Main Break stairs, Margaret River. Credit Ryan Murphy

The Margaret River Region has a certain otherworldly allure.

Where else can you explore underground caves, walk among towering karri trees, hear the thumping echo of monstrous swells, and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean all in one day? The Margaret River Region offers it all, along with world-class wine and dining, and incredible walking and cycling trails.

Stretching from the family-friendly beach town of Busselton down to the seaside nature hub of Augusta, the Margaret River Region is an enticing mosaic of pristine natural wonders, undulating vineyards, premium wineries and world-class restaurants, towering forests and incredible coastal panoramas.

Only 110km end to end, you can explore the whole thing in one trip – but you’ll definitely leave wanting more. So before the city blues really start to set in, check out these ten reasons why you should make Margaret River Region your mid-year getaway.

Ryan standing on a rock looking out at the ocean. Margaret River Brand Shoot. Credit Ryan Murphy

The Coast Is Your Own

The rugged cliffs and pristine bays of the Margaret River coastline are about as far from bustling city life as you can get. Nestled into a cave-carved limestone ridge, the region is bookended by two picturesque capes – Cape Naturaliste in the north, boasting unparalleled views of tranquil Geographe Bay (home to bottlenose dolphins!), and Cape Leeuwin in the south, which in the colder seasons takes on a desolate beauty as the roaring Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet.

The Cape to Cape track connects these two points and offers walking and hiking opportunities that take you to some of the most untouched pieces of the coastline and some incredible viewpoints, including over the hallmark Sugarloaf Rock and the little-known Wilyabrup Sea Cliffs. As you meander this self-guidable track, you will find yourself entirely alone, surrounded by nothing except fresh, salty air and vistas of the expansive big blue.

The track will even take you right down onto the shores, where you can squelch your toes in the bright white sand and meditate for a moment to the sound of crashing swell. Make sure you look out for migrating whales as you walk!

Glenarty Road Cellar Door Food and Wine

Experience World Class Food and Wine

It’s no secret that Margaret River boasts internationally recognised gastronomy and world-class winemaking. In the way of wine, the region is unique in the global industry due to its proximity to the coast – the cooler temperatures and coastal proximity make for distinct varietal characteristics.

Margaret River is best known for its fresh yet complex Chardonnays and lively, warming Cabernets, but winemakers across the region are also innovating new wave wine. You can visit cellar doors almost any day of the week and receive guided tastings of the region’s premium wines – some wineries even offer tours of their vineyards, which give you a glimpse into the history and process of winemaking in the region.

In the same vein, the region is also home to an ever-increasing number of breweries, cideries and distilleries, which offer a more casual atmosphere, a variety of enjoyable beverages and usually a downright delicious lunch. Speaking of eating, your trip to the Margaret River Region will not be void of exclusive dining and a taste of the freshest, highest quality local produce there is.

In winter, chef’s around the region make use of marron, a freshwater crayfish endemic to Margaret River and surrounds, as well as Hapuka (deep water fish), ground saltbush (foraged from the region’s coastal plain) and abalone.

Some wineries also host fine food restaurants which provide the perfect winter hideaway: imagine a bottle of peppery Cabernet enjoyed over a long lunch, surrounded by nothing but grapevines, dams, lakes and forest. Modern Australian dining is certainly the dominant cuisine – and much of this is influenced by Aboriginal seasonal knowledge and made with native ingredients – but you can also sink your teeth into top quality Japanese, Mediterranean tapas and hearty, family style Italian.

Boranup Forest, Margaret River Region

Access Adventure

The monotony of everyday life can really diminish your sense of adventure, but visiting the Margaret River Region will send that sense into overdrive.

Caves Road, which connects the small beach town of Dunsborough to Margaret River and, further south, Augusta, is a narrow winding road that slithers through jarrah and karri forests and cuts around vineyards big and small. And then of course, there’s adventure to be had in the many unique pockets of the region and the diverse experiences they play host to.

Alternative tours are on the rise in Margaret River, so if you love to do things differently and get a sense of exclusivity, these are for you. Imagine touring the entire stretch of cape to cape coast by helicopter, taking a sip ‘n’ cycle tour through forests, zip lining through tall trees, or catching a break at an uncrowded beach.


Experience the Taste of Truffles

Winter in the Margaret River Region means truffles, and top chefs from around the region hero the product on their menus. Vasse FelixCape Lodge and Yarri are a selection of restaurants where you can taste the prized local treasure.

Truffles and pasta are a classic combo. As Vasse Felix, you’ll find pappardelle tossed through a pecorino and burnt butter emulsion with cured and confit egg yolk and a generous amount of truffle. Of course, you’ll need to choose a perfect match from the wine list. Brendan Pratt, head chef at Vasse Felix suggests a Cabernet Sauvignon match due to the savoury earth driven style you find in Margaret River. “Truffles are also a great match for our Chardonnays as they tend to lend themselves to similar flavour and texture profiles that we see when we match a dish with our Chardonnay. Ie. butter, garlic, a little sweetness, lightly smoky, very mild acid, miso, earthy vegetable”, he says.

Chef Tony Howell at Cape Lodge also delivers truffle on the menu offering a classic French take of the delicacy. Expect wintery dishes such as French gnocchi, beurre blanc, spinach, comte, and freshly harvested shaved truffle.

Legend Charters Whale Watching Geographe Bay

It’s a Whale Watchers Haven

The coast between Augusta and Busselton sees 35,000 whales travel the stretch of coast annually. It is quite a sight to spot a beautiful mother humpback whale moving calmly through the ocean with her calves in tow.

From June to early December, you can get a prime spot to see it from, too. Multiple chartering services take visitors out to see migrating whales pass through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste waters, where sightings of breaching humpbacks and flicking whale tails surprise and excite.

These majestic creatures are mesmerising to watch as they move through the water with ease, but you don’t have to be on a boat tour to see them. The region’s coastline provides many vantage points for whale watching, including the two lighthouses that stand tall at either end.

Viewing fossils in mammoth Cave Credit Rachel Claire

Explore Underground Caves

It is difficult to choose the best cave tour in the Margaret River Region.

You can marvel at the reflections on Lake Cave’s permanent lake, be dwarfed in Jewel Cave’s enormous chambers and take it easy on the Mammoth Cave self- guided tour. At Yallingup’s Ngilgi Cave (pronounced ‘nilgi‘), you will learn the Aboriginal legend as you look up at limestone shawl formations– or delve deeper into the cave on an adventure tour.

Formed approximately 1 million years ago, a number of these complex and fragile karst systems are open to the public. Go inside and be amazed by these massive labyrinths decorated intricately with limestone crystal formations.

You can also find Megafauna fossils – giant creatures that roamed the forest 50 000 years ago. Tasmanian devil and thylacine bones have also been unearthed. Cave tours range from ‘at your own pace’ self guided tours, to fully guided tours along boardwalks.

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