Local tour skipper and guide Graeme Challis is waiting for us at Ellis Street Jetty where his tour boat Dolphin Discoverer awaits. We’re off to discover the lower wetlands of the Blackwood River with Augusta River Tours, Augusta.

At 270km, Blackwood River is Western Australia’s longest continually flowing river ending in the Hardy Inlet. This unique section of the river offers an abundance of unspoiled scenery, the greatest number and variety of birdlife in the South West, and calm, glassy waters. We’re in for a treat.

“It’s like its own ecosystem down here in Augusta,” he says as he points towards the afternoon sky. To the east, unbroken clear skies and sunshine over sandbanks and shrub, to the west, dark blue moody clouds over wading birds and the odd person hoping to catch a whiting for dinner. Witnessing from the river boat what seems to be a daily phenomenon on the river, makes you feel part of that very ecosystem.

Quietly cruising towards Molloy Island, we pass through a canal so narrow you can almost reach the bush each side. You can hear the birds in all directions as the boat cuts the silk water ever so quietly. Our heads turn quickly left and right not to miss a thing as Graeme points out the countless carnivorous musk ducks, ospreys (and their nests), spoonbills, pied cormorants and darters.

“Foxes and other predators can’t reach the small islands, so as you can see, many bird species naturally thrive here.” And so do we, to say the least.

Read on for more of Graeme’s local favourites.

Photos by Tim Campell.


Where's your favourite beach?

Foul Bay or Stinky Bay, I’ve got great memories of learning to body surf there protected from sea breeze.


Where do you always take your visitors?

Without a doubt to the Blackwood River; scenic beauty, wildlife, fishing and swimming – it’s all there.


Top 3 local food experiences?


Best fun in the region to be had without spending a cent?

Enjoying the river and coastal walks and paths in the region. Fresh air and great scenery. The Augusta foreshore, the Augusta Heritage Walk (starting from The Colourpatch carpark), or the Augusta Flora Walk (starting end of Victoria Parade) are great ones to start with.


Favourite time of year?

I love autumn with its lighter winds and the smell of the first rains.


Best place to pick up local produce?


Hidden gems in Augusta one simply can’t miss?

Go to the Augusta Hillview lookout and see where the rivers and oceans meet. Lookout over Indian and Southern oceans and Blackwood and Scott rivers. Keen golfers carry on to Augusta Golf Club, the best sand green course in WA!

Your favourite memory involving the Blackwood River?

Extended family picnic on the banks of the river, copper boiling fresh crabs, a get together carrying on well into the evening.


You can’t leave the Margaret River Region without….

Of course, the one thing you must do is discover the beauty of the Blackwood on an Augusta River Tour.

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