Blackwood River, Augusta. Image by Tim Campbell

3 Day Family Holiday in Augusta

Augusta is the Margaret River Region’s best kept secret, and the quintessential family holiday town for rest, recuperation and reconnection.

It’s only forty kilometres from the ever-popular Margaret River township, and though that might not sound like a lot, it’s a different world down here.  You’ll notice it in the land and seascapes, as the jarrah and marri trees give way to the towering karri forest of the Valley of the Giants, and the Indian Ocean greets its raw and unpredictable Southern cousin.  Augusta is also home to the South West’s largest waterway, the Blackwood River, which cuts a swathe through hidden valleys and secluded woodlands.

To help you navigate your way around, we’ve revealed some of Augusta’s hidden gems in this action-packed three-day itinerary – including experiences with some of the most unique locally-run tours the region has to offer.  Augusta is the region’s answer to nostalgia for family-holidays of old, providing total immersion in serene nature, the opportunity to unwind and to get a taste of the region’s finest produce.

Blackwood River Houseboats Augusta

Blackwood River Houseboats

One of the region’s most unique accommodation offerings, a stay at Blackwood River Houseboats has you completely immersed in this thriving waterway, surrounded by bush walks and birdlife, the odd dolphin and of course, enough private fishing spots to poke a rod at. The houseboats are fully self-contained, complete with a functioning kitchen (in which to cook up your catch) and front and rear decks for relaxation.

Experience Augusta

Offering a range of excellent properties, many of which are architecturally designed, Experience Augusta is a good go-to for families of varying sizes and needs. Choose from town apartments, big beachfront homes or low-key seaside shacks – regardless, you’ll be surrounded by Augusta’s lively waterways and vibrant natural beauty.

Hamelin Bay Holiday Park

You couldn’t ask for a prettier location than Hamelin Bay Holiday Park. Situated directly on the bay you are on the doorstep of one of the region’s most picturesque beaches and can take the boat out for some sunset fishing, or cook up a barbie with produce from the on-site general store. Cabins are a convenient and great option, but camping is just as fun and there are plenty of excellent sites under the peppermint trees. With Cosy Corner to the south, there is so much to discover in this part of the world. And of course – don’t forget to say hello (from a distance) to the wild sting rays who live in the bay!

Morning

Eco Adventures Forest-web Credit Nathan Dobbie

Ease into breakfast in the heart of Augusta township at Deckchair Cafe. You can sit back and relax with a cup of coffee from local roasters Yahava and enjoy glimpses of the Blackwood River.

Then for a change of pace jump on a solar powered electric quad bike and head off on a guided tour of the beautiful Forest Grove trails with Eco Adventures. You will see a side of the region that only a lucky few get to experience, and driving along on a whisper quiet bike will connect you both to nature and your adventurous side. It’s fun for the whole family with riders aged from 4 to 94 all able to enjoy the tour.

This area is also abundant in million-year-old limestone caves, so you could spend a couple of hours exploring one.  There are guided tours at Jewel Cave, and a self-guided audio tour at Mammoth Cave.

Lunch

For lunch, stop at the rustic Karridale Tavern, where the outdoor tables are crafted from giant karri stumps.  Karridale was once the epicentre of the entire region thanks to a thriving timber trade, and this pub is a relic of past prosperity.  The bronzie burger is a winner, made from fresh-caught local whaler shark.

If you’ve got time, check out the Margaret River Sculpture Park, where the interactive ‘Giant’s Garden’ houses dozens of wooden sculptures.  Some are up to four metres tall, and all were handcrafted with a chainsaw. Alternatively, spend some time cruising the Augusta main street shopping for gifts, or head to Oriel Karridale Gallery or Boranup Gallery to take home some locally-made jewellery, furniture or art pieces.

Afternoon / Evening

Take a late-afternoon walk along the Augusta Rivermouth beach, where spanning the horizon are the towering cliffs of a mostly inaccessible section of WA’s South Coast.
Enjoy dinner and a panoramic river view at sunset from the deck at the Augusta Hotel.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Photo: Scott Slawinski

All Day

After breakfast, head for a swim at the sheltered Flinders Bay, Western Australia’s original whaling settlement. This quaint seaside settlement is also a fantastic spot for whale watching between June and September, when the WA coastline becomes a highway for migrating humpback and southern right whales. If you’re visiting during this period, both Naturaliste Charters and Legend Charters offer open-ocean adventures, spotting migrating humpbacks and southern right whales.

From here, head down to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.  This is the most South-Westerly point of Western Australia, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.  The lighthouse is the tallest on Australia’s mainland, and was painstakingly constructing using local limestone.  Visit the award-winning interpretive centre housed within an old lighthouse keepers cottage, and learn all about the harsh realities for families living in this isolated place over the last 100 years.  Grab some lunch, tea, or light refreshments from the Lighthouse Keepers’ Café – the scones are legendary.

Then head to the nearby Water Wheel, and observe the work of some of WA’s first Europeans.  This structure pumped water from a nearby spring for the lighthouse builders to mix mortar, and later piped in water to the lighthouse for its keepers.  The one hour walking trail to Skippy Beach, past colossal granite rocks, rock pools, and coastal bushland, is also worth a hike.

While away the afternoon by wetting a line off the rocks at the Augusta marina.  Or if it’s rough, head to the sheltered estuary, where at the Ellis Street jetty you can hire a paddleboard, kayak, tinny, or fish for silver bream.  If you don’t have any luck try the Blue Ocean Fish & Chip shop, which took out the bronze medal in the 2017 Australian Fish and Chip awards.  Best enjoyed on the grassy foreshore!

Glenarty Road

All Day

Grab some breakfast or stock up on the day’s supplies at the Augusta bakery, then head down to West Bay and take a tour up the Blackwood River with Augusta River Tours.  Along the way are bush walks, fishing spots, a bird sanctuary, unique wildflowers, wild river dolphins, a private island, and over 25 kilometres of National Park protected by a river reserve.

For lunch, look no further than Glenarty Road, an intergenerational boutique farm with a vineyard, winery, cellar door, and a paddock to plate restaurant experience.  Sample their wines on a ‘ground to glass’ tasting tour, and gorge on a meal of their fresh grass-fed lamb. On the way back into town, stop in at Hamelin Bay Wines for a few final sips of the region’s finest.

For a secret shortcut back to Perth, travel down Sue’s Road, a lovely countryside drive which pops out near Capel and shaves almost half an hour off the alternate trip.  Just watch the kangaroos! Or, why not explore more of the Margaret River Region – another three days in Yallingup, Dunsborough or Busselton instead perhaps?