Winter in Margaret River
Now that winter is near, it is time to make plans to celebrate all that is brilliant this time of year in the Margaret River Region. To fully embrace the season, follow the example of the region’s original caretakers, the Wadandi people and enjoy the wonderful changes.
For more than 40,000 years, the Wadandi and their ancestors have made the Margaret River Region their home. Their understanding and knowledge of the region is vast. The concepts of sustainability and living in one with nature are inherited, and they are living examples of these ideas. The descendants of the original inhabitants take well-deserved pride in their heritage and are pleased to share it with those who want to learn.
An in-depth understanding of the seasons and how they impact life has helped the Wadandi thrive for millennia. The first caretakers crafted a six-season calendar as a way to live in harmony with nature. Using this natural guidance, the people knew what foods would be abundant and when to migrate to seasonably hospitable areas.
From April through July, the region experiences significant seasonal changes. The seasons of Djeran (April and May) and Makaru (June and July) mark the end of unrelenting summer heat and increased rain. During this time, the Wadandi would move inland after spending summer months at the shore. These months were prime hunting and gathering months. Additionally, it was time to prepare for the winter.
The Wadandi people knew Djeran was a critical time to prepare their shelters for the colder and rainier season of Makaru. Freshwater fish, turtles, and frogs were among the typical foods eaten during this season. The Wadandi would also collect from the bounty of fruits, seeds, and nuts available. Typically, this included zamia, palm nuts, and tubers.
Makaru brought intense storms from the Southern Ocean. Heavy rain and cold coastal winds were common in this season. The Wadandi made good use of this time for hunting. The game included possum, kangaroo, emu, and bandicoot.
Known as the seasons of adulthood and fertility, respectively, Djeran and Makaru usher in closeness and pulling together among Wadandi. Animals also began pairing up during these seasons to prepare for mating and bringing new life in the spring.
The Wadandi understood how wildlife impacted their survival. During Djeran, an abundance of red and rust colour wildflowers entice the birds, insects, pollinators, and small mammals who feed on nectar, ensuring life will continue. Fish, frogs, and turtles are plentiful sources of protein.
Makaru boasts wildflowers in shades of purple and blue, replacing the red flowers seen just weeks ago. This season brought numerous creatures, including black swans, kangaroos, wallabies, and other species were abundant, making this an ideal time for hunting. Because the Wadandi lived a holistic lifestyle, no part of any animal was wasted. Inedible parts were fashioned into hooks or tips for spears.
The weather in Djeran brought relief from the intense summer heat. Breezes and cooler nights signalled the coming changes. In Makaru, the cool temperatures and light breezes changed to strong winds and storms accompanied by much colder temperatures and heavy rain.
While the six seasons are still discernable, there are notable changes in the climate of the Margaret River Region. Overall warming, along with times of more frequent and intense hot spells, is noted across the region. Rainfall in the region has decreased by as much as 20% during Djeran and Makaru. This is slowly leading to a decrease in water available for agricultural use. These changes show the necessity of combatting climate change.
By visiting between April and July, you have the advantage of experiencing the region with fewer people. However, do not let the smaller crowds trick you into thinking fewer adventures await you in the cooler months. Aside from seeing fantastic flora and fauna whilst hiking one of the many local trails, you can enjoy other famous attractions like Jewel Cave or the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Tour the local wineries and cheesemaking shops or enjoy gourmet meals that feature locally sourced ingredients. A few other can’t-miss events include:
- Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival May 12-14
- Busselton Performing Arts Festival June 3-11
- Down South MTB Festival June 4-5
- Backyard Brewing Tournament June 24
- July at Origins Market July 1-31
- Cabin Fever Festival July 16-25
The Wadandi set the table for countless future generations. Their harmonious existence with the world around them is an excellent example of how sustainability can and should become a way of life for present and future generations.
When you visit the Margaret River Region, you can partner with thousands who have walked these lands before you and do your part to help ensure the natural treasures will be enjoyed for centuries to come. A few examples of how you can practice sustainability include:
- Seek out accredited Eco Experiences and accommodations. The region has an abundance of exciting adventures and enticing accommodations that make the grade as far as sustainability and eco-friendliness. Whether you enjoy caves, hikes, and other outdoor adventures or if fine dining, wineries, and historic landmarks are more to your taste, you can patronize dozens of accredited Eco- experiences.
- Take only pictures and allow the flora and fauna to complete its entire lifecycle. Not only is leaving nature as you found it the right thing to do but bear in mind it is illegal to remove anything from National Parks.
- Bring your reusable water bottle to reduce waste. The water in the region is wonderfully pure and ready to enjoy straight from the tap.
- It should go without saying that whether you are touring by car, hiking, or camping, it is vital to clean up after yourself. Do not overstuff full trash bins, as this attracts wildlife to the wrong food sources.
- Stay on marked trails. This is for your safety as well as to protect delicate parts of the ecosystem.
- When visiting cultural sites, make a point to pay attention to the signage and respect the customs and rules.
There is so much that can be learned about the cultural depth gifted to this region by the Wadandi. Visiting during the seasons of Djeran and Makaru provides a unique look at the beauty that is missed if your visits take place only in spring and summer. It is also a time that the foundation sets for rebirth in the spring.
A visit to Margaret River during Djeran and Makaru is one you will remember long after your return home. To make the trip even more enjoyable, contact Forest Rise. Our chalets will bring you close to nature with all the comforts of home. Whether you are on holiday as a couple, family, or group of friends, our eco-accredited lodging is an ideal way to travel with sustainability in mind.
Book DIRECT via our website or call us on 9755 7110 to receive your Complimentary Seasonal Welcome Pack with every stay of two or more nights. Enjoy the tastes of the region when checking in to Forest Rise, then enjoy the magnificence of the seasons and the abundant beauty surrounding you.
Book your tickets to Cabin Fever in Margaret River for winter, July 14-23rd. Forest Rise Chalets & Lodge offer 2 nights’s accommodation for 2 lucky winners! Tickets are now available here.