BBQ with a View: 7 of the Best Al Fresco Dining Spots in Western Australia
Australia is synonymous with barbecue. No surprises there though – it’s a brilliant way to combine some of the main drawcards of the Land Down Under: stunning beaches, great food and wine, and seemingly endless sunshine. And where better to embrace it than Western Australia, which basks in UV all year round? Not to mention it’s got nearly 7,500 miles of coastline and boasts some of Australia’s best produce. Outdoor cooking is a way of life here, a fact made clear by the abundant free grilling facilities at some of the most scenic spots.
Embark on our South West Highlights itinerary and you’ll get the chance to discover the very best of that Aussie al fresco lifestyle, as well as this wonderfully biodiverse state. Planning your pitstops? We’ve rounded up seven unmissable barbecue spots with a view en route:
1. Kings Park, Perth
Start your trip in Perth. Australia’s sunniest city has 19 city beaches, with the likes of Scarborough, City Beach and many others having facilities overlooking the sands. But our pick for the best barbecue spot is Kings Park and Botanic Garden. An impressive 980 acres, just minutes from the city centre, it offers incredible views of the Swan River and natural bushland. Awash with the scent of eucalyptus, it’s home to more than 3,000 species of Western Australia’s unique flora. Barbecue facilities are offered at Fraser Avenue’s Pines Picnic Area, May Drive Parkland, Poolgarla Family Area and Saw Avenue Picnic Area. Whether you wander the walking routes through the park, enjoying the outdoor concerts or moonlit cinema held December to March, or visit the famed 750-year-old boab tree, Kings Park is a Perth essential.
2. Rottnest Island, Perth
If you visit Perth and forgo Rottnest Island you’ll never forgive yourself. A short ferry ride from the city, Rottnest is a highly protected nature reserve, rich in wildlife. Now both a day trip and longer holiday destination, its main draws (other than the world-famous quokka) are its 63 beaches, 20 bays, salt lakes and snorkel trails. But a new way to soak up the coast is on a luxury seafood cruise where you can help catch the local lobster before enjoying a succulent barbecue accompanied by fine WA wines, whilst gently cruising around the island.
The coastal city of Mandurah, less than an hour’s journey by car or train from Perth, is blessed with endless stretches of pristine, white-sand beaches and beautiful waterways. Hiring an eco-friendly Mandurah Barbecue Boat is a fun way to explore the glistening canals and estuary. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin or two along the way!
These easy-to-drive, doughnut-shaped boats hold up to 10 people, with a sleek barbecue fitted in the centre. Before you climb aboard, call in at one of Mandurah’s excellent butchers, fishmongers and bottle shops to pick up some fresh local produce for the grill.
4. Yallingup Beach Foreshore, Margaret River Region
In a region that’s literally bursting with beaches, Yallingup Beach, 21 miles north of Margaret River, vies for a top spot. You’ll find a mix of families and surfers, and, well, families who surf. Enjoy a barbecue on the foreshore in view of some of the most sought-after coastal real estate in Western Australia, and daydream about when surf shacks went for a fraction of the price. Prefer someone else to man the grill? The beach kiosk here serves up everything from toasties to octopus and wines from the surrounding vineyards. A true slice of coastal culture.
5. Beerfarm & Burnt Ends Smoking Co., Margaret River Region
Margaret River is renowned for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but we all know that it’s beer and barbecue that are the real match made in heaven – a fact not lost on husband-and-wife team Nathan and Eileen Booth. Their low-and-slow barbecue at the Burnt Ends Smoking Co. sits next to Beerfarm, one of the south-west’s many craft breweries. Using Black Angus beef reared on the property, they serve up everything from smoked beef tostadas and pulled pork burgers to 48-hour brined smoked chicken wings with spicy peanut sauce, sesame, salad onions and chilli. Yum.
6. Karri Valley
About a 90-minute drive southeast of Margaret River is the Karri Valley Resort, sitting on the edge of Lake Beedelup in the Southern Forests, and surrounded by towering Karri trees. This serene spot is a great jumping-off point for the national parks here; take a trip to Manjimup for truffle hunting or take to the skies on the Treetop Walk at Valley of the Giants, suspended 40 metres high atop the canopy of the ancient tingle forest.
However you choose to spend your day, top if off with a lakeside barbie using the facilities at Karri Valley Resort, where you’ll spot incredible birdlife and kangaroos hopping around the grounds.
7. Mount Clarence, Albany
While the Indian Ocean captures the imagination of many a visitor to Western Australia, the Southern Ocean that runs east from Cape Leeuwin in Augusta (at the south-western tip of Australia) is a wilder, more dramatic experience. At Albany’s Mount Clarence you can cook up a storm overlooking Frenchman Bay, all while spotting the humpback and southern right whales which cruise these waters in their thousands (Jun-Dec). The Great Southern region has reputation for world-class seafood, including oysters and abalone, as well as cool-climate wines, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to ingredients and finding the perfect pairing.
Head Down Under and explore Australia’s beautiful south-western corner. Tick off the highlights as you travel to the vibrant cities of Perth and Fremantle, quaff
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