Best of the West: Perth to Margaret River travel guide

Be sure to hire a surfboard or at least pack your swimsuit. Oh, and leave space in your luggage so you can carry that wine home. When you’re on this West Australian road trip, you get the best of nature and the farm.


In a timber-lined room, four people sit at a table tasting wine. There are barrels in the foreground, Margaret River

Margaret River, you say? Surely this holiday is going to involve wine. If that’s what your heart desires then go for it! There are about 150 wineries here, and the region is renowned for its chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. But there’s so much more to discover in this corner of Western Australia (Margaret River is both a town and what people use to describe the region). The beaches are wild and spectacular. The wildlife, both in and out of the water, offers another attraction. Then there are the quirky towns on this length of coastline. Take your time to stop along the way and revel in it all.


View over the ocean of a very long jetty with four wooden sheds and a small red train on it, Busselton, WA

There are piers then there’s Busselton Jetty. Built in 1865 (and massively renovated between 2009 and 2011), at 1,841 metres it’s the southern hemisphere’s longest tourist jetty. You can walk to the end or catch the little red, solar-powered train, but there’s even more. There’s a huge range of marine life around the pylons and, if you journey to the end of the structure, you can see it all at the underwater observatory.


  1. They look like rocks, but the Lake Clifton thrombolites are living creatures. Located in Yalgorup National Park, they give us a sneak peek into what life was like in prehistoric eras. Thrombolites are thought to be one of the first life forms on earth, they haven’t changed much in 570 million years, and this is one of the few places in the world where you can see them. Join a tour on the boardwalk and find out all about WA’s thrombolites, thought to be about 2,000 years old.

  2. This non-profit contributes to projects concerned with conservation and eco-tourism, but it also offers visitors the chance to interact with everyone’s favourite marine mammals. The Dolphin Discovery Centre at Bunbury has a marine centre and offers eco cruises, where you’ll visit the local bottlenose dolphins. There’s also the chance to swim with them in Koombana Bay on a three-hour adventure.

  3. Tom Cullity planted vines here in 1967, making Vasse Felix the oldest vineyard in the Margaret River region. While you can, of course, taste its wines as there’s so much more to do. The highly awarded restaurant features seasonal, local produce, there are tours of the winery, and there’s a gallery featuring Australian and Indigenous art.

  4. The name of this town gives you some idea of what to expect. At Cowaramup, there’s definitely a herd mentality, with 42 life-size fibreglass cows and calves on its streets that also feature cafes, gift shops and boutiques. Fill a lolly bag at Candy Cow, or taste the product of local milk at Millers Ice Creamery, where there are more than 20 flavours of small-batch frozen favourites to try.

  5. You’re a long way from the beach, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see a little water. Lake Cave, south of Margaret River, is accessed through a sinkhole in the Karri Forest. Shimmering crystal threads hang from its ceiling and are reflected in the waters of the permanent lake below.


The Sebel Busselton

The beachfront accommodation at The Sebel Busselton has everything you could need in a base. Apartments come with either a full kitchen or kitchenette, plus there are indoor and outdoor pools, picnic area and barbecues, a games room, gym and hot tub.

Edge of the Forest Motel

You can walk to Margaret River from Edge of the Forest Motel, where just six comfy rooms overlook the gardens. Here, you’re surrounded by Wooditjup National Park, with walking and cycling trails right on the doorstep.

Margarets Beach Resort

The contemporary apartments and beach houses at Margarets Beach Resort are just a quick walk from the waves of Gnarabup Beach. If the surf doesn’t take your fancy, there’s also a pool. It’s just a short drive to Margaret River.


On a long, rocky beach a lone surfer stares out at the ocean, Injidup Beach, Margaret River, WA

Book your vehicle with Apex Rental Cars and pick it up when you arrive at Perth Airport. The town of Margaret River is a three-hour drive south along the coast. Most of the towns of interest are just off the highway, so it’s an easy, picturesque drive. Consider spending a couple of nights somewhere like Bunbury to explore the surrounding area before making your way to Margaret River for the rest of your stay.


Two labradors and a man walk between rows of oak trees where truffles grow, Manjimup, WA

The pink lady apple was first grown here, it’s one of the largest producers of black truffle in the world and the local producers have turned this into Western Australia’s food bowl. Manjimup, about 130 kilometres southeast of Margaret River, is a food lover’s dream, but it’s also the main town serving the Southern Forests and Valleys, famous for its towering trees and hiking and biking trails. Visit in winter to take part in June’s Truffle Kerfuffle festival or to join a truffle hunt.