Margaret River is a small authentic town just 3 hours from Perth in South Western Australia, which offers a variety of tourist attractions. Located at the gates of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, this place is the ideal starting point to explore the natural treasures of the region.
With breathtaking views, an unspoiled coastline, endless white sandy beaches, turquoise water full of marine life, eucalyptus forests, and sunsets over the Indian Ocean, the Margaret River area has unparalleled beauty. The coast also offers many outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, kite surfing or diving in an exceptional setting. If you like good wine and food, you must know that this region is also famous for its gastronomy and wine. In short, if you’re dreaming of nature and good food, Margaret River is a destination you should not miss!
When it comes to the climate, keep in mind that winter in Margaret River can be very cold, but the region is beautiful in summer.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
The Leeuwin-Naturaliste Park owes its name to the two capes Cape Leeuwin in the south and Cape Naturaliste in the north. Along the coast, the park extends over 190 km² and offers an exceptional view of the Indian Ocean.
The Cape to Cape Track is a coastal path in the national park, which runs along the coast and connects the two capes. If you’re really keen you can complete this 135-kilometer walk in one week. Otherwise, you can take it easy and just sections of it, as there are access points along the way. This way you to do shorter walks and choose the tracks you are most comfortable with (walking on the beach, cliffs, bush … there is something for everyone).
Ngari Capes Marine Park
The Ngari Capes Marine Park is adjacent to the Leeuwin-Naturalist Park and is a marine park that stretches from Cape Leeuwin to Geographe Bay north of Cape Naturaliste. There is a very rich biodiversity in this park and you can observe many marine animals from the coast.
During winter and spring, whales are migrating along the coast so they are easy to spot from shore. During the season, you can see them almost everywhere, but you increase your chances if you visit the park in November. Most of them are humpback whales, but if you’re lucky, you see blue whales too. If you want to see these wonderful animals up close, you can book a boat tour with one of the tour companies. Even if you visit the region outside the whale season, you still have the opportunity to see dolphins that are there all year round.
In summer, you can even spot Australia’s biggest stingrays, the Smooth Stingrays, which live at Hamelin Bay beach. Curious, they approach you up to a meter or even tickle your feet. They are normally not aggressive, but it is still recommended being careful. You increase your chances of seeing them if you go to the beach on a clear day in the morning before 11 o’clock.
Beaches and tidal pools
The pristine coast offers miles of almost deserted white sand beaches. Since it is quite windy on the coast, you can seek shelter in the bays. For example, in Prevelly Bay, where it can get pretty crowded at times, or Kilcarnup Beach. In general, the wind doesn’t pick up before 10 o’clock. So you can take the opportunity to go to the less sheltered beaches like Redgate Beach, Conto Beach, Boodjidup, Gasbay, or Smith Beach.
For swimming, the water is relatively cool even in summer. The waves and currents are sometimes really strong in this region. Nevertheless, you can swim almost anywhere, as long as you are cautious. Otherwise, there are safer alternatives: the natural pools that emerge in the rocks at low tide. For example, the Yallingup and Injidup pools.
Margaret River is one of the iconic surf spots of international surfing competitions. The place has world-famous surf breaks, offering the perfect opportunity to go surfing. Winter conditions are tough and are avoided by beginners. In summer, on the other hand, there are smaller waves that are optimal for learning. If you already have experience, you can rent a board directly (about AUD 15 / hour). Otherwise, you can take a course in one of the surf schools (about AUD 50 for a group lesson).
Snorkelling and diving
Ngari Marine Park has a great biodiversity. You must go snorkelling or diving there. If you want to do a scuba dive course, go to one of the dive schools. Prevelly Bay is easily accessible and protected from the waves. Beware of sharks, which are common in the region!
Visit the caves
It is possible to visit the natural caves of the park, such as the Mammoth Cave (from AUD 45) and the Ngilgi Cave (from AUD 22.50). Some companies offer packages to visit several caves in one day.
Margaret River is famous in Australia for its gastronomy. You can go to visit wineries, breweries, chocolate factories, etc. (some are free).
For a culinary day, for example, you can have breakfast at the chocolate factory. Then you visit the local cheese factory around noon. In the afternoon you drive to the Berry Farm and finish the day with a glass of wine in one of the wineries in the area or with a beer in one of the local breweries.
If you like to drink alcohol, you can book a beer tour. For about $ 80 you spend the whole day pilgrimaging from brewery to brewery.
Near Margaret River, the farmer’s market takes place every Saturday morning. There are a few local producers who offer good products, even though they are quite expensive.
If you have the opportunity to visit Margaret River in November, you can go to Gourmet Escape. This is a well-known event in Australian gastronomy, bringing together several renowned chefs. The “Gourmet Village” consists of many stalls and takes place on a weekend. Prices are between AUD 40 and 230, depending on the package you have chosen (wine, wine and meals, etc.).
Margaret River is a small town, so there isn’t much going on in the evening. Except for weekends, then you can listen to live music with a good beer. The tavern, the most popular bar in the town centre, is especially famous for its music events (Thursday to Saturday night). Check out the events in their program!
Open air cinema
During the summer months, Cape Mentelle Vineyard shows movies on a big screen several evenings a week. Have a look at the event program of Cape Mentelle.
Margaret River – Practical advice
Otherwise, you can also rent a car. It takes about 3 hours by car from Perth. Here you can compare car hire prices: www.airportrentals.com
Authors: Julia & Rodrigue
Updated on the 23/01/2020. Initially published on the 23/01/2019.