The South West’s quintessential seaside holiday town, Augusta is a mecca for those wanting to explore beyond the tourist track and to discover secret spots all for themselves. From the forest, to the ocean, to subterranean labyrinths of caves, you’ll find places that appear as though they’re being discovered for the first time. While this list will lead you to some of our favourite spots, there are so many more out there waiting to be discovered by you.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!
1. Take a tour up the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and hear its haunted stories
Climb the seven levels of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and hear the stories of the haunted keeper’s cottage, the caretaker who wore shorts every day for six years, and one of the most famous shipwrecks the South West coast has ever seen.
This lighthouse, situated just south of the Augusta township right where the Indian and Southern oceans meet, was one of the last manually operated in the world until it was converted to electricity in 1982. It’s piercing beam is as intense as one million candles, and can be seen from almost 50 kilometres away!
2. Four-wheel-drive up Bob’s Track and along Boranup Beach
Challenge your off-road driving skills and your vehicle’s might on Bob’s Track, the toughest track in the region. Steep granite jump-ups and a big, soft, rutted climb will take you to Boranup Beach – one of the only two beaches in the region where four-wheel-driving is permitted.
Local legend has it that this track was built by Karridale resident and surfer, Bob, in the early 1960s. If it’s challenging now, just imagine how it would have been back then!
Note: this track is for experienced four-wheel drivers only. It is recommended you only attempt the track with a second vehicle or your own recovery gear.
3. Explore the secret beaches around Cosy Corner
The stretch of coast between Hamelin Island and the Augusta lighthouse is probably the least explored and most breathtaking of the entire region. It’s vast, rugged, and often you’ll have the beach almost entirely to yourself.
Foul Bay (which definitely does not live up to its name!) is great for swimming, and the sprinkling of islands from Cosy Corner are surrounded by stunning reefs and drop-offs that are home to a myriad of colourful marine animals, including the giant blue groper. It’s a perfect place for diving in the right weather conditions.
4. Explore the Blackwood River
Pick your poison: paddleboard, houseboat, tinny, kayak. There are so many different ways to explore the Blackwood River that often the hardest thing can be choosing which one!
The Blackwood River is South West WA’s largest, and flows all the way from Arthur River, way up in the Wheatbelt. Upriver from the Augusta township it winds through secluded woodlands, much of which is only accessible via watercraft.
Paddleboards, tinnies, and kayaks are available for hire from the Ellis Street jetty, or for something different, cruise up the river in style aboard a houseboat, departing from West Bay.
5. Visit Glenarty Road
The agricultural areas around Augusta are some of the most fertile in the state, and if the saying, ‘the proof is in the pudding’ is anything to go by, then look no further than Glenarty Road for the evidence. This vineyard, winery, cellar door, and paddock to plate restaurant has been five generations in the making, and the place breathes the current custodians’, Ben McDonald and his wife Sasha Foley, passion for thoughtful farming.
Take a ‘ground to glass’ tasting tour, enjoy a ‘paddock to plate’ meal, and even take a slice of the country home with you in the form of the farm’s surplus produce or head chef Ricky Mendozzi’s unique line of condiments.
6. Go fishing
Augusta is Western Australia’s quintessential seaside town, and of course, that means excellent fishing. Your spoilt for choice here, with a variety of options available in all different kinds of conditions.
The Ellis Street Jetty, on the Blackwood River foreshore, is always a good bet for beginners and kids, with easy access and plenty of black bream about.
Try for herring, whiting, and salmon (in season) from any of the beaches in low winds and swell, or have a go at some bigger pelagic species from the new Augusta marina.
7. Take a quad-bike eco-adventure through the Boranup Forest
This is a tour for those with a penchant for the extraordinary.
For a start, you’ll explore winding narrow National Park tracks in a sections of the towering Boranup Forest, where some karri trees reach up to 60m tall, and what’s more, you’ll do it all in sustainable fashion on a quiet, comfortable, and totally emission free electric quadbike.
The quadbikes are the only kind in the world, and totally adapted to their environment. This is the perfect way to explore parts of a forest that even few locals have seen.
8. Spend the night camping out at Alexandra’s Bridge.
What better way to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Augusta then spending a night out sleeping under a Southern canvas of sprawling stars.
The Alexandra Bridge campsite is a tranquil haven with a stunning array of birds and wildlife, and an abundance of water activities make it a year round favourite for visitors who like getting back to nature.
You’ll find it just off the Brockman Highway in the secluded woodlands by the Blackwood River. It’s family-friendly and packed with facilities, and even has easy access for launching a boat or canoe. Try your luck for some black bream, there are rumoured to be plenty here!
9. Visit Jewel Cave
Jewel Cave is the glittering diamond in Augusta’s crown. The biggest show cave in Western Australia, it comprises three chambers and dazzling visual display of millennia of nature’s finest art, including cave coral, and beautiful examples of flowstone like the aptly named Frozen Waterfall and the Organ Pipes.
This cave is estimated at 1 million years old, and is so deep that when the now extinct Tasmanian Tigers would fall into the cave, there was no way back out. If you reckon we’re pulling your leg, check the fossil at the end for proof!
10. Sleep in style and simplicity along the Blackwood River
Occupying the most premium spot along the Blackwood right in the heart of Augusta is the Turner Caravan Park, and with the addition of their brand new two-bedroom chalets, guests can stay, sleep and explore in ultimate style and simplicity with the river at their doorstep. There are only three of these set amongst the trees along the foreshore, so you’ll feel as though you have a slice of heaven all to yourself.