By Experience Oz

The top 10 things to do in Margaret River and Surrounds

By Mel · September 2023 · 10 min read
Margaret River is a hidden gem on Australia's west coast, just over 3 hours' drive south of Perth. It's a remarkable destination showcasing natural beauty, including rugged coastlines, limestone caves, and expansive vineyards and wineries.

Margaret River is renowned for its culinary delights, including top-quality wines and fresh produce. It's also a haven for surfing, wildlife, and local shopping. Margaret River is quickly gaining recognition as one of Australia's emerging destinations. If you're planning a visit, here are the top 10 things to do in Margaret River and its surroundings.

10. Explore the Coast

Margaret River's coastline is a stunning example of rugged Australian beauty. You'll witness powerful Indian Ocean waves crashing against rocky shores and cliffs, offering some of WA's best surf spots. This 100-kilometer coastal region features pristine, uncrowded beaches and unique rock formations, providing opportunities for secluded relaxation. To explore this coastal wonder, rent a car and drive along the coastal roads from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, with Margaret River town nestled in the middle. The numerous coves, beaches, and bays along the way offer incredible photo opportunities. Many have lookout points or convenient parking areas, making it easy to capture memories of this breathtaking scenery for free.

Highlights along the coastal drive include Surfers Point, perfect for surfing, swimming, and snorkeling; Boodjidup Beach, an exceptionally pristine stretch of sand; and Cape Leeuwin's iconic lighthouse, offering fantastic photo opportunities. While the drive takes a couple of hours, it's best to dedicate a full day (or even a couple of days) to explore its attractions fully. Starting your Margaret River adventure with the coastal drive is an excellent way to get acquainted with the region's layout before diving into more detailed exploration.

9. Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre

Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre is Australia's largest collection of birds of prey, providing a sanctuary for breeding and rehabilitating injured birds before their release into the wild. The center houses a variety of majestic birds, including hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles, allowing visitors to appreciate their impressive scale up close. Nestled in natural bushland, it offers both entertainment and education, with a 1-kilometer walking track for a half-hour exploration. Don't miss the daily flight shows at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm, featuring Black Kites in action while you learn about their habits and habitats. The knowledgeable staff's passion for conservation shines through during these displays, and you can even have your photo taken with the Kites perched on your arm – a unique opportunity not to be missed.

Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre is home to the Wedge Tailed Eagles, the world's largest birds of prey. Their astonishing size is truly awe-inspiring when seen up close. This non-profit rehabilitation facility, while small and unassuming, is a must-visit. The $17 entry fee is reasonable, and it goes directly to support the center. Located just a 10-minute drive south of Margaret River, it's a short trip worth taking. Be sure to catch the free-flight displays during your visit for an enjoyable experience.

8. Horse Riding at The Horse Resort

Explore the stunning Margaret River countryside from a different perspective – on horseback. The Horse Resort, located on a sprawling 500-acre property, offers horse riding experiences for visitors of all ages and skill levels. Their well-trained horses, along with patient and friendly staff, make it a perfect family activity. Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced rider, the team will ensure you're comfortable with essential riding techniques before embarking on your adventure. It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Margaret River.

The Horse Resort offers a range of trail rides suitable for all skill levels, including beginners. These rides start in a spacious enclosed paddock, allowing riders to get comfortable before venturing into the expansive surrounding forest. Riding through this natural environment offers a chance to encounter native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, and admire the unique flora of the bush. It's a tranquil way to explore Margaret River away from the crowds, and your knowledgeable horse guides will share interesting insights about the area. The rides typically last around 2 hours, providing a balanced experience. Located a short 10-minute drive from Margaret River, the facility is discreetly situated along Osmington Road, and ride locations vary, so it's advisable to contact the staff before your visit. With riders as young as 5 years old welcome, it's an experience suitable for nearly everyone.

7. Amaze'n Maze

Amaze'n, as the name suggests, is a unique man-made attraction in the Margaret River region that offers a delightful experience for solo travelers and families with children. The meticulously maintained conifer hedge mazes, including a giant maze, provide a thrilling and puzzling adventure. Kids love getting lost in the outdoor corridors and uncovering surprises along the way. The maze features built-in challenges, such as finding uniquely shaped benches, which add an engaging element to the exploration. Your disorientation is rewarded when you reach the elevated central tower, offering a fantastic view over the maze before your exit. While the maze is the highlight, Amaze'n also offers various other activities to enjoy during your visit. These include ground puzzles, beautiful gardens for leisurely strolls, playgrounds for the kids to play while you relax with a coffee, a variety of games, and a newly opened mini-golf course set amidst picturesque surroundings. With plenty to do, you can easily spend several hours here, making it a worthwhile excursion from Margaret River.

Amaze'n offers more than just a maze; it surprises visitors with an excellent cafe that stands out from typical attractions by providing quality dining options (though the selection is somewhat limited). Additionally, you can enjoy barbecue lunches at the dedicated BBQ facility, or opt for on-site lunches. The friendly local staff and the opportunity to purchase high-quality handmade souvenirs enhance the overall experience, contributing to a pleasant atmosphere. Overall, Amaze'n promises one of the region's most unique and family-friendly days out. It's an individual and enjoyable experience that sets it apart, as not many people have had the opportunity to explore a maze like this before.

6. Helicopter Tour with Wild Blue Helicopters

For a comprehensive perspective of Margaret River's diverse landscapes, Wild Blue helicopters offer fantastic aerial views of the region at competitive prices. Based just north of Margaret River town, they provide various flight options covering scenic locations in the area. Flights range from short 10-minute "teasers" to extensive courses encompassing the entire Cape-to-Cape coastline. From the air, the region's towns, wineries, beaches, and colorful fringing reef take on a whole new dimension, revealing the natural beauty of Margaret River. During the flight, informative commentary through a headset enhances your experience, providing insights into the regional highlights. The company's passionate operators are proud of the region and ensure a comfortable and informative journey.

Private charters for special occasions are popular in addition to standard itineraries. Packages that combine helicopter tours with landings and lunches at premier wineries offer a memorable VIP experience. Guests can choose from 12 distinct wineries, adding a layer of customization. Key destinations include Gracetown, Cape Naturaliste, Geographe Bay, Cape Leeuwin, and Margaret River itself. The only limits to exploration options are your free time and budget. A helicopter flight is a bucket list experience, and this part of the west coast is one of the best places in Australia to fulfill that dream.

5. Sunflowers Animal Farm

Sunflowers Animal Farm takes the wildlife experience up a notch by offering a wide variety of creatures from across the animal kingdom. It's a highly interactive attraction suitable for both kids and wildlife enthusiasts. Here, you can enjoy an authentic Aussie farm experience while interacting with animals such as pigs, rabbits, lambs, kangaroos, alpacas, and more – many of them are adorable young animals. For families with children, it's a paradise as kids can pat, feed, and play with most of the animals throughout the vast farm. You can purchase food buckets, and there are washing facilities available for after the fun – expect a bit of animal saliva on your hands! Sunflowers Animal Farm also offers classic farm activities like pony rides, egg gathering, tractor rides, and a playground to keep the little ones entertained for hours. It's a perfect family outing.

Sunflowers Animal Farm allows guests to bring their own food, and there are barbecue facilities available for a pleasant lunch on-site. Additionally, the farm offers rustic farm stay accommodations, providing a unique and intimate experience compared to typical hotels. The cozy units feature full kitchens and amenities, including log fireplaces for added charm and warmth during colder months. Choosing the farmstay means you'll enjoy unlimited access to the farm and its animals throughout your stay. Located conveniently just outside Margaret River in a quiet and peaceful area, Sunflowers Animal Farm offers one of the region's top wildlife experiences and is an ideal place to stay for families traveling with kids.

4. Enjoy the many great restaurants

Margaret River's culinary culture shines through its diverse and high-quality restaurant scene. The region's mild climate and abundant sunshine produce excellent fresh ingredients that local chefs skillfully utilize. Dining options range from casual burger joints to fine dining degustation menus, all offering consistently high-quality food. Margaret River is renowned as one of Australia's premier gourmet destinations, thanks to its excellent dining scene. You can find dining choices to suit various budgets, and the hospitality is reminiscent of classic country warmth. The local dining scene successfully blends global culinary trends with traditional flavors and ingredients, creating a unique and delightful dining experience.

Margaret River's restaurants are mainly situated along Bussell Highway, making it easy to explore the town's culinary scene. For a more gourmet experience, venture just outside of town to the wineries. Given the region's wine culture, many upscale dining options focus on wine pairing, and knowledgeable staff can help you choose the perfect wine to complement your meal. Margaret River's strong culinary culture is showcased in the Gourmet Escape festival, a four-day celebration of food. The event includes live food demonstrations, cooking classes, and wine tastings, drawing renowned chefs and food enthusiasts from around the world. The festival takes place in November, making it a must-visit if you're in Margaret River during that time. In essence, Margaret River offers a culinary experience that rivals its attractions and sights, making it an ideal destination for food enthusiasts.

3. Go Whale Watching with Naturaliste Charters

Margaret River hosts one of Australia's finest whale watching seasons, extending from May to early December. This extended season allows ample opportunities to witness this incredible natural spectacle. While you can spot whales from the shore, it's best to join a whale watching tour to get a closer look at these majestic creatures. Multiple tour operators are available, with departure points in Augusta, Busselton, and Dunsborough. Don't miss your chance to witness these gentle ocean giants up close during your visit to the region.

Whale watching in the Margaret River region is an awe-inspiring experience. From May to December, whales migrate along the coast, often pausing in Geographe and Flinders Bays for rest and play. Humpback and Southern Right Whales are commonly seen, and you might even spot Minke Whales and the enormous Blue Whale. Augusta is a prime spot for onshore whale watching and photography due to their close proximity to the shoreline. But the wildlife spectacle doesn't end with whales; Bottlenose Dolphins, various seabirds, and New Zealand Fur Seals also inhabit these waters. For a top-notch whale watching experience, consider Naturaliste Charters, which operates from Augusta and Dunsborough. Known for their expertise, knowledge, and excellent viewing opportunities, they ensure a reliable and informative whale encounter. With such a lengthy whale watching season, this region rightfully earns its nickname as the "Humpback Highway" and is an essential activity for anyone visiting Margaret River.

2. Visit Lake Cave

Margaret River boasts remarkable limestone cave networks, with Lake Cave being a standout. Located in a pristine nature reserve about 20 minutes' drive south of Margaret River town on Caves Road, this cave is a visual marvel. Entry is through a descent down 350 stairs into a massive doline (entrance hole), which, although daunting, leads to a rewarding experience. Inside, you'll find nature in its purest, most breathtaking form. Stalagmites and stalactites, formed over millennia from mineral-rich water, adorn the floors and ceilings, creating a magical atmosphere reminiscent of a fairy tale. Thoughtfully designed lighting enhances the cave's beauty, casting both neutral and vivid colors on the walls. Lake Cave gets its name from its serene pool of water, which serves as a mirror reflecting the lighting. The cave's most exceptional feature is its floating "suspended table" formation, one of only two in the world. Don't miss this natural wonder during your visit to Margaret River.

During your cave exploration, knowledgeable guides will share captivating stories about the formation of Lake Cave and similar caves, offering historical insights and technical explanations of the rock formations. Guides are not only informative but also ensure visitor safety, given the strenuous nature of the trip and potential water-related risks, although their experience and reassuring demeanor put any fears at ease. While Lake Cave is a single room rather than an extensive network, the guides excel at making the tour engaging. To fully appreciate the peaceful and somewhat otherworldly landscape, it's best to visit outside of school holidays when it's less crowded with noisy children. The area around the cave provides essential facilities such as toilets and a café, allowing you to extend your experience and relax in the lovely surroundings. If you're willing to tackle the stairs, Lake Cave offers one of Australia's most spectacular show caves. Given its rare and flawless natural formation, it should be a top priority on your Margaret River travel itinerary. Consider the exercise a healthy bonus!

1. Tour the wineries with Margaret River Discovery

Margaret River's wine scene is a prominent feature of the region, influencing nearly every aspect of your experience here. With over 150 wine producers, from boutique wineries to renowned labels, the region offers a diverse range of wines, catering to both mainstream tastes and niche connoisseurs. The maritime climate in Margaret River provides ideal conditions for grape cultivation, resulting in exceptional wine quality. Whether you're a casual sipper or a wine enthusiast, you'll find ample opportunities to enjoy a glass or two in and around the town. Wineries like Brookwood Estate, Cape Naturaliste Vineyard, Stella Bella Wines, Cape Mantelle, and Woody Nook are just a few worth mentioning. However, selecting from this vast array can be a challenging task when planning your wine-tasting itinerary.

Winery tours are a popular activity in Margaret River, allowing visitors to enjoy the region's wines without worrying about driving. Margaret River Discovery Co. stands out in this regard, offering comprehensive tours that cover the best wines, behind-the-scenes experiences, sightseeing, history, and off-road adventures. These tours provide a full culinary experience with specially selected wines and a delicious degustation menu. They also include a unique canoeing portion for a different perspective of the area. Margaret River Discovery Co. is known for its friendly approach, insider knowledge, and commitment to enhancing the standard winery tour experience. If you're looking for a top-notch way to explore Margaret River's delights, this tour operator is a consensus favorite and a must-do activity in the region.

In addition, if you're looking for more things to do in Margaret River and surrounds, including some of the best tours, attractions and activities, be sure to check out our main region section to browse for more information online.
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