How to explore the Geographe Bay in 48 hours
Geographe Bay was one of the major highlights during my visit to the Margaret Wine Region. While Geographe Bay is a very popular weekend and holiday gateway among western Australians yet it is not known among international travellers, who refer to South West Australia as the “Margaret River Region“.
But the Geographe Bay is a region of its own with its distinctive character and its natural beauty. A visit to Margaret River is definitely not complete without a visit to this special coastline.
Where is the Geographe Bay?
The Geographe Bay is located between Bunbury and Margaret River, a beautiful coastline stretching for over 30km. You will go through the diverse landscape, from secluded bays to long stretches of white sands and lovely spots for safe swimming to 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.
To visit the Geographe Bay you need a car, and at least 2-3 days, ideally a long weekend. On my trip, I spent 2 days and 2 nights, on the way back from my visit to Margaret River.
For hiring a car click on the link below.
The highlights of the Geographe Bay Things to do
The Cape Naturaliste area is the focal point of the area. The Geographe Bay Tourism Office has organized for me a walk with a ranger within the park. Although the weather was not ideal on that morning, we decided to take a short walk to Shell Cave along the Bunker Bay Beach to return to the lighthouse. I loved this short walk in the rain.
It was inspiring even in a rainy and grey day, I could feel the deep natural beauty, the fresh smell of the moisture from plants and the ocean breeze. This was my morning treat, a lovely encounter with a kangaroo on the way to the Lighthouse.
Yallingup and Smiths Beach
Before reaching Dunsborough, a lovely township on the coast, you can follow the sign to Yallingup Beach and stop at the lookouts to marvel at the awe-inspiring Smiths Beach and get a feel of the place at Yallingup Beach. Yallingup in aboriginal language means “the place of love” and by standing there a while silently you can understand why.
Yallingup is a popular spot for surfers. Nonetheless, the rugged coast forms a lovely safe bay for a peaceful beach escapes to suit both families with kids, as well as active people, who want to enjoy the great outdoors by walking its gorgeous walking trails. There are no shops at Yallingup but BBQ facilities are available in the car park area. I can recommend the Yallingup Galleries for paintings and local wooden furniture.
Bunker Bay Beach
The highlight of this walk is definitely the Bunker Bay Beach, a lovely spot for romantic escapes with beautiful villas, lodges and the Bunker Bay Cafe overlooking the ocean. Andrew, the ranger and my guide that morning told me about the history of this area.
In the past, it used to be a pastoral area which the government then converted into a national park of Western Australia. It was fascinating to listen to the ecological and environmental features of this region. The lighthouse is the starting point for several beautiful walking trails, from 2km loop to longer walks meandering through the national park and along the rugged coastline.
The Cape Naturaliste
All walks can be either self-guided or organized by the park rangers. Moreover, there is also a track with wheelchair access. The Cape Naturaliste is also the starting point or ending point of the famous 90km Cape to Cape Track, one of the top 10 walking trails of Australia.
From the Lighthouse you can take the scenic coastal drive down to Dunsborough stopping at Eagle Bay, Meelup Beach and Castle Rock. On your way to Eagle Bay Beach do not miss out on stopping at Sugarloaf Rock, 10 minutes drive from the Lighthouse. The Sugarloaf Rock is a huge rock formation sticking out of the ocean. From the car park, you walk across a short walking path to witness a gorgeous view over Sugarloaf Rock on the ocean.
Eagle Bay Beach
Before reaching Eagle Bay Beach a visit to the famous Eagle Bay Brewery is a must! There you can test the special Eagle Bay Beer and savour excellent food, 100% locally grown products. In fact, Eagle Bay Brewery is not only a microbrewery but includes a large farm property too. Their olives are delicious, I called them “salty cherries” and could not stop eating them. The venison pizza (from a wooden fire) was the hit together with the fish and chips, the best crispy non-oily fish and chips I have had in Australia! If you are a food lover this is a top-notch place for excellent quality food.
Travelling from Perth, your first stop will be in Busselton, a modern and lovely coastal town, known among tourists holidaymakers. Here you can visit the Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere and with 1.82 km is the longest jetty in Australia. You can walk and come back by train or the other way around. A the end there is an interesting marine aquarium with displays about the jetty history, and see through-walls, where you can view marine life and corals.
Consider a visit to Busselton also as an easy day-trip from Perth.
8 Must-do things in the Geographe Bay
To recap, if you want to enjoy this area and make the most of it, here are my 8 picks among the top things to do in the Geographe Bay:
- Visit Cape Naturaliste and take a walk to discover the aboriginal significance of the area.
- Enjoy Bunker Bay Beach, its peacefulness walk and the calm waters.
- Explore the coastline on a scenic drive of Caves Road and stop at the various lookouts and beaches.
- Stand in awe at Sugarloaf Rock, close to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
- Check out the art galleries for excellent artisan works, especially wooden furniture and painting
- Visit the local farms, the wineries and the microbreweries to taste and buy their local produce. Most of these farms sell their products, only from their premises, and cannot be found anywhere else.
- Visit Busselton for a tour of the 1,8 km long Busselton Jetty with the underwater coral reef.
- Watch whales emerging out of the ocean a few meters from shore at Bunker Bay Beach. Whale watching on the Geographe bay is seasonal, from September-November during the whale migration.
Either on a solo trip, a family trip, or a romantic escape the Geographe Bay is a very special place that will stay in your memories forever.
How much time do you need to visit the Geographe Bay
To visit the Geographe Bay you need at least 2-3 days, ideally a long weekend. This was my first visit and I spent 2 days and 2 nights, on the way back from my visit to Margaret River.
From the Geographe Bay to Margaret River, it takes approx 1 hour along the Caves Road. This is a beautifully scenic road, towered by lovely Karri trees, that takes you through the countryside offering several stops along the way at local farms, wineries, and microbreweries. In addition, there are a few art galleries offering excellent artisan works.
Where to stay in the Geographe Bay
You can stay in the 2 major towns of Dunsborough and Busselton if you love to have all comforts, shops and facilities. If you prefer to dive yourself in the natural beauty of the place you can choose to stay at one of the lovely lodges, beach villas or in the forest. I stayed at a lovely lodge in the Dunsborough hills at the Glasslodge, a beautiful eco-lodge nestled in the heart of the forest in the Dunsborough Hills.
I recommend staying in Dunsborough Ridge Retreat
Here you can read my review of my stay at the Dunsborough Ridge Retreat (former The Glass Lodge).
For more Geographe Bay Accommodation options, check out the link below.
More Things to do in South West Australia
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