7 Wonders of the Margaret River region
Try and tick off the lucky 7 from your south west bucket list this summer
Choosing just seven was a challenge – there’s beauty at every turn.
The Leeuwin Naturaliste ridge is a wonder in itself, and its combination of two-million-year-old limestone atop a base of hard, metamorphic rock of between 1500 and 600 million years forms the diversity of experiences and incredible natural attractions in the Margaret River region. It’s an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot with many endemic species of flora and fauna.
Lizzy Pepper enlisted the help of local conservationists and tour guides to reveal the raw wonder of our natural attractions.
Chosen by: Dr Boyd Wykes – Nature Conservation Margaret River
For many, the Boranup Forest is all about karri trees. The glowing trunks of young regrowth karri at the viewing platform on Caves Road are a must-see, must-snap. However, a little way down Boranup Drive are equally photogenic ancient karris, their trunks full of hollows; full of life. Home to endemic, threatened and little seen ringtail possums, brush-tailed phascogales, black cockatoos, masked owls and rufous treecreepers. Only a few thousand years ago this 3000-hectare forest was seeded from karris further inland. Listen for the waves breaking on the nearby beach, walk the tracks at night, be guided through a cave beneath a forest with much more to offer than a snapped selfie at Kodak Corner
The Margaret River
Sean Blocksidge – Margaret River Discovery Co
One of the best experiences has to be canoeing a tranquil section of the Margaret River. It’s amazing how many people visit the region but don’t experience the real Margaret River itself. All they see is the small section of river flowing through town and miss the spectacular and peaceful river system further east and west.
Shaded by towering Jarrah and Marri trees, there’s abundant bird life including the endangered Baudin’s Black Cockatoo. Sometimes on tour, if we time it just right in summer we have guest appearances from local fisherman catching the local delicacy, marron (freshwater lobster).
The Wilyabrup Cliffs
Sean Blocksidge – Margaret River Discovery Co
The Cape to Cape Track is one of the most rewarding long-distance walk trails in Australia with 135km of day after day epicness, filled with beaches, cliffs, forests. A lot of the track is easily accessible but one of my most favourite sections is the Wilyabrup Cliffs. You’ll need a bit of local knowledge to access this section or a guide with a 4WD and special government approvals to operate in the National Park. I include it in the Discovery Tour experience in the late arvo and it’s usually one of the highlights of the day, with regular sightings of whales and dolphins.
The Cape to Cape Track
Gene Hardy – Cape to Cape Explorer Tours
Created in 2001, the Cape to Cape Track links long sandy beaches, walking tracks, and old 4WD routes gouged out by farmers, fishermen, and surfers.
“Balance is the track’s defining quality” says Gene Hardy of Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. “The symmetry is that between sea and land. Water, in turn sparkling and benign, then moody and raging, defines its character. Beyond this is the balance between beach and forest, comfort and challenge, wilderness and civilisation.”
Chosen by: Mandy Mclauclan Andrews – Your Margaret River Region Attractions
Jewel Cave is the largest show cave in Western Australia, with gleaming crystal ornaments throughout its three massive chambers. Within this breathtaking magnitude hangs a delicate straw stalactite; a hollow crystal tube, the diameter of just a single water droplet, it grows down into the cave for five and a half metres, reaching longer than any other in all the show caves in Australia.
Chosen by: Crystal Simpson – Yallingup Surf School
Worth visiting for the breathtaking drive into Yallingup Bay alone, but a swim in the lagoon is a bonus. Circled by reef, the lagoon is protected from big waves, so it’s perfect for swimming, snorkelling and learning to surf. Beyond the reef is Yallingup main break, much loved by local pro surfer Taj Burrows.
“It’s like a natural wave pool,” says Crystal Simpson of Yallingup Surf School. “You might see fish, cave ledges, the odd seal, a sting ray or two, and me for a few months of the year.”
Meelup Regional Park
Chosen by: Ryan White – South West Eco Discoveries
Meelup hasn’t always been a regional park, but thanks to locals it was saved from development. Meelup was his backyard growing up, and now Ryan shows visitors from all over the world the area’s marine life, rare flora, birds and kangaroos. Over the year, Ryan has seen whale numbers increase and the diversity in the park expand to make this area an exciting destination for any lover of wildlife and natural beauty.