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Australia’s Southwest coast is highly underrated. On a South West road trip from Perth, I always stop in my favorite destination – a gorgeous little town called Margaret River! There are so many things to do in Margaret River and the nearby surrounding area that it is almost overwhelming – but this is what I love!
The town of Margaret River itself isn’t actually on the coast, it is located about a 15-minute drive inland in the middle of a forest. This location makes it such a diverse place with so many different activities for tourists! Just to name a few of the things to in Margaret River: you can relax at beautiful beaches, kayak in the river, go on nature hikes, eat delicious food, and of course, try some amazing wine!
I recently made a quick trip to Margaret River from Perth. Having limited time (like many travelers) I spent two nights and three days in the region. In that time I felt that I saw and did a lot, and overall had a really enjoyable time. As I truly do think that the southwest of Australia deserves more tourist attention than it is currently getting, this post is my attempt to inspire more travelers to visit Margaret River and make planning a little bit easier.
Where is Margaret River
Margaret River is located in Western Australia. It is a small town only a few minutes from the beautiful coast and is surrounded by lush forest, a river – as the name suggests, and lots of vineyards.
From Perth, it takes about a 3 hour to drive to Margaret River, making it a popular weekend trip for Perth locals.
For those looking for a longer journey, Margaret River is a popular stop on any road trip from Perth to Esperance. This route is popular in the summer months to enjoy all the amazing beaches along the way.
My Favorite Things to Do in Margaret River
Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Margaret River is famous for amazing wine. There are literally dozens of wineries in the area which all offer tastings. If you like wine as much as I do, then going on a wine tasting tour is the perfect way to spend a day! On a tour, not only do you have a designated driver, but you also get to learn about the different wines while sampling them all.
When I was in Margaret River I joined a full-day wine tour with the company called Margaret River Tours. The day started at about 10am where we drove to our first winery. We had a small group of 11 people and throughout the course of the day over several glasses of wine, our group became friends. Besides trying dozens of different wine, we also had an excellent included lunch!
Our tour guide gave us information on the region itself including the history as we drove from winery to winery. At each individual winery, we were greeted with an expert who gave us our tastings and answered any questions we came up with. After the tastings, we were given time to explore the winery and vineyard and purchase any bottles we wanted to take home with us. We tried about 6 wines at each winery and went to 6 wineries in total. It’s safe to say we all had a bit of a buzz going by the end of the day! The tour ended with a trip to the chocolate factory and the dairy farm.
From beginning to end, I laughed and enjoyed myself the entire day. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone. The company, Margaret River Tours, was also fantastic with a funny and informative guide, great food, and an excellent selection of wineries to visit.
Coincidently, one of the best things to do in Margaret River is kayaking on the actual “Margaret River”! From the mouth of the river at the beach, one can rent a kayak, canoe or a stand-up paddleboard to explore the river. Since there are no roads or walking trails here, the only way to explore this portion of the river than from the river itself.
Expect to pay about $30 for a two-hour rental. Rentals are often available right at the river mouth, but if not a company called Josh Palmateer’s Surf Rentals will hire you whatever you are after.
When I did this kayaking I thought that all of the paddling was quite a bit of work! So, keep in mind that this is quite a physically exhausting activity. Bring some snacks and plenty of water! If you are not confident in renting the kayaks and going alone, guided tours are also available!
Catch a Coastal Sunset
During our stay in Margaret River, we didn’t get very lucky with the weather and therefore didn’t get very lucky with sunsets either. However, on the first evening we ventured out towards to coast in hopes that the sky would give us a show. As I said, the weather wasn’t really cooperating and we didn’t get much of a sunset, but, it was still a gorgeous view and the rolling clouds were just as interesting to watch.
Seeing as we didn’t really see a sunset and were still in awe of the landscape, I could only imagine how breathtaking this location would be for anyone able to catch a vibrant pink and orange sky.
From Margaret River, drive towards the coast on Walcliffe Road. There are several small roads leading to various lookouts all along the coast from here. I suggest getting there early and driving around for a bit,
checking out all of the different lookouts and beaches.
Check out Rotary Park
Right in town, there is a place called Rotary Park. Rotary Park is the perfect place for a picnic or BBQ followed by a little walk. There are public BBQ facilities, picnic tables, a children’s playground, and a bridge over the river. Across the river, there is the “old settlement” to explore.
Around Rotary Park there are various walking trails. Some are short and some are longer for those looking for more of a full-day activity. The Margaret River Brewery is also located next to Rotary Park.
For us, Rotary Park was one of the easiest of the things to do in Margaret River. It was free, easily accessible, and we just went for a short walk which was a nice little outing.
Explore a Cave or Two
Being from Perth, Dan had been to Margaret River several times before. But one thing he had never done was go to one of the many caves! This time we decided we had to go to at least one during our short visit!
There are a total of 4 caves near Margaret River making them one of the most popular things to do in Margaret River. Each cave is unique and offers visitors a different experience. Some are self-guided and some are only accessible on a guided tour. The downside to exploring the caves is that they aren’t necessarily cheap at $22.50 per person per cave, so it adds up quite quickly. For this reason, we did a bit of research before selecting just one cave to visit.
We decided to visit “Lake Cave” and weren’t disappointed. Lake Cave is one of the caves that can only be accessed with a guide. We booked our tour online easily and then showed up only a few minutes before the scheduled start time. Lake Cave is only a 20-minute drive from Margaret River town which makes it an easy one to visit.
The tour guide led us down hundreds of stairs into the cave. Once in the dark of the cave, the guide turned on the lights and revealed stalactites and stalagmites, columns, and a gorgeous lake. Because of the lake and lighting, it made for a beautiful sight to see and great photos. The tour lasted about one hour in total.
I would suggest visiting Lake Cave, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. However, it is important to note that this particular cave involves walking up and down many stairs so it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Visit Eagle Bay and Yallingup
Dan and I were visiting Margaret River from Perth, so it was not far out of the way to stop at Yallingup and Eagle Bay on the way back.
Yallingup has some more incredible beaches and lookouts. We mostly just drove around to enjoy the landscape but for those with more time, you could relax at the beach or check out one of the many cute cafes.
Near Yallingup, there is Eagle Bay. Once again, more amazing beaches can be found at Eagle Bay. Besides that, there is also the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and walking trails to various lookouts. We went on one of the shorter 2km trails and found it to be somewhat average. There was no shade and we didn’t take hats with us as we expected a quick little walk. From what we could tell you need to walk one of the longer trails in order to get to any good lookouts or to the whale watching spots.
It is possible to go inside the Lighthouse and climb to the top on a guided tour. Tours cost $15 per adult and run every half hour. To book a tour or for more information, click here.
If check out the lighthouse or walking trails isn’t your thing, a short drive away from the lighthouse there are some beaches with good views accessible from a car park. Just turn onto Eagle Bay Road and follow it to the end. Just check out that view!
I could’ve easily spent a week in Margaret River, actually, I could easily live there! Beaches, a river, forests, and endless amount of wine – what else could a person ask for! Margaret River is perfect for adventures as well as just relaxing. It is such a tranquil town that it makes it tough to leave. I know that one day I will be back to Margaret River, and hopefully, then I will be spending more time.
I hope that my list of things to do in Margaret River has been helpful! However, I know that there are so many more things to do in Margaret River that I have missed, if you have been to Margaret River and have a suggestion for something else to do there, please comment below! We would love to hear your suggestions.