Gnarabup Beach

A ten-minute drive from the Margaret River township, you’ll arrive at the coastal hamlets of Gnarabup and Prevelly.

This is the birthplace of Margaret River’s holiday appeal, but long before then, Gnarabup was a seasonal home for the Aboriginal Wadandi people.

Gnarabup means place of the ringtail possum, says Josh Whiteland, a Wadandi man and owner of tour company Koomal Dreaming.  The Wadandi people would gather here in the summer months, and it is especially significant for Wadandi women, he says.

“In Gnarabup, you’ve got all the big peppermint trees,” he says.  “The ringtail like to live under those peppermint trees.”

“It’s also a very strong women’s area.  There are a lot of limestone cave systems in the area, like Waljinmia, Rainbow Cave.  These are very special women’s places.  They were birthing caves,” he says.

“The old people would come gather here in Kambarang and Birak season.  Spring and Summer.  Because of the low tides they could walk the exposed reefs, collecting shellfish, octopus, crayfish, abalone.  They would forage for native greens along the dunes.

“There is also a lot of fresh water, with Wooditjup Bilya, the Margaret River.  People would camp along the banks of the river, walking distance from Gnarabup, spearing fish and using the paper bark to wrap food and to build traditional huts if they weren’t camping in the caves.”

In contemporary times, the natural attractions at Gnarabup and Prevelly make it a special place for surfers and holiday makers.  It has been a prolific holiday destination since 1953, when returned serviceman Geoff Edwards began developing Prevelly Park, the Margaret River Region’s first caravan park.

Today, this iconic Western Australian beachside destination retains all of its original character, with a few modern twists.  There is so much to do, see, and learn here.  This one-day guide scoops the cream off the top and picks the very best of Gnarabup and Prevelly.

White Elephant Cafe Gnarabup

Start the day with coffee and breakfast at the White Elephant café.  This shady and wind-sheltered café is a favourite post-swim or post-surf hangout for local residents.

The outdoor deck and indoor dining areas directly overlook ‘The Boat Ramp’ surf break, with ‘The Bombie’ across the channel to the north.  These breaks are two of Margaret River’s most prolific big wave spots, and are an awesome spectacle if the swell is up and conditions are clean.

Closer to shore, the inner lagoon area is protected and almost always calm.  It’s perfect for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.  There is also a boat ramp and a small jetty, and the beach is dog-friendly.

Margaret River Discovery Tours Kayaking

Take a trip up the Margaret River with Sean Blocksidge from the Margaret River Discovery Co. Taste local honey, reflect on Aboriginal history dating back tens of thousands of years, and spot freshwater marron and wildlife.

You haven’t experienced the real Margaret River until you’ve canoed it!

The Common Gnarabup

The Common is a favourite for Gnarabup local residents.  It’s a casual bar and bistro that serves locally brewed craft beer and delicious pub grub.  Relax inside in the air-con with a cold drink and a meal, and fill up your belly for a full afternoon of exploring.

Prevelly Church

That iconic white chapel on the hill is a Hellenic Chapel opened in 1979.  It was built by Geoff Edwards, a returned service man from the Second World War.

Mr Edwards owned a large parcel of land on the coast, 10km from the townsite of Margaret River, before he served with the 2/11th Infantry Battalion in the 1941 Battle of Crete.

During the German occupation, he was a prisoner of war, but subsequently escaped and was hidden and cared for by the Monks of Preveli Monastery.

Upon returning to the region after war, Mr Edwards built the area’s first shop, a small cottage, and later developed Prevelly Park, named for the Monks – a holiday resort around which the Prevelly township was built.

This quaint little chapel is only used today for the occasional wedding, but it is a historical feature and is worth a visit.

Visit the Prevelly Caravan Park store and grab a bottle of renowned Margaret River wine, a few snags for the barbie, or just some nibbles.

Pull up a picnic rug on the grassy foreshore at Surfers Point.  Watch the kite-surfers and the day disappear as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.

Wondering where to stay overnight? Browse all accommodation options near Prevelly.