Family Friendly Busselton Jetty

School holidays are just around the corner, it’s time to start planning some family-fun in the Margaret River Region. Here are ten awesome activities the whole family can enjoy for under $100.


Busselton Jetty

The Busselton Foreshore has received a face lift over the past couple of years with a pirate adventure playground, amphitheatre and the arrival of Shelter Brewing Co.

However, the jewel in the crown remains to be the Busselton Jetty with it’s iconic red train and natural underwater observatory (one of only six in the world). Experience a mind-boggling role reversal as you become the fish in the fish bowl and discover a whole other world on the opposite side of the glass. Keep an eye out for curious seals, octopus and whales (during whale-watching season).

Tip: Take in the last session of the day and walk back along the jetty in the early evening to watch the sun go down over Geographe Bay.


Go Underground

Ngilgi Cave, near Yallingup, is semi-guided so you’re free to explore at your own pace after you enter the first chamber. Slightly more interactive, there’s rocks and crystals you can touch and feel. A big hit for the kids is the crawl tunnel.

Mammoth Cave, just south of Margaret River, is completely self-guided so you can explore in your own time right from the get-go.  Audio mp3 players are provided for those who wish to hear a commentary and they have replica fossils embedded into the limestone for you to discover.

Throughout the Easter School Holidays head to the Megafauna Nightstalk at Mammoth Cave. You’ll descend into the valley at sunset and learn about the megafauna that once inhabited the region. But beware; with bats waking up for their evening feed and cave dwellers emerging from out of the nooks and crannies, who knows what you might find on this spooky, fully-guided tour.

Ngilgi Cave Crawl Tunner
Kids will love the crawl tunnel at Ngilgi Cave.

Lose Your Bearings

Put down the map for a while and just enjoy the ride, because sometimes you find the coolest places when you’re lost! Here’s three epic mazes to explore in the region.

Renovations are now complete at Yallingup Maze and it’s a whole 30% bigger than before. Grab a water gun at the entrance and battle it out with your mates as you try to find your way to all four towers. A licensed cafe awaits Mum and Dad and there’s even a bouncy castle for the rugrats.

Test your sense of direction at A Maze’n Margaret River as you try to escape the giant hedge maze that’s been baffling visitors since 1994. Make a day of it and challenge each other to a game of mini-golf with an 18 hole course on site too.

WOW Illusions in Metricup is one of the newest attractions to open in the region, filled with indoor puzzles and optical illusions. There’s a gravity defying room, a mirror maze, gate maze, a toilet with see-through walls to the outside or have your head served on a platter.


Animal Encounters

Discover magnificent birds of prey in their natural habitat at Eagles Heritage. Set amongst natural bushland, these powerful birds sit waiting in the Eucalypts for owner-operator Phil to throw them some tasty treats. And throw he does… straight towards the audience! You’ll feel the beat of their wings and the wind on your face as they swoop and dive directly in front of you. When the show is over, you’re welcome to explore the wildlife centre which provides care for injured, orphaned and displaced raptors (birds of prey), including eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. The Flying Displays are held at 11am and 1.30pm throughout the school holidays.

But if your child is slightly more Malfoy than Potter why not “Slytherin” to Discover Deadly instead? They house a range of reptiles in creative and amusing enclosures. Audience favourite Percy, with his bold and entertaining character, and shy partner Priscilla have recently expanded their family with the cutest of baby frill-necked lizards on display for you to see. And if you’re brave enough, take a look into the nocturnal enclosures where you’ll need a torch to find the critters lurking inside. They also have a new hole-in-the-wall coffee bar for mum and dad, perfect for that caffeine fix.

Get up close and personal with furry friends at Sunflowers Animals Farm. They’ve had some new additions since the summer holidays with Bluebeard and Sky, a breeding pair of vibrant blue and yellow Macaws joining them last month. Kkama the Llama is also settling into his new abode nicely since being transferred from the recently closed Wonky Windmill Farm. Meet old resident Bonnie, the Highland Cow who has a new baby Chloe. So grab a bucket of feed and meander around farm for animal encounters.


Hire Gear and Wander Out Yonder

Margaret River has become a mountain biking mecca in recent years and no one knows the trails better than the crew from The Hairy Marron. They’ve got all the gear and every idea for your family to enjoy the rush of two wheels safely. With dual suspension mountain bikes for the downhill trails, hybrids to tour the wineries and even balance bikes for the babes, they’ll kit your whole family out for a day of adventure and excitement. Fuel up with muffins and croissants, baked fresh on site every morning or relax with a hard-earned icy pop after your ride.

Ready for an aquatic adventure? Hire a kayak and paddle up the pristine waters of the Margaret River Mouth. Teens and tweens can test out the balancing ability on a Stand-Up Paddleboard. Both can be hired from Josh Palmateer’s Surf Academy.

Yallingup Maze Family Friendly
Lose your bearings at Yallingup Maze.

Cape to Cape

Explore the region’s two lighthouses and discover their fascinating maritime history from Cape to Cape.

Cape Naturaliste in the north is an easy climb of 59 steps to the top of the lighthouse and makes it a popular option for families with young children. Looking to burn off more energy? Head out on the Cape to Cape track from Cape Naturaliste to Sugarloaf Rock. The path is wheelchair accessible and perfect for pushing a pram.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in the south is where the Indian Ocean collides with the Southern Ocean. It’s the tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia and worth taking the 176 steps to the top*. The views are incredible! Finish up with a visit to the interpretive centre where kids can learn about the maritime history of this working lighthouse.

*Note: The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tower is currently closed due to major restoration works. The Interpretive Centre is still open and is full of interesting stories and interactive experiences. 


Cruise the Blackwood River

Take a cruise up the Blackwood River with Augusta River Tours. Owner-operator Graeme Challis, is a third generation Augusta local and oozes old school charm. He’ll tell you some great stories about growing up in this seaside fishing village.

With an informative commentary that isn’t overdone you’ll learn plenty about Augusta, its waterways and the wildlife that inhabit them. Binoculars are provided to help spot birds like ospreys, sea eagles, pelicans, and black swans. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see a pod of dolphins that have made the Hardy Inlet their home. Tours depart daily from Ellis St Jetty at 2pm.


Visit a Local Museum

If your kids thrive on learning or you just want to keep their minds active during the school holidays, why not visit one of the local museums?

Busselton Museum, housed in the old Butter Factory, showcases the lively history of life in the region with fun, interactive displays. The kids will love the old School House – originally a teachers residence at the old Jindong State School – with its original jarrah desks, quills and ink pots. Bring along morning tea, make use of the rotunda that sits on the edge of the river, and enjoy the beautiful gardens that are a labour of love by the volunteers caring for this historical treasure trove.

If you’re exploring the south of the region instead, drop into the Augusta Historical Museum and learn about the timber industry that the region was originally built on. Fun fact: Did you know the saying “clogging up the works” came from disgruntled workers throwing their shoes into the machinery? I didn’t either, until I visited the museum! The volunteers have worked hard to tell a story from settlements and shipwrecks  all the way through to the whale rescues. You’re sure to learn plenty of fun facts to take home to your friends.

The Bellview Shell Museum in Witchcliffe is a hidden gem. A passion project of avid divers who have been amassing shells for over forty years, it’s become the largest shell collection in Australia. A truly unique experience that will leave first time visitors lost for words, Bellview is well worth adding to your itinerary.


Tee Time

If your family has jumped on the Holey Moley band-wagon but has worn out the courses near your place, battle it out on a fresh green like the one at Simmo’s Ice Creamery. Putt your way through their compact 18 hole course that’s delineated by perfectly manicured hedges, and at long last you’ll be able to declare the winner of your families Holey Moley Championship. Losers are required to buy the winners an ice cream afterwards!

If you’re up for a bigger challenge, head on down to Golf Gardens and attempt their big ball golf instead. Old growth bamboo and palm trees give a tropical feel as you hit tennis-sized balls around the miniature green. If you work up an appetite, don’t despair. While you’re busy filling the holes on the green, owner-operator Erwan is whipping up tasty pizzas to fill the holes in your bellies.

Mini Golf Simmos
Mini golf fun, then a scoop of ice cream at Simmos.