Nestled in the bottom corner of Western Australia is the beautiful Margaret River region. An idyllic escape from the city, a Margaret River road trip takes in some of Australia’s most spectacular sights. Read on to discover the best things to do in Margaret River.
Alongside a host of pretty towns, the Margaret River region is blessed with a remarkable abundance of natural beauty. Almost all of the region’s gorgeous coastline is littered with breathtaking beaches, perfect for lounging in the sun or hitting the surf.
At the top and tail of Margaret River are Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, the start and end to the glorious Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, an area filled with exceptional hiking trails.
There’s also plenty of wildlife to be found in Margaret River too.
Kangaroos bask in the sun soaked fields while whales can be spotted during their migrations around the coastline between June and December. There’s also the chance to get up close to the friendly stingrays at Hamelin Bay.
Margaret River is also known the world over for its world-class wine.
A road trip to Margaret River offers the perfect chance to stock up on some of the internationally recognised reds, whites and rosés that are produced in the region’s countless wineries.
As well as wine, Margaret River is also a haven for foodies, with a wealth of fabulous restaurants and laid-back cafes (see our guide on where to eat in Margaret River below).
If you’re travelling to Margaret River from overseas then the most likely starting point will be Perth.
Perth Airport is served by destinations all over the world and is only a few hours drive from the Margaret River region.
At only 150 miles from the state capital, the drive from Perth to Margaret River takes just over three hours.
From Perth follow State Highway 2 southbound until it joins National Route 1. Then continue straight on State Route 10 at Bunbury which will bring you all the way to Margaret River. If you want to break up the journey there are plenty of things to do in Bunbury too.
If you need to hire a car for a Perth to Margaret River road trip there are plenty of car hire companies based in the city as well as at Perth Airport.
We always use Discover Cars to find the best rates on car hire wherever we travel.
» Find the best deals on car hire from Perth here.
The town of Margaret River is perhaps the obvious choice to stay in the region. Centrally located, the town is well stocked with a fine mixture of shops, bars and restaurants.
Alternatively, if you want to move around the region then you could easily stay a for a few nights in some of Margaret River’s smaller towns.
The towns of Augusta, Busselton, Cowaramup and Dunsborough also offer everything in terms of services, such as supermarkets, petrol stations and ATMs, as well as hotels and great places to eat.
If you need a few suggestions for somewhere to stay in Margaret River here are a few places that we recommend:
Just a couple of minutes’ drive from the centre of Margaret River, the Edge of the Forest Motel and Cottage is set amongst peaceful garden grounds at the foot of the Keenan State Forest.
Rooms are clean, comfortable and well stocked with all of the expected creature comforts and also come with a patio or outdoor space.
We stayed at Bussells Bushland Cottages, a group of eight holiday cottages surrounded by field after field of kangaroos.
Just a few minutes’ drive from Margaret River and close to the countless wineries on Caves Road, Bussells cottages are spacious, extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated throughout, a real home away from home.
Top of the range:
Possibly the most luxurious accommodation in Margaret River, the stunning apartments at Losari Retreat are set in a tranquil and secluded spot just 10 minutes from Margaret River.
Alongside the apartment’s beautiful decor, luxury touches include rain showers and private patios, and many apartments also come with their own hot tubs.
From stunning beaches, gorgeous wine and the best places to pick up some grub, here’s our guide of the best things to do in Margaret River.
Whether you want to relax on a pristine stretch of sand or get out on the water, Margaret River’s glorious coastline has a gorgeous stretch of sand to satisfy everyone.
Many of the beaches along Margaret River’s coastline are often deserted. Finding a heavenly secluded beach along Margaret River’s stunning shores is surprisingly easy.
From the family friendly beach at Busselton to the total seclusion of Redgate Beach, Margaret River is sure to have the perfect beach for you.
The huge waves at Surfers Point or Yallingup Beach are a magnet for surfers, especially in the summer when the waves are at their highest. Surfers Point is also where the Margaret River Pro is held each April.
The event sees some of the world’s best surfers descend on Margaret River to compete on the region’s fierce waves.
Whilst in Margaret River, make sure to call in to Hamelin Bay where a number of stingrays gather at the water’s edge each day.
Protected by law, the stingrays cannot be fished or harmed and have become accustomed to human attention (and often the food they dish out) that they’re happy to come close enough to touch.
» See Also: The 7 best beaches in Margaret River
From June to December each year the coastline around Margaret River becomes one of the best places to spot migrating whales.
Humpback, Southern Right, Minke and Blue whales swim past Margaret River’s shoreline in their thousands every year during their annual migration to more northerly waters.
To see these spectacular animals up close, head out on a whale watching tour. Tours depart from Augusta in the southern end of the region between June and August.
From August the whales move further north, so whale watching tours depart from Dunsborough and Busselton from September to December. A truly unforgettable experience, whale watching is easily one of the best things to do in Margaret River.
No road trip from Perth to Margaret River would be complete without sampling the local wines.
The smooth rolling fields of Margaret River are lined with countless vineyards that produce the region’s world famous wines. Margaret River’s wines account for around 20% of Australia’s premium wine market.
Dozens of wineries sit side by side in Margaret River, most notably along Caves Road.
Field after field is filled with seemingly endless rows of grapes slowly ripening in the sunshine. Stopping off to pick up a bottle or two is one of the best things to do in Margaret River.
Every vineyard in Margaret River has a cellar door where bottles of the region’s finest wines can be bought straight from the source, generally at pretty reasonable prices. What better souvenir from your Margaret River road trip?
As you might expect, it’s practically impossible to find a bad bottle of wine in the Margaret River region.
Of the many vineyards in the region the cellar doors at Brown Hill Estate, Amelia Park and Firetail are particularly worth paying a visit. The Domaine Naturaliste vineyard in Wilyabrup recently won a Dest in Show award for their 2020 Rebus cabernet sauvignon.
If you’re visiting the region in October don’t miss the Fine Vines Festival. A week-long event, the festival sees a number of wine-based events take place, including tastings, garden parties, tours and much more.
Many of Margaret River’s wineries also have restaurants on site and are excellent places to eat.
The restaurants and dining options vary, from the high end to the more informal. Though it’s famous for its wine there’s also a great range of breweries in Margaret River that are worth checking out too.
» See below for our recommendations of the best places to eat in Margaret River.
Inside Jewel Cave in Margaret River
Gorgeous Caves Road connects a series of magnificent underground caves that run right through the heart of the Margaret River region.
Beneath Margaret River is a collection of stunning prehistoric limestone caves, similar to the Jenolan Caves in New South Wales.
Just outside Yallingup at the north end of Caves Road is Ngilgi Cave, which was discovered by chance in 1899. At the southern end of Caves Road are a larger cluster of caves, including Lake Cave, named after the permanent lake of still water that sits at the bottom of the cave.
The spectacular chambers of Jewel Cave, the largest in Western Australia, are home to a huge collection of stalactites, stalagmites and limestone crystals.
Some of Margaret Rivers’ caves can only be entered through timed guided tours, whereas entry for others is by self-guided audio tours.
At the far north of Margaret River region is Busselton, famous for the world’s longest wooden jetty that curls out into the ocean from its shoreline.
A train ambles to the end of the pier if you’re not keen on the two kilometre walk. At the end of the pier is a fantastic underwater observatory from where you can see the spectacular exotic marine life that lives beneath the sea.
Caves Road runs the entire length of the Margaret River Region, largely parallel and to the west of the Bussell Highway. The road passes through much of the Margaret River region’s most beautiful scenery, including the Boranup Karri Forest.
The atmospheric Boranup Karri Forest is to be found towards the southern end of Caves Road. In a region blessed with natural beauty, Boranup Karri Forest is a sight to behold.
Many of the towering karri trees are around 60 metres tall, and a walk through the forest is an unforgettable experience. Park up at the Boranup Forest Viewpoint on Caves Road to take a walk amongst the majestic karri trees.
Later, take a detour off Caves Road and along Boranup Drive where you can also admire the magnificent trees and the magical nature of the forest.
You can also take in wonderful views of the region from the Boranup Lookout, where you can really appreciate the diversity of the region. From here there are incredible views of the karri forest, the wild bush and the beautiful sea and sands of Hamelin Bay.
If you can tear yourself away from the beaches and vineyards, the region’s towns are also amongst the best places to visit in Margaret River. Each makes a great base to explore the area during a Margaret River road trip.
Alternatively they’re also the perfect place to stop in for a stroll and to get a bite to eat as you explore the area. Besides the well-stocked town of Margaret River, there are plenty of others that are also worth exploring.
Small and stylish Cowaramup is a beautiful town with a number of fine cafes, as well as an abundance of fibre-glass cows.
Blink and you’ll miss it, but don’t pass through Witchcliffe without calling into The Flying Wardrobe, a charming vintage and collectibles store that wouldn’t look out of place in Melbourne or Sydney.
In the south of the region is the picture-perfect town of Augusta, well stocked with cafes and pretty boutique stores.
Just a few minutes’ drive away is the historic Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, where the Indian and Southern oceans meet at the far southern tip of the Margaret River region.
Running parallel all along the length of Margaret River’s coastline is the Cape to Cape Track, a 135 kilometre walking route that follows the ocean all the way from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin.
The route passes through the beautiful forests and heath fields of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and along several cliff tops that overlook the Indian Ocean.
It takes several days to complete the whole track from beginning to end, though the route can be broken into sections that only take an hour or two, depending on their level of difficulty.
Some sections of the track are paved but others are best for seriously dedicated hikers only.
Just to the west of Cape Naturaliste on the northern tip of the Margaret River region are the stunning beaches around Bunker Bay and Eagle Bay.
There are also breathtaking views from the base of the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste overlooking Geographe Bay. A little to the south of Cape Naturaliste is the jagged geology of Canal Rocks.
This natural canal has been created by centuries of ocean waves crashing into the granite coastline, forging a narrow wedge between two sections of craggy rock, now connected by a wooden bridge.
As well as being famous for world class wines, Margaret River also has a reputation for excellent food.
From swanky vineyard restaurants to the region’s best fish and chips here are the best places to get some grub in Margaret River.
Many of the wineries in Margaret River also have restaurants on site. One of the very best is the excellent Amelia Park Restaurant in Wilyabrup.
Set in a beautiful and stylish restaurant Amelia Park Restaurant serves exceptional modern Australian cuisine, topped off with wonderful views overlooking the vineyard.
Hidden amongst Margaret River’s Boranup Karri Forest, Pies & Ale does exactly what it says on the tin. The menu consists of a range of mouthwatering pies with a variety of stuffings inspired by world cuisine.
Popular pies include the Japanese chicken katsu pie and the Thai green lentil pie. There are also Aussie classics, such as beef pie, or pork pie with a dash of piccalilli. Extras and toppings can be added to make the pies into a meal, such as mash, mushy peas and red wine gravy. There’s also a great range of locally brewed beers on tap as well as a selection of cans and stubbies.
The fantastic Cottage Cafe at Berry Farm is a must visit during a Margaret River trip. With a wide ranging seasonal menu, gargantuan portions and heavenly surroundings Cottage Cafe is understandable always popular.
Booking ahead on weekends is usually essential, and expect to share your table with some of the beautiful wrens and finches who’ll be after a piece of your dinner.
For the perfect start to the day head to the excellent White Elephant Cafe for breakfast. This typically laid back Aussie cafe is perched right on the sea, with idyllic views overlooking the swimmers and surfers out in the pristine waters off Gnarabup Beach.
No visit to the coast is complete without tucking into delicious fish and chips. The best in the region can be found at Blue Ocean in Augusta. Amongst the freshly cooked fish are hake, snapper, whiting and shark.
Order to takeaway and then drive a few minutes south on Leeuwin Road before stopping and tucking in on the beach overlooking Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
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