Spring Whale Watching Tours from Dunsborough and Yallingup

This magnificent corner of the world is quite the phenomenon; biodiverse and breathtaking in equal measures, we sit atop ancient granite and limestone caves. Whether you’re here to surf, hike, taste wine or discover wildflowers, there are plenty of ways you can play a part in protecting it.

From giving wildlife a wide berth, to staying on the path and being mindful where you exercise your dog, here’s a few ways you can respect and care for the land and its creatures. Note: some tips are obvious, but the reasons behind them might be lesser known!

General Travel Tips

Glenarty Road Vineyards Farm Animals
Sheep at Glenarty Road's vineyards act as natural lawn mowers and fertilisers.
1

Protect the Vines – Enter only with Permission

Margaret River is one of the few wine regions free of the vine pest Phylloxera, a microscopic critter that attacks the grapevine roots. It wiped out entire vineyards in Bordeaux in the 1800s, and the region was only saved by grafting Bordeaux vines onto American rootstock that could resist the disease.

Shoes and clothing can spread pests and diseases from other grape growing areas, so please help protect Margaret River vines by only entering vineyards and walking amongst vines with permission. If you’re keen to experience and learn more, take a guided winery and vineyard tour.

2

Respect Cultural Sites

The Margaret River Region is on Wadandi Boodja (Wadandi Country) where we acknowledge the region’s histories and cultures of the Wadandi People, the custodians of this land. As a visitor, please pay attention to signage at significant cultural sites.

If you want a better understanding of how you can respectfully travel on Country, you might also want to do a tour with Cultural Custodian Josh Whiteland at Koomal Dreaming.

3

Clean your shoes, mountain bikes and camping gear

You’ve likely heard of the Foot & Mouth outbreak in Indonesia, a highly contagious disease that could devastate Australia’s livestock industries. If you’ve been to Indonesia recently please clean your shoes, clothing, backpacks, mountain bikes, and avoid farm land. Learn more.

Josh Whiteland, Koomal Dreaming Tours. Credit Elements Margaret River
Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming runs a range of cultural experiences.
4

Help pygmy possums - use the dieback hygiene stations

Dieback is an introduced disease that kills jarrah, banksia and grass trees and affects around 40% of native plant species, and the animals that rely on the plants for food and shelter, such as pygmy possums. Spores lurk in soil, and mapping of the Meelup Regional Park in 2017 showed that around 26% of the park is dieback infested, while 61% remained uninfected. Whether you’re hiking or mountain biking through bushland, please brush your shoes and tires clean of dirt and use the dieback hygiene stations.

5

Bring a reusable water bottle

We’re blessed with superb quality water so pure you can drink it straight from the tap. Rainwater? It’s absolutely delicious! Do the environment a big favour and enjoy our tap water from a reusable bottle.

Western Ringtail Possum Conservation Credit Tim Campbell
The western ringtail possum and the pygmy possums are at risk and need our protection.
6

Sort your recycling and waste

Please use our local recycling facilities – there’s a fantastic kerbside pickup service in most parts of the region ready to whisk away rubbish and recyclables. Additionally, MR Refund will give you 10c per drink bottle dropped off to their Dunsborough and Margaret River facilities. Overflowing bins attract wildlife and upset locals, so please wait until you find a bin with space. Visiting a scenic spot with no bins? Please take your rubbish with you.

7

Plug into the electric highway

RAC built the very first electric highway in Australia, so you can charge your electric vehicle while exploring from Perth to Augusta. There are stations in Mandurah and Bunbury on the drive down, then Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta when you’re here.

Castle Rock Bay
Avoid the crowds and discover the quieter beaches like Castle Bay.
8

Mind the crowds

We get it – you’ve seen a secret swimming spot on social media, you’ve got FOMO and need to visit. Yet over-tourism in ecologically sensitive places is ruining them; think crowds with speakers blaring, litter and toilet paper along the walk (there’s no toilets or facilities). As much as it’s lovely to snap a selfie at these ‘secret gems’, why not venture further and discover one of the quieter beaches, such as Granny’s Pool, Wonnerup or Castle Bay?

Tips to Protect Flora and Fauna

Two freinds walking in Boranup Forest
Stick to the pathways if you're touring the region unguided.
1

Give whales a wide berth

We have one the longest whale watching seasons in the world, with over 40,000 humpbacks, blue and southern right whales migrating through our waters each year. It’s really important we follow the whale watching rules for drones, boats or kayaks, to ensure they feel safe swimming through with newborn calves. The best way to enjoy their graceful beauty? Hop aboard a whale watching charter – operating from Augusta in winter, and Dunsborough and Busselton in spring.

2

Photograph your favourite wildflowers

Imagine describing the location of some rare orchids to a visitor, only to have said visitor report back that they picked them for a friend! It’s illegal to remove anything from national park, so please take a photo instead and leave the wildflowers for the next people to enjoy. Swathes of wildflowers blossom up and down the coast, and we recommend a private tour with Margaret River Exposed who know all the best spots.

Wildflowers in the Margaret River Region. Credit Rachel Claire.
Spring brings beautiful bursts of colour across the region.
3

Take care with the wild stingrays

The magnificent rays of Hamelin Bay are known for their curiosity and will approach humans looking for fishing scraps. It’s important to remember stingrays are wild animals with a poisonous barbed tail which they will use if threatened. Please visit and be awed by them, give them a safe 2 metre distance and resist the temptation to feed them.

4

Look out for the hooded plovers

Eleven pairs of hooded plovers, a nesting beach bird, are known to lay eggs and raise their young on beaches between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. They struggle to find a section of undisturbed beach and as a result their numbers are declining. Local groups usually mark the nests, so please keep an eye out and avoid disturbing these precious birds.

Hamelin Bay Augusta Photo Credit Russell Ord
Keep at a distance from the friendly stingray family at Hamelin Bay.
5

Visit a dog-friendly beach or park

Our national parks are home to countless possums, phascogales, quendas, woylies and other native critters, and dogs are strictly forbidden. If a native animal such as a possum or quenda smells your pet’s presence, even days after a visit, it may well abandon its baby and flee, thinking it is under threat from a predator. This is another important reason not to leave droppings in any park or beach dune – native animals deserve to feel safe in their homes. Choose a pet-friendly beach or venue instead.

6

Stick to the pathway

It’s important to stay on marked trails, to prevent erosion and trampling of wildlife around you. This is even more important if you’re exploring areas of Boranup Forest or Meelup Regional Park that were affected by recent fires; the bushland is regenerating and straying off the path could cause damage and weeds to spread.

Let a Local Guide You

Canoeing the Margaret River with Margaret River Discovery Co. Credit Tourism WA.
Margaret River Discovery Tour will take you to parts of the region you would never know existed.

There are dozens of fantastic tour experiences on offer from adrenaline-fuelled coasteering to nature-based explorations, cave tours, sailing, guided mountain bike and quad bike experiences. These offer a safe experience and the opportunity to learn about the region’s fascinating wildlife, geology, culture and history, as well as supporting local businesses. Here are some sustainable travel options to inspire your plans.

Advice from a Local

Speak to a local expert Advice from a Local Our team of local experts

Our team of local experts are here to help plan and book your stay in the Margaret River Region.