Margaret River, Australia

Margaret River is a town located 9 kilometres (6 miles) inland from the Indian Ocean at a point about halfway between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia's South West region. It is 277 kilometres (172 miles) south of Perth, the state's capital.

The surrounding area is the Margaret River Wine Region and is known for its wine production and tourism, attracting an estimated 500,000 visitors annually. In earlier days the area was better known for hardwood timber and agricultural production.

The town is named after the river, which is presumed to be named after Margaret Whicher, cousin of John Garrett Bussell (founder of Busselton) in 1831. The name is first shown on a map of the region published in 1839. European migrants lived in the area as early as 1850, with timber logging commencing in around 1870. By 1910, the town had a hotel which also operated as a post office.

After World War I, an attempt by the Government of Western Australia to attract migrants to Western Australia (known as the Group Settlement Scheme) and establish farms in the region attracted new settlers to the town. In 1922 over 100 settlers moved into the district.

Margaret River's coast to the west of the town is a renowned surfing location, with world wide notoriety for its surf breaks.

The climate is humid Mediterranean, with an average annual rainfall of around 1,130 millimetres (44 in). Most rain falls between May and August. During the summer, the weather is very warm, though there are usually sea breezes and frequently sunny. The hot dry summers, coupled with strong winds, creates an environment where there is always a high risk of bush fires.

Margaret River is the foremost wine region in the South West Australia Zone, with over 138 wineries as at 2008. The region is made up of boutique-size wineries and whilst it produces just three percent of total Australian grape production, the region commands over 20 percent of the Australian premium wine market.

Cruises to Perth dock at the port of Fremantle and operate all year round. Australia's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere so Christmas here is in mid-summer and the coldest months are July and August.

General Information:

Population: 4,415 (2006)
Language: English
Currency: Australian Dollar
Time Zone: UTC/GMT +8 hours
Postcode: 6285
Dial Code: + 61

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