A ten-minute drive from the Margaret River township, you’ll arrive at the coastal hamlets of Gnarabup and Prevelly.
This is the birthplace of Margaret River’s holiday appeal, but long before then, Gnarabup was a seasonal home for the Aboriginal Wadandi people.
Gnarabup means place of the ringtail possum, says Josh Whiteland, a Wadandi man and owner of tour company Koomal Dreaming. The Wadandi people would gather here in the summer months, and it is especially significant for Wadandi women, he says.
“In Gnarabup, you’ve got all the big peppermint trees,” he says. “The ringtail like to live under those peppermint trees.”
“It’s also a very strong women’s area. There are a lot of limestone cave systems in the area, like Waljinmia, Rainbow Cave. These are very special women’s places. They were birthing caves,” he says.
“The old people would come gather here in Kambarang and Birak season. Spring and Summer. Because of the low tides they could walk the exposed reefs, collecting shellfish, octopus, crayfish, abalone. They would forage for native greens along the dunes.
“There is also a lot of fresh water, with Wooditjup Bilya, the Margaret River. People would camp along the banks of the river, walking distance from Gnarabup, spearing fish and using the paper bark to wrap food and to build traditional huts if they weren’t camping in the caves.”
In contemporary times, the natural attractions at Gnarabup and Prevelly make it a special place for surfers and holiday makers. It has been a prolific holiday destination since 1953, when returned serviceman Geoff Edwards began developing Prevelly Park, the Margaret River Region’s first caravan park.
Today, this iconic Western Australian beachside destination retains all of its original character, with a few modern twists. There is so much to do, see, and learn here. This one-day guide scoops the cream off the top and picks the very best of Gnarabup and Prevelly.