Margaret River is up there with some of Australia’s most world-renowned and beautiful spots – the perfect destination for when you don’t have the time to go away for weeks but SO need to get away from it all!
Just under three hours’ drive from Perth, this region more than delivers on giving you a breather from daily life complete with vineyards, spectacular ocean vistas and whale watching, plenty of fresh local produce and exceptional hospitality. So … whether you’re an interstate visitor or a Perth local who has never quite got around to taking the plunge and exploring this stunning landscape that’s literally on your doorstep – here’s a little encouragement to get you buckled up and on your way!
Where do we start and how long does it take?
From the time you leave home, factor in about 270km of driving – which should take you close to 3 hours in normal traffic conditions (excluding stops). Take the Kwinana Freeway (which becomes the Forrest Highway) and then onto the Bussell Highway. If you leave after breakfast, this is an easy-to-do drive that will have you right in the midst of famous wine country in time for a sumptuous vineyard lunch, beach picnic or bit of sightseeing that will get you right into a holiday mood!
The all-important question of vehicle and tyres
Vitora has a range of tyres to suit most vehicle types – so whatever your ride, we’ve got you covered! A great combination for this drive is a Mitsubishi Pajero fitted with Vitora CountyLife tyres – which will see you on your way with an extra smooth drive in plenty of comfort.
Where to stop along the way
To stop or not to stop, that is the question! If you have a bit of time up your sleeve, there are numerous great options to break up the drive. You may like to try these:
- Bunbury (also known as the City of Three Waters) is a wonder to explore. Just 180km from Perth its mix of art, marine life and coastal beauty – is not to be missed. Visit the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre and take a swim with dolphins, visit the Wildlife Park or the landmark, pink-painted Bunbury Regional Art Gallery – or simply take a stroll around the town and enjoy the street art and a coffee!
- Just another 45 minutes or so gets you to Busselton, famous for the longest wooden jetty (1.8km long) in the southern Hemisphere! An adventure in itself, take the Jetty Train (which leaves every hour) and give yourself the chance to experience the jetty and the Geographe Bay in stress-free style. With other sights to its name including a museum and gallery and many restaurants to choose from, Busselton’s appeal may turn a short stop into somewhere you’re more than happy to linger for longer!
A bit about the Margaret River Region and what do
Magnificent wineries, surf beaches and endless coastline, whale watching, lighthouses, art galleries, walking trails, exquisite forest trails – in a word, Margaret River is perfectly perfect for any adventure or relaxing break! As you’d expect from its name, the vibrant and characterful town is located on Margaret River itself – with accommodation of all types available both in the town and wider region and restaurants-a-plenty showcasing the best local produce. The biggest challenge of a few days away in Margaret River is just how much you can pack in (and what goes onto the list for next time!) — so here are some suggestions for starters to get you on your way.
When in Margaret River …. A wine lover’s paradise
Even if you’re not a wine lover – you’ve no doubt heard of some of the Margaret River names such as Vasse Felix, MadFish and Leeuwin Estate. And you definitely don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a wine-tasting adventure (often along with delicious local foods) or just go along and find out some facts about the wine-making process. With over 200 wineries spread out across the region producing some of Australia’s premium wines in a range of varieties, this is one experience that doesn’t get any better! And just a quick reminder: if you are wine-tasting or enjoying a glass or two over lunch – make sure you have a designated non-drinking driver along with you for the ride!
Margaret River has some of the most stunning beaches on Australia’s shoreline. A few great ones for your itinerary include picturesque Smiths Beach, Gnarabup (popular for swimming and stretching all the way to famous Surfers Point), Castle Rock (calm and pretty) and Meelup (great for snorkelling and families).
Another magnificent feature of the region is its network of underground limestone caves – just waiting to be explored! The largest, Mammoth Cave, about 20km south of Margaret River town, is the site of fossils, stalactites and stalagmites – in a forest setting. Take a self-paced audio tour and soak up the experience.
Boranup Karri Forest
Situated between Margaret River and Augusta, take a drive through this magical wonderland of towering Karri trees (over 60m high) with amazing views from the lookout. Have a picnic, take a walk or just breathe and enjoy the sounds of the wind in the trees!
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
About half an hour or so from Margaret River town (or 10 minutes from Augusta) – the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (Australia’s tallest mainland lighthouse and still in operation) is an impressive landmark. Book in for a guided tour, have a coffee at the lighthouse’s café and enjoy the breathtaking views at the spot where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. And if you time it right (and with a bit of luck), this can be the perfect vantage point to see some whales swimming by!
Hire a bike
There’s no better way to explore this exciting area than by bike – with many roads and trails suitable for cyclists (mountain and road) of every level. If you don’t have your own, bikes and helmets are available locally for hire.
Open every Saturday morning, this award-winning market brims with food and produce fresh from Margaret River region farms.
Watch the Wales
Margaret River is the destination for thousands of migrating whales (plus a few dolphins and seals in the mix!) between June and December – a sight-of-a-lifetime not to be missed. Whale watching cruises and tours can be booked for up-close viewings.
Stay and enjoy
Farm stays, self-catering chalets and rustic cottages, an abundance of camping and caravan sites along with resorts and boutique accommodation are all part of Margaret River’s accommodation mix – giving you the option to experience the region in a way that suits you and your budget best.
Anything else I need to know before setting off?
As is always important before setting off on a road trip, taking the time to check your vehicle and tyres before you head off is essential! Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated (you’ll find the reading on the inside of your driver’s door) – and check the tread and overall condition. Don’t forget to check the spare!
And now it’s over to you to pick a date and make a plan – or just be spontaneous and hit the road towards Margaret River and see where it takes you … and we hope you spot a dolphin or whale or two along the way. Safe adventuring!