The Margaret River is the namesake for the entire region along the southwest coast of Western Australia. The region surrounding the Margaret River is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. It is known for the wineries and wine tours, but that is not all the region has to offer. The beautiful waves on the Indian Ocean Coastline are home to surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and water sports. The region also has caves to explore underneath the Boranup Karri Forest and then there is the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park which is a great destination too.
Getting to Margaret River Region
The Margaret River is about a three hour drive south of Perth. That is the largest city in Western Australia so there are many different car rental locations in the Perth and surrounds where you can hire a car or 4WD vehicle and travel down to the Margaret River Region. However you can also hire a car from nearby Bunbury just north of the Margaret River. Or you can choose to travel from Albany, on the southern coast, and travel west along the South Coast Highway where you will pass potential destinations at 5 different national parks along with way to the Margaret River Region.
This area is famous for fine wine and good eats. There are numerous wine tours or food and wine tours available. Some of them mix in the other historical and geographic attractions of the region and some focus only on the food and the wine. The area is responsible for harvesting only 3 per cent of all grape crops in Australia, but produces 20 per cent of the premium wine in the country. The climate features perfect wine growing conditions and many different grape varieties are represented equally.
The Indian Ocean coastline near the Margaret River Region features a long range of surf breaks that vary in size and intensity. It is known for the crashing waves and Surfers Point where surfers brave the oceans incoming tides. Surfers Point is also home to a world class surfing competition. One of the main reasons this area is such a surfers paradise is because of the consistent weather conditions year-round. The Indian Ocean along the Western Australia coastline is also home to a cutting edge marine science experiment. Over 300 sharks that frequent the waters along the coast have been tagged with special receivers that send out tweets to Twitter when the sharks swim within 1 kilometre of the coastline. The tweets are broadcast over the Surf Life Saving of Western Australia’s Twitter account. Here is a recent photo of the Margaret River Region from their helicopter:
One thing that other wine regions of the world do not have to offer is not just the addition of the ocean, sand and surf, but also forests, national parks, and a fascinating network of underground caves. The caves represent the geological history and diversity of Australia. With towering Karri trees above, the geology and ecology of the caves below are not to be missed. Tours are available to the nearby caves: Lake Cave, Jewel Cave Augusta, and Mammoth Cave.
10 Things to do in the Margaret River Region
- Food and Wine Tours:
Gourmets and foodies are drawn to the area and celebrate the wine and excellent food that is produced in this region. There are a variety of different tours and experiences available so you are sure to find one to suit your taste. Many of the wine tours are in combination with boating, walking tours, or other adventures.
- Experience the Surf:
Swimming and snorkelling is available to beachgoers and surf lessons are available in calmer sections of the coastline if you are not one of the pro surfers drawn to the area for its legendary swells.
- Cave Tours:
As mentioned above, the caves of this region are one of the highlights of the area. Guided tours are available and the different caves are accessible to a variety of people. Some caves allow access and special adventures for children and some caves have all access available so that disabled or lower level skilled climbers can still appreciate the beauty and splendour of the caves up close and personal.
- Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park:
This park features some amazing coastline views, rocky limestone cliffs, and the Boranup Karri Forest. It is home to several other spots on our countdown including the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the Boranup Karri Forest, Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave, and Jewel Cave. Biking, walking, and water sports are popular activities in the park.
- Boating on the Margaret River:
Boating, canoeing, fishing, and even stand up paddle tours are available to take you through the Margaret River. The lush area is beautiful and temperate all year long.
- Fresh Water or Salt Water Fishing:
River fishing or ocean fishing are both excellent in this area. Charter fishing boats are available for hire.
- Whale Watching:
This area is a location for whale watching. Both Humpback Whales and Southern Right Whales can be seen off the coast from charters during their migration to these waters from May through September. Other marine animals in the area such as dolphins, sharks, penguins, and sea lions can also be sighted on tours.
- Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Tour:
The lighthouse is located on the south-western tip of Australia and is the tallest lighthouse on Mainland Australia. This is where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean and is one of the best spots on land for whale watching from May through September.
- Boranup Karri Forest:
The Karri trees that grow here are a one of the tallest hardwoods in the world. The forest makes for a dramatic change in landscape from the nearby coastline, or wine vineyards. The Karri trees can grow as tall as 60 metres. Driving and walking tours are available through the forest. Springtime is great for wildflowers. The forest has its own picnic areas and campgrounds
- Walking Tours:
One of the most popular walking tours is the Cape to Cape Track from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste. There are plenty of other walking tours, bushwalks, and other adventures for the athletic enthusiast. Many tours are combined with boating, or wine locations.