It’s no secret that the Margaret River region is home to some of WA’s most impressive natural landmarks and landscapes. What with our amazing sandy beaches, rugged bays and vast national parks, the Margaret River region offers some incredible opportunities to interact with nature spanning bird and whale watching, bush walking and bush tucker tasting, surfing, snorkeling, fishing and cave and countryside exploring.
To situate yourself centrally for a great trip connecting with nature in the Margaret River region, go no further than the Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary. Not only is this place set in the beautiful surrounds of Yelverton bushland, the property is a fully functioning conservation sanctuary – so you can get up close and personal with some amazing animal life (possums, bandicoots, kangaroos and woylies) who tend to congregate on the patio around breakfast time. Relax in the evenings after long days of exploring the region with a glass of wine in your private hydrotherapy spa under the stars, and take the stress out of it all with their in-house chef service throughout your stay.
Best of all, be among like-minded nature lovers who are there to enjoy all the region has to offer.
Bike Trails, Beaches and Bites
Ease yourself into the holiday spirit by spending a day exploring some of the more nearby attractions and getting immersed in the countryside. Start the day with a leisurely walk or bike ride along the Wadandi Track, one of the area’s most renowned bush trails. You can enjoy a delicious coffee and then hire your bike in Cowaramup from Golden Jersey Bike Hire or in Margaret River at The Hairy Marron, the perfect starting point for the Wadandi. There are also a whole host of other trails, including the Ten Mile Brook, which is a 15km round trip running along Margaret River, leading you to the picturesque Ten Mile Brook Dam.
Once your legs have had enough running, walking or riding, jump back in the car and take a drive to Fair Harvest, an established permaculture farm with a productive garden that you can visit and tour. If you happen to be here on a Thursday, their café will be open too! Make sure you book in advance if you’re interested in a tour. If you’ve got kids in tow, from here you can easily swing by Sunflowers Animal Farm, where you’ll find more than 350 baby animals living on a ten-acre farm that you can feed and pat. Otherwise, you could pop out to the Meekadarabee Falls, which offer a cruisy 2km walk that’s particularly beautiful when laden with wildflowers in spring.
Next, head north on Caves Road toward the beautiful Gracetown. As you head into the bay on Cowaramup Bay Road, you’ll see Grace Farm on your left. You can make bookings to taste premium, hand-crafted wine here and receive tours of their incredible property rich with bushland, on which they grow organic vegetables and fruit trees in addition to the vineyard. Continue down into Gracetown Bay, enjoying the incredible vistas from the top of the hill. You can park at North Point, which is a great place to snap a few photos of the bay and, if you’re up for it, to commence this section of the Cape to Cape, which will take you over to South Point – and beyond, if you want to see more of this rugged coastline and some of the region’s best surf breaks. Don’t forget to grab a quick bite from Gracie’s General before you commit to a long walk!
Finally, it’s time to head back up toward home. Take Tom Cullity Drive and stop in at Margaret River Providore for the ultimate taste of the region’s natural produce. Here, you can stroll through kitchen gardens, sample products and even watch products being made, before collecting some local goods to take home and enjoy.
Wild in Wilyabrup
Today, head a bit further north and explore the natural beauty of Wilyabrup and Wyadup. One of the best attractions for nature lovers in this area are the Quinninup Falls. To get here, drive all the way down Moses Rock Road and then take the Cape to Cape track up to the Falls. You’ll notice the distinct contrast between the wild sounds of the waves crashing and the sanctuary provided by the falls.
Next, head north on Caves Road to check out some of the region’s best coastline views – Injidup Point and Canal Rocks. Found at the end of Wyadup Road and Canal Rocks Road respectively, you will want to do much more than stand at the lookout and take photos. Make sure you’re ready for a swim at Injidup Beach and, if you’re into it, even a fish at Canal Rocks. Neighboring Smiths Beach is also a great place for a dip, snorkel or surf in the right conditions, and is incredibly picturesque. If you want to hit these spots on foot, the Cape to Cape runs along this whole section of coast.
From here you can journey to Petra Olive Oil Estate and enjoy a late afternoon wander through the olive groves or lunch. They also do an antipasti picnic that you can either take home or enjoy on the premises looking out over the dam (its BYO!). On your way home, you might even have time to stop in at the Wonky Windmill Farm and Eco Park, where (if you arrange it) you might be able to pick some fruit from the orchard!
Caves & Cape Leeuwin
Now, nature lovers just cannot leave the region without heading south. The landscapes and coastline around Augusta and Cape Leeuwin are some of the wildest and most untouched that the region has to offer! Start the day early, with a self-guided tour of Mammoth Cave as it opens at 9am. Take in the majesty of the cave’s chambers, check out the fossil remains of long-extinct megafauna, and finish up with a leisurely wander through the beautiful marri forest. Here, you are truly immersed in nature. You can also head to neighboring Lake Cave, featuring a tranquil lake which reflects the chamber’s delicate formation. Guided tours throughout the day take about 40 minutes – so aim for the 10am or 10.40am tour to keep the day open.
Heading further south, it’s time to visit the incredible Boranup Karri Forest, home to the third tallest tree species in the world. This can be done in your car or on foot (or a bit of both!). A cruisy drive along Boranup Drive will allow you to see multiple spots of interest, including the Boranup Lookout which allows you to take in both the forest and ocean views. From the lookout, you also have access to some walking trails, which for birdwatchers are particularly great. You may see purple-crowned lorikeets, fairy-wrens, white-breasted robins and golden whistlers, among many others! This is a great picnic spot, so we recommend bringing your own lunch to enjoy before setting off again.
From here, your next stop might just make your entire trip. A visit to Jewel Cave is absolutely non-negotiable on a nature lover’s itinerary of the region. With three massive chambers and the longest straw stalactites found in any cave in Australia, it’s easy to see why it’s considered the jewel of all caves! With guided tours only, aim for the 1.30pm slot because there’s still so much more to see.
Continuing down into Augusta, you’ll see why it’s becoming more and more popular as a nature and adventure mecca. Look out for dolphins, birdlife and fish at the Hardy Inlet, or drive down Green Hill Road to the Augusta Look Out where you get 360-degree views of ocean, forest and farmland and, in the right season, a beautiful array of wildflowers. Another great place to see wildflowers in season is at Flat Rock, which hosts a Flora Bushwalk right at the mouth of the Hardy Inlet.
But, you’re not done until you’ve ventured right down to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, perched at the southwestern-most tip of Australia where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. The views from here of the often-treacherous coastline are spectacular, and also offer the best on-land opportunities to see whales migrating from May – September! This Lighthouse, the tallest on mainland Australia, is still a vital working lighthouse for vessels navigating the cape. With guided tours of the lighthouse available every half hour daily, you can learn about the area’s maritime history and get some incredible views at the same time.
By the end of this huge day, you’ll be in desperate need of a hearty dinner – and possibly a beer or two. A beautiful bistro dinner at the Karridale Tavern, situated just 15 minutes north of Augusta and open 7 days, is sure to suffice before making your way back home.