On the banks of a forest-fed estuary, you’ll find cosmopolitan Margaret River. Agreeable soils and a stable climate facilitate its famous big reds and many fine paddock-to-plate experiences.
With a forest on its doorstep and postcode-perfect oceans 10 minutes away, Margaret River inspires a thriving arts community. With ceramic artists, photographers and glassmakers gallery near town. Indeed, it’s so beautiful here, even the whales here hang around, arriving June until the end of the year.
Ancient treasures lie below, too, with jade-coloured waters crashing against the brilliant-white sand, carving a cave network where megafauna once roamed.
MARGARET RIVER TOWNSHIP
Margaret River may be known for its wine but you’ll find all kinds of locally-produced indulgences within its main street. Browse a traditional bookshop, smell hand-made soaps, sample olive oils and watch fudge-making in action.
Right now [late 2019], the main street is about to undergo a three-stage revitalisation. While its new art precinct, Margaret River HEART, comprising theatre and entertainment complex is well underway, with the cinema opening recently.
TEN MILE BROOKE & MARGARET ROTARY PARK AND HERITAGE TRAIL
A few minutes’ drive north, ‘Old Kate’, a beautifully-restored steam train, marks the start of a stunning forest walking trail over the Rotary Park heritage footbridge.
On the Margaret River Rotate Park and Heritage Trail, set the kids loose on the adventure playground before exploring the Old Milking Shed, Diary and Group House close by. This walk and riding train, Ten Mile Brook, extends 13km through forest, for a surprising, flat 2-3 hour hike close to town.
EAGLES HERITAGE WILDLIFE CENTRE
Time your visit to the Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre with the birds of prey show twice daily, a rescue facility in town. For a modest-priced entry fee, you can stroll the grounds and have a bird of prey rest on your arm for no extra fee.
Spot owls, eagles, hawks and falcons in their natural settings.
A mix of agreeable soils and a temperate climate, Margaret River is home to refreshing sauvignon blanc, and big cab sav and shiraz. And you can enjoy the warm hospitality at the cellar door.
But it’s not all wine here. You’ll find many brewers in the region too, including Colonial Brewing, a 10 minute drive, and the Margaret River Brewhouse within a few minutes’ walk with views overlooking Karri forest.
WHERE MARGARET RIVER MEETS THE SEA
If you follow the Margaret River west, past an old Greek Church to Prevelly, you’ll see where it meets the sea. It’s wide mouth delivers consistent, beginner-friendly swells that’s ideal for body surfers and kids when it’s patrolled. Admire local sculptures. Take in a stretch of rainforest on a section of the Cape to Cape Track, or just sit back and enjoy a coffee at one of the trendy, newly-opened cafes.
Along Caves Road through the beautiful Boranup Karri Forest, you’ll find many cave sites with Mammoth Cave, closest to Margaret River, celebrated for its megafauna. Take a tour and see their bones, or experience Megafauna NightStalk weekly during the school holidays.
Admire shimmering water in Lake Cave that’s brilliantly lit and pram- and wheelchair-friendly.
Further north, touch cave crystals at Ngilgi Caves main show cave in Yallingup.
About a half-hour’s drive north of Margaret River in various directions you’ll find fabulous touring destinations. Find the curious mini-pinnacles on the Cape Naturaliste Walk or spot whales at the The Whale Lookout track between September and November each year.
For sea-life experience, head to Busselton Jetty spans more than 2km, making it the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. Walk 25 minutes or board the train, which stops at an underwater observatory. There’s great paddling and wide sandbars to explore at gentle Geographe Bay.
Southwards, enjoy many beaches at Hamelin Bay, all the way to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Here, watch oceans collide from the top of the mainland’s tallest lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and hear treacherous tales of shipwrecks lost at sea. Or, take in sweeping views on a short walk. This fabulous site is undergoing renovations, with designs by the Gibson Group. Stay tuned!
- Find holiday parks in the South West Region
- Andre Courtis, MRBTA, collaborating for low-cost fun in the Busselton and Margaret River Region