Parents of young children are all too familiar with the feeling of getting to their holiday destination and quickly finding their bearings. Specifically speaking – locating a good coffee shop and a playground. First world problems perhaps, but the struggle is real for sleep deprived parents with little ones, who are up with the sun chasing their caffeine fix and a place to let the kids run wild.
Sounds simple? Well the coffee shop/playground combo is actually a bit of a rare diamond. The café needs to have good coffee, access for prams, a play area onsite or nearby, babyccinos are a bonus, and a view wouldn’t be bad either! These are not dime-a-dozen cafes and finding the perfect spot can require some serious searching.
Luckily, the Margaret River region’s café scene has evolved considerably in the last few years, and with kids in mind, there are several great options for mums and dads. We’ve put together a list of our finest.
1. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse – Dunsborough
Brand new and ticking off all the boxes is the new Cape Nat Lighthouse café. This place truly has it all. Fantastic coffee and snacks, great newly-built playground and lawn area, easy access for prams and spreading out with friends, and a stunning view to top it off. After a coffee you can even take the kids up the lighthouse or try to spot dolphins from the large observation deck. If you are in the Dunsborough township or further afield, the drive home might even put bubs to sleep in the car which is always a bonus!
Side note for locals: The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse welcomes Mother’s Groups to their unique setting.
2. White Elephant Cafe – Gnarabup
Positioned right on the beach in Gnarabup, this little gem has top quality coffee and a great breakfast menu, while allowing the kids to get sandy digging holes and building sandcastles, or splashing around in the water and rock pools. Remember to bring your swimming gear and towels if the weather is warm! The family-friendly café also welcomes dogs on leads.
3. Cafe Boranup – Augusta/Margaret River
Set in the majestic surrounds of the Boranup Karri forest, this gorgeous cafe will please both parents and kids. A fantastic menu with wholesome food cooked on site, and offering smoothies and fresh juices as well as great coffee, Café Boranup has a wonderful relaxed feeling of just being away from it all. Kids will enjoy the life-sized chess and snakes and ladders, and parents can wander through the gallery next door for locally-made arts and crafts.
To complete the experience, follow up your trip to Café Boranup with a tour of Lake or Mammoth Caves nearby.
Café Boranup is also a breastfeeding friendly zone so perfect for new mums.
4. The Equinox or The Goose and nearby playground or skate park – Busselton
A couple of great options for visitors in the Busselton area. For those with little kids, grab a coffee from The Equinox, then head west to the massive playground on the Busselton foreshore. This spot has loads of equipment after a big renovation about 2 years ago. Adjacent to the playground is a BBQ area, with picnic tables too if you want to set up for lunch.
For those with bigger kids, get your caffeine fix at The Goose then head to the nearby skate park. A beautifully designed park sitting right on the foreshore, the Busselton skate park offers progression from the beginner through to the advanced rider (and includes the deepest bowl in WA at 3m in depth!)
The Goose sits right on the foreshore looking out over the Busselton Jetty too, if you prefer to let the kids cool off in the shallows.
5. Takeaway coffee at the Yallingup nature playground – Yallingup
Grab a takeaway coffee as you drive to Yalls main break from the Yallingup General Store & Cafe (locally known as Andys), then continue on the road. Just past the carpark at the beach entrance, is Yallingup’s world-class nature playground which is arguably one of the best play areas in the region. Keeping with the surf-theme, the rustic playground made from repurposed timber, features a surf shack cubby and a misty wave for the kids to get barreled. All this right in front of Yallingup main break, which is perfect for a walk or a dip depending on the weather.
Tip – if you are hungry after all the activity, go back past the Yallingup General Store for one of their famous ‘kitchen sink’ burgers.
6. The Hairy Marron – Margaret River township
Located near the entrance to town, by the river, is the perfectly positioned Hairy Marron café. Grab yourself a coffee and babyccinos for the kids, then wander across the footbridge to Rotary Park and let the kids feed the ducks. Across the bridge, toddlers and older children will enjoy playing on the fully equipped playground in the beautiful bush setting (perfect for when the weather is hot, as it is well-shaded). The Hairy Marron doubles as a bike rental if you want to don a helmet and follow the heritage trails to explore the bush.
Images Elements and Jacinta Keeble