Spend a few hours in Augusta and the laid-back locals reveal its best kept secrets; the wonderful spots to play, swim or walk.

The town itself feels a little like Yallingup 25 years ago; surf shacks and weatherboard cottages dot the hill, and everyone has an awesome river view. Captain Matthew Flinders charted the south west coast from 1801 to 1803 but it wasn’t until 1830 that Augusta became home to a group of settlers. Four farming families lived there, and a whaling industry emerged with a processing factory in Flinders Bay.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was constructed in 1895, the tallest on mainland Australia. The nearby Jewel Cave opened to tourists in 1959, which is about when the town got electricity. Abalone, fishing and tourism industries flourished.

Augusta Lighthouse
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse guides sea vessels around the treacherous coastline.

Delicious Bites

The Colourpatch Café is a must-visit when in Augusta, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with uninterrupted views over the Blackwood River. Sitting on the sunny deck with a coffee or a glass of local wine in hand is a genuine pleasure.

Be sure to visit the Augusta Bakery for its hot pies and jam donuts, and the historic Augusta Hotel for counter meals and superb seafood with a postcard perfect river view. There’s also a massive grassy lawn out the back which kids will love.

A little further afield, the husband and wife team at the Karridale service station sell their own honey and home-made biltong. Next door is the Karridale Tavern, a quintessential country pub with a solid menu.

Two pints of beer at an outside table at the Augusta Hotel, with the Blackwood River in the background. Credit Ryan Murphy
The Augusta Hotel boasts some of the best views around.

River Tour

Jump aboard Augusta River Tours to get your bearings and a dose of local knowledge. Graeme Challis was born in Augusta and loves its history, birdlife, fishing and quiet pace of life. “Come to Augusta and your heart rate slows down a little – it’s unreal for a relaxing holiday with unspoilt beauty.”

Graeme shares fascinating facts – the lookout above the golf course is the only place in the world you can see two rivers and two oceans meet. The Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet near Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and the Scott and Blackwood Rivers converge at Molloy Island.

“It’s not the nightlife capital” says Graeme as we cruise past dolphins, pelicans, spoonbills, black swans, crested terns and cormorants. “I became a twitcher when I ran the Miss Flinders – the original river cruises, years ago. There’s about 60 species of birds here on the river, and lots of migratory birds on the Hardy Inlet.”

Foxes and other predators can’t reach the small islands, so birds thrive. Most wonderful of all are the red-necked stints, a tiny bird no bigger than a matchbox that flies from Siberia each year. “The Siberian winter is shithouse, so they come to Augusta for summer,” quips Graeme.

Tours run several times a day in summer, and on demand in winter.

Come to Augusta and your heart rate slows down a little

Augusta River Tours
Cruise the Blackwood River while observing local wildlife.

The Serenity

“The Blackwood river, the largest river in the South West, is the ideal playground for boating, fishing, crabbing, canoeing, swimming, water skiing and windsurfing” says Jim Challis of the Augusta Hotel. Hire a boat, canoe or stand up paddleboard from the Ellis Street Jetty.

Walk or ride your bike along the 5km sealed walkway from the Ellis Street Jetty around to the new $36m harbour. The walkway hugs the coast, with beautiful views along the way.

There’s a great playground at Flinders; a wooden ship overlooking the bay. Bring a picnic or make use of the BBQ facilities.

Augusta Playground
Kids love the nautical-themed playground at Flinders Bay.

Escape the South Easterly

The prevailing wind makes for fabulous kite surfing, but there’s plenty of protected beaches and fishing spots, out of the breeze. Try the beach on the left-hand side of the waterwheel near Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Foul Bay, Cosy Corner and Hamelin Bay are all sheltered from the sou’ easterly breeze, and you might spot the wild sting rays at the picturesque Hamelin Bay beach.

West Bay Creek is a great fishing spot when it’s too windy at Ellis Street Jetty. It’s also home to the Blackwood River Houseboats – a fabulous way to have the most relaxing holiday cruising the river, waking up each morning to bird life and dolphins.

Cosy Corner Beach
There are lots of beautiful sheltered bays nearby, including Cosy Corner (above).

Deep Underground

It’s a big call, but Jewel Cave might just be the most awe-inspiring cave in the region. Certainly the largest show cave in Western Australia, it’s encrusted with gleaming crystal ornaments throughout its three massive chambers.

The first chamber is so large it could fit the 43 metre Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, if it were lying horizontally!

Where to Stay?

Turner Caravan Park has contemporary two-bedroom chalets and being opposite the Blackwood River it’s ideal for swimming and fishing.

The Augusta Hotel, established by the Ellis family in 1912, has a range of studio and self-contained accommodation.

Make the river home aboard Blackwood River Houseboats – you don’t need a skipper’s ticket to navigate the waterways!

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