A Perth to Margaret River road trip is a great introduction to Western Australia. Distances are relative in Australia. In Ireland, a three hour drive is a long one and can take you clear across the country. Down Under, everything seems to be at least a three hour drive and still leaves you in the sphere of influence of the place you started while at the same time feeling worlds away. This is how we felt when we drove to Margaret River from Perth to taste the world-famous and luxurious Margaret River wines. Margaret River to Perth is just a three hour drive and we love wine so off we went because we were in the neighborhood. As you'll see, there are so many things to do in Margaret River and the surrounding area. Here are nineteen activities between Perth and Margaret River that we discovered on the delightful 3 day road trip that we embarked on after spending a few days exploring Perth and Fremantle.
1. Bunbury Dunes and Lighthouse
Bunbury Dunes was situated at the halfway mark on our Perth to Margaret River road trip. We stepped out of the car to stretch our legs, look out over the deep blue sea, and admire the black and white checked lighthouse charged with keeping vessels from smashing into the rocky coastline of Western Australia below.
2. Western Australia's Birds of a Feather
Just south of Bunbury, we stopped at Big Swamp Parkland, an area known for its amazing birds, many of which are unique to Australia. Even in the parking lot we saw western corellas and oh-so-pink galahs.
3. Perth to Margaret River Pitstop at Big Swamp
Big Swamp is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs on the drive between Margaret River and Perth. Big Swamp offers a series of boardwalks and trails winding their way around a large lake in an otherwise largely residential neighborhood. Consider bringing insect repellent as the flies here were persistent. The scenery was beautiful and otherworldly although I was somewhat afraid that a snake would slither down out of a tree on top of us as we wound our way through the nearly enclosed canopy. Fortunately for us any snakes in this corner of Western Australia were uninterested in us and we were left to enjoy our visit. Highlights included the strange musk duck with a disk below its bill and the rather large Australian moorhen.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Interested in exploring other off-the-beaten track destinations in Australia? Have you considered a trip to Tasmania? Spend 3 days in Hobart, the foodie capital of Tassie. Check out amazing Tasmanian wildlife at Bonorong Wildlife Reserve. Drive from Hobart to Port Arthur to visit the historic penal colony and spend a day in nature with a visit to Mount Field National Park. You may even spot a platypus in the wild!
4. Western Australia's Busselton Jetty
Continuing on our journey between Perth and Margaret River, we soon arrived in Busselton, a town known for being home to the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. We set out to explore said jetty and made our way to the very far end over a mile out where we enjoyed stunning views of the sea and surrounding area. It's a good thing that the sea was calm on the day we visited because I noticed that a good chunk of guard rail was missing near the far end of Busselton Jetty. Definitely watch where you are walking!
5. Baby Seagulls at Busselton Jetty
Until the day we visited Busselton Jetty, I'd never seen a baby seagull. I heard chirping as we were taking our walk and looked over at some decaying wooden logs running parallel to the jetty and soon saw the most adorable gray chick taking food from its mum. Amazing!
6. Pizza, Wine and Tapas in Margaret River
After our three hour road trip from Perth to Margaret River (along with some fun diversions along the way), we were ready to sample some of the Margaret River's renowned wine and food. We walked into Swings Taphouse and Kitchen in Margaret River town just before the kitchen closed. We enjoyed a piping hot pizza, a carafe of local red wine and the best Brussels sprouts with bacon that I've every tasted. Yum!
7. Birds of a Feather at Rosewood Guesthouse in Margaret River
Sitting down to breakfast at the lovely Rosewood Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast just outside of Margaret River town, we looked out the window and discovered some feathered friends having a nibble at the bird feeder. In the U.S. and Europe, bird feeders are mainly frequented by finches, sparrows, tits, and the like. In Western Australia, colorful parrots come to visit. Awesome!
8. Margaret River Wines and the Gardens at Voyager Estates
We got an early start after breakfast to check out some of the wineries in the Margaret River region. Voyager Estates is known for stunning gardens. The gardens did not disappoint and we even saw some colorful parrots.
9. Birds and Margaret River Wines at Cape Grace
The bird theme continued at Cape Grace, a Margaret River winery tucked into the woods down a dirt road. We enjoyed a free wine tasting and then checked out the birds (both caged and free) in the backyard. Apparently the owner has a thing for collecting birds.
10. Winery Lunch at Brookwood Estate
The next stop on our whistle stop tour of Margaret River was Brookwood Estate for a leisurely lunch on the patio overlooking the wines. We did a very small tasting but decided to forego a glass of wine with lunch since we still had some driving to do. Local seafood with a side of perfectly prepared asparagus was the highlight of the meal.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other Australia road trip ideas? Have you considered the drive from Adelaide to Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road. The scenery is some of the best in the world and you might even spot a koala in the wild.
11. Margaret River's Jumpin' Juniper Estates
After lunch, we stopped at Juniper Estates where we discovered little blue and yellow birds flitting about outside in the gardens. While we were doing our tasting, one of the birds actually smashed into the sliding glass door of the tasting room. We ran outside to see if it was okay. The bird looked stunned and staggered around for a bit but then gathered itself together and flew off. Phew.
12. Western Australia's Kangaroo Feet
Everywhere we went in Margaret River, we encountered bright orange and red flowers called Kangaroo Feet named for their unique shape. The colorful plants always made us smile.
13. Nothin' but Nougat in Margaret River
We quickly learned that Western Australia is known for nougat. We took a break from our wine tasting to sample some of the sweet chewy stuff at the Margaret River Nougat Company. Fueled by a bit of sugar, we continued on our way.
14. Margaret River Chocolate
Continuing in the vein of sweets, our next stop was the Margaret River Chocolate Company. The store was huge and featured generous samples of help-yourself chocolate chips. We also were offered samples of a number of the truffles arranged in bags behind the counter. Sweet!
15. A Margaret River Coastal Drive around Eagle Bay
While Margaret River is mainly known for wine, this region of Western Australia also features some stunning scenery. We rounded out our road trip from Perth to Margaret River with a coastal drive around Eagle Bay.
16. Margaret River's Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse at the very end of the Eagle Bay drive also features amazing views of the ocean beyond. The lighthouse closes early (we arrived around 4 pm and it was already closed) but there is a short path skirting the edge of the headland. We were a little nervous when we saw: Caution: Snakes have been recently sighted in the area. However, we stuck to the trail and although there is no evidence of this...I may have clapped a bit and hummed no snakes, no snakes! to give the creepy crawlers a fair warning that we were in the area. Thankfully, we didn't have a run in with a snake and we could officially call this 3 week trip to Australia 'snake free'.
17. Margaret River's Sugarloaf Rock
Sugarloaf Rock is accessible down a very narrow road not far from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Once again the views were incredible and we even spotted a wild kangaroo foraging nearby.
18. A Western Australian Sunset near Margaret River
They say that the sunsets in Western Australia are some of the best in the world. We drove to the beaches near Prevelly just outside Margaret River Town to see for ourselves. It was a moody and chilly evening on the beach but still, the rays of sun peeking through the clouds hinted at just how spectacular a Western Australia sunset would be on a clear day.
19. Fraggle Rock, Margaret River Edition
As we were waiting for the sun to set, we took a short walk along the beach and walked past this sign: Fraggle Rocks. 'Fraggle Rock' was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. What an amazing way to end our road trip between Margaret River and Perth...finding out that a make believe place from my childhood exists in real life!
Perth to Margaret River Map
Use the map below to get more details about the route we covered on our Perth to Margaret River road trip and the fantastic stops we discovered along the way.