Why Visit the Margaret River Region From Perth
Margaret River is a beautiful region and destination in South Western Australia, known for its world-class wine, food, and beaches. It stretches over 120 km from Busselton to Dunsborough, from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. It’s a must-see region if you are in Perth and have 3-4 days to spend. If you are a food and wine lover and like to get active, you will love Margaret River. I’ve been a few times there and loved it. Here is our guide with tips and the best things to do in Margaret River on a multi-day trip from Perth.
How to get around in the Margaret River Region
You can get to Margaret River by car, bus, or air. Driving from Perth to Margaret River takes around 3 hours. You can also take the bus from Perth to Margaret River through the Transwa bus service; the average travel time is 5 hours. If you travel by bus, you must hire a car locally or go on tours to explore the region. I highly recommend hiring a car in Perth to explore the whole area from Busselton. You can also join a day or half-day discovery or wine tour. To get around Margaret River conveniently, you need to rent a car.
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Margaret River Region Map With Road Trip Itinerary
Below find our own Margaret River Region Map created on Google Maps. You can enlarge it with the + button and click on the relevant pins and letters to open a window with more details about each place plus what you can do and see on each place. The letters from A to H are the road trip itinerary stops from Perth to Cape Leeuwin.
Once you get to Margaret River, make sure you first visit the excellent Tourism Office. You can get their top Margaret River Map. You can also learn about all the events and activities at the Margaret River Tourism Office, book and purchase entrances to places, get a list of the Margarete River Wineries and restaurants and find exciting things to do while you are there. You can also get ticket entrances to lighthouses, the caves and more maps for your South West Australia explorations.
20 Of the Best Things To Do In Margaret River
When exploring Margaret River, you will discover hidden gems, secret spots, and unique experiences only locals know about. Margaret River is a beautiful destination in Western Australia, with its pristine beaches, world-class wineries and scenic landscapes.
1. Visit some of the best Margaret River Wineries
Margaret River is known for its premium wines and wineries. It boasts some of the best wineries in the country, offering a wide range of wines that will delight any palate, with +160 wineries and high-quality organically grown wines like Chardonnay Wine and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine and food tasting at some of the Margaret River wineries will be a top thing to do on your trip. Don’t miss out on Vasse Felix, Cullen Wines, Howard Park, and The Voyager, and if you have time, there are boutique to large wineries to visit. In this post, I share recommendations on the best Margaret River Wineries.
2. Take a scenic drive on the Caves Road
Taking a scenic drive on Caves Road is a great way to explore the diverse scenery of the Margaret River region. The road is between two capes: the Naturaliste and Leeuwin, and connects Dunsborough to Augusta. This is the alternative drive to the Busselton Highway, through the Bonarup Forest with the towering Karri Trees. You can see the views of vineyards, forests, wineries, parks and limestone caves. Take your time during the drive, and do not rush. You will love this relaxing scenic drive. You can also stop at the Bonrarup Art Galleries and marvel at some stunning wooden pieces.
3. Visit one or more Underground Caves
The Margaret River Underground Caves are a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the wonders of the underground. There are three caves worth visiting: Jewel Cave, Lake Cave and Ngilgi Cave near Yallingup. Jewel Cave is renowned for its intricate formations and three massive chambers, while Lake Cave offers a unique view of the “Suspended Table”. Both caves are near Augusta and Cape Leuween, and there are fully guided one-hour tours you can book. You can reach these caves through Caves Road from Margaret River.
Check the best Margaret River Cave Tours (half-day)
4. Spend time at the Margaret River Beaches
Margaret River is also known for its beautiful beaches. Red Gate Beach and Hamelin Bay are the two most visited beaches by travellers.
Red Gate Beach
Red Gate Beach is known for its sandy beach, big red rocks, and huge waves crashing against “Issacs Rocks”. From there, you can also join a Cape to Cape hike and walk on the red sand, where you can spot blue tongue lizards. It is also a popular spot for surfers. On a calm day, you can spot the SS Georgette shipwreck that sank in 1876. It is a 9-minute drive via Caves Road and Redgate Road.
The nearby Hamelin Bay, close to Augusta and Cape Leuween, is known for its shallow waters and rocky shoreline. Stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling and fishing are popular activities here. When I was there, I saw a giant stingray swimming past my feet. This is quite common too. It is a 29-minute drive from Margaret River via Bussell Highway and a 33-minute drive via Caves Road, so an easy self-drive. They are both isolated and quiet, don’t be surprised that very few people will be there. The ideal place to relax, spend time there solo and enjoy the natural and distinctive beauty of the Margaret River region.
5. Visit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
I also visited the tallest Lighthouse on the mainland in Australia called Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. It is at the most south-westerly point where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet. It is one of the most iconic lighthouses in Australia and has been a beacon for sailors since 1895. The Interpretive Centre at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse offers visitors an insight into the history and significance of the lighthouse, as well as its importance to local communities. Visitors can also explore the grounds and take in the views from the lighthouse. It is a 45-minute drive from Margaret River and a 10-minute drive south of Augusta. You need to book a guided 30-minute tour to explore the lighthouse.
6. Watch a movie under ancient trees at Cape Mentelle
Watching a film under old trees at Cape Mentelle in Margaret River is an experience that is hard to beat. This picturesque location is a winery by day and a cinema at night, and it is also home to some of the oldest trees in the world. As I did, you’ll have a great time, from romantic comedies to action-packed thrillers. Enjoy your evening under the stars with a glass of wine from one of the region’s many wineries while you watch your favourite movie. It’s just a 4-minute drive via Wallcliffe road. You must book movie tickets and upgrade to deluxe for a glass of wine. They open at 6 pm and start the movie around 7.45 pm.
7. Visit the local farmers’ markets
The Margaret River Region is also renowned for its fresh produce, and the best way to experience it is by visiting the local farmer’s markets. At these markets, there are over 50 stalls where you can find a variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and other products that make beer, cheese, and chocolate. You can also meet local farmers passionate about their craft and learn more about where your food comes from. The market is located at 272 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, and you can visit it every Saturday, 7:30 am – 11:30 am.
8. Watch surfers hitting the waves
Every year, the world championship event in Margaret River Region, also called The Margaret River Pro, brings together the best surfers from around the world in Surfer’s Point. The waves in the iconic Main Break are known for their size and power and are a favourite among experienced surfers. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a spectator looking to witness feats on the water, the coming world championship in March is an event you won’t miss. The event is free for all. Surfer’s Point is a 9-minute drive via Wallcliffe Road. Another great spot for surfers is Prevelly Beach.
9. Go on a guided Margaret River Adventure
If you want an exciting way to explore the area, why not go on a guided Margaret River Adventure? I went on a full-day tour and got to canoe along Margaret River. We also witnessed the Wilyabrup Cliffs standing on top of the cliffs for a fantastic sight of the ocean waves. If you want a heart-pounding adventure, you can go abseiling and descend through the cliffs. Our local guide was experienced and fun. You can be sure that your adventure will be safe and enjoyable. Here below the link to book this tour. Check out the full-day the Margaret River Discovery Tour.
Book the Margaret River Discovery Tour
10. Savour the excellent local produce
In Margaret River, there aren’t only premium wines. It’s a top place for fabulous locally-produced Australian food too. Here below are some must-see gourmet places when you are in Margaret River.
The LarderThis is an excellent food catering shop in the heart of Margaret River town, where you can find the finest local produce and delicacies. Its central location makes it convenient to visit f you want to grab local specialities or have a home-delivered delicious meal with the finest ingredients.
Nougates at BettenaysBettenays have been producing delicious nougats for over 30 years, and their products are now available across Australia. Bettenays Nougat Factory offers a range of classic flavours such as almond, macadamia and honeycomb, as well as unique flavours like mango passionfruit and white chocolate with cranberry. It is an 18-minute drive via Bussel Highway. Book your reservation. They are open daily from 8 am to 10 pm.
Local Produce & Gourmet at Providore
Providore is a local business specialising in the best local produce and gourmet food from the Margaret River Region. They source their products from local farmers and producers, ensuring you can taste only the freshest and most delicious ingredients. It is a 20-minute drive via Bussel Highway. You can book the Providore Ultimate Experience, a tour that lasts 2 hours.
Organic Olive Oils at Olio Bello
Olio Bello is a family-run business that produces some of the finest organic olive oils in the area. They use traditional methods to make their oils, which gives them a unique flavour and aroma. At Olio Bello, you can sample their signature oils and unique varieties like truffle or garlic-infused oil. It is a 15-minute drive via Carters Road and Caves Road. You also need to make a reservation to secure your visit. Their farm shop opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm. Their cafe is open from 11:30 am to 3 pm.
11. Taste Craft Beers at local Breweries
While Margaret River Regions stands out for its premium wines, I must say that the locally produced beers are outstanding. I have visited a few, and the quality was excellent. If you like beer, I recommend visiting one or two of the 13 breweries with distinctive styles and tastes.
Cheeky Monkey BreweryThe Cheeky Monkey Brewery is one of the best places to experience Margaret River’s beers. Here you can enjoy a variety of craft beers made using locally sourced ingredients. The beer menu includes pale ales, IPAs, lagers, stouts and more. The brewery also offers a selection of food items perfect for pairing with their beers. They have a fantastic wood-fired pizza served for lunch. Reserve a table, over busy weekends, at their Brewpub on Caves Road.
Eagle Bay BreweryEagle Bay Brewing on the North Coast, 15 min drive from Dunsborough, is one of the top microbreweries in the whole region. You can shop and taste their craft beers with delicious bread, olives (I call them salty cherries) and olive oils and have lunch with 100% locally grown products from their large farm property. Try their Venison Pizza or the crispy non-oily fish and chips. If you fancy, you can also take a behind the scene tour and visit the brewing operation facilities to get an idea of how beer is brewed.
12. Watch the Whales In Margaret River
Margaret River is the perfect place to watch whales in the ocean. Thousands of whales migrate through the area, providing visitors with a show every year. With a whale-watching tour, you can get up close and personal with these creatures as they make their way along the coast. You’ll witness their playful nature as they breach, spy hop, and a tail slap in the water. You may even be lucky to spot a pod of dolphins or sea lions swimming alongside them. The best time to see them is from June to August in Flinders Bay in Augusta, a 30-minute drive from Margaret River. Another top whale-watching spot where you can see whales from the beach is Bunker Bay near Cape Naturaliste.
Things To do in Cape Naturaliste and the Geographe Bay
Where is the Geographe Bay?
The Geographe Bay is between Bunbury, Busselton, and Dunsborough. This region is known for its diverse landscape, from secluded bays to long stretches of white sands and lovely spots for safe swimming to the rugged red cliffs of Cape Naturaliste, the extreme point of the region, to the magnificent surf beaches of Yallingup on the South West side of the Cape. Here are 5 top things to do in Cape Naturaliste, the northern cape of the Margaret River Region.
13. Explore Cape Naturaliste
The Cape Naturaliste lighthouse is the starting point for all walking trails, from a 2km loop to longer walks meandering the national park along the rugged coastline. All walks can be either self-guided or organized by the park rangers. Take in the smell of plant moisture and breath in the ocean breeze. You may also be lucky to spot kangaroos on the walking trails. There is also a short track with wheelchair access. From Cape Naturaliste, you can also start the 90km Cape to Cape Track, one of Australia’s top 10 walking trails. I took a short circular walk to Shell Cave along Bunker Bay Beach.
14. Take a scenic drive to Eagle Bay Beach, Meelup Beach, and Castle Rock
After your walk in the Cape Naturaliste National Park, hit the road and go on a beach tour exploration. Eagle Bay, Meelup Beach and Castle Rock Beach are the most known beaches on the eastern side of the cape. If you go there early, you can catch the colours of a Meelup Beach sunrise. Go in a loop, and stop at the many lookouts along the drive, like Gannet Rock and Castle Rock. For lunch, stop at Eagle Bay beach or Curtis bay beach, another lovely beach, for a picnic.
15. Enjoy the ocean views at Sugarloaf Rock
The west side of the Cape offers equally dramatic vistas. Only 10 minutes drive from the Lighthouse, you get to Sugarloaf, a massive rock formation sticking out of the ocean. From the car park, walk across a short walking path to witness the imposing view of Sugarloaf Rock on the ocean.
16. Visit Yallingup, The Place of Love
From Margaret River, on the west side, before getting to Dunsborough, you will be delighted by the beauty of Yallingup, a lovely coastal village. Stop at the various lookouts to see the inspiring Smiths Beach. Drive a couple of minutes further and reach Yallingup Beach. In the aboriginal language, Yallingup means the place of love, and when you stand there, you will understand why. While Yallingup is a popular spot for surfers, it is beloved by solos and families alike who want to enjoy the peacefulness of the place. There are no shops at Yallingup, only BBQ facilities in the car park.
17 Take a Dip in Injidup Natural Spa
Injidup Natural Spa in Yallingup is a stunning coastal destination. You can relax and unwind in its natural rockpools, surrounded by lush bushland and ocean views. Take a dip in the crystal clear water of the rockpools or soak up some sun on the surrounding cliffs. There are also plenty of activities, such as swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and beachcombing. It is a 33-minute drive from Margaret River via Caves Road and an ideal stop if you visit the north cape of the Margaret River Region.
18. Walk the bridge over Canal Rocks
Canal Rocks are another unique rock formation near Yallingup. The massive waves crashing over the rocks and the water bleeding under the footbridge create an unusual scenario for taking pictures and shooting videos. Apart from enjoying this natural view, you can climb rocks, swim in small safe bays, and take beautiful sunset reflections over the granite rocks.
19. Visit the Yallingup Galleries
When in Yallingup, visiting the Yallingup Galleries for paintings and local wooden furniture is a must. This place is extraordinary. While it’s a small two-floor place, there are many unique art pieces, from paintings, sculptures, wooden furniture, and many more. In Margaret River, you can visit a dozen small galleries. I have been to this on my trip to Margaret River and can recommend it.
20. Taste the Yallingup Bread
If you plan a day trip or a more extended visit to Dunsborough and the Cape Naturaliste, take the right side road and stop at the Yallingup Woodfired Bakery. Their bread is outstanding. I purchased a loaf one day and could eat it for a week. It was soft and tasty without going stale. It isn’t easy to find it, but their outstanding bread has put their name on Google Maps.
Where to stay in the Margaret River Region
Depending on your schedule and trip itinerary. I would stay in town in Margaret River. If you plan a week or longer, allocate a few days in the Dunsborough area and a few more near Margaret River or Augusta. Below are the places I recommend and where I stayed on my trip.
Best Places to stay in Margaret River
In Margaret River, there are no big hotel chains. Everything is local, and that’s the best part of it. You can find fully equipped residences, exclusive luxury beach lodges, cabins and bungalows in campsites to B&B and privately owned accommodations. I recommend staying at the Margarets In Town Apartments (formerly Darby Park Apartments).
Just opposite the Tourist Information Center, only one minute’s walk from the town centre and all the shops, cafes, and restaurants. The complex offers free wi-fi at the reception in the main entrance building with a spacious lounge room and large TV screen. You can sit at the guest bar, on sofas or tables if you want to use your computer. There is private and secure parking, laundry and a tennis court.
Check out prices at the Margarets In Town Apartments
I booked a studio apartment. My apartment balcony looked into the forest and faced the swimming pool. The room was comfortable, with a large terrace overlooking the forest and fully equipped with all I needed to cook my meals: a toaster, microwave, fridge, cutlery, dishes, and kitchen towels.
Best Places to Stay in Dunsborough
If you are looking for a total forest immersion, book this place. I stayed at the Ridge Retreat, a luxury accommodation in the forest’s heart. It’s a privately-owned retreat in the Dunsborough Hills, only a 10-minute drive from Dunsborough and 15 minutes from the surf beaches: Smiths Beach and Yallingup Beach. You will drive through the forest up to the hills among ancient trees up to Ocean View Drive.
I stayed in the Blue Wren Unit. The unit was appointed with wooden furniture, with blue and yellow to light orange decorations, plus the paintings hanging on the pastel-painted walls made the colour symphony perfect. I love colours and know their beneficial influence on your health and mood.
Check out prices at the Dunsborough Ridge Retreat
The unit was equipped with a comfortable bathroom and kitchen. A table and sofa in the open space, the colourful bedroom that a sliding door can shut for more privacy. The place was incredibly peaceful. The only sound around me was the birds singing and the wind whispering through the tall trees—no need to set your alarm clock for the morning. You will wake up by the singing of the laughing kookaburras.
There are no shops or restaurants, so you must bring your food and everything you need for your stay—the Goanna Cafe is only a 4 min drive. You can have brunch or a good cuppa and browse the lovely arts and crafts shop. There is also the Dunsborough Hills Wines if you want to go for wine tasting nearby.
View more retreats, apartments and guest houses in Margaret River and Dunsbourough. Click the links below.
When is the best time to visit Margaret River?
September to March is the best time to experience Margaret River food and wine. From December to February, it will be hot and busy. The ideal time is from September to November. First, you can get away with the school holidays, the crowds and the heat. Full carpets of wildflowers cover the coastal heathland, creating a stunning contrast with the red rock formations and towering green forests. You can witness spectacular whale watching for your bucket list things from September to December across the entire Margaret River Region and beyond that to Port Augusta. Moreover, wintertime is the ideal weather to hike the Cape to Cape Track. Springtime is the perfect time to visit Margaret River.
Tips for exploring the Margaret River Region
Margaret River is a stunning wine and food region that offers a massive variety of things to do and see, which is hard to beat. There is something for everyone, from the younger generation to couples, families with kids, to active travellers who love adventure. I hope this will inspire you to explore South West Australia more. Please click for more tips for visiting 10 Margaret River Wineries.
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First published in 2017, last updated in Jan 2023
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