Check out the cellar doors, sample the food and bed down in the Great Southern.
First up is Plantagenet Wines, where the region's winemaking began – try the Three Lions Riesling and take home a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon. Stop by one of Alkoomi Wine's two cellar doors (don't miss the White Label Riesling) and head on over to Singlefile Wines, with their resident geese, for the Great Southern Sauvignon Blanc and the Single Vineyard Frankland River Shiraz. At Castelli Estate, have a taste of the Empirica Uvaggio GMS and, finally, visit Harewood Estate for great value reds including the Denmark Pinot Noir.
For breakfast and coffee
Emu Point Cafe
Style meets substance at Kate Marwick’s breezy, casual waterfront café in Albany. The coffee is among the best in town (ditto the shakshuka), the porridge is fine-tuned seasonally and the lunch specials, such as wild-mushroom arancini with tomato kasundi, are worthy of extending your coffee break.
1 Mermaid Avenue, Emu Point
Pepper & Salt Restaurant
Denmark, on the whole, is a good-looking place but the tree-lined vistas from the deck at Pepper & Salt Restaurant are something else. And the dishes are equally thrilling. Chef Silas Masih has a way with spices, as demonstrated by true-to-type, cosmopolitan winners such as seafood tom yum, Javanese-style chargrilled chicken and kangaroo loin with hot-and-sour eggplant kasundi.
Forest Hill Vineyard, 1564 South Coast Highway, Denmark
The atmosphere may be laid- back at this big waterfront restaurant but the kitchen takes its food seriously. Flour is milled in-house, the pantry is full of products from Great Southern farmers and a dedicated dry-ageing program yields some of the best – and best-value – steak in the state. This local-first philosophy extends to the thoughtful wine selection, too.
6 Toll Place, Albany
For taking home
Dark Side Chocolates
Chocolatier John Wade’s past life as a winemaker is evident. Both activities are “all about flavour, balance, structure and using good raw ingredients”, he says. Whether he’s working with ganache, cherry and coconut or native ingredients such as aniseed myrtle or wattleseed, the handmade chocolates at Dark Side are an excellent souvenir of the region.
Denmark Visitor Centre, 73 South Coast Highway, Denmark
The Beach House at Bayside
With a fireplace in the lobby and conscientious hosts Sally and Craig Pullin at the helm, you can expect a warm welcome at the elegant Beach House at Bayside B&B. It has contemporary, hotel-style rooms and more traditional quarters and is an easy stroll from both Middleton Beach and Albany Links Golf Course. Local ingredients shine in Sally’s polished cooking – think scrambled eggs with extra-large spears of Torbay asparagus.
33 Barry Court, Bayside Links, Albany
The Dakota isn’t the name of the property but, rather, a prop aircraft that’s been converted into one of Western Australia’s most original accommodation options. Its interiors have been lined with timber, the cockpit is now a bathroom and this permanently grounded DC-3 has been stocked with everything that intrepid travellers need. Views of the property’s working windmill and the Stirling Range cap off this surprise package.
9793 Chester Pass Road, Amelup
If you don’t want to drive
The best way to see Australia’s largest wine region is with Over-A-Barrel’s small-group tours. While itineraries can be customised to guests’ whims, behind-the-scenes visits that include meeting winemakers and tasting wines from the barrel are always available.
Top image: Alkoomi Wines