Yallingup & Margaret River
Yallingup and Margaret River are the small towns that provide a base for visiting some of Australian best surf beaches on the coast and a multitude of wineries, breweries and small cottage industries inland. This stretch of coast is spectacular with wild beaches and sea cliffs as opposed to the calm protected waters of Geography bay next door (Bunbury, Busselton and Dunsborough). Here you can abseil and rock climb, surf on any kind of board you fancy and eat and drink just about any homemade food or alcoholic beverage you can think of.
In between Dunsborough and Yelling further up Cape Naturalist road past Meelup beach you can find Cape Naturalist, this is the tip of the cape which most people come to visit for its lighthouse. Just before the lighthouse turnoff though is a dirt track that leads down to the parking area of my favourite beach in the South West. Its called the Other Side of the Moon, from the northern car park walk north along some small bush tracks and eventually you will be looking down on this amazing beach. Run down the sand hill and enjoy the water, also keep your eye out for seals and dolphins playing in the water here.
Back along Cape Naturalist road closer down towards Yallingup is Sugarloaf Rock, this is a great lookout of a big rock island, good for swimming, snorkelling and jumping. From the car park lookout on the left of the island you might notice a huge rock that looks like a bear’s head, it’s about 15m or so high and can be jumped at various levels. The pool below is not so big though so check it out first and don’t do anything outside of your capabilities. The top jump is particularly gnarly as you have to take a few quick steps out onto the bears nose before jumping and it’s not very wide, good fun though. There are also nice sandy beaches a short walk south from the rocks.
Yallingup town is a very small surfy town with beautiful beaches, a variety of breaks and everything you need for a good day out at the beach. The reef here makes some nice waves for the surfers and is also cool to snorkel along.
Inland form either Dunsborough or Yallingup on the road to Margaret River you can find a multitude of different wineries, breweries and other craft industries. The Margaret River Chocolate Factory is always a good one to stop at as they have free samples of their chocolate and it’s not regulated at all, you can go in eat some chocolate then browse around for a minute then eat some more and so on. Bushshack Brewery is another good stop, they brew all their own beers which come in a variety of very interesting flavours such as chocolate, chili or mango. Somewhere along the way you might even pass through Cowaramup, an odd little town decorated with crazy cow statues and home to the Candy Cow lollie shop. Best thing to do if you want to have a look at some of the wineries and so on is to check out this map https://www.margaretriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Margaret_River_Region_Map_Summer-Autumn_Nov2017-WebVersion.pdf or have a look at the Margaret River Region website https://www.margaretriver.com/maps-guides-itineraries/ .
The Williabrup sea cliffs on the coast between Yallingup and Margs is another of my favourite spots, this area is great for abseiling and rock climbing and has heaps of bolted areas. Its also an amazing place to watch the sunset and normally you can spot some kangaroos on the walk in from the parking. To get there when comping from Yallingup take the dirt road on the right heading towards the coast between Graylen Estate winery and Killerby.
Margaret River town is a really cool town to visit, its got a cool hippy surfy vibe and is kind of like the Byron Bay of the west coast. The main street is full of nice restaurants and bars and there is generally a pretty good nightlife. If you want to surf you can head down to Preverly beach or one of the many other smaller surf beaches close by. Margaret River is also home to a couple of really cool festivals which are a lot of fun and all about food, wine, music and most importantly creativity. In summer they have Emergence Creative Festival (http://www.emergencecreative.com ) and in winter its Cabin Fever (http://www.cabinfeverfest.com.au ), check out their websites for more info, I can highly recommend being in town during one of these.
If your feeling adventurous and have some time one of the best ways to see the whole of the south west is to walk the Cape to Cape trail. This trail goes from Cape naturalist between Dunsborough and Yallingup all the way to Augusta. Even if you just do a section of the trail you will see some amazing beaches and coastal scenery and a lot of the time you might have it all to yourself. Check out the Trails WA https://trailswa.com.au/trails/cape-to-cape-track website for maps and info, definitely worth doing for the adventurous.
In the South West there is truly a lot to explore, more than I’ve written about here and some stuff I haven’t done yet myself. Sometimes it’s more fun to just go exploring without a plan or destination. After all that’s a big part of what road tripping is all about. There are caves and beach waterfalls and rivers and lakes, heaps of small interesting towns, each one different. Why not just go on an adventure and forget about the destination for a little while, make some of your own discoveries. If you do the south west holds lots of rewards.
Thanks again for reading guys. Also, part of the south west is Bunbury, Busselton and Dunsborough so check out that section of the blog too if you’d like some ideas.