Featuring boundless stretches of magical coastline, plains of untouched nature, ancient towering trees, and numerous world-renowned wine regions, the South West corner of Western Australia is a dreamlike destination to tick off.
Days here, in what is known as Australia’s South West, consist of soaking up the sun on secluded beaches, exploring the unique carvings of longstanding caves, sipping on glasses of the finest grapes among the vineyards, settling in for a pub lunch in the country breeze, and sampling the finest produce from farm to plate.
It’s a place to reconnect with yourself, quiet your mind, recharge your spirit, and escape from the everyday grind in wondrous landscapes and adventures unlike any other.
With direct flights now running from Melbourne to Busselton-Margaret River with Jetstar Australia, the Margaret River region and the rest of the South West is closer than ever before. Here are ten reasons why you should visit the South West corner of WA.
1. The endless gourmet food and wine
There is no place quite so delicious as the South West.
Boasting hundreds of orchards, vineyards, farms, and groves, this dreamy little corner of Australia is a one-stop shop for delicious gourmet eats and world-renowned drops of wine.
There’s an option for every taste, from loaded degustations paired with the finest glasses to classic pub lunches alongside a pint, cafe-style brunch seaside, or tasting sessions filled with cheese, olives, honey, fudge, and chocolate. If there’s one place in the world to lose yourself in stomach-filling experiences, this is it.
The South West is Australia’s premium wine-producing region, mainly thanks to its Mediterranean climate and close proximity to the ocean, with some 100 cellar doors dotted around for you to discover. Margaret River is dubbed the wine capital of Western Australia and produces some of the finest drops of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay from some of the prettiest vineyards you’ll see.
We’d recommend finding a local guide to join on a food and wine tour to experience the best of the region by sampling award-winning wines, indulging in a winery lunch, and discovering hidden boutique breweries and distilleries.
2. This picture-perfect off-grid accommodation
Though there are plenty of luxury accommodations to enjoy here, we’d argue the private adult-only Tree Chalets rank among the best.
The timber-clad chalets sit in complete privacy among the towering trees and green bushland and are all powered by the sun and fed by rainwater. The interior is simple luxury, featuring timbers grown on the farm and views from every angle. Complete with an outdoor cast iron bath, we definitely wouldn’t mind sinking in here with a glass of local red in hand.
It’s a place to really let go, relax into the quiet and share an intimate romantic getaway with that special someone.
3. It’s home to some of the world’s most pristine coastline
The glistening turquoise waters and soft white sand of the coastal stretches here are truly something magical.
You can make a trip to soak up the sun at one of the many popular beaches, dive into a wonderland of colourful marine life and coral, and take a pause to marvel at bright orange and red hues over the waves at sunset.
Iconic coastal spots to visit include the postcard-perfect shores of Meelup Beach and Eagle Bay, unique rock formations at Sugarloaf Rock, Injidup Spa, and Canal Rocks, and the rolling waves at Surfers Point.
Further down near Denmark you can find some of the clearest, peppermint-green waters in the world at Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, or feel the mist on your face as you overlook the surging ocean at the Gap and Natural Bridge near Albany.
4. There’s an adventure around every corner
With so many exciting outdoor experiences to tick off the bucket list here, it can be hard to even know where to begin.
Maybe you want to take a walk with a local Wadandi custodian to immerse yourself in over 50,000 years of Aboriginal culture, or frolic with friendly wild bottlenose dolphins in the shallows of Koombana Bay in Bunbury. You could pull your fins on and dive into one of the many snorkel sites, rock climb and hop your way to hidden coastal treasures, ride the waves on a stand-up paddle board, kayak along the tranquil river, spot migrating humpback whales from afar, or take a tour of Yeagarup Dunes near Pemberton – a large moving sand dune system with incredible views.
If you’re okay with heights, you can walk among the lush greenery in the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk near Walpole, tackle the high-ropes and flying fox course at Forest Adventures in Busselton, or get the ultimate adrenaline rush by skydiving over the rugged landscape.
5. You can explore stretches of untouched nature
The South West is a space where tall-timber forests meet turquoise oceans, with an array of untouched natural landscapes just waiting to be discovered.
Lose yourself along worn-down bush and sand dune tracks leading to sloping cliff faces, colourful wildflowers, and unbelievable ocean views along the famous Cape to Cape Track, spanning 124km from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin.
There are also 24 national parks and over 1000km of coastline here, so you’ll be fully embracing nature with both hands as you meet with rare and unique plants and wildlife.
6. Tasty truffle experiences
Truffle season runs through winter in Australia, and Manjimup in the South West- also known as Australia’s truffle heartland- produces some of the most exquisite.
If you drive 1.5 hours out of Margaret River to Manjimup you’ll be able to join a truffle dog hunt to dig up the ripest black Périgord truffles, then pick more out for purchase afterward.
You’ll also be able to enjoy truffles on the menu all year round at a few of the local restaurants in the region, cooked to perfection in flavourful dishes among other fresh local produce and seasonal treats.
7. Breathtaking views wherever you look
You certainly won’t be short of a picture opportunity on a trip here.
There are plenty of high-up vantage points along the coast where you can look down on the sparkling Indian Ocean, watch the sun paint the sky a fiery red, and turn back to gaze out over endless green forests for that perfect snap.
Inland you can get some pretty special views of sprawling vineyards or glass-like lakes at many of the wineries.
8. Fascinating million-year-old caves
Journey beneath the surface into an underworld of ancient caves featuring spectacular limestone shapes and dazzling crystal formations dating back to over 350,000 years ago.
The Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge in Margaret River is home to around 150 limestone caves, with the more popular ones open to the public including Ngilgi Cave, Lake Cave, Jewel Cave, and Mammoth Cave. Take a fully guided tour of all except Mammoth Cave, which allows a self-guided meander through the crystal-covered interior.
9. Days are filled with diversity
No two days are the same when you’re holidaying in the South West.
You can be floating over the waves at natural beaches in the morning glow, sipping renowned wines under the leaves in the afternoon, hiking through old forests to mountain peaks over sunset, and stargazing around a fire pit at night.
From walking down the iconic Busselton Jetty and stopping in at the town, to heading further south for the shores of Augusta, you can be in completely different worlds from one day to the other as you road trip through the Margaret River region of the South West.
10. There’s plenty of art and culture
This region has an extremely rich past deeply rooted in culture, and a thriving arts community providing a range of events and festivals every year.
You’ll be able to really immerse yourself in it all by discovering the six Noongar seasons and Dreamtime stories on an Aboriginal tour or delving into Ngilgi Cave for a live didgeridoo performance as you feel the ancient history seep from the cave walls.
The laidback, coastal lifestyle here is a huge drawcard for a number of artists and creatives, and you can discover plenty of bespoke art galleries throughout the area along with displays of public art like the biggest dam mural at the Wellington Dam in Collie, and the giant grain silos in Albany and Pingrup splashed with colourful Australian artwork.
How to get there
Australia’s South West covers 23,000 kms in the South West corner of Western Australia. The region stretches from Harvey and Bunbury in the north, out past Katanning to Pingrup and Bremer Bay to the east, and encompasses Margaret River, Pemberton, Manjimup, Denmark, Albany and everywhere in between.
The Margaret River region itself stretches from Busselton in the north to Augusta in the south, with Margaret River sitting just a 2hr 30min drive south of Western Australia’s capital city, Perth.
You can now fly direct into Western Australia’s South West with flights from Melbourne to Busselton-Margaret River Airport on Jetstar Australia, and the best way to get around from there is by hiring a vehicle and hitting the open road.
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