Located on the stunning turquoise banks of Geographe Bay, Dunsborough would have to have one of the most tranquil and magnificent locations in the world.
Sparkling calm clear water and white sandy Dunsborough beaches are linked to town by lush green grass and shady paths. There is a bustling café atmosphere and plenty of gorgeous boutique shops. At night there’s a great vibe with brew houses, wine bars and pubs with a live music scene, restaurants and cafes.
Beachfront cycle ways and walking paths turn into a hiking trail through the regional park along the bay. With ideal beaches for swimming it is also a great location for diving, snorkelling, kayaking and other water sports. There are even two golf courses!
Out on the most north-western point is the top end of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, which is one of the many Dunsborough attractions. This precinct is home to Dunsborough’s working lighthouse, Cape Naturaliste and the starting point of the Cape to Cape Track.
Built on the foundation of surfing and family holidays, this resort town has grown into a holiday spot rich in luxury and fun, ideal for family, friends, couples and backpackers.
Meelup Beach is one of the few places in Western Australia where you can watch the moon rise over the ocean, and is most attractive on a full moon.
Our Top 5 Things to Do in Dunsborough
1. Admiring view from the top of the lighthouse after walking the trails up around Cape Naturaliste.
2. Browsing through the surfy-beachy style boutique shops.
3. Jumping on a charter boat and watching the whales frolic in Geographe Bay.
4. Snorkelling and diving the calm waters (and maybe the HMAS Swan wreck if you’re super keen!)
5. Family-friendly wineries and breweries – this town was practically built for kids!
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse in Western Australia, saying goodbye to its final keeper in 1996.
History of Dunsborough
The South-West region of Australia, of which Dunsborough is part of, has an Aboriginal history dating back 50,0000 years. This makes it one of the world’s earliest continually inhabited areas. Dunsborough was originally called Quedjinup, which means ‘Place of Women’ by the traditional custodians of this land, the Wardandi people, (meaning sea people). There are multiple sights of Aboriginal importance in and nearby to town.
Captain Nicholas Baudin sailed around Cape Naturaliste and anchored in Geographe Bay in 1801 naming both locations after his vessels, Geographe and Naturaliste.
As the settlers moved north from Augusta and with the presence of American whaling ships in Geographe Bay, European settlement in the Dunsborough area took place.
Dunsborough was named after Dunn Bay, which was named after Captain Richard Dalling Dunn who Captain James Stirling served under in the Royal Navy. Dunsborough was officially proclaimed in 1879.
With the increase in ship traffic, the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was built and opened in 1903.
Dunsborough town consisted of a general store (c. 1925), bakery (c. 1930’s) and a few shacks until the 1950’s.
In the 1960’s surfing was popular and many have fond memories of the bakery and family holidays at Greenacres Caravan Park. By the mid 1980’s wine tourism was emerging and is a burgeoning industry today.
Tourism development flourished from the 1990’s including the intentionally sunk dive wreck the former HMAS Swan in 1997 and the opening of the 135km Cape to Cape Track in 2001.
In the early 2000’s a massive redevelopment of the land that faced Dunn Bay commenced resulting in beautiful beachfront tourist resorts and beach houses.
Accommodation for every traveller’s needs
The latest ideas for discovering the town of the region
How to Spend the April School Holidays in the Margaret River Region
Fishing With a Wadandi Cultural Custodian
The Night Shift: Ensuring a Good Vintage by Picking at Night
How Two Blokes Built a Chocolate Empire From Humble Beginnings
Margaret River Region Open Studios Spreads its Creative Wings
Make the most of your holiday with our tips and tools