The Best Things to Do in Margaret River for an Unforgettable Escape
From wining and dining to exploring the coastline, farmers markets to epic hiking trails, the things to do in Margaret River are vibrant and varied..
You go to Margaret River for some sun, sand and surf — with a side of incredible wineries, of course. An easy 2.5 hour drive south from Perth, Margaret River (aka ‘Margies’ or ‘Margs’ to the locals) is a dreamy coastal region with an exciting mix of natural beauty, foodie delights, world-renowned wineries and outdoor adventures. This stunning region has it all.
Here are some of the best things to do in Margaret River.
Things to do in Margaret River: Play
Hit the beach
However you want to do it, exploring the pristine coastline is one of the quintessential Margaret River experiences. If you're feeling adventurous, make your way to Rivermouth Beach where the rugged coastline hides caves and rock pools waiting to be explored. More of a beach bum? Meelup Beach is a picture-perfect slice of paradise. The clear, sparkling waters are perfect for swimming, and the soft sand invites you to relax and soak up the sun.
Go surfing or SUPing (or have a lesson!)
Margaret River is a playground for surf enthusiasts of all levels, and it's the perfect place to try your hand at catching a wave. Don't worry if you're a beginner; Margaret River's surf schools provide expert instructors who will guide you through the fundamentals of paddling, catching waves, and executing your first ride. If stand-up paddle boarding is more your thing, hire a board and take off from the river mouth at Prevelly.
Hit the bushwalking trails
Margaret River isn't just about beaches and wineries; it's also home to some of the most stunning bushwalking trails in Australia. If you love the outdoors, you're in for a treat. What better way to immerse yourself in the sheer natural beauty of this region than by taking a walk or hike on some of Margaret River’s best walking trails. Wander through ancient Karri forests, where towering trees create a canopy above you. Or try the Cape to Cape Track, which stretches for over 135 kilometres along the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs and pristine waters below.
Hike the Bluff Knoll in Stirling Ranges National Park
Tackle Bluff Knoll’s breathtaking bushwalking tracks to enjoy spectacular views of National Heritage-listed Stirling Range National Park’s rugged mountain landscape. The South West region’s highest peak was formed more than a billion years ago, offering a glorious display of awe-inspiring natural beauty – from its panoramic views to its unique floral species.
Strike out early to discover the meaning behind Bluff Knoll’s Aboriginal name, ‘mist rolling around the mountains,' and ascend the 1,098-metre-high peak via a three-hour, five-kilometre return hike.
Starting on the lower slopes, you’ll wander through eucalypt woodland dotted with vibrant pink banksia and towering jarrah and marri trees. Trek past ever-changing views of the surrounding peaks, then reward yourself with endless vistas from the very top of this mighty mountain. Truly spectacular, it's one of the best things to do in Margaret River for an unforgettable escape.
Journey underground at Mammoth Cave
For a truly unique adventure, explore the wonder that is Mammoth Cave. Join a guided tour that leads you through the winding tunnels and awe-inspiring limestone formations. As you delve deeper into the cave's depths, you'll uncover the secrets of this ancient underground, home to fossil remains of long-extinct giant animals. The grandeur of the cave is awe-inspiring, with colossal stalactites and stalagmites that have taken centuries to form.
With vineyards virtually rolling into the ocean, the region is famous for its wines thanks to the pristine environment, isolation, gravelly loam soil and Mediterranean climate. With the first seedlings planted in the 1960s, the region’s microclimates have ensured each wine is unique.
Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, Merlot, Shiraz and Malbec are the most notable varietals produced in Margaret River. With around 100 cellar doors, there’s much swilling to be had, from rustic sheds to architecturally designed wineries, many with dining options, galleries and those quintessential vineyard views. With so many wineries on offer, you could enjoy a drive and see what takes your fancy, pick up a map from a visitor’s centre or join a tour like Harvest Tours and leave the decision-making to someone else.
Surrounded by three sides of water, the Margaret River Region boasts over 120-kilometres of pristine coastline adorned with dramatic cliffs and turquoise beaches; there’s no shortage of gorgeous spots to flop, surf, swim, canoe, kitesurf or fish – or to simply admire the scenery at Canal Rocks or Sugarloaf Rock.
Take a houseboat along the Blackwood River, join a jet boat tour, a fishing charter or take a surfing or stand-up paddle boarding lesson. Family-friendly beaches abound, like Bunker Bay, Point Picquet, the Busselton Foreshore, Gracetown, Granny’s Pool, Hamelin Bay, Meelup Beach and Yallingup Beach.
You simply can’t visit the Margaret River Region without getting your toes wet in the literal Margaret River, which flows for 60km into the Indian Ocean. At the very least admire it from the lookout near the river mouth.
Get active above and below ground
With an abundance of cycling and mountain trails, some even through vineyards, Margaret River is a mecca for two-wheeled adventures. Start your cycling journey at one of the café/bike shops such as The Golden Jersey (Cowaramup) or Melo Velo (Bunbury and Nannup) to pick up some tips before riding out.
If you prefer feet and body remaining completely terra firma, there are dozens of coastal and forest trails to explore on foot, including the iconic 135km Cape to Cape Trail, from Cape Naturaliste in Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin in Augusta. You can tackle the trail in sections independently, or join a tour like Walk into Luxury which also puts emphasis on boutique accommodation and gourmet feasts along the way.
Beneath the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, Yallingup became a favourite tourist destination as far back as the early 1900s thanks to its limestone caves set deep below the Australian scrub. Many caves are available to explore on a tour or independently; the most popular ones are Lake Cave, Jewel Cave, Mammoth Cave and Ngilgi Cave.
Over 35,000 Humpback, Southern Right, Minke and Blue whales migrate north to warmer waters between June and December every year. One of the most incredible things to do in Margaret River is to bear witness to this phenomenon. It might be as you spend time traversing a coastal trail, from atop a lighthouse or even while enjoying a meal at a waterside café. But the cream of the crop way to experience the majesty of these incredible creatures is on a purpose-built whale-watching vessel - and there are several tour operators in the region offering unforgettable encounters. Find out more here.
You can be at one with nature and horizontal with a spa treatment when it comes to experiencing relaxation in Margaret River. The pampering in spectacular locations ranges from Bodhi J at Injidup Spa Retreat, set to the tune of crashing waves to OM Day Spa among Yallingup’s treetops. Or head to Lake Gunyulgup, meaning ‘place of rest’ to the custom-designed Bodhi Yallingup. Inspired by the Bodhi brand’s commitment to wellness, they combine healing and holistic treatments using WA products such as Sodashi, infrared saunas, hydrotherapy baths and chakra balancing.
The coastal landscape, magical forests and rural plains are irresistible drawcards for creatives. Annual festivals like the CinefestOZ film festival, Margaret River Region Open Studios (MRROS), Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival and Jazz Under the Jetty attract tens of thousands of visitors. The region’s state-of-the-art facilities cater well to year-round events, including the Margaret River HEART entertainment complex, the ArtGeo Cultural Complex (Busselton) and the Busselton Entertainment, Arts and Cultural Hub (BEACH), currently under development. With the region dating back 60,000 years, the land remains of immense significance to the Wadandi (Saltwater) People and their connection as the traditional owners of the land through songs, stories, spirituality and dreams. You can experience these ancient customs yourself on a Koomal Dreaming Cultural Tour.
The heritage-listed Busselton Jetty is one of the most iconic attractions in the region, and stretching for 1.84km into Geographe Bay, it’s also the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. One of only six underwater observatories in the world is reached either on foot or by the cute train that chugs along to the end of the jetty. Over 300 marine species live in or visit the bay, which you can descend eight metres below the surface to observe from the dry comfort of the observatory. Or immerse yourself on a dive, snorkel or sea walk among the colourful tropical and sub-tropical coral, sponges, invertebrates and fish.
Things to do in Margaret River: Wine & Dine
Sip and savour at iconic wineries
Margaret River's wine scene is world-renowned, and there's no better way to spend an afternoon than hopping from one stunning winery to the next. Visit Vasse Felix, Margaret River’s founding winery, and enjoy a premium wine tasting experience or a long lunch in the restaurant. The atmosphere at Leeuwin Estate, known for its iconic Art Series wines, is nothing short of magical. Savour each sip, paired with gourmet cheese and charcuterie. Standouts also include Fishbone Wines (you'll want to stay longer for the incredible Japanese food being dished up) and Wills Domain for a memorable dining experience overlooking peaceful rolling vineyards.
Indulge at the farmers market
Kick off a Saturday morning in Margaret River with a visit to the Margaret River Farmers Market. This lively year-round market is located in the main town, and is a bustling hub of local produce, artistry, and community spirit. As you stroll through the stalls, you'll find excellent coffee, delicious fresh baked goods and a colourful range of fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and meats that reflect the rich agricultural heritage of the region.
Lot 272 Bussell Highway, Margaret River
Have breakfast at Gnarabup Beach
Start your day in beachfront bliss at the White Elephant Cafe. Sit back, sip your coffee and take in those jaw-dropping views of gorgeous Gnarabup Beach. On the menu, you'll find avo on toast drizzled with local olive oil, smashed pumpkin paired with poached eggs, and coconut bircher bowls topped with fresh berries and granola. With its sheltered waters, Gnarabup Beach is also the perfect location for a refreshing dip or a stand-up paddling session.
Gnarabup Rd, Margaret River
Situated in Busselton, this one-stop collective connects consumers with over 60 local farmers, producers, artisans, makers and creators. There is no other purpose-built market like it in Western Australia, as the Origins Market is 100% WA grown, produced and crafted, and it has also been designed as an incubation space for small businesses to test the market. Community and sustainability are at the heart of Origins Markets, which also transforms into a function centre and has food stalls serving delicious local and international cuisine.
86 West Street, Busselton
At Glenarty Road, an element of trust is required when ordering the set-course feasts. Here’s the thing, you won’t know what you’re getting until it appears on the table in all its rustic glory. This is the very definition of farm-to-table dining, with almost every dish foraged or sourced from the 83-hectare farm, which features vineyards, vegetable gardens, orchards and livestock. If there’s one guarantee though, you’ll have never tasted anything quite like it since everything is sustainable, seasonal, harvested daily and unique to this farmhouse kitchen. Take it a step further, by experiencing your own food and wine foraging adventure on-site, then indulging in the spoils afterwards. This is true Margaret River dining in a nutshell.
70 Glenarty Road, Karridale
What’s not to love about a restaurant nestled between a chocolatier and a winery? Especially when it’s one of the few Asian eateries in the region and overlooks cascading vineyards from the architecturally-designed dining room. Chow’s Table is no red-lantern affair, instead serving up a deliciously contemporary Chinese-Malay sharing menu. Highlights include Albany Akoya with white miso butter, Shark Bay tiger prawn curry laksa, and pork and chive dumplings washed down with local beers and wines, including the likes of neighbouring House of Cards winery.
12/5 Quininup Road, Yallingup
Although located in the township of Dunsborough, you’re unmistakably in regional WA when dining at Yarri, particularly when lounging on the deck with a glass of local Snake + Herring wine, the surrounding forest as your scenery. The interiors are equally lush, a blend of local Yarri timber, limestone and layered textures of leather and terracotta. Chef Aaron Carr works closely with local producers to showcase the region, with dishes inspired by the six Indigenous seasons to pay homage to the traditional owners of the land.
6/16 Cyrillean Way, Dunsborough
You could practically pluck Merlot grapes straight off the vines when enjoying a wine tasting at Domaine Naturaliste’s cellar door. Winemaker Bruce Duke approaches his craft with the precision of an agronomist and unbeatable intuitive flair, to create a sustainable range of award-winning whites and reds. This unpretentious slice of heaven serves charcuterie boards to-go with their tastings. Keep an eye out for their gourmet events, which understandably sell out fast, or book your own special occasion - imagine the memories and photos with those vines as your backdrop.
160 Johnson Road, Wilyabrup
Bunkers Beach House
Overlooking secluded Bunker Bay, this casual eatery is always bustling, with locals and visitors alike. Book in for a lunch at Bunkers to enjoy a set menu that treats you to the freshest local seafood matched with beachfront views and the region's most outstanding wines. Think kumquat, ricotta and fennel, prawns and chimichurri and market fish with bisque and a bounty of sides. Post-lunch, take a stroll along the boardwalk leading to the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean.
Farm Break Lane, Naturaliste
Just metres from Meelup Beach, Meelup Farmhouse is a predominantly outdoor venue that's home to alpacas, Silkie chickens, a hairy cow and a farmhouse dog. Luxuriate beneath the gum trees over a picnic hamper or indulge in the seasonal menu crafted by head chef Dean Williams. Orange and poppy seed pancakes and wood-roasted mushrooms with charred Yallingup woodfired sourdough feature on the brunch menu. Farmhouse grazing is encouraged all day, and the more substantial mains include housemade sweet potato flatbread with roasted vegetables and aromatic duck curry with black rice. Scenery and nourishment that's good for the mind, body and soul.
54 Sheens Road, Naturaliste
Things to do in Margaret River: Stay
8 Paddocks Chalets
Reset, relax and unwind from daily life in one of these luxuriously appointed chalets at 8 Paddocks. Each chalet features an exclusively designed king size master bed with luxury linens that'll have you dreaming the sweetest of dreams. Wake up to the ever changing view of natural bush land or watch the stars through over sized picture windows in the night. Salute the sun in the evenings on the deck with a glass of local wine or two. Or, take a relaxing soak in the outdoor concrete bath whilst watching the night time star show above. Simply perfect.
Treeton, Augusta-Margaret River Region, Western Australia
Secluded within 7.5 acres of native Yallingup forest, the tree-scape views at Bina Maya feature scenes regularly captured by local artists. A stay in either the four-bedroom residence or luxury villas can be a surreal experience, especially as you reconnect with nature and slip into the outdoor bath at Villa Two. Well-equipped kitchens, king-sized beds, free-standing baths, wood burners and private balconies with those epic forest views all assist in providing the ultimate escape...and yet you're only a few minutes from Yallingup Beach and Dunsborough.
While you're there, treat yourself to an in-house spa treatment, yoga sessions, food delivery and even a chef. You truly won't need to lift a finger - except to book in all of these exclusive services, of course!
51 Bina Place, Quedjinup
Exuding beachy and country vibes, you might wake up to whales migrating by your window or kookaburras mocking you from their lofty perch. With properties dotted all over the region, every single one of Swell Stays’ holiday homes enjoys a gorgeous setting catering to all budgets. Since its inception in 2011, every property is well-appointed with luxuries such as modern kitchens, alfresco dining and BBQs making the most of the setting. Our picks include FortyTwo Mini overlooking Gracetown and Kaya Karri nestled in a Karri forest on the edge of the Margaret River township.
2/31 Station Road, Margaret River
If architecturally designed luxury and jaw-dropping scenery is available to your budget, Private Properties offers a bespoke service to couples, families, groups of friends, corporate retreats, celebrities and even pets. With over 26 years of experience and more than 100 properties to choose from, this family-owned business prides itself on its attention to detail. They offer properties in some of the most exclusive and gorgeous settings from long stretches of deserted beaches, forest retreats to rambling vineyards.
16 Griffin Drive, Dunsborough
Voted as a Luxury Lodge of Australia, in addition to 22 luxurious rooms and a private residence, Cape Lodge is also home to one of the region’s finest restaurants. With a menu curated on a daily basis sourced from seasonal produce and the onsite kitchen garden, the everchanging degustation menu enchants with ingredients such as marron and truffles. The gorgeous rooms feature king-sized beds, luxe bathrooms, sitting rooms and views overlooking the forest, lake or vineyards producing the Cape Lodge wines. When you decide to leave this magical property, join one of their exclusive guided walks, gourmet tours or scenic helicopter flights for a unique perspective on the Margaret River Region.
3341 Caves Road, Yallingup
Become at one with nature without having to rough it or packing the kitchen sink. There are a number of eco-friendly glamping operators in the region offering secluded getaways among towering forests. Ranging from rustic set-ups to self-contained domed studios connecting guests with vistas and starry nights. Incredibly romantic, our top picks include the four-poster canopy beds with Mile End Glamping, Olio Bello Lakeside Glamping set among olive groves and Two Blind Cows in a laid-back country setting – all with the luxury of ensuites when nature calls.