Frances Andrijich
Western Australia
DunsboroughFamed for its quiet sandy coves, surrounding national parks, and close proximity to Margaret River's wineries and attractions.
Besides the calm and clear waters of Geographe Bay, the pretty town of Dunsborough is a favourite "down south" family holiday destination. A short walk or scenic drive brings you to secluded coves and stunning coastal trails, with local award-winning wineries and breweries offering the perfect excuse for a lazy lunch. An easy 3-hour drive south from Perth brings you to the heart of Dunsborough and a short hop from some of Western Australia's best swimming beaches, including pretty little Meelup, the sweeping sands of Eagle Bay and the sheltered turquoise waters of Bunker Bay. Just a short distance off Dunsborough's coast, keen divers can take a snoop around one of the largest accessible dive wrecks in the southern hemisphere. At 113 metres long and home to an abundance of marine life, the former HMAS Swan ranks high on the diver wish list Australia-wide. From nearby Cape Naturalist Lighthouse, you can follow the trail of one of the most diverse walking treks on Earth, the Cape to Cape. If you'd prefer just to take a few vertical steps instead, climb the lighthouse for for 360-degree views of Geographe Bay - a top spot for watching whales cruise by on their annual migration and learning a little about the region's rich maritime history. Dunsborough itself was proclaimed as a town in 1877 and, until the mid-1950s, was no more than a few beach shacks. Today, it boasts a vibrant arts scene, with live music, widely-renowned art galleries and bustling summer markets. Just beyond the fringes of town, you'll come to the cellar doors of some of the Margaret River region's 100 plus wineries and the tasting rooms of award-winning boutique breweries. Here, you can savour fruit-intense chardonnays, rich semillons, robust cabernets, soft merlots and refreshing fine ales. Other decadent indulgences include locally made ice-creams, fudge and chocolate, not to mention plump juicy olives and rich fruity preserves. The choice of luxury accommodation is just as tempting, both in Dunsborough and nearby Yallingup, but there are also plenty of middle-range-to-budget options, from hotels and bed and breakfasts to caravan parks.
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Things to do
Enjoy a cold brew at Eagle Bay Brewing
Eagle Bay Brewing Co is a family-owned and run restaurant, microbrewery and vineyard located on their sixty-six-year-old working farm in Eagle Bay, Western Australia. The restaurant overlooks farmland and bushland to Cape Naturaliste and the Indian Ocean. They love serving up delicious fare to complement handcrafted beers and wines. Kids are happily catered for, and there is a playground on-site. Reservations are always recommended and welcome walk in’s are always welcome.
Explore Geographe
Busselton's seaside suburb of Geographe sits on the long curve of beautiful Geographe Bay boasting sweeping Indian Ocean views, white sand beaches and calm turquoise waters. It's also just minutes from the centre of Busselton - twice crowned Western Australia's Top Tourism Town - and a short hop from the world-renowned Margaret River wine region. Getting to Geographe takes just two hours and 40 minutes, following the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway south from Perth. Or you can opt to fly into Busselton on a 50-minute flight from Perth's domestic airport. Along its north-facing shoreline, you can take in the sunrise and sunset with a relaxing stroll or enjoy a fun-filled family day beside the sea, swimming, fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking or sailing. Venture a little further south and you'll see the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere stretching out before you. Here, on Busselton's heritage-listed jetty, you can take a 1.8-kilometre stroll or train ride over the Indian Ocean, culminating in a tour of the Underwater Observatory to view the colourful corals and sea life of Australia's best artificial reef. From the jetty, it's a short walk to Busselton's main street, where you can indulge in a little culture at the museum, modern ArtGeo Gallery and Courthouse Arts Complex. Alternatively, browse the shops and boutiques or dine on fresh local flavours. Accommodation options suit a range of tastes and budgets, including a string of beachfront resorts.
Dine at Yarri Restaurant and Bar
A modern-Australian celebration of specialist growers and farmers, winemakers, distillers, fishermen, butchers, cheesemakers; and many others.
Visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions in the Margaret River Region and an easy climb of 59 stairs makes this lighthouse accessible even for small children. Only 12 kilometres from the town of Dunsborough, the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and cottages reveal the fascinating maritime history of the Cape region. Half-hour guided tours provide a captivating insight into the functions of this working lighthouse with visitors to the top balcony of the lighthouse tower rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and the beautiful Geographe Bay coastline. The new observation platform at the base of the lighthouse tower enables universal access to sweeping ocean views and great photo opportunities. The beautifully landscaped lawns and nautical-themed playground will entice you to sit and enjoy this wonderful heritage precinct.
Ngilgi Cave
Uncover a treasure trove of spectacular cave formations at every turn, as you explore Ngilgi Cave at your own pace. Hear stories of legendary battles, romantic escapades and close encounters from your expert guide, as you make your way to the Show Cave where you will be free to discover the beauty of Ngilgi. Extensive boardwalks lead you through the impressive chambers of this underground wonderland. Along the way, state-of-the-art lighting illuminates hidden marvels and highlights remarkable stalactites, helictites, shawls, columns and more. Or for the more adventurous, leave the boardwalks behind and descend 45 metres below the earth's surface on an adrenalin-pumping Ngilgi Cave Adventure Tour. Led by torchlight and qualified guides, you will crawl and climb as you navigate your way through some of the most beautiful sections of this underground labyrinth not normally seen by the public.
Koomal Dreaming Cultural Tours
For more than 50,000 years, the Wadandi and Bibbulman people of the Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River areas have been the custodians of this land. Together with other Aboriginal groups from an area that stretches from Kalbarri to Esperance, the Noongar culture is as rich and varied as the land itself. Koomal Dreaming Cultural Tours offer a unique opportunity to follow in their footsteps and experience this beautiful part of Australia through the eyes of the Wadandi and Bibbulman people.
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