Stories Along The Edge: The River Guide

When you take a road trip en route along The Edge, you’ll meet all sorts of local characters who will give you a glimpse into their world. They will tell you their Stories Along The Edge.

In the Margaret River Region, meet local tour operator Sean Blocksidge, otherwise known as The River Guide.

 

 

The association between Margaret River wine and the town’s namesake river lives in Sean Blocksidge as naturally as Chardonnay and Margaret River Mouth sunsets. Sean definitely isn’t alone in making the connection between wine and geography. (Terroir, anyone?) But as the owner and operator of The Margaret River Discovery Co., Sean presents the story in a unique light.

“Everything I do as a tourism operator is shaped by the environment,” Sean explains. “It’s wanting to showcase the best of Margaret River and then trying to connect that back to why the wines from Margaret River are so special – to show they are a total reflection of the landscape and of the geology and of the climate.”

And of the people.

A potrait image of local tour operator Sean Blocksidge to show local characters and experiences on The South West Edge road trip
Sean combines his passions for Margaret River and photography

“One of the things that everyone talks about is the colour of the water, which is more to do with ocean currents, but it’s something that resonates with people - that purity of colour and freshness.” - Sean Blocksidge of Margaret River Discovery Co. on The Margaret River.

Sean calls it “the frontier element”. That affinity the region’s locals have with the forest and the ocean, in particular. Frontier life involves working with the environment. A community can’t dominate a landscape with more power than they possess, and so a more equal relationship between humans and land is wrought. Conveying that sense means slowing down. Connecting to life beneath restaurant reservations and Google map instructions is a canoe on a river.

“I call it a massage for the soul,” Sean says of the paddle along the upper Margaret River that introduces all of his guests to his tour and his town. Tension released, awareness can come into play. What’s noticed is Margaret River’s purity.

“One of the things that everyone talks about is the colour of the water, which is more to do with ocean currents, but it’s something that resonates with people – that purity of colour and freshness.”

The translation of this understanding into wine by Margaret River’s committed viticulturists and winemakers is, for Sean, the sum of the town’s unique position on the South West Edge: a sense of place and adventure poured into a wine glass that will give you a taste of the region, and of the people who love it.

“Year after year after year we produce outstanding or exceptional vintages. Most regions have great years and average years. We don’t.” Sean’s feeling comes through clearly. “The reason for that is the climate. Once you understand that, you’ve unlocked the magic secret behind Margaret River wine.”

Sean delivers that understanding. Just as time spent with him delivers an understanding of the people who draw it together. In Sean’s words; a small, rooted, committed and connected bunch dedicated to the land and to each other.

“Everyone knows everyone, for better or worse,” Sean laughs. “But that offers an enormous support network. A sense of community. And I think that’s probably the thing I love most.”

A landscape image to show Stories Along The Edge with tour operator Margaret River Discovery Co. canoeing on the Margaret River
Sean Blocksidge of Margaret River Discovery Co.

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