CaptionWESTERN AUSTRALIA47The Outram, PerthIn leafy west Perth, The Outram, a member of the'Small Luxury Hotels of the World' is one of thecity's leading boutique hotels. The style is chic andmodern but with personal service and a relaxedambience. The 18 guestrooms are comfortable,contemporary in style and have lovely spabathrooms. Kings Park is close by and although thehotel's own restaurant is excellent there arecountless dining options within walking distance. FREMANTLEThis cosmopolitan port is around half an hour'sdrive from Perth. A centre for the state'stalented creative community, it has a livelyatmosphere which spills out on to the streetswith buskers and local artists vying for attention.The city's historic and impressively restored WestEnd offers fine 19th century architecture bestseen from the Round House, built in 1831 bythe first settlers as a gaol, which offerspanoramic views of Rottnest Island, the harbourand the town. The magnificent MaritimeMuseum sits at the entrance to the harbour andcontains an exhibition of maritime history, whichincludes Australia's 1983 America's Cup success.Fishing Boat Harbour is a popular dining spotwith restaurants clustered on the boardwalk. Fremantle MuseumWarden's cottageThe OutramFremantleTerrace Bed & Breakfast,FremantleThis charming High Street bed & breakfast issituated in a colonial two-storey terrace house closeto Fremantle Town Hall and the pretty port. Built byconvicts in 1857 to accommodate gold rush settlers,the house has now been restored and has four lovelybedrooms. If you prefer to self-cater, the owners, Valand Ian, also have three restored stone wardens'cottages in the grounds of the old Fremantle prisonwith all of their period features preserved.
Dolphin Bay, EsperanceMARGARET RIVER Around three hours south of Perth by road, thebeautiful Margaret River region is famed for itsworld-class wineries, many of which are family-run, offering tastings, superb lunches and cellardoor sales. The natural beauty and peacefulpace of the southwest is intoxicating and thereare plenty of walking trails through sprawlingfarm pastures. It is stunning in the wildflowerseason from October to November, when thelandscape bursts to life in a kaleidoscope ofcolour. With the sophistication of the vineyardson its fringes, it's reassuring to see that thesmall town of Margaret River is relativelyunspoilt, just a sleepy main street with a diverserange of alternative galleries and craft studios,and a few small shops to help you stock up fora picnic on the beach. 48Cape Lodge, Margaret River Sitting pretty on the edge of a private lake, thismagical lodge is edged by vines and recognised asone of the finest in Australia. Of the twenty or soguestrooms, the Forest Spa suites are the mostluxurious with a terrace or balcony overlooking thelake, encircled by acres of sweeping lawns andforest. The lodge's renowned restaurant, rated insome surveys as amongst the best in the world,overhangs the lake, with an extensive cellar offeringthe finest of the region's wines. Basildene Manor,Margaret RiverThis gracious manor blends the grandeur of the pastwith contemporary style. In the heart of this lovelywine region, Basildene Manor is a short drive fromMargaret River township, neatly tended vineyardsand a range of stunning beaches. With justseventeen beautifully appointed rooms overlookingfarmlands, lake and gardens it has a delightfulambience, ideal for a relaxing stay. Guests canchoose between the traditional character Manorguestrooms with original features or spacious newwing suites with a private courtyard and balcony. FORESTS AND THE GREATSOUTH WEST South of Margaret River the landscape changesdramatically from rolling pastures to a denseforest of towering karri trees, some over 400years old. The sleepy town of Pemberton,originally the hub of the timber industry butnow with a new reputation for boutiquewineries, is tucked away in a karri valley, edgedby the coast and offering walking tracksthrough the forest, sprinkled with the vibrantcolours of seasonal wildflowers. The small townof Walpole, east of Pemberton, is entirelysurrounded by national park, in an area definedby the remarkable meeting of the sea andforest. The 'Valley of the Giants' treetop walkoffers the chance to venture along a suspendedwalkway amidst the awesome giant red tingletrees. Walpole gives way to peaceful Denmark,on the banks of the Denmark River, referred toas the 'back garden of Perth' for its sweepinglandscape and lush, temperate flowers. Thestunning coastal town of Albany is rich inEuropean history and offers some delightfulhidden natural gems including The Gap, NaturalBridge and beautiful Little Beach. The region isideally explored by car as distances are relativelyshort and there is plenty to see and do.Basildene ManorCape Lodge