The wild, rugged beauty of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge with its dramatic cliffs and rocks, the tranquil aqua waters of the many protected bays, the local vineyards covered in rising mist in the early morning all contribute to outstanding visual splendour. It’s a photographer’s dream. Large stingrays grace the waters of Hamelin Bay. There are schools of dolphins, the occasional seal, and on land kangaroos, possums and bird life aplenty.
The Blackwood and Margaret Rivers’ meandering waterways are visited by pelicans, hundreds of black swans, red necked stints, egrets while onshore blue wrens, silvereyes, magpies and a number of species of cockatoos. Out at the Leeuwin Cape and along the spectacular beaches view a variety of seabirds including the Yellow nosed Albatross, Great winged Petrel, the Australasian Gannet and the Flesh-footed Shearwater, to name just a few.
The Blackwood and Margaret Rivers also offer abundant water activities, ranging from canoeing to fishing and boating. The Blackwood is also becoming internationally renowned for its favourable kitesurfing conditions. In Spring the countryside comes alive with a huge variety of Australian wildflowers which lay a carpet of mesmerising colours through the forests and coastal heath. It’s wonderful for those who like to walk and explore.
The intrepid traveller can journey along the Cape to Cape Track, stretching from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste. The total journey takes between 5-6 days with plenty of delightful stops and welcome camping rests along the walk. For those a little less adventurous, many sections of the trail make for a most enjoyable short stroll. Section maps are available in both visitor centres.
Margaret River Visitor Centre
100 Bussell Highway Margaret River WA 6285
Phone: +61 8 9780 5911 Fax: +61 8 9757 3287
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm every day except Christmas Day
The serene aqua water of Hamelin Bay provides the perfect ambiance for relaxing in the sun, beach combing, swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving out on the shipwrecks. This bay is often graced with the presence of stingrays which can be hand fed. Beach combing in stormy weather will reap many treasures spilled onto the sand by incoming waves.
The beaches of the Margaret River area are a mecca for surfers from around the world, each year attracting international attention with a number of top level surfing competitions being held in the area.
The Margaret River Masters is held at Surfers Point in Prevelley Park just after Easter and the Margaret River Classic is in November. A number of smaller competitions are held throughout the year at over 75 top surf breaks that stretch over 130km along the coast from Yallingup in the north a major hot-spot for surfers to beaches in the south near Cape Leeuwin. Year-round waves roll into the reef-lined shores from far off swells in the Southern and Indian Oceans produced by the strong winds of the Roaring Forties.
An extensive underground system of over 350 caves are hidden within the limestone ridge underneath the area of Margaret River.
Water has percolated through the limestone ridge that stretches for some 80km along the coast. Most are closed to the public, except a few of the more spectacular and safe caves. Yallingup or Ngilgi Cave in the north near Yallingup is very popular, as are Mammoth and Lake caves which about 20km southwest of Margaret River Township on the coast.
Further south near Cape Leeuwin, lies magnificent Jewel Cave. The caves are well lit and are open daily, offering guided or self-guided tours. Caves Road is the main road that runs from Dunsborough and Yallingup in the north, right down to Cape Leeuwin in the south and turn-offs for the caves are clearly signposted. The caving experience is both awe-inspiring and humbling as you witness the effect of thousands of years on these stunningly eerie underground environments.
WineriesThe Margaret River region is home to 20 percent of Australia’s premium wines, making Margaret River wineries a key destination for any visit to the area. There are over 70 wineries which can make it hard to choose which to visit. Most Margaret River wineries are open to visitors and allow for wine tastings. Some locations offer a variety of amenities including restaurants and cafés, some are especially “family-friendly,” whilst others have earned the classification of “boutique.”
For a comprehensive list and contact details of all the wineries in the area, visit Wine Diva.
It is also one of the country’s newest wine districts, the first vines being planted in 1967 following a state government report into the suitability of the soils for viticulture. Thor original vineyards were in the Willyabrup area. Vasse Felix was the firest to get underway in 1967, their first commercial vintage was in 1970.
Cullens and Moss Wood followed a year later. Moss Wood in particular astounded the wine world with its early vintages. Cape Mentelle, Evans & Tate and Leeuwin Estate followed soon after. There are very few poor to mediocre wines in the region. The Margaret River Wine Region is one of the biggest in Australia, stretyching 120 kms from north to south and 30 kms east to west.
Most are open to the public, specialising in cellar sales and wine tasting and many serve gourmet food using orgnic produce.
Another great site if you fancy doing a “Winery Tour” is Find Seedo
Simmos Ice Creamery On Commonage Road, near Dunsborough. Who would have thought a farm near Dunsborough could successfully sell icecream? Simmos is a must do for the kids after a day when Mum and Dad have been wine tasting.
Chocolate Factory PH: (08) 9755 6555 - The Margaret River Chocolate Factory is another “must do” and an alternative to the wineries. It is located between Dunsborough and Margaret River on the corner of Harmans Mill Road and Harmans Road South.
Olive Oil visit Oliobello
Margaret River is fast producing some of the best Olive Oil and associated products. Margaret River’s boutique and organic olive oil producer, Olio Bello, has been awarded many medals for their excellent range of oils.
With award-winning restaurants and cafes located all over this region one is never far from a fanciful feast. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or just that midday snack; whatever the occasion one is provided with a culinary experience, both as diverse as it is wonderful. For a list of all the best restaurants in the region.
We at Bella Retreat recommend Settlers Tavern in the town centre for very good value food for the whole family, Sea Garden cafe in Prevelly for its views and wonderful french owners. For finer dining, we recommend Leeuwin or Voyager Wineries depending on your tastes.
Besides the many water sports on offer such as water skiing, surfing, canoeing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and windsurfing, improve your handicap on one of the world’s most scenic golf courses in Augusta, a mere 30 minute drive south of Margaret River. There’s bowls, tennis, walk trails, cycling and many other sporting activities to keep the energy packed holiday maker busy. A number of local operators provide guided tours.
There are a wide variety of golf courses in the area. The Dunsborough Lakes Golf Course is a championship level course. The Margaret River Golf Club and the Augusta Hillview club are another two courses in the area. Lower down in the scale is the Broadwater Par 3 near Busselton. The Capel Golf Course is another fine course.
The Margaret River region is known for wine, beaches and natural beauty – and much of this natural beauty can be best enjoyed from the saddle. For the best information we have found on this subject, go to Margaret River Guide.
The area is a fisherman’s paradise. With its abundance of waterways there’s something for everyone from the professional to the amateur and the family fun day out. Fishing from a boat, the jetty or the riverbank will reward you with Bream, Herring and Yellow Fin Whiting. Blue Manor crabs are found in season, but you may need to get friendly with the locals to find out where. Beach fishing all along the coast is extensive and worth the exploration and effort. Some places to try. From the beach: Quindalup especially near the boat ramp. Smiths Beach. From the rocks – Old Dunsborough (Near the boat ramp – W/SW/S winds). Pt Picquet (S,SW,SE winds), Wyadup rocks (E winds – ie in the morning). From a boat – there is a FAD off Quindalup, Rocky Point, Wright Bank.
Whales visit the area between July and November. Whale watching tours start in Augusta in July-August and then the Naturaliste Lady moves around to Dunsborough. Good places to whale watch from the shore are from the lighthouses at Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste.
SurfingWhat makes Margaret River so special for surfing is the large waves that crash along the reef-lined shores. Thousand of kilometres away strong westerly winds known as the Roaring Forties whip around the ocean, producing large swells . These swells roll in off the Southern and Indian Ocean providing a surfers paradise. Winter and spring are the best time to hang ten but you are guaranteed all year round surfing in this part of the world.
The world’s best surfers come here to compete in the two major surfing events, Margaret River Pro (formerly the Margaret River Masters) and the the Margaret River Classic. The Masters is held at Surfer’s Point at Prevelly Park just after Easter (mid March-April) and the Margaret River Classic is held every November.
Learning To Surf in Margaret River
There are several surf and windsurfing schools in and around Margaret River.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
This is truly one of the great capes of the world and also Western Australia’s tallest lighthouse – Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
The powerful Indian and Southern Oceans converge at this famous landmark. The historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta is situated at the most south westerly tip of Australia. This famous landmark is over 100 years old and remains an important working lighthouse and collection point for meteorological data. Learn about the intriguing maritime history of the area, view fantastic marine life including dolphins, whales and seabirds and climb to the top to check out the wind speed. The Leeuwin Lighthouse café offers coffee, hot chocolate, scones and light meals. Browse the gift shop for souvenirs to take home. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is situated a leisurely 10 minutes drive south of Augusta. Address Leeuwin Road, Augusta, 6290
To download a brochure, Click Here
Leeuwin Estate Annual Concert
Each year Leeuwin stages a series of spectacular alfresco concerts in the picturesque grounds of the Estate as part of the Winery’s ongoing association and sponsorship of the Arts. Described as the most extraordinary concerts ever held in Australia, the annual Leeuwin Concert Series now enjoys a 27-year history and features an eclectic mix of the world’s finest musicians and entertainers from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to Ray Charles, Tom Jones and Sting.
A highlight in Australia’s social and cultural calendar, visitors from all over Australia and abroad make the annual pilgrimage to Leeuwin Estate attired in anything from top hats to t-shirts to picnic on the sprawling winery lawns and enjoy the music of the industry’s greatest performers. Gradually the crowd begins to hush in anticipation of the night’s show, as the sun sets over a majestic backdrop of misty karri forest.
Suddenly, as the music fills the natural amphitheatre, Leeuwin’s famous kookaburras burst into a raucous cackling chorus – much to the amusement of guests and the delight of startled entertainers. www.leeuwinestate.com.au/concerts/
For more local attractions, visit http://www.margaretriver.com/
Margaret River really is a kid’s wonderland! With safe swimming beaches, abundant natural attractions AND adventure aplenty, the region is perfect for that special family holiday… escape today. The majority of local businesses operate with a child-friendly ethos in mind, helping to ensure that children are entertained whilst the parents take a well-earned break; tasting world-class wines, consuming gourmet delicacies and enjoying the culture of relaxation that IS Margaret River!
For fun filled activities for all ages go to www.margaretriver.com/nature-adventure/leisure-family/
Most people are surprised to hear that our region has a vibrant community of artists, crafters and artisans, with many local Margaret River galleries selling beautiful artwork in a wide range of media.Whether you’re a devoted art collector or just looking for something fun to do on a rainy afternoon, the Margaret River galleries can offer you a stimulating destination for your next holiday.
Some of the finest Art Galleries are listed below. For a more comprehensive list of Artisans go to Margaret River Artisans. A map & guide are available her for download too. You can even learn how to ‘meet the artist’ on this page.
Christian Fletcher Gallery
Beautiful photographs of the South-West from celebrated local photographer Christian Fletcher.
John Streater Fine Furniture
World renowned exquisite locally designed and produced furniture from Master craftsman Streater.
Planted by Dr Tom Cullity in 1967, Vasse Felix was the first vineyard and winery to be established in the Margaret River region and is owned and operated by the Holmes a Court family. Situated in the sub-region of Willyabrup, visitors to Vasse Felix are welcomed by a unique underground cellar, a spectacular restaurant overlooking the original 1967 plantings and an exquisite art gallery, making Vasse Felix one of the great drawcards of the Margaret River Wine Region.
Unique locally designed contemporary furniture and a wonderful art gallery.
The Dilkes Hoffman Ceramic Studio is the fruition of a dream for both Rod Dilkes and Tova Hoffman. Tova and Rod originally met in Britain, before travelling across Europe, the Middle East and Asia and then settling in Margaret River, where Dilkes’ family owned a property. Their first gallery, Daleep Studios, was opened in 1991, and 10 years later, a new studio was built and renamed Dilkes-Hoffman Ceramics.
Wardan Aboriginal Cultural Centre
The Wardandi People are the traditional custodians of the land bounded by Capel to the Northeast, Augusta in the South and including the regions now known as Busselton, Yallingup and Margaret River. The Wardan Aboriginal Cultural Centre was developed by the Wardandi people as a place where they can share their culture with visitors, school groups and Aboriginal people from other areas, in an effort to increase understanding and reconciliation with the wider community.
The Studio Gallery and Bistro
New modern arts venue presenting leading Australian artists, plus a vibrant bistro offering continental style cuisine with a local twist from executive Chef Blair Allen.