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Margaret River surfing

Thursday, April 6, 2006
Getaway has brought viewers stories about the food and wine delights of the Margaret River, but this story is about the area's world renowned surfing conditions. It attracts surfing enthusiasts from all over Australia and around the world.

Megan Gale was born in Perth and while she has made fame and fortune on the catwalks of Europe, the United States and Australia, she had never realised one passion — to learn to surf the Indian Ocean waves off Margaret River.

So we took Megan to Josh Palmateer's Surf Academy — the former pro surfer and a partner introduced surf coaching to the area in 1994 and the following year, he launched his own Surf Academy.

Josh spent most of his childhood in the water and competed in swimming and surf lifesaving at State and National levels. He discovered surfing at 12 and was hooked. Natural ability and years of pool training sessions soon saw him meet great success on the waves.

At 17, Josh began seven years of travelling on the Association of Surfing Professionals tour. He achieved a ranking of 45th in the world, surfing in Brazil, Japan, South Africa, the United States and Europe. Josh loves to share his knowledge, be it with grommets, school children, parents who fancy joining in, backpackers or those getting on in years.

Megan had success and enjoyed the exercise. While she's not ready to hit the pro circuit, surfing is now on her list of favourite things to do!

A great place to stay in the region is the Grand Mercure Basildene Manor. The building was classified in 1978 by the National Trust and Heritage and it is one of Western Australia's most historic guesthouses.

The property, built in 1912, sits amongst 5.6ha of vineyards. Its first owner was a lighthouse keeper at nearby Cape Leeuwin and set about emulating a grand English country estate. He was inspired by the area's natural building materials. Granite rocks were quarried and local jarrah was used for the staircases, balustrades, floors, central gallery and main hall. The front of the manor is shaded by an oak tree grown from an acorn taken from the grounds of Buckingham Palace and planted in 1930.

Basildene has 17 suites, main hall, lobby, cellar lounge, reading room, conservatory, terraces, pool, sundeck, tennis court, lakeside pergola and perfectly manicured gardens. The owners have blended old world charm with today's comfort and elegance.

A Heritage Wing has Courtyard Suites with enclosed patios, and Balcony and Lakeview Suites overlook farmland, lake and gardens. All have spas. Breakfast is served in the conservatory and you choose between a fruit buffet or a la carte. There are many great places for lunch and dinner, and staff at Basildene will be pleased to advise you on the best options.


Western Australia's south coast.


Josh Palmateer's Surf Academy operates in Margaret River between November and July and in August to September in Broome. Group lessons are from $40 per person and individual lessons are $110 per person. There's free pick up and drop off in the Margaret River area, and wetsuit and surfboard are included.

Basildene Manor has queen room accommodation starting at $249 a night.

For further information

Josh Palmateer's Surf Academy
Margaret River WA 6285
Ph: (08) 9757 3850, 0418 958 264

Basildene Manor
Wallcliffe Road
Margaret River WA 6285
Ph: 1800 65 2782
Fax: (07) 5562 1916

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

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