Willow and Gene Hardy outside van. Credit Andrew Field

Father – daughter duo Willow and Gene Hardy are firmly woven into the fabric of the Margaret River Region community.

Willow is an incredibly talented surfer, and last year at just 14 years old took on some of the world’s best after winning the wildcard entry into the Margaret River Pro. She is currently touring on the east coast with her dad and ticking up experience in preparation for taking another shot at the Pro this year, and is the definition of a local favourite!

Gene was born and bred in Margaret River and you won’t find many people more passionate about the region and uniqueness of what’s on offer. A natural storyteller, he runs Cape To Cape Explorer Tours so if you’re out on the track you may just bump into him. Or take advantage of his incredible knowledge of the geography and wildlife, and book in for a tour.

Lucky for us, Willow and Gene have shared some of their local favourites.

Willow and Gene Hardy outside van 2. Credit Andrew Field
Willow and Gene Hardy. Photo credit Andrew Shield.

What’s your favourite beach?

Willow: Gnarabup, I love walking over the sand dune from where we live and going surfing out Boatramps or hanging with my friends at White Elephant Café.

Gene: Boodjidup, I love the white sand and solitude… heaps of memories from my youth spent down there fishing and surfing.


Where do you always take your visitors?

Gene: Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, such an incredible ocean vista where the two oceans meet … although it’s located at the end of the Cape To Cape Track, so they have to walk 124km to get there haha!

Willow: I always take my visitors surfing to Main Break, because that’s where the Pro is and it’s one of my favourite waves.


Top 3 local food experiences?

Gene: Miki’s Open Kitchen, such fresh and amazing food!

Willow: Pizzica, the food and vibe are amazing, favourite dessert ever too. And Yardbyrd in Witchcliffe, super cute place for breakfast and lunch, so relaxing and yummy food.


Best fun in the region without spending a cent?

Gene: Hiking a short stretch of the Cape to Cape Track, 124kms of pure magic!

Willow: Wandering down for a fish for herring on one of the washed up piles of seaweed, always fun.


Favourite time of year?

Gene: Autumn, I love the still May days when the ocean is still warm, there is no wind and the first pre-winter swells are hitting.

Willow: Summer because it’s holidays and I get to surf loads and hang out with my friends at the beach.


Best place to watch the sunset?

Gene: Contos Cliffs, just incredible vistas out over Cape Freycinet and out over the Indian Ocean.

Willow: Surfer’s Point, everyone is there on those warm night and I love getting fish and chips with my family.


Favourite spot for a surf?

Gene: Boatramps, there is nothing like walking down my street with a nine foot rhino chaser and paddling straight out to big, world class waves. Doesn’t happen all the time, but certainly worth waiting for.

Willow: Lefties stretch behind Gracetown because there is so much variety and the waves are so rippable.


You can’t leave the Margaret River Region without…

Gene: Visiting a cave and hiking a stretch of the Cape to Cape Track.

Willow: Exploring at least ten different beaches, they are all so amazing.

Gene Hardy from Cape To Cape Explorer Tours. Photo credit Tim Campbell.
Gene loves sharing his enthusiasm for the region through Cape To Cape Explorer Tours. Photo credit Tim Campbell.

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