Augusta’s Best Kept Secrets

 

Augusta's Best Kept Secrets

Follow Caves Road south and you'll discover a place of natural beauty with many hidden secrets

Spend a few hours in Augusta and the laid-back locals reveal its best kept secrets; the wonderful spots to play, swim or walk. The town itself feels a little like Yallingup 25 years ago; surf shacks and weatherboard cottages dot the hill, and everyone has an awesome river view.

Captain Matthew Flinders charted the south west coast from 1801 to 1803 but it wasn’t until 1830 that Augusta was founded. Four farming families called Augusta home, and a whaling industry emerged with a processing factory in Flinders Bay.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was constructed in 1895, the tallest on mainland Australia.The nearby Jewel Cave opened to tourists in 1959, which is about when the town got electricity. Abalone, fishing and tourism industries flourished.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Tours

Delicious Bites

The Ragged Robin makes the best veggie quiche I’ve tasted, and the cake display is brimming with gluten free treats. Their excellent coffee is so popular with locals that by the time you read this, they should have a VW Beetle coffee van stationed at the front of their café to help keep up with demand.

Blue Ocean placed third in the Top Fish and Chipperies in regional Western Australia. Walk down to the waterfront to watch kite surfers as you tuck into lovely pink snapper caught right here in Augusta, of course.

Be sure to visit the Augusta Bakery for its hot pies and jam donuts, and the Augusta Hotel for counter meals and superb seafood with a river view too.

A little further afield, the husband and wife team at the Karridale service station sell their own honey and home-made biltong. Whirlwind sell luscious bottles of local olive oil.

River Tour

Jump aboard the new to town Augusta River Tours to get your bearings and a dose of local knowledge. Graeme Challis was born in Augusta and loves its history, birdlife, fishing and quiet pace of life. “Come to Augusta and your heart rate slows down a little – it’s unreal for a relaxing holiday with unspoilt beauty.”

Graeme shares fascinating facts – the lookout above the golf course is the only place in the world you can see two rivers and two oceans meet. The Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet near Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and the Scott and Blackwood Rivers converge at Molloy Island.

“It’s not the nightlife capital” says Graeme as we cruise past dolphins, pelicans, spoonbills, black swans, crested terns and cormorants. “I became a twitcher when I ran the Miss Flinders – the original river cruises, years ago. There’s about 60 species of birds here on the river, and lots of migratory birds on the Hardy Inlet.”

Foxes and other predators can’t reach the small islands, so birds thrive. Most wonderful of all are the red-necked stints, a tiny bird no bigger than a matchbox that flies from Siberia each year. “The Siberian winter is shithouse, so they come to Augusta for summer,” quips Graeme.

Tours will run several times a day in summer, and on demand in winter.

Augusta River Tours

The Serenity 

“The Blackwood river, the largest river in the South West, is the ideal playground for boating, fishing, crabbing, canoeing, swimming, water skiing and windsurfing” says Jim Challis of the Augusta Hotel. Hire a boat, canoe or stand up paddleboard from the Ellis Street Jetty.

Walk or ride your bike along the 5km sealed walkway from the Ellis Street Jetty around to the new $36m harbour. The walkway hugs the coast, with beautiful views along the way.

There’s a new playground at Flinders; a wooden ship overlooking the bay. Bring a picnic or make use of the BBQ facilities.

Escape the South Easterly

The prevailing wind makes for fabulous kite surfing, but there’s plenty of protected beaches and fishing spots, out of the breeze. Try the beach on the left-hand side of the waterwheel near Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Foul Bay, Cosy Corner and Hamelin Bay are all sheltered from the sou’ easterly breeze, and you might meet the friendly sting rays at the picturesque Hamelin Bay beach.

West Bay Creek is a great fishing spot when it’s too windy at Ellis Street Jetty. It’s also home to the Blackwood River Houseboats – a fabulous way to have the most relaxing holiday cruising the river, waking up each morning to bird life and dolphins.

Deep Underground 

It’s a big call, but Jewel Cave might just be the most awe-inspiring cave in the region. Certainly the largest show cave in Western Australia, it’s encrusted with gleaming crystal ornaments throughout its three massive chambers. Apparently the first chamber is so large it could fit the 43 metre Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, if it were lying horizontally!

Where to Stay?

Turner Caravan Park has contemporary two-bedroom chalets and being opposite the Blackwood River it’s ideal for swimming and fishing. The Augusta Hotel, established by the Ellis family in 1912, has a range of studio and self-contained accommodation. Make the river home aboard Blackwood River Houseboats – you don’t need a skipper’s ticket to navigate the waterways! Camp or glamp in a luxury tent at Boogaloo, a surf & yoga retreat just out of town. Learn to craft a hollow wooden surfboard while you’re there! (Note: Boogaloo is closed for winter and re-opens end of September.)

This blog was originally featured in Your Margaret River Region Magazine

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Lizzy Pepper

Author Lizzy Pepper

After living in Melbourne and London, Lizzy meant to have a summer in Yallingup before getting a “serious” job in Perth. Nine years on, and she loves Dunsborough too much to return to city life. Lizzy works as a marketing consultant in the tourism industry. She’s taken helicopter rides along the coast, distilled her own batch of gin and put in the hard yards tasting wines to help tell her clients' stories. Whether she’s paddling her wave ski on Geographe Bay, swimming at Castle Rock Beach, brunching at a favourite café or drinking local wine on the deck, Lizzy is always on the lookout for new tastes and experiences to share with visitors. Instagram: @lizzy.pepper.marketing / Web: www.lizzypepper.com

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