With world-class beaches, hidden caves, and more fine produce than you can poke a fork at, a road trip through the Margaret River Region is enticing for all kinds of holiday-makers.
Distance from Perth: 220km
With its Norfolk pine-lined foreshore, red tourist train and a beachside kiosk, Busselton has a sense of holiday nostalgia. Stripped back and relaxed, it’s got all the calling cards of family getaways past and of memorable family getaways to come.
Walk the length of the iconic 1.8-kilometre -long Busselton Jetty, then go below deck at the underwater observatory. Reward your efforts with an ice cold pint at Shelter Brewing Co, overlooking the crystalline waters of Geographe Bay. Move from the sea to the trees and go zipping through the canopies of the Ludlow Tuart Forest with Forest Adventures South West. If you’re seeking more thrills, call into Discover Deadly, where you can see snakes, dragons and even crocodiles. Before departing Busselton, call past Origins Market to stock up on all your favourite regional produce.
Where to stay
Get a glimpse of life on ‘millionaire’s row’ at Abbey Beach Resort. The resort’s one, two, and three-bedroom apartments sit just metres back from the white, sandy beach, and each comes with a private balcony and spa.
Distance from Perth: 247km
Life is indulgent in Dunsborough, the glamourous coastal town at the base of Cape Naturaliste. The days start with an early morning dip in the glassy waters of Geographe Bay, bleed into a wine-filled long lunch, and end on the porch of a five-star stay.
Find yourself some new earthenware at Commonage Pottery and Gallery, a working pottery studio, art gallery and workshop on the grounds of the family-owned Happs Wines. Indulge in a cheese and wine pairing before moving on for more swilling and swirling at Marri Wood Park. Later, get subterranean to admire the sparkling stalactites of Ngilgi Cave, exploring with a cave guide or on a tour with Koomal Dreaming. End the day on the sand, watching the sun go down over the calm Meelup Beach.
Where to stay
Get a taste of farm life at the self-contained Wyadup Brook Cottages, set on 100 hectares of agricultural property amongst the peppermint trees. Alternatively, relax in utmost luxury at the region’s most exclusive stay, Pullman Bunker Bay Resort.
The land around Cowaramup is some of the Margaret River Region’s most bountiful; it’s where you’ll find the majority of vineyards, breweries, distilleries, farms and orchards. A playground for the palate, this is the one south-west pocket no food or liquor lover can miss.
For an al fresco lunch with a tasting of some signature wines, consider Cullen Wines; one of the first families of WA wine, the Cullens have also led the biodynamic viticulture carbon positive revolution. Do your skin a favour and call into Vasse Virgin, a modern-day apothecary specialising in all natural, extra virgin olive oil-based soaps. Beerfarm is next on the hit list: go for the brews and laid-back country ambience, stay for the barramundi burger and triple cooked potatoes. Swap the pint glass for a wine glass and see how Bettenay’s wines fare when paired with deliciously sticky Margaret River Nougat Company goods (it’s the estate’s signature experience). The family friendly Gracetown Beach – or Cowaramup Bay to the locals – is just a short drive away.
Where to stay
Distance from Perth: 270km
There’s no place quite like Margaret River. Its undulating, forest-flanked vineyards lay just kilometres from some of WA’s most photographed beaches. In the space of a day, you can experience everything from a birds of prey rehabilitation centre to a fudge factory via some of Australia’s greatest wines. The region is rich with experiences, as varied as the landscapes on which they happen.
While you’re in the region, kayak, paddleboard or walk a length of its namesake, the tranquil Margaret River (Wooditjup Bilya). It would be remiss not to visit Surfers Point, the thundering break that put the town of Margaret River on the World Surf League map. Calm the nerves with a glass or two and a four-course lunch at Voyager Estate. Animal lovers can’t miss Eagles Heritage, one of Australia’s biggest centres dedicated to the rehabilitation of eagles.
Where to stay
Distance from Perth: 316km
Augusta is a quintessential seaside town, as far to the south-west as you can get on mainland Australia. Life here is slow and simple, with the rugged and wild natural surroundings of Cape Leeuwin left to do all the talking.
On your way to Hamelin Bay, cruise through the Boranup Karri Forest, where towering karri and marri trees create a spectacular scene. From the bay’s sandy white shores you can watch the resident fever of eagle rays glide by on their daily hunt for a feed. Thrill-seekers can get their kicks on an electric quad bike tour with Eco Adventures Margaret River, while geo-lovers can descend the depths of Mammoth Cave. An absolute must is climbing the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. It’s at the tip of the cape where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.
Where to stay
Experience Augusta is the local authority on all things Augusta. They have over 30 holiday homes in their portfolio, ranging from modern one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom beach houses overlooking Flinders Bay.