Bushwalk Hiking Boranup Forest

Choosing just eight natural wonders was a challenge – there’s beauty at every turn.

The Leeuwin Naturaliste ridge is a wonder in itself, and its combination of two-million-year-old limestone atop a base of hard, metamorphic rock of between 1500 and 600 million years forms the diversity of experiences and incredible natural attractions in the Margaret River Region. It’s an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot with many endemic species of flora and fauna.

Lizzy Pepper enlisted the help of local conservationists and tour guides to reveal the raw wonder of our natural attractions.

Boranup Karri Forest
Boranup Karri Forest. Photo: Elements Margaret River

Boranup Forest

Chosen by: Dr Boyd Wykes – Nature Conservation Margaret River

For many, the Boranup Forest is all about karri trees. The glowing trunks of young regrowth karri at the viewing platform on Caves Road are a must-see, must-snap.

However, a little way down Boranup Drive are equally photogenic ancient karris, their trunks full of hollows; full of life. Home to endemic, threatened and little seen ringtail possums, brush-tailed phascogales, black cockatoos, masked owls and rufous treecreepers.

Only a few thousand years ago this 3000-hectare forest was seeded from karris further inland. Listen for the waves breaking on the nearby beach, walk the tracks at night, be guided through a cave beneath a forest with much more to offer than a snapped selfie at Kodak Corner.

The Margaret River

Sean Blocksidge – Margaret River Discovery Co

One of the best experiences has to be canoeing a tranquil section of the Margaret River. It’s amazing how many people visit the region but don’t experience the real Margaret River itself. All they see is the small section of river flowing through town and miss the spectacular and peaceful river system further east and west.

Shaded by towering Jarrah and Marri trees, there’s abundant bird life including the endangered Baudin’s Black Cockatoo. Sometimes on tour, if we time it just right in summer we have guest appearances from local fisherman catching the local delicacy, marron (freshwater lobster).

Margaret River Mouth
Margaret River Mouth. Photo: Elements Margaret River

The Wilyabrup Cliffs

Sean Blocksidge – Margaret River Discovery Co

The Cape to Cape Track is one of the most rewarding long-distance walk trails in Australia with 135km of day after day epicness, filled with beaches, cliffs, forests. A lot of the track is easily accessible but one of Sean’s most favourite sections is the Wilyabrup Cliffs.

You’ll need a bit of local knowledge to access this section or a guide with special government approvals to operate in the National Park. Sean includes it in the Discovery Tour experience in the late arvo and it’s usually one of the highlights of the day, with regular sightings of whales and dolphins.

Wilyabrup Cliffs
Wilyabrup Cliffs. Photo: Supplied

The Cape to Cape Track

Gene Hardy – Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

Created in 2001, the Cape to Cape Track links long sandy beaches, walking tracks, and old 4WD routes gouged out by farmers, fishermen, and surfers.

“Balance is the track’s defining quality” says Gene Hardy of Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. “The symmetry is that between sea and land. Water, in turn sparkling and benign, then moody and raging, defines its character. Beyond this is the balance between beach and forest, comfort and challenge, wilderness and civilisation.”

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours
The Cape to Cape Track. Photo: Tim Campbell

Jewel Cave

Chosen by: Mandy Mclauclan Andrews – The Margaret River Region Attractions

Jewel Cave is the largest show cave in Western Australia, with gleaming crystal ornaments throughout its three massive chambers.

Within this breathtaking magnitude hangs a delicate straw stalactite; a hollow crystal tube, the diameter of just a single water droplet, it grows down into the cave for five and a half metres, reaching longer than any other in all the show caves in Australia.

Jewel Cave Augusta
Jewel Cave. Image: Supplied

Yallingup Lagoon

Chosen by: Crystal Simpson – Yallingup Surf School

Worth visiting for the breathtaking drive into Yallingup Bay alone, but a swim in the lagoon is a bonus. Circled by reef, the lagoon is protected from big waves, so it’s perfect for swimming, snorkelling and learning to surf. Beyond the reef is Yallingup main break, much loved by local pro surfer Taj Burrows.

“It’s like a natural wave pool,” says Crystal Simpson of Yallingup Surf School. “You might see fish, cave ledges, the odd seal, a sting ray or two, and me for a few months of the year.”

Yallingup-Dunsborough beach ocean
Yallingup Beach. Photo: Ryan Murphy

Meelup Regional Park

Chosen by: Ryan White – South West Eco Discoveries

Meelup hasn’t always been a regional park, but thanks to locals it was saved from development. Meelup was his backyard growing up, and now Ryan shows visitors from all over the world the area’s marine life, rare flora, birds and kangaroos.

Over the years, Ryan has seen whale numbers increase and the diversity in the park expand to make this area an exciting destination for any lover of wildlife and natural beauty.

Castle Rock Meelup Beach Paddleboard
Castle Bay at Meelup Regional Park. Photo: Elements Margaret River

Redgate Beach

Chosen by: Jarrad Davies – Margaret River Surf School

Jarrad Davies from Margaret River Surf School didn’t hesitate on the question. Redgate Beach is in a special purpose surfing zone and is popular with both locals and visitors.

“As I’ve personally experienced and witnessed countless times, Redgate Beach offers a unique surfing experience that’s second to none. The fine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a long sandbar, along with the atmosphere and sheer natural beauty, create an enchanting setting for anyone passionate about the ocean, looking to try out surfing, or simply wanting to feel the sand beneath their toes and soak in the beauty.”

Aerial shot of Redgate beach
Redgate Beach. Photo: Margaret River Surf School