This guide for the Margaret River Region covers:
- Where to camp and stay
- Where to eat and drink
- Adventures to have when the waves are flat
I’ll be mentioning places in Yallingup, Dunsborough, and Augusta as well as Margaret River in this guide. For over two years, Margaret River has been my second home and I’m very happy to share my favorite go-to spots when staying in this stellar region. Even without this guide, you’ll find that most of the businesses that operate here always give a high level of service not found in major cities. Regardless, here’s what I recommend.
Contos Campground (Caves Rd.): A clean, shady, simple campsite with drop toilets removed from any semblance of civilization. Each site has a picnic bench and fire-pit (there are fire bans in summer). Prepare for wallabies and kangaroos to roam near while you stay. The campground is next to many of Margaret River’s caves and has a stunning beach nearby with a fun wave. Price is around $7/night per person.
Margaret River Tourist Park: Walking distance to the middle of town, the caravan park has an option for every camper. Equipped with a full kitchen, hot showers, a TV area, and even washing machines. Great site for when you want to up the ante on comfort during your stay. Only downside? Don’t expect too much privacy when staying on one of the unpowered sites. Kookaburras, lorikeets, and a talkative bird named Cedric also call this site home. Beware though, Cedric bites.
Caves Caravan Park (Yallingup): Rustic and home to many kangaroos, this simple campsite is a little drive away from the beach with all types of accommodation options, hot showers, and an outside kitchen area. They usually have vacancies when other campsites are booked out. Note: there’s not too many places to get food in Yallingup in the evenings, so you should make a point to shop early.
Yallingup Beach Holiday Park: Could the location get any better? A short stroll away from Yallingup main beach, this holiday park is perfect for snorkelers, swimmers, and surfers excited about parking at the beach for their stay.
Prevelly Caravan Park: An entire range of cabins and unpowered sites, the park is located just a few minute walk away from one of the region’s most iconic waves. The site has a BBQ area, washing machines, and hot showers.
Gracetown Caravan Park: Another site that has all the caravan basics and a variety of accommodation options. Gracetown is a perfect hub for traveling groups with a range of surf abilities. Beginners can find a fun wave at Huzzah’s while more advanced surfers can hit the north and south point breaks of Gracetown bay.
Vintages Motel (Margaret River): The only things vintage about this hotel are the old-timer cars parked out front. Located a short walk from town, Vintages Motel is a perfect spot to stay during the times you’re not up for camping. The motel hosts clean, modern rooms with large beds, a kitchenette and rainfall style showers.
Where to Eat and Drink
When you need a coffee
Sidekick Café (Margaret River). This café has my heart with a stylish design, friendly staff, and eco-friendly emphasis. They often have a range of unique teas and coffee concoctions. As a bonus, they give a discount when you BYO cup! Didn’t bring one? No worries, they sell them there too.
Shaana Café (Yallingup): Ramshackle surf decorations in a couldn’t-be-better location, Shaana Café is the perfect place to spend the rest of the morning after a long surf or swim at Yallingup Main Break.
Hot Chocolatte (Dunsborough): Aside from rich coffee on offer, this little boutique candy shop always has rocky road, chocolate honeycomb, and gnome statues to brighten up your day.
When you want a great breakfast
Margaret River Bakery: Simple name, detailed breakfasts and antique decor. Margaret River Bakery is crowded on the weekends for good reason. Two words: avocado smash.
When you want to try something different
Cape Lavender Tea House (Yallingup): A quirky and cute café that serves all things lavender. Scones, cake, tea and a few oddities like lotions and candles are also found in shop. Perfect for first-time visitors or rainy days where you want to try something different.
Yallingup Gugelhopf: Traditional bundt cakes, sweet jams, and rich chutney sold here. Simple and sweet, the light blue building always has a friendly shopkeeper and delicious smells coming from the oven.
Canteen Kitchen (Dunsborough): Formerly part of a yoga studio, this healthy hippy café grows a lot of its own food in the on site garden.
When it’s dinnertime
Morrie’s Anytime (Margaret River): Yes, Morrie’s Anytime lives up to the name of being great anytime. However, the dim and artsy atmosphere really comes alive once the sun goes down.
When you’re ballin’ on a budget
Go to the local IGA (Margaret River) and order one of their sandwiches or wraps. Cheap, filled with veggies, and delicious! Such a steal compared to the likes of Subway and prepackaged food. Ranges around $7.50 a sandwich.
Tas’s Bakery (Dunsborough): Massive, overstuffed sandwiches for a small price. My recommendation? The vegetarian sandwich that comes with seed laden bread, beetroot, heaps of avocado, and sundried tomatoes.
When you need a good view
White Elephant Café: Great coffee, a five-star view of Gnarabup Beach and hefty sized meals. When the waves are above my skill set, I often use this as a base for swimming, hiking, and watching other surfers wipeout at Boatramp’s break (“Boaties”).
Drinking and Nightlife
Settler’s Tavern: Margaret River’s main venue, it’s common to catch live music almost every night of the week. Great music, scrumptious food, and cold beer. What else do you need for a post-surf chill?
Clancy’s Fish Pub (Dunsborough): Sweet forest views, tasty food, and live music. A spot to socialize and hang out — especially when the weather’s sour.
Places to find a free gas BBQ
Rotary Park (Margaret River), Prevelly Beach, Yallingup Main Beach. Check this site for a fuller list.
Adventures to Have when the Waves Are Flat
Surf N Dirt Adventure Tour: Owned and operated by one of my friends, Paul will take you surfing, kayaking, or mountain biking around Margaret River before finally winding down with a winery and food tour. Perfect for adventurous travelers who also crave a little lux. DIY tours available if booked in advance.
Overdose on Sugar at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory: Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Chocolates of all shapes and flavors (with SAMPLES!!!) are stationed in this large sweet-tooth tourist attraction. Get on your lover’s good side by grabbing a few sweeties for your little sweetie.
Swim in the river: Highly underrated, the river of Margaret River is surrounded by tall Karri trees and vocal wildlife.
Swim with massive stingrays in Hamelin Bay: Visit the bay and be amazed at the gargantuan stingrays that come to shore. I really couldn’t believe it until I saw it!
Explore the caves: This region is renowned for having unique underground caves. Try Mammoth Cave for a self-guided tour of a cavern that lives up to its name. Personally, I rarely see natural features more impressive than beautiful Lake Cave.
Walk part of the Cape to Cape Trail: With thousands of species of wildflowers, this region has aromatic and beautiful coastal walks that span from Cape Naturaliste, Augusta to Cape Leeuwin, Dunsborough. While the entire track takes around six days to complete, you can easily hop on wherever and trek through whatever part you want. (The best adventures have no plans!) My favorite easy to access stretch connects Gnarabup Bay to Prevelly. Pack a picnic and jump in the Indian Ocean for a cool-down.
Meander through Mazes: There are so many gold-coin donation mazes hidden throughout the region – usually created by family owned wineries or large estates. Keep your eyes on the lookout for hand-painted signs scribbled with “Maze Up Ahead.” Yallingup Maze is more mainstream, and comes with a hefty entrance fee… which is why I’ve yet to go.
Go Whale Watching: Hop on a charter or see them from shore. The best places to spot them are Geographe Bay, Flinders Bay, Sugarloaf Rock, Point Picquet from May to December.
Rent a kayak, SUP, or snorkel set and pick a flat water spot to explore!
See for yourself
Margaret River is one of my favorite places in the world. If not for Moritz’s location dependency for his Ph.D., we’d certainly be living here. I love the greenery, moody sea, and being captured by nature whenever we stay.
What do you think about visiting Margaret River? Would you want to go?