Explore the Enchanting Towns Surrounding Forest Rise in the Margaret River Region
We welcome you to Forest Rise Chalets and Lodge, your ideal accommodation as a base to explore the best of what South West Australia has to offer. In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the charming towns that surround Forest Rise, and some local knowledge to help you explore.
23 minute drive
About: Nestled along the pristine shores of Geographe Bay, Busselton is a captivating coastal town that seamlessly blends natural beauty with historical charm. Renowned for its iconic Busselton Jetty, visitors can go for a scenic stroll or opt for a leisurely Jetty Train ride; fishing is also allowed if you fancy an early start to catch some herring for breakfast. The town offers plenty of family-friendly activities, with the Busselton Jetty’s Underwater Observatory providing a unique glimpse into marine life beneath the bay’s crystal-clear waters. If you prefer the sand, Busselton boasts stunning beaches, with the two most popular being Geographe Bay Beach and Meelup Beach, inviting water lovers to indulge in swimming, snorkelling, or just catch some sun. With a vibrant atmosphere, world-class wineries, and a rich coastal tapestry, Busselton captivates visitors seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure on Australia’s west coast.
Local insights: Primal Archery is a great day out for the family for some fun and excitement, with kids upwards of 6 able to participate in target shooting. They also offer Archery Tag for some group fun, but only for kids 10 and above. You’ll need to refuel after some shooting, so it’s a good thing Gropers is only a three minute drive away; it’s a wonderful place for fresh fish and chips, but the deep fried mars bar is their iconic menu item that’s tempted locals for many years (spoiler alert, it’s totally worth it!!). Once the food has settled, head back to town where you’ll find Aquatastic – Australia’s largest inflatable floating Water Park for some inflatable fun. After a long day of activities, it’s time to sit back and relax whilst you take in the breathtaking views of Geographe Bay with an ice cold beer. Luckily, you’re spoilt for choice with Rocky Ridge and Shelter brewery both located near the main jetty. Rocky Ridge is a family owned boutique brewery with a relaxed vibe, while Shelter was born out of a group of locals’ love for the town they call home, and the sheer size has to be seen to be believed. If you can’t decide which one to check out, there’s a simple solution – check out both!
14 minute drive
About: Cowaramup, locally known as “Cowtown,” is a charming town in Western Australia encapsulating a unique blend of rural tranquillity and artistic flair. Having grown substantially over the last few years, it’s definitely worth a visit as the last stop on Busselton Highway en route to the Margaret River city centre. Surrounded by lush countryside, Cowaramup is known for its quirky fibreglass cow sculptures scattered throughout the town, adding a charming touch to its character. This artistic spirit extends to local galleries, showcasing the talents of the community. The town’s vibrant atmosphere is complemented by boutique stores, fresh bakeries, cosy cafes, and as of recently the Servo Taphouse and The West Winds Distillery & Tavern. With its delightful streetscapes, artistic charm, and proximity to the region’s natural wonders, Cowaramup offers visitors a delightful taste of rural Western Australia.
Local insights: The Candy Cow sweet shop was one of the first retail shops in town and, like the galleries, was the main reason tourists would stop in town for a wander. If your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied enough after a visit to the Candy Cow, cross the street and check out Temper Temper fine chocolate where you’ll find Roz and Georgia’s premium chocolate from sustainable farms, including organic, sugar-free and healthy chocolate creations. For a more hearty meal, you should check out the Cowaramup Meat Specialist for high quality, good value meat sourced from local farmers; those in the know will drop in on their way through, so you might need to pack an esky or cooler. If food isn’t on your mind, and your just looking for a place to have a break from driving and stretch the legs, Cowaramup oval is a family friendly area where you’ll find locals relaxing in the sun while their kids play on the playground, have a go in the skate park, or run around the oval. Hot tip: There’s public barbecues if you want to grab some snags from the Cowaramup Meat Specialist and have a barby with friends.
22 minute drive
About: The smaller of the towns situated along the stunning Margs coastline, Dunsborough is a picturesque town that seamlessly blends natural beauty with a relaxed seaside atmosphere. Beautiful beaches run along the entire stretch of the town, so no matter where you’re staying, a beach is always a short walk away, inviting visitors and locals alike to enjoy pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters – perfect for swimming and snorkelling. The town is a gateway to the iconic Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse which stands as a testament to the area’s maritime history, offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. With a reputation for its family-friendly ambiance, Dunsborough offers charming local markets and plenty of clothing stores to satisfy all tastes from second-hand, surfy, or high-end fashion. Dunsborough has everything you need in one small town to help you spend as much time as possible simply relaxing and taking in the laid back vibe.
Local insights: Perhaps the most famous ice creamery in Western Australia, Simmo’s Ice Creamery is an institution in the South West region, and has been adored by locals for over 25 years. Give yourself enough time to sit and enjoy the fun park with vast grassed parklands, shady trees, mini golf or just relax as you divulge in one (or more) of 60 available ever-changing flavours. In town you’ll find the Dunsborough Bakery, where if you’re lucky the line will only be as far as the door and not snaking around outside. But no need to worry, they’ve been doing this for many years and you’ll be in and out of there in no time with a fresh pie or tasty dessert. Nothing goes better with a jam donut than a coffee, and two minutes walk from the bakery is the Yallingup Coffee Roasting Company; if they’re roasting fresh you won’t need directions as the scent of freshly roasted beans will lead you there faster than you can say “long mach topped up”. (For out-of-state visitors, the long mach has long been a staple of the WA coffee scene, and is the equivalent of a “strong flat white” over east.)
24 minute drive
About: Perhaps the most well known town in South Western Australia, Margaret River was put on the map for its world class beaches and wineries. Known simply as Margs to locals, the laid back town has gone from strength to strength as people travel far and wide to see what all the fuss is about. Grab a coffee and some breakfast at the White Elephant cafe as beachgoers enjoy a morning swim at Prevelly beach; walk North along the coast to pass the dog beach where your furry friend can run around, meet some friends, or have a swim in some turquoise water. Further along you’ll find the Surfer’s Point who’s world-class waves will host the Margaret River Pro in April next year – one of only two Australian beaches to be part of the World Surf League. Your next stop is the River Mouth where Margaret River herself meets the Indian Ocean for a few short minutes each day. Spend a day in the vibrant town centre, dotted with art galleries, boutique shops, and gourmet eateries, creating a lively cultural scene. At night, the party continues at Settler’s Tavern for some live music and a dance floor open until late. Read more about the wineries, breweries and caves around this great region.
Local insight: The Margaret River Farmers’ Market is open each Saturday at the local school where you’ll find fresh produce from around the area; be sure to take your own coffee cup as you won’t find a takeaway cup in sight, but if not your friendly barista will have a mug you can borrow. Visit Boranup forest along Cave’s Road and immerse yourself in never ending karri trees that reach over 65 m in height; if your lucky, you might see a family of emu’s wandering along the road, but be careful, they don’t like visitors very much and might chase after you to let you know! Head to The Common for a pint of Common Lager as you watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean; grab some Tish Facos for an easy dinner, or choose something else from the yummy menu if that doesn’t float your canoe. For those who enjoy a bit of an adventure, Kilcarnup Beach is available via a 4WD track where you can test your off road abilities. The beach itself is amazing and serves as a break from the crowds in the busier months, but be warned of the climb to exit the beach which has bogged many a beachgoer over its time. Prevelly Caravan Park has a small grocery store with most of your needs if you want to avoid the crowds of the town, with a small liquor store featuring local wines. Hot tip: For whisky lovers, you’ll find a small selection of well priced Scotch (and that other American stuff 😜). Last but not least, the Margaret River Bakery is a must see to guarantee at least one great pie during your visit; in addition to their hot pastries, you’ll be spoilt for choice with plenty of sweeter options, and plenty of healthy sandwiches and wraps that are so good you’ll forget they’re good for you.
17 minute drive
About: A gem within the region, Yallingup is a coastal haven renowned for its captivating blend of natural beauty and surf culture. Being surrounded by amazing surfing beaches like Yallingup Beach and Smith’s Beach, it’s no wonder we’ve seen multiple pro’s come out of this small town. It’s almost been kissed by Hollywood royalty with superstart Nicholas Cage shooting a surfing movie there over the last few months. The iconic Ngilgi Cave adds an intriguing touch, inviting exploration of its ancient limestone formations. Yallingup is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, providing opportunities for coastal walks, snorkelling in sheltered lagoons, and enjoying sunset views over the rugged cliffs. With a laid-back atmosphere and a backdrop of towering karri trees, Yallingup beckons visitors to unwind, surf, and immerse themselves in the natural wonders of Western Australia’s southwest.
Local insight: Head out to the Yallingup Maze for a fun day of venturing through a large wooden maze, or try your hand at golf with an 18 hole mini golf course. If you’re worried this is something you can only do once, don’t worry, the maze is forever changing so each time you’ll find yourself with a brand new challenge to take head on. After burning some calories outside, head out to Swings and Roundabouts to experience the most family friendly winery in the Margaret River region. Only a two minute drive away from Yallingup, ‘Swings’ is a great place to enjoy one of their many wines while the kids enjoy some woodfired pizza or run themselves silly on the giant playground or a huge grassed area.
Wherever you want to go in the Margaret River region, Forest Rise is your ideal accommodation to be close to all of what the region has to offer. View our accommodation to find your perfect fit, and explore this world class region.