There was so much to see in Perth and Margaret River so I split it out into two posts. Here you’ll find out what to do down south in Yallingup, Dunsborough, Bunker Bay and beyond.
I had my heart set on seeing some whales whilst we were in town, if you like me have the same dream, you’ll want to plan on visiting in November. I heard that over 350,00 whales pass by at this time of year and on one four-hour boat trip they saw 70 whales!! We’re now planning another trip as we saw nada not even a shark.
After a lot of research we decided on two destinations, firstly we stayed at Bunker Bay Pullmans resort just outside of Dunsborough then moved to 3 Bears House near Yallingup and both were great for our family. There are so many things to do in this area, we didn’t even get through our list. But here are some things you must do in Margaret River, in no particular order, they’re all super fun and family friendly.
Things to see in Margaret River
- Busselton Jetty
At the top of Margaret River is the town of Busselton. We parked up at the expansive beach to see all the local school kids doing their swimming lessons. Busselton is unique as the water is really shallow for a long way out, which makes the water a little more than toe dipping warm. The superb view out to sea is framed by a 1841m long wooden Busselton Jetty and the best bit is you can catch a train all the way out to the end and save yourself the 25min walk each way. The kids loved the train ride and the driver and the volunteers are all super helpful.
Busselton had one of the best kids playgrounds we came across in Margaret River, in fact it had two, just metres apart. If you’re after some lunch head over to The Goose. Food was delicious, staff welcoming and had a great view over the pier.
Tip: Book in advance and get a ticket to the underwater observatory, we went on the day and couldn’t get tickets.
2. Eco Boat Tour from Dunsborough
I’m not one for speed boat rides, but the husband found a ride leaving from Dunsborough that was supposedly somewhat sedate and promised to be a eco tour. Queue us then stepping onto Jet Adventures that afternoon.
Apart from wishing I’d put a sports bra on, it was a lovely afternoon onboard with the skipper who treated us to drinks, home made treats, seals, manta-rays, rare birds and more. The skipper was an ex-fisherman and we felt really safe in his hands, he amazed us when he did an emergency stop to fish a plastic bag out of the ocean, round of applause all-round.
3. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse Walk
Ahh this walk has a story behind it… We parked up at the car park in Bunker Bay and began walking along a path, (without water, suitable shoes, hats or sunscreen) as I’d read it was no more than a 5min walk. 10 minutes in we bumped into some people who assured us that you could reach the lighthouse and we carried on our way. The kids sang songs to scare off any snakes and on we went for 25mins… till we gave up hope and went back to the car. Got back in said car, drove 10 mins down the road and parked up in the right car park, walked 100 yards and got to the lighthouse.
We also went out on a boat the next day and saw that the path we’d taken was literally about to fall into the ocean, eeekk (the picture under the skipper on the boat ride above).
But back to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse walk. There is a good carpark and you walk only a few yards to get to the ticket desk. We then walked past the cute tea shop, around the corner and could see the lighthouse. Albeit when we went it was covered in scaffolding but the views out to sea were still amazing, hubby also got to practice flying his drone.
Tip: Lots of my tips are food based but if you’re hungry head to Bunker Bay Cafe, on the beach. Stunning views, I just hope the staff are feeling more friendly than when we went.
4. Outdoor Cinema at Cape Mentelle Winery
We headed along to this outdoor cinema on a Friday night and felt liked we’d really tapped into a local community event here. We wandered down the lane, through the vines and into a cute clearing surround by trees. A local ‘boy’ band were playing cool tunes as a warm up and the Aussie “burger van” was in demand. We got the tickets which came with bean bags, thick cozy blankets and a glass of wine each (just the adults before you question my parenting, haha).
Tip: We nipped into Coles super market in Margaret River town and stocked up on some movie nibbles beforehand.
5. Hamelin Bay for Sting Ray Watching
Watching the wild sting rays at Hamelin Bay was a real highlight of our trip. Good old Steve Urwin did cross my mind a few times, unlucky to be one of only three people in Australia to have been killed by a Sting Ray since 1830.
The rays in the bay are protected and thus are not scared of humans. Quite the opposite actually, they seen to enjoy the interaction and swimming across people’s feet.
Apparently the best time to see them is 8-10 am but we wondered up at lunch time and got to see four of Sting rays. A few locals had names for each of the Rays and we got to see one without a stinger too. They were absolutely massive! A few people were stroking the Sting Rays but we opted to let wild animals be and just watched.
6. Skate Park in Margaret River Town
This was a family holiday after all and the kids begged to go here after driving past it on the way into town. So we stocked up on coffee and headed over. Where we can we try and take the kid’s micro scooters with us when we travel, we find a day wandering around town is made more pleasant for everyone when they’re happily scooting around.
Our kids are beginners to the skate park scene so this park was fantastic for all levels. A lovely space for adults and kids to hang out (yes there were some Dad’s and Mum’s showing the kids how it’s done). Wish we had something like this near us!
7. Olive Tasting at Eagle Bay Olives
One of my best friends from back home in England is half Spanish and I’m grateful for her to introducing me to olives and getting me to keep trying them till I loved them. So when we drove past this olive grove we had to pull in. It’s only open Fri/Sat/Sun so we actually drove past a few times before we could finally sample the olives. I can highly recommend the dried Kalamata olives with chilli. In lieu of being able to get olive oil from Tuscany we picked up some of their bottles here to bring back to Singapore.
Tip: You can also grab up one of their picnic baskets and dine in their stunning grounds with the friendly pet donkeys.
We had an overcast morning and the kids needed to get out of the house so we drove over to Yallingup Shearing Shed. We were here slightly out of season so there wasn’t much going on but you can buy pellets to feed the sheep. The kids absolutely love this and we went through quite a few bags. If you’re in the market for some new Uggs or some woollen clothes this is the place to stock up. But since we live in Singapore we left empty handed, haha.
9. Visit some Vineyards in Margaret River
You’re really spoilt for choice in Margaret River for good wine and place to eat. But here are our favourite wineries.
Eagle Bay Brewery – So good we went a few times. Great views over the fields, stunning interiors, ample kids play area and best of all the food and wine were outstanding.
Tip: If you’re going during the weekend or busy holiday time, phone ahead and book a seat to make sure you get a spot out on the terrace.
Cape Mentelle – so good it’s worth mentioning twice (see outdoor cinema above) Close to town, good wine and stunning views.
Wise Wines – over the road from Eagle Bay Brewery so we went here for desert and some more wine, when in Rome and all that. Expansive views over the ocean and one of the friendliest waitresses we came across.