Margaret River is one of Western Australia’s premier tourism destinations and a trip down south should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Western Australia.
The region’s world-class wineries, surf breaks and incredible natural scenery make it one of the best places to visit in Australia. There’s also plenty of tourist infrastructure and great accommodation options to make the most out of your stay in the region.
Make the Margaret River Visitor Centre your first port of call to get all you need for a great stay.
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Best time to visit Margaret River region
Margaret River is a great spot to visit any time of the year. The hotter summer months are perfect beach weather when you’ll want to dive straight into the Indian Ocean at the many amazing spots along the coast.
However, don’t discard the winter months. There are still plenty of sunny days to show off the natural beauty of this region. The cooler temperatures are perfect for hiking and biking as well as long lunches at cosy wineries.
The winter months are also when the swell is at it’s most spectacular and you’ll see exactly why this region has some of the best surfing conditions on the planet.
Things to see in Margaret River
1. Caves Road
Most of the attractions around Margaret River are along Caves Road. This 111 km long scenic drive, however, is its own attraction and if you visit the Margaret River region, chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time weaving your way along this beautiful stretch of road.
Caves Road stretches from Yallingup in the north, all the way to Cape Leeuwin near Augusta in the south. This is where you’ll find most of the attractions, including wineries, breweries, art galleries, mazes and most of the Margaret River caves that are open to the public.
Along the route, there’s the ever-changing scenery, including bushland, paddocks and the impressive Karri forest at the southern end.
Take care when driving along Caves Road. It’s easy to get distracted with so many scenic views.
2. Margaret River Caves
More than 300 caves lie beneath the Margaret River region which makes it one of the most cave rich areas in Australia. Several of these caves are open to the public and make for a unique subterranean experience.
One of the most spectacular caves is Jewel Cave where you can explore three huge chambers and view the largest stalactites found anywhere in Australia.
Alternative, dare yourself to enter the sinkhole at Lake Cave and descend into the region’s deepest cave. Go underground to see this mirrored wonderland and the amazing permanent lake.
The more adventurous will love Calgarup Cave and Giant Cave where you can go on a self-guided adventure. There’s no light inside these caves. Instead, you’re equipped with headlamp and helmet to navigate the steep ladders and crawl under tight tunnels.
For a full guide on the Margaret River caves and to help you decide which one is best for you, see The Best Margaret River Caves to explore
3. Canal Rocks
This impressive geological formation was formed over thousands of years where surging waves carved out canals into the granite rock.
Depending on the swell and the mood of the ocean, the waves come crashing through these crevasses, creating an awe-inspiring natural spectacle.
There’s a wooden boardwalk to access the rocky island. You can also climb over the rocks, swim at the nearby beach or bring a picnic and watch the incredible sunset over the ocean.
For more amazing rock formation in the Margaret River region, visit Sugarloaf Rock. Instagram favourite Indijup Pool also deserves a mention but if you go exploring along the beaches, you’ll find plenty of other amazing rock pools that are just as good – albeit a lot less Insta famous!
4. Boranup Forest
Travel south along Caves Road and you’ll come across the incredible scenery of the Boranup forest. These towering Karri trees are some of the tallest trees in the world with some reaching heights of over 60 metres.
There’s a car park with a viewing platform for stunning views of the lush valley with its giant trees.
Alternatively, for a more thrilling experience, hit the Boranup Forest Mountain Bike Trail.
5. The Margaret River
There really is a river in Margaret River. However, if you’re just passing through the town you may miss it.
To get to the most scenic sections of Margaret River, start at the Rotary Park at the northern end of the Margaret River township. From here, find the walking paths that meander along the river. It will get prettier and prettier as you move further through the forest.
For an extended walk or bike ride, take the route to the Ten Mile Brook Dam. This is a 15 km joint walk and cycle trail along the river. For more details see the article on Margaret Rivers best walking and hiking trails here.
6. Margaret River Wineries
Along with surfing, the wineries are Margaret River’s claim to fame and one of the standout attractions in this world-class region.
There are a plethora of wineries to choose from no matter what your tastebuds are calling for. The best way to experience the many wineries, especially if you’re a first-time visitor is to take a Margaret River wine tour.
This will give you a good sample of the different types of wines and an overview of the bigger and smaller wine producers in the Margaret River region.
You don’t need to be a wine connoisseur though. There are so many wineries to visit for a casual lunch or quick visit to take in some of the spectacular scenery.
When the sun sets, this is where you’ll want to be. Find a spot on the grass with a bevy or two and marvel at the daily spectacle over the Indian Ocean.
Surfers Point is also one of the best surfing breaks in the region. When the swell is up, this is one of the best spots to watch the surfers in action.
Surfers Point is also the location of the Margaret River surf pro-surf competition. You can see the names of past champions engraved on the wooden steps going down to the beach.
From Surfers Point take a walk along the beach to the river mouth or head in the other direction to Prevelly Beach and the White Elephant Cafe.
8. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse sits on the edge of Australia’s most southwesterly point – Cape Leeuwin. This is also where the Indian Ocean meets the mystical Southern Ocean.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and still operates as a lighthouse and collection point of meteorological data.
There are regular guided tours of the lighthouse to find out more about its function and history. Find out more here.
9. Cape to Cape Trail
The Cape to Cape Track is Australia’s longest coastal walk. The walking track spans 135 kilometres and traverses the regions most spectacular coastal scenery of the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park.
The hiking trail is in easy access to all coastal towns and beach car parks between Yallingup and Augusta. You can walk as much or as little as you like. See the article on the Cape to Cape Track here.
10. Hamelin Bay Stingrays
Beautiful Hamelin Bay is home to a very friendly group of stingrays who don’t mind an audience while they forage for food along the shoreline.
Take a walk to the wooden jetty at Hamelin Bay where you’ll find these beautiful marine creatures.
The best time to watch the rays are in the mornings during the summer months.
Remember though, they are wild creatures and while they’re friendly, they have a barb on their tail to defend themselves.
How to get to Margaret River
Margaret River is an easy 3.5-hour drive from Perth by car. For an extended trip, click here to see all my tips on how to have a great Perth to Margaret River Drive.
On public transport, Transwa also has regular and comfortable bus services to Perth via Bunbury and Busselton. Visit the Transwa webpage for prices, timetables and pick up locations.
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