The 5 southern towns in the Margaret River Region
In part 1, we highlighted the northern towns, but now we’re going to have a look at the 5 southern towns in the Margaret River Region. Margaret River is a larger center surrounded by lush green bushland full of Karri, Marri, Jarrah and Blackbutt trees, Prevelly (and Gnarabup) are popular surfing destinations, while Witchcliffe’s character results from it being a farming hub. Karridale is the hub for heading in all directions and Augusta lies on both the large Hardy Inlet and the roaring Southern Ocean.
Here is a map to remind you of the locations of the towns:
1) Margaret River:
This town has a distinct laid back, live-and-let-live feel to it. Being further south and inland, it receives a good amount of winter rain, and is more green and lush than Dunsborough and Busselton. You can take you pick from dozens of hiking and biking tracks that meander through magnificent Karri, Jarrah, Marri and Blackbutt forest, or down to Prevelly and the Margaret River Mouth.
There are loads of shops to explore–clothing, knick-knacks, surf shops, specialty foods and bookstores, as well as an extensive selection of cafes and restaurants offering everything from Japanese and Italian to large, satisfying pub meals. The town has a resident population of about 13,000, but in summer it is a popular ‘base camp’ and it bustles day and night with tourists.
2) Prevelly (and Gnarabup):
Another small, beautiful seaside location particularly known for surfing. The main break hosts some of the most impressive surf in the world and the car park has been recently renovated to include an excellent viewing platform. People often park themselves on the grassed area for hours watching the surfers, dolphins and whales.
The Margaret River Mouth is close by and is a good place for kids to swim in summer because it is shallow, calm and isolated from the crashing ocean waves. Gnarabup is just to the south of Prevelly, and is probably the most dog-friendly area in the region. The beach, protected by an offshore reef, is one of the best in the area for a swim in the mornings. On bigger swell days, it can be a good place for a beginner surfer to have a go.
It may be tiny town with only a few quaint boutiques, a petrol station and a John Deere outlet, but it has a unique historic feel to it and is worth a stop for a quick wander. The exceptionally wide and tidy streets are lined with 1/2 wine barrels full of flowers, and the buildings are rustic, charming and well maintained. Witchcliffe used to be a timber town and was on the old train line to Busselton. Today it has more of a farm-town feel to it.
In its day, Karridale was a lively place involved in the Jarrah and Karri timber trade and was pivotal in moving timber to the old jetty at Hamelin Bay. Some of the Karri from this region was shipped to the UK to line the streets and is still in place today. Jarrah, which is water resistant, was popular in ship building. Today, Karridale is the crossroads to head south to Augusta, east to Pemberton, or north to Margaret River. There is a tavern and bottle shop here with good pub meals, and a post office and small general store.
Is located on the southern-most tip of the region. It sits where the calm Hardy Inlet of the Blackwood River meets the roaring Southern Ocean, thus offering calm waters for swimming and fishing, as well as refreshing windswept walks along the beach to watch the churning ocean. Kite surfing is also popular in the Inlet, as it tends to have consistent winds along with calm waters. You can wander through a several small shops and cafes and the Tavern has a terrific view of the Inlet.
A pretty drive out to the tip of the Cape brings you to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, which is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. It sits at the confluence of the Indian and Southern Oceans. The audio tour at the lighthouse is a worthwhile diversion to learn about the unique history of the area. The southern end of the Cape-to-Cape track is very close by, and if you wander along the coast for a bit, you may even spot a penguin or two. You will also find the original waterwheel that used to pump water to the lighthouse keeper’s cottage. On the way back into Augusta, be sure to have a look at the relatively new, very impressive marina.
Each of the southern towns has a charm all its own. We hope you enjoy discovering even more about each one.