the south of Australia. Of course we planned to do our 3 months of farm work somewhere to get our second year of visa.
But we all know it did not happen like this. We found work after a week of help exchange at the retreat and ended up staying there for the 5 months left on our visa.
We could have moved on after a while, but we never felt like it.
Margaret River is a true corner of paradise. We could work for our accommodation in the morning with kind and friendly people, and cash in with our full time job. We still tried to find farm work in the area to get another year in Asutralia. However, the picking season was late and they would treat us like slave once it was there. No thanks!
On our days off, we discovered many of the multiple picture perfect beaches around, and ended many days facing the sunset at Surfers Point. We even had the chance to swim with the rays in Hamelin Bay. Having a 4WD, we also took the opportunity to discover some off road vistas. Wyliam took great pleasure in scaring me to death by driving the truck on many WAY TOO bumpy roads. I enjoyed it a lot thought. It gets your adrenaline pumping and leave you feeling indestructible. We never drove straight into the bush thought, we kept to the tracks and respected the wilderness around.
Furthermore, the South Western region is packed with natural caves, and we took a pleasure to tour around the 4 crystal show-tour caves. Out of them, we have a strong preference for Jewel Cave, which is the biggest and offers the most in-depth guided tour.
“We collected memories on those days”
On many Sarturday, I would go to the local Farmers Market with my friend Emma, who is the assistant office manager at the Retreat we worked at, and stock in fresh local products such as veggies, kombucha and organic & natural treats for the week. For special occasions -not really-, I would go to one of the many wineries around and pick some wine to go with REAL cheese picked up at Hay Shed Hill restaurant, Rustico. Moreover, we had the pleasure to visit the breweries in the surrounding area, beside the one we worked at already. In late March, we attended the South West Beer Fest in Busselton, a town 30 minutes away from Margs. There, we tasted beers and ciders from breweries located a bit further away from our location.
“You NEED to visit Margaret River”
After living in Margs for 5 months, I can definitely say that YOU HAVE TO go there. If it’s not to stay there for a while, take at least a week to do wineries & breweries tasting tour (DIY is the best and cheapest option if you have a designated driver otherwise there is loads of tour companies to choose from, my favourite being Wines for Dude), enjoy the sun at some of the many beaches and, of course, go to Farmer’s Market on Saturday. Oh, and you have to try glamping by staying in one of the safari tents at Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat. There you sleep nestled in the middle of the forest but can still walk 10 minutes and be in town. Also, many tours can pick-up/drop-off from this surreal place.
We would go back to our HelpX family in a heart beat if we could avoid the visa technicalities. They are the reason that makes Margs unforgettable to us. It felt amazing to wake up for work at the retreat knowing we had a super team with us. We also spent Christmas, New Year, and Easter, sharing their table. Memories were collected on those days and they are holidays we are not ready to forget. Wyliam and I, are forever grateful for that Gumtree Ad.
Finally, I hope you go to Australia and get to the South West region of Western Australia. Because you NEED to visit Margaret River. If you’ve never seen paradise, get ready to dive in head first!
Anything you would like to know about our adventures here? Don’t be shy and leave any questions and thoughts in the comment section below!