A more adventurous, but also ultra exclusive tour is run by Sean Blocksidge and his business The Margaret River Discovery Company.
Like so many people, we met in Margaret River, Sean has an interesting background. He was the general manager of a five star hotel, and formerly cellar door manager of Voyager Estate. Sean jokingly describes his tour as “Al Gore meets Jamie Oliver” but it’s more than that—a truly unique experience. Like Nola, Sean can tailor the tour to suit you; this was his ‘Margaret River Discovery Tour’.
Sean met us in his luxury 4WD, and on the way to our first destination while black cockatoos flew overhead, he spoke of the area’s history—aboriginal and European, as well as the ecology, geology and climate of Margaret River.
Sean is very passionate about the area: he is a volunteer for the local fire service, and that passion comes through. It’s not a boring geography lesson, just a fascinating chat with a good bloke. The first stop was canoeing the Margaret River. Now as a canoeist, canoodler…er, someone who canoes, I make a very good writer but my nautical navigation skills need some work—however, this was a serene, pleasurable experience, gently paddling down the tranquil, glassy river, navigating the meandering turns.
While Sean casually pointed out native flora and fauna, I (most of the time) evaded obstacles. Back on dry land and after a much-needed coffee, we headed off-road, down narrow bush tracks that only he has access to—again that exclusivity. Sean took us on a walk through the bush and explained the history of the Wardandi people, the original custodians of the area. We explored the beautiful Meekadarabee Waterfall—a dreamtime site that has great significance to the aboriginal people. In establishing his company, Sean wanted to create a unique experience that wasn’t being offered elsewhere, he also worked with Australia’s National Trust, the Wardandi people and winemakers including Fraser Gallop Estate, which happened to be our lunch destination.
Sitting in their barrel room over a gourmet lunch that Sean magically produced and several glasses of the barrel’s contents, we chatted with Fraser Gallop’s award-winning winemaker Clive Otto, one very easygoing guy—you get a lot of that here. Fraser Gallop is a magnificent property, but there is no cellar door, so if you’re not on Sean’s tour, access would be virtually impossible.