The Top 7 Things to See and Do in Margaret River
Friday, Mar 31, 2017. Written by Benson Holland.
Whether you are new to the Margaret River area, a lifelong resident looking to explore local Western Australia attractions, or a visitor planning a trip to the area, there are so many wonderful events and adventures available!
The area is famous for its first class surfing locations and is home to some of the most outstanding wineries in not only Australia, but worldwide. No matter where you venture in and around Margaret River, you are sure to encounter enchanting views of manicured vineyards, breathtaking beaches, exotic wildlife, rustic nature trails, and entrances to underground limestone caves. There are many indoor activities that include museums, breweries, top rated restaurants and cafes, local artistry, and unusual gift shops.
The Margaret River Visitors Centre is open every day, except Christmas Day, for in depth information about local attractions, driving directions, purchasing tickets, or booking tours. It is located at 100 Bussell Highway and the telephone number is (08) 9780 5911.
We would like to recommend the following shortlist of the top 7 things to see and do in Margaret River:
1. Wine Tours
Whether you are a wine connoisseur, a social drinker, or just looking for one particular wine to have on hand for special occasions, Margaret River is the Mecca for Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.
One must-see winery is Vasse Felix, which was established in 1967 and was the first winery in Margaret River. There are more than 100 vineyards in and around the local area, and most are open daily for touring and tasting. Variety is not limited to your choice of wines, nor is it limited in the ways you can enjoy the local wineries. Join a multi-vineyard one day tour or drive yourself to several wineries. You can also make a plan to spend an entire day enjoying one special winery where you can view the harvesting and wine making techniques, visit a wine cellar, taste the finished wines, and enjoy a meal at the vineyard’s café or restaurant. Some wineries have play areas to entertain the children while the adults are touring the facilities.
There are over 135 km of breathtaking coastline surrounding Margaret River and more than 6 dozen surfing spots to choose from. The surfing challenges range from beginners to experienced, professional only areas. There are local learning centres and supply shops all along the coastline.
One favorite location in Margaret River is Gnarabup Beach, located on Ocean View Road. It is open to the public for both surfing and swimming, the vista is stunning, the dune trail is a leisurely stroll over soft sand, and picnicking is permitted on the beach. There is a café overlooking the beach area that is open daily for breakfast and lunch. While there is ample parking, it does fill up fast during the vacation seasons. But, there is an overflow parking area a little farther down the road.
Another excellent surfing spot is Main Break Beach on Surfers Point Road in Prevelly, which holds the annual Margaret River Pro surfing event. This is a ten minute drive from Margaret River. In addition to water surfing, it is a popular location for kite and wind surfing. Public facilities are equipped for wheelchairs.
3. Lake Cave
The most fascinating locations on earth are not always on the surface. Lake Cave is the ultimate in underground splendor and is the only cave in the region that includes a natural, permanent, serene lake. The exact age of the limestone labyrinth is not known, but based on the dimensions of the crystal, calcite, stalactites and stalagmites, it has been in existence for nearly one million years. Stalactites are the formations that hold tight to the ceiling while stalagmites are formed on the cave’s floor and might grow up to the ceiling.
Lake Cave is home to the astonishing stalactite known around the world as the Suspended Table. It hangs from the ceiling, nearly touches the lake surface below, and the table formation is reflected upon the lake’s water. The volume of crystal-like calcites casts a magical wonderland of reflected mirrors and brilliant colors. The temperature inside the cave is a constant 18 degrees Celsius.
Visitors must walk down 350 stairs to reach the cave entrance. The descent into the cave takes you past flourishing 200+ year old Karri trees rising from the floor of the sunken forest. Comfortable sport shoes are highly recommended as the stairs and parts of the cave floor can be slippery.
Lake Cave is a 20 minute drive South of Margaret River on Caves Road in Forest Grove. There are daily, one hour tours, from 9:30AM to 3:30PM and it is closed on Christmas Day. Tickets can be purchased at any visitor centre, at the cave location, or by phone on (08) 9757 7411.
What would a visit to a coastal area be without a trip, or several trips, to the beach? The region boasts an abundance of family friendly beaches with tree shaded barbeque and picnic areas, public changing rooms, public showers, public restrooms, and lots of parking lots. Think paradise with calm, crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, brilliant sunshine, and heavenly blue skies, and that is what you’ll experience when visiting the local beaches.
Top on the list of popular beaches is Meelup Beach, located on Meelup Beach Road in Dunsborough. It is about a 45 minute drive North of Margaret River. While you will be enjoying the beach with a number of other visitors, the environment is so beautiful and relaxing, you’ll think that you have found your piece of heaven on earth.
Another favourite sunbathing, surfing, snorkeling, and swimming location is actually a protected lagoon. Yallingup Beach, located on Yallingup Beach Road in Yallingup, is a 35 minute drive North of Margaret River. Lay back and soak up the sun, wade into the cool water, or stroll along the soft cream colored sand. Whatever activity you participate in at Yallingup Beach, you’ll want to stay for hours. Maybe it is the tucked-away setting of this beach that makes it easy to understand why beach goers think of this area as their own private lagoon.
5. Cape Leeuwin, Where Two Oceans Meet
The Cape Leeuwin coastline is the geographical point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet and is a maritime landmark as the resting place of 23 shipwrecks. To assist passing ships, the stark white stoned Cape Leeuwin (the Dutch word for Lioness) Lighthouse was built in 1895 and remains operational to the present day. At a height of 39 meters, it is the tallest lighthouse in WA. Erected on Australia’s most southwestern peninsula, it towers 56 meters above sea level. The lighthouse stands as an ever vigilant guard at the end of the granite peninsula. There is a fee of $8 per person to enter the Leeuwin precinct, and a small additional fee to explore the inside of the lighthouse.
Sights to last a lifetime at this location include the lighthouse and the keeper’s cottages, memorials to the shipwrecks, coastal rocks that can be explored, a visitor centre, museum, and café. There are viewing platforms spaced out along boardwalks where it is possible to see dolphins, sea lions, and whales.
The lighthouse is located on Cape Leeuwin Road in Augusta. It is a 45 minute drive south, along State Route 10, from Margaret River.
6. Amazing Mazes
Nothing brings out the inner child in adults or the joy in children than navigating a giant maze filled with twists, turns, dead ends, and games. There are two outstanding mazes in the area that can easily entertain and occupy everyone in your group for several hours.
Amaze’n Margaret River is a landscaped botanical maze with native plants, trees, and gardens. There are outdoor activities that include a giant chess board, puzzles, games, lawn bocce, sheltered picnic tables, gas barbeque grills, and a mini 18-hole golf course. Indoor activities include puzzles, games, and a café. Amaze’n Margaret River is open daily from 9AM to 5PM and there are fees to enter the maze and the golf course. It is located down the road from the Margaret River Visitor Centre at 9978 Bussell Highway. Visit their website for more information.
The Yallingup Maze is made from timber like an out fashioned military fort complete with 5 lookout towers. Other outdoor activities for the young-at-heart include a bouncy castle and a nature playground. Indoor activities include a puzzle shop and a café where there are table top games to play. The only fee is for the maze area; the indoor shop and café are free to enter. The Yallingup Maze is open daily from 9:30AM to 4:30PM. It is located at 3059 Caves Road in Yallingup, about a 30 minute drive north of Margaret River via State Route 10 and Caves Road. Visit their website for additional information.
7. Art and Artistry
Art galleries, workshops, studios, artist markets, and museums flourish throughout the Margaret River region. The uniqueness of our artisan community are the finished creations that feature and highlight native materials, fibres, wood, and gems. Stroll anywhere along the main streets in Margaret River to discover the extraordinary talents of local, interstate, national, and international artists. You will have the exceptional experience of meeting and chatting with many of the local creative celebrities who actively work in their own shops and studios.
Margaret River is home to a number of highly gifted photographers, potters, furniture designers, metal and wood workers, glass workers, jewelry designers, and painters. With so much desirable artwork, it may be hard to decide how many fine pieces you’ll want to take home for yourself and as gifts for family and friends.
One novel setting is the Goanna Gallery and Bush Café. It is a family operated establishment that is set in a native bush environment. It features native foods and coffees, and it showcases local, handcrafted artwork, jewelry, scarves, body products, and paintings. They are open from Wednesdays to Mondays, closed on Tuesdays, and open on public holidays. The gallery and café are located at 278 Hayes Road in Quindalup, a 25 minute drive west of Margaret River. Their operating hours vary depending on the weekday and holiday, with core hours being 9AM to 4PM.
Another Margaret River original is the John Miller Design Gallery in the heart of Margaret River. Each piece of individually created gold or silver jewelry is designed to reflect either a traditional flair or a stand-alone item that features native land and seascapes. The jewellery ranges from budget conscience price tags to upscale, extravagant diamond creations. The gallery is located at 101 Bussell Highway and is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM. It is closed on public holidays and Sundays. Call for information on 0401 293 680.