It’s no bold claim that Western Australia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, nor that the Margaret River region has some of the best beaches in the state.
As a major drawcard, the region’s beaches can get packed during peak holiday times. But this a region that harbours plenty of secrets, and if you’re prepared to put in a little legwork, you’re guaranteed to find your own slice of paradise.
Swimming accessibility and aesthetic are weather dependent, so be sure to check the conditions on the day. If the breeze is in (almost every summer’s afternoon) or the swell is up, try one of the sheltered beaches or coves in Geographe Bay. Or, if it’s calm and windless, take your pick!
Because of the secluded nature of these beaches, the facilities, if any, are fairly basic. Be sure to bring your own water and be as self-sufficient as possible.
With a long stretch of pristine coastline divided into private nooks by rocky coves, you’re bound to find a pool of crystal clear water all to yourself in Geographe Bay.
Shelley Cove, Bunker Bay
Blink and you’ll miss it. At the far west end of Bunker Bay, Shelley Cove is a secluded bay at the base of limestone coastal cliffs. The sandy beach is about 100 metres wide, and as with most coves it is a little rocky, which makes for tricky swimming but excellent snorkelling.
The rocky headland to the south-east is a popular fishing spot, especially when the salmon are running.
There are picnic tables with an idyllic view to Rocky Point. You can see all the way back to Busselton and Bunbury, and it’s one of the few places in Western Australia where you can watch the sun or moon rise over the ocean.
For a nice hike, rock-hop along the coast heading north west, and try to find the huge sea cave. Careful, though, the last few hundred metres requires a slippery rock scramble and is recommended only in low swells and tides, and if you’re certain of your capabilities.
There’s plenty of private places to swim in and around the popular Yallingup Lagoon.
The West Coast
Windmills Beach, Cape Naturaliste
At the end of Cape Naturaliste Road, a corrugated gravel road to the left takes you to Windmills Beach. You’ll see the large granite rocks sticking up out of the water straight out in front of the long-drop toilet block. Straight in front of here is a series of tucked away and deep rock pools.
This beach, however, is unpatrolled and exposed to swell and wind. It’s is a safe place to swim only when the surf is calm. Remember: if in doubt, don’t go out!
The Grannies Pool, Yallingup
On the north side of the popular Yallingup Lagoon is a sheltered rock pool, known locally as the Grannies Pool. It’s a calm and deep pool, tucked away from surf breaking on the sandbar to the north and from water exiting the lagoon to the south.
The beach is patrolled in the summer months.
Wyadup Rocks/Injidup Spa
Ok, the #InjidupSpa is no longer a secret. Not since the rise of Instagram, at least. But to the south you’ll see an amphitheatre of granite rocks and a long stretch of empty and dynamic beach.
Wyadup Beach is non-existent in winter. Large swells scour the sand away and the beach totally disappears. But in summer, small swells and southerly winds deposit the sand back at the base of the granite cliffs and the beach begins to grow again. It’s always changing; you might swim in a deep rock pool only to find a few days later it has disappeared. Now that’s a secret that is impossible to keep.
One of the most removed beaches in the region, Kilcarnup is a place for the adventure-seeker.
Kilcarnup Beach/Joey’s Nose
One of two of the Margaret River region’s beaches where four-wheel-driving is permitted, Kilcarnup Beach hosts a series of shallow outer limestone reefs. These break-up swell and make for low waves on the shore, with excellent snorkelling from the beach here.
Boranup Beach is the other beach in the region where four-wheel-driving is permitted, though the track to get here is very rough and for the adventurous and prepared only. The Karri forest extends almost all the way to the beach, and gives the place a magic feel.
Float in some of the region’s clearest waters at the oft-overlooked Foul Bay.
Certainly not befitting its namesake, Foul Bay is a beautiful sheltered bay on the leeward side of Cosy Corner. It’s looks out to Hamelin Island and other limestone outcrops. It’s out of the wind and protected from swell, and sometimes graced with dolphins. Access is via a gravel road, and the only facility is a long drop toilet.
Flinders Bay, Augusta
Augusta feels different to the rest of the Margaret River region. It’s a sleepy little hamlet, removed from the crowds and the holiday season rush, surrounded by the Southern Ocean and granite. The Southern Ocean is notoriously unpredictable – it’s the only ocean that runs all the way around the world – and the historic ex-whaling settlement at Flinders Bay offers safe respite from its wrath.
It’s dog friendly, and there’s a playground, toilet block, barbecues, a grassy foreshore, and a small jetty. It might seem different to your typical secret beach, but plenty of people don’t even know it’s there!
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Bunker BayGreat For: Birdwatching,Child Friendly,Fishing & Boating,Free,Scenic Spot,Scuba, Snorkelling & Diving,Surfing,Swimming,Whale Watching
Bunker Bay Road, Dunsborough WA
Yallingup BeachGreat For: BBQ,Dog Friendly,Free,Outdoor Playground,Picnic Spot,Scenic Spot,Surfing,Swimming
Yallingup Beach Road, Yallingup WA
Boranup BeachGreat For: Fishing & Boating,Free,Scenic Spot,Surfing,Swimming
Boranup Beach, Margaret River WA
Foul BayGreat For: Free,Scenic Spot
Foul Bay, Hamelin Bay WA
Flinders BayGreat For: BBQ,Dog Friendly,Fishing & Boating,Picnic Spot,Scenic Spot,Scuba, Snorkelling & Diving,Swimming,Whale Watching
Flinders Bay Augusta
Cape NaturalisteGreat For: Free,Scenic Spot
Cape Naturaliste WA