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Margaret River

Things To Do In The Margaret River (Away From The Wineries)

Margaret River, Western Australia

The Margaret River region is well known for wine but not as much for being a family or relaxing holiday destination. The spectacular beaches, wildlife and fun activities, however, make it an incredible place to visit to enjoy the scenery, food and wildlife. We found plenty of things to do in Margaret River for the whole family to enjoy, from little kids to adults.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Busselton
A popular town for families to vacation, Busselton has plenty to offer for entertainment. Check out the 150-year old Busselton Jetty – at 1.8km in length, it’s the longest timber-jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk out or catch the little train to the end of the jetty to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view.
busseltonjetty.com.au

Dunsborough, WA

In and around Dunsborough
A coastal town in the Margaret River region, Dunsborough has several cafes, bakeries, groceries stores and the like, set by a gorgeous, family-friendly beach.

Eagle Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Eagle Bay
A stunning beach known for its dazzling white sand and vivid, turquoise water. Eagle Bay is a great swimming beach thanks to its shallow, calm water. There is nothing else to do here but swim and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Meelup Beach
A fabulous family beach located near Dunsborough, Known for its calm water, Meelup also has excellent public change rooms, toilets and showers.

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Yallinup
Yallingup is a popular tourist place to visit thanks to its stunning beaches and limestone caves.

Yallingup Beach
A protected lagoon that’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

Yallinup Maze
A fun place to drop by to have a run through their ever-changing timer maze, jump on the
bouncy castle and try a free puzzle or game in the puzzle cafe.
yallingupmaze.com.au

Swings & Roundabouts, Margaret River, Western Australia Swings & Roundsbouts
This winery has an incredible outdoor space with all kinds of old school play equipment. The food it a touch pricey: we paid $22 for a small pizza and $16 for a small plate of squid
swings.com.au

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western Australia Canal Rocks
Walk across the timber pathway to the rocks and tide pools Canal Rocks is famous for. Swimming and snorkelling are popular here but be aware of the tide, currents and lack of lifeguards.

In and around Margaret River Town

Margaret River Chocolate Company, Margaret River, Western Australia Margaret River Chocolate Company
Kids will enjoy the free chocolate samples while adults try to choose between the many varieties of chocolate on offer (good luck, it’s a tough choice!). Stop by the cafe for breakfast, lunch and sweet snacks.
chocolatefactory.com.au

Woody Nook Winery & Cafe, Margaret River, Western Australia

Woody Nook Wines
A great place for lunch with the family, the outdoor Nookery Café has delicious food, a kids’ menu and a grassy play area with swings.
woodynook.com.au/

Cowaramup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Cowaramup
The locals call it ‘Cowtown’ thanks to the 42 life-sized fibreglass Friesian cows and calves that have been placed all over the streets. The locally made goods are excellent –
sample nougat, chocolate, ice cream, fudge, olive oil and fresh produce.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
In and around Augusta
Augusta is the most south-western town in Australia and near Boranup Forest, Jewel Cave and Hamelin Bay. The town is a popular destination for snorkelling, swimming, SUP, canoeing and whale watching – between June and August around 35,000 whales pass along this coastline.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Boranup Karri Forest
An absolute must is to drive through the towering karri trees. The forest is a 25 minute drive south of Margaret River town along Caves Road. Stop by Cafe Boranup to break your trip. More info on the forest and cafe here.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
Leeuwin Lighthouse
The most south-westerly point of Australia, it’s a must to see even if you don’t want to pay the $8pp entry to the grounds to walk around the base. It is however the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and overlooks the point where two oceans meet.

Hamelin Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Hamelin Bay
Friendly stingrays frequent this bay, attracted by the fish remnants dropped by fishing boats that use the boat ramp on at Hamelin Bay. A gorgeous beach for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and photography, this beach also has public bathrooms and a nearby holiday park with a kiosk. Get more info on Hamelin Bay here.

Getting around
It’s a must to hire a car in the Margaret River region. We hired ours from Australian company Redspot.

Where to stay
We were lucky that we bunked in with relatives during our visit, but I would suggest staying in Busselton or Dunsborough for a central location on the beach, or in Augusta for a few days in that region.

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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you drive 25 minute south of Margaret River town along Caves Road in Western Australia, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across fairy land. Suddenly rising from each side of the road are towering karri trees, some over 60m in height, with bright white trunks, filling the valley below.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you keep a look out on the eastern side of Caves Road you’ll find The Karri Lookout, which is an ideal place to pull over, photograph and then wander into the forrest in search of wildflowers, orchids, funghi and, of course, fairies.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

The forrest is also home to many species of birds, so keep an eye out for a Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Splendid Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Crested Strike-tit, Golden Whistler and many other birds.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A bit further into the forrest will bring you to Cafe Boranup, which is a great place to break for lunch or tea and scones. They serve wholesome food, housemade cakes, chutneys, jams, coffee and tea.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

You might also spot a Splendid Fairy (blue) Wrens while you’re dining. The cafe also has disabled facilities, information on what to do nearby, a little playground for the kids and couches with books and board games.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Next to the cafe is the Boranup Gallery, which is a great place to admire or buy works by local artists.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Cafe Boranup
7981 Caves Rd, Forest Grove
Hours: Daily, 10am-4pm
Online

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Meet the Hamelin Bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There is a part in Moana, the Disney movie that is on serious repeat in our house right now, that moved me to tears. Stay with me, I promise it’s relevant. It’s when our family’s new favourite heroine, Moana, sees her grandmother’s spirit stingray appearing to guide her at her lowest moment and help her discover who she truly is. The ray, symbolising her grandmother, is a powerful reminder that we are never alone, that we carry our family with us at all times, even if they’re not physically present. Cue tears, lots of them.

Afterwards, I found myself wondering why choose a stingray for this spirit animal, of all the creatures in the ocean? There are a lot of awe inspiring animals to choose from, after all.

A few weeks later, when I make my way to Hamelin Bay and see these incredible creatures for myself, I discover animals that take my breath away with their size, speed, grace and beauty. Stingrays are truly majestic, magnificent creatures, and I can see why Disney chose this animal to represent a person who is so strong and kind.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When I tell people that I met stingrays up close, they have reacted with comments like, “Wow you’re so brave!”, which made me realise that rays are misunderstood by many people to be dangerous, aggressive animals.

They’ve had a bit of a bad rep after the unfortunate death of Steve Irwin in 2006, by a stingray barb to the heart. He was incredibly unlucky as there have only been three recorded deaths in Australia due to stingrays, including Steve Irwin, with the other known stingray deaths in c.1930 and 1988 (also as a result of a direct sting to the heart). It is believed that there has only been 17 fatal stingray attacks worldwide, so your chances of being killed by a stingray are very, very, very slim.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Stingrays are actually incredibly docile creatures and can be friendly and curious, as I found when I met the gentle wild rays of Hamelin Bay.

Hamelin Bay is located in the south end of Western Australia’s Margaret River and is a popular place for families to come to stay at the nearby Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

A group of stingrays has been visiting this bay for years, attracted by the scraps from the fishing boats that use the boat ramp and jetty on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Your chances of spotting a ray are highest in summer but they are known to visit all year round. Groups range in size between 3 and 10 rays, swimming up and down the beach on patrol.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays are absolutely massive, with a wing span of up to one metre across. They are completely unafraid and swim right up to the shallows. As these are wild rays, there is no guarantee that they will be there when you visit, but the beach is so stunning that it’s a good place to visit even if you don’t spot a ray.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There are two types of stingrays found in Hamelin Bay. The smooth stingray is the largest of the world’s stingrays and is dark grey or black and round in shape. Of the two stingrays, the smooth is the more likely to approach visitors on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The eagle ray is diamond shaped with distinctly pointed wings and is often a paler shade of brown or browney-grey or even blue-grey rather than black.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When we visited the rays we stood in the water for a while watching them swim past in absolute awe. One of the smooth rays came up to check me out as you can see in the photo, and rubbed against me as it swam by. Absolutely incredible.

Visiting the Hamelin Bay stingrays was an amazing opportunity for Cheese to meet the spirit animal from Moana in real life and see for herself what a precious creature it is. Another animal to be observed, enjoyed from a safe distance, and protected.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Tips for visiting the rays

Stingrays generally only attack if they feel threatened, so don’t approach them in the water and be careful not to tread on them.

You can swim at the beach and snorkel, but be aware that there are no lifeguards on patrol.

There are public bathrooms available in the parking lot.

With younger children, have them watch the rays safely from the shore rather than venturing in for a closer look.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Reinforce with older children that the stingrays are wild animals and are such are unpredictable. Have them stand still in the water and let the rays come to them if they want to.

The best season to see the stingrays is summer when the water has less seaweed and is calmer.

Visit in the morning between 9am-10am or afternoon when the boats are returning for your best chance to see them.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays at Hamelin Bay are protected and must not be harmed. Please report any incidents if you witness people harming the rays.

I would advise not trying to touch the stingrays, but to observe them instead. One might find you interesting enough to come up and say hello, as one did to me! You never know your luck.


Getting to Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay is located in the south of the Margaret River Region. It’s about a 15 minute drive north of Augusta or 25 minute drive south of Margaret River Town. Drive south down Caves Road right to the very end or, if heading north from Augusta, turn left at the junction of Bussell Highway with Caves Road.

The drive is doable in one day, or you can stay the night at the The Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.