The South West region of Western Australia around Margaret River is uniquely diverse and was recently voted one of Australia’s Top 10 Family Friendly Destinations by Lonely Planet. There are dazzling beaches with white sands and crystal clear waters, great for swimming and water sports, including fishing and surfing. It is home to ancient forests with gigantic pale barked Karri trees, waterfalls and underground caves. The South West is famous for high quality fresh and gourmet produce, warm customer service and boutique restaurants and cafes. Most people come to the region to slow down and relax whether that be going wine & gourmet food tasting, whale watching, hiking, appreciating local art, or visiting a luxury spa or yoga retreat; there is something for everyone.
The quality of family friendly accommodation is also very high; there are some resorts that have everything from big beach houses, to chalets and camping grounds but have access to some amazing facilities for all like a pool, spa, water slide, big indoor games rooms with a theatre room set up on the beach near shopping facilities and local restaurants and attractions.
The South West is in general is so warm and welcoming to families but there are a few places that are special, here is a few of them.
Aravina Estate, Yallingup
Yallingup is a stunning part of the world; it has pristine beaches, beautiful natural bushland and gourmet food. Nested liked a jewel amongst rolling hills and vineyards is Aravina Estate. Aravina looks like something out of a picture book with its classic architecture and beautiful colourful gardens. There are also a few pleasant surprises like the luxury sports car gallery and European designed, fully fenced playground.
The food is world class and the chefs pride themselves in using high quality local ingredients and have their own kitchen garden.
Café Boranup, Boranup
The Boranup Forest is well known for its gigantic pale barked Karri tree’s overlooking the ocean. These trees grow up to 60 meters tall or higher and are unusually close to the coast, so walking through the forest you get this cleansing aroma of ancient trees and the ocean breeze, it’s magical.
Deep in the forest near underground tourist caves is Café Boranup. Many people come here to sit and enjoy a wholesome meal surrounded by the beautiful forest.
Inside its warm and cosy with couches, blankets, cushions and games for all and outside you can enjoy the view of the Boranup Forest and some of the artwork from the art gallery next door.
Café Boranup has a great outdoor kid’s play area, with toys, tables and lots of room to move around. My family likes to walk through the forest or visit one of the underground caves and then relax at Café Boranup.
Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery, Margaret River
The most well-known family friendly brewery in the South West region is the Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery in Margaret River. It’s a fairly new establishment and has a fantastic modern fully fenced playground with tables nearby so you can sit and enjoy your meal while the kids play. They have Paleo & Gluten free options and their beer’s & ciders are made with local rainwater and contain no nasty preservatives.
Duckstein Brewery, Margaret River
The Duckstein is a German brewery situated on a magnificent estate in Margaret River.
It has its own man-made island with gardens that you can visit via bridge, a koi pond, unique monuments and a working display brewery.
There is a terrific outdoor playground for the kids next to tables and chairs so you can sit and enjoy a delicious traditional German meal of Schweinshax’n (pork knuckle), Bratwurst or the mouth-watering Schnitzel. To keep the kids happy they have colouring in, high chairs, baby change facilities and a kids menu.
Jarrah Jacks Brewery & Wood smoke Café, Pemberton
Perched on top of an idyllic vineyard valley in the pristine Pemberton forest sits the Jarrah Jacks Brewery & Wood smoke Café.
The quality of food is excellent and they have a lot of local produce to try. I highly recommend their taste plates!
Inside you can partake in some wine tasting and enjoy a meal by the fire while the kids enjoy the play room.
Dogs are also welcome at Jarrah Jacks, outside on a leash and there is also a kids play area and tables with a beautiful view of the gardens and vineyards.
Lavender Berry Farm, Pemberton
Famous for their gigantic gourmet pancakes, lavender ice cream & fresh berry sauce the Lavender Berry Farm in Pemberton is a famous must visit destination for families.
You can stroll around the beautiful gardens, feed friendly Alpacas and meet ponies other charming farm animals. There is an outdoor playground for the kids with some chairs and tables close by and if you are looking for some family friendly accommodation they also have some fully self-contained chalets with lake views.
Laurance Wines, Margaret River
Laurance Wines in Margaret River is one of the most stunning wineries in all of the South West. It is pretty much what I imagine heaven would look like.
Laurance is situated on an elegant estate and is home to over 1,000 rose bushes of all different colours, fragrances and species – photo’s don’t do it justice.
The estate is adorned with distinctive artwork featuring a Garden of Eden and the famous “Free as a Bird”, a 3 meter statue gilded in 24ct gold leaf suspended in the middle of a lake on an electric blue pole. Inside there is an impressive wine glass chandelier, a roaring fire and complimentary wine tasting. Outside there is sporting equipment and a kid’s playground with tables and chairs nearby so you can sit and enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the beautiful estate while your kids play to their hearts content.
Rise & Co, Busselton
Busselton’s newest family friendly café is Rise & Co. It is an artisan bakery with a beautiful indoor kid’s room, raw sweet treats and gluten free options.
The café has quickly become a hit with parents, especially on those rainy days, because you can sit and have a chat over a cuppa or a delicious meal while the kids enjoy the playroom and they also have high chairs and baby change facilities.
Rustlers Steak House, Albany
One of the best family friendly places to go out for a meal in Albany is Rustlers Steak House.
They are famous for their warm customer service, value for money delicious meals and relaxed atmosphere.
No matter what you order here, you will not go home hungry. Even the kid’s meals are very generous!
Rustlers have vegetarian, seafood and even a kangaroo dish but they are most famous for their melt in your mouth amazing steak & ribs and their signature sauces and dressings.
They have a fantastic kids menu, high chairs, baby change facilities, toys for the kids to play with lots of room to manoeuvre.
Three Anchors, Albany
One of my favourite places to visit with my family is Middleton Beach in Albany. The beach is pristine and a great calm place for kids to splash around and go swimming. It has an excellent family friendly resort, several playgrounds, a boardwalk and a variety of cafés and restaurants.
Three Anchors restaurant not only has fantastic locally sourced food and ocean views but a kid’s playground too! I can’t think of anywhere else in the South West where you can sit and enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean and a playground, usually it’s one or the other.
I love being able to take a leisurely walk along the beach from the resort to the restaurant and enjoy a meal or a cup of tea while my kids have fun on the playground. For me that is what I call a relaxing family holiday.
Jacinta is a proud mum, wife & writer from sunny Busselton, Western Australia.
She is passionate about real food, books and her local South West region.
Currently Jacinta blogs about the beautiful South West here and goes by @therealfoodmum on Instagram.