South West Capes Region

The South West Capes Region is in Western Australia's Southwest corner and offers a huge variety of sights and experiences to satisfy even the most experienced traveller.

Situated 250 kilometres south of Perth, the region forms the South-western tip of Western Australia.

Escape to the South West Capes region and experience a different world; where tension and hassles just don't exist. Here you will discover magnificently contrasting spectacles of nature - sandy beaches, secluded bays, pounding surf, rocky cliffs and sloping fields and vineyards. And these are only a few of the region's features.

The South West Capes Region boasts excellent tourist and recreational facilities, with international standard golf courses, a yacht club, international hockey stadium, squash courts, a tennis club and courts, horse riding, sailboard and surfcat hire, numerous boat ramps, a wide range of accommodation options and restaurants, wine tasting, crafts and beautifully scenic barbecue and picnic spots.

It is a small but exciting region that combines the beauty of nature with the excitement of a world class water playground. The world's largest surviving natural Tuart Forest is found east of the capes, while to the west there are ancient caves, magnificent beaches and spectacular cliffs.

The unspoilt, beautifully clear waters of Geographe Bay are protected from most prevailing winds, offering more than 30 km of white sandy beaches and bays abounding with bird and marine life. Bordered by natural bushlands and forests, which provides a natural haven for fishermen, windsurfers, waterskiers, sailors, scuba divers and swimmers. Further to the south are what are arguably the world's best surfing beaches.

The towns of Busselton and Dunsborough sit on the shores of Geographe Bay in the South West capes Region, with Yallingup just to the west of the rugged beauty of Cape Naturaliste. South of Yallingup is Margaret River, popular for its surfing, wines and scenery while right at the bottom tip of the region is spectacular Cape Leeuwin and the town of Augusta.

DUNSBOROUGH
The Backpackers Guide to WA says:-
Just west of Busselton in the South West Capes Region, almost on the tip of Cape Naturaliste, lies the small towns of Dunsborough and the adjoining spectacular Yallingup. Both towns are set on the northern fringe of the famous south west vineyards most of which welcome visitors to taste their produce. The majority have their own restaurants.

Dunsborough has a backpackers’ hostel and hotel, several bed and breakfast establishments and a caravan park. There are several restaurants, all with blackboard menus, plus a chicken take-away outlet. More about Dunsborough.

YALLINGUP
The stretch of coastline in the South West Capes Region from Yallingup through Margaret River to Augusta is famous for its caves. You drive along Caves Road through rolling farmland and vineyards to visit some of the world's most sparkling caves. This is a pot-holer's paradise, and for the regular tourist, conducted tours of these caves are an experience that should not be missed.

The Lake Cave at Margaret River is reached by a winding staircase that leads down to a gigantic crater. Entering the cave, the sparkling underground lake, the shimmering stalactites and the mineral deposits on the walls shimmer like jewels refracting and reflecting the artificial lights. It's a splendid sight.

Just north of Augusta, you come to Jewel Cave. Its name says it all. Among massive pillars, naturally sculpted formations, you wander up and down, over and along a still river, while the lights pick out the plethora of stalactites like gems in a Rajah's Palace.

The Backpackers Guide to WA says:-
Yallingup, located South West Capes Region, has one hotel, several self-contained chalet cottages and three caravan parks. The hotel, “Caves House” is a tourist attraction in itself. Built in 1903 it has an old world atmosphere about it and is set in beautiful surrounds. Magnificent views of the Indian Ocean add to its beauty. Apart from the fabulous surfing beaches and beautiful coastal scenery, Yallingup is famous worldwide for its caves.

For the more adventurous, Yallingup is surrounded by national parks abundant in flora, fauna and natural beauty. Otherwise known as the limestone coast, the area abounds in cave and rock formations. A walk to Quinninup Falls is most rewarding, particularly in spring, as one can view wildflowers and see the fabulous waterfall.

Amongst the most popular tourist attractions in the Dunsborough-Yallinup area of the South West Capes Region is the Kibo Deer Park with 150 red and fallow deer. Here visitors can hand feed the animals, which include kangaroos and goats.

The spectacular scenic coastline and sheltered bays of Meelup & Eagle Bay are well worth a visit.

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse built in 1903 from local limestone, is WA’s most westerly weather station and as the highs and lows travel to the east, it is a most important one. Join a free conducted tour any day except Wednesday.

There is no better way to explore the South West Capes Region than by walking. Short walks and long trails lead round cliff tops and tracks wind along the rocky shores. National parks have established walk trails on the tips of the capes. From vantage points you see the sheltered beaches of Geographe Bay, or the steep cliffs which are honeycombed with small caves, or watch the huge breakers roll on to beaches or crash thundering against rocks.

On the tip itself are sandhills and the place known as “The Other Side of the Moon” where the dark sandy soil reveals signs that some three million years ago, mangrove swamps were the home of prehistoric animals.
Last but not least, Smith’s Beach and Canal Rocks are a must for visitors in any weather to see the superb natural features. More about Yallingup.

MARGARET RIVER
The South West Capes region of Western Australia is such a pastiche of other lands that it comes as no surprise to discover that it's the State's most popular holiday destination. Margaret River, with the fine vineyards of the Willyabrup Winegrowing Valley, local Brie cheeses and exquisite art and craft centres, could be a small French village; the caves and rugged cliffs of the coast, the rolling green fields and handsome sandstone buildings could belong to England; the climate is definitely Mediterranean. And the majestic forests which cut a swathe through the heart of the land with a ringside seat of the Southern Ocean could belong to Canada. It adds up to an area that has a flavour all its own.

The WA Backpackers Guide says:-
Margaret River is famous worldwide for its consistently big waves round the river mouth, a key factor in the town hosting a heat of the World Masters surfing classic every year.

Backpackers are well catered for with three hostels as well as two pubs, caravan and camping parks, numerous holiday cottages along with a staggering forty-eight eateries.

A permanent population of more than 6,500 wells to over 30,000 during Christmas and Easter. It is certainly a star attraction for tourists with its mild weather patterns that seldom see the mercury rise much above 32 degrees, even in our hottest summers.

This same temperature makes the district ideal for wine grape production. There are more than 35 vineyards in the immediate Margaret River area with most offering free tastings of their wares. Many of the producers are well established on the international market with their labels taking major awards at overseas wine judging.

There are a host of other things to see and do besides surfing and vineyard tours. Four spectacular caves in the area, Lake, Mammoth, Jewel and Moondyne welcome thousands of visitors annually. All have conducted tours and are well lit. There are numerous magnificent stalactites and stalagmites to view.

Close to the town centre there are many bush walk trails that traverse the huge karri and jarrah trees that make up the district’s forests. There are many little brooks flowing through the forests to add to the peace and tranquility. For the more adventurous, hire a horse and ride along the beach or perhaps see the forests from a different perspective.

A visit to the Marron Farm (11 km from town) is certainly worth the time. This is one of the State’s biggest commercial marron farms and after taking a conducted tour, settle into a tasting session in the restaurant or buy your needs and cook them on the free barbecue.

While in the South West Capes Region, Eagles Heritage is most certainly worth a visit. It is a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey that have been injured in some way. These birds include eagles (see giant wedgetails at close quarters), hawks, falcons and owls. A major feature is the enormous free fl cage where the injured birds can learn to fly again before being released back into their own environment. There are also demonstrations of the age-old art of falconry. There is a small admission charge but well worth it. Cameras a must.

There is a great selection of tours, too many to list here but check with your hostel owner or for a comprehensive run down on the district, the Tourist Bureau will be only too happy to be of assistance.

Many of the attractions of the Margaret River region are just that little too far for a comfortable walk and for that reason bicycle hire is very popular. There is a great selection of cycle trails that lead into the tall timber country of the nearby hinterland. Bicycles are available from one of the hostels or in town at a nominal daily or weekly fee.

Margaret River has a laid back lifestyle and is a young person’s domain with lots to see and do all year round. More about Margaret River.

AUGUSTA
The WA Backpackers Guide Says:-
Visitors to the South West Capes Region should stop off at the peaceful and picturesque little fishing village of Augusta. Situated on the banks of the beautiful Blackwood River, where it meets the Southern Ocean, Augusta is only 320 kilometres south of Perth on a pleasant 3 ½ hour drive, and is serviced regularly by coach. It is 43 kilometres south of Margaret River.

Now a thriving fish port and popular tourist destination, Augusta is the third oldest European settlement in Western Australia, first settled in 1830. The town boasts all the necessary amenities to satisfy most needs, offers much to see and do and has a new double storey backpackers’ resort. Budget priced meals and takeaways are within easy walking distance of the resort.

For those with an adventurous spirit, the surrounding area offers walking trails, sailing, fishing, caving (both tourist and adventure), scuba diving, surfing, water skiing, windsurfing, cycling, canoeing and most sports. There are even scenic flights, horse riding and whale watching charters (June-December). Or for a more relaxed pace a ferry offers scenic cruises on the Blackwood river, or take yourself on a visit to one of the range of craft outlets including a glass blowing studio. And for the history buffs, a visit to the Augusta Historical Museum is a definite must, and for a look back in time a visit to the Old Print Shop to see historic printing presses still in use.

Bluegum Miniature Railway and Collectibles Museum is not far away, and neither are the wineries of the Margaret River region, together with the Boranup karri forest and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, while Hillview Lookout and lots of nearby coastal areas with sheltered bays or wide open beaches are close to town.

Only nine kilometres further south of Augusta you can visit the most south westerly point of Australia at Cape Leeuwin, and climb the magnificent limestone lighthouse constructed in 1895/96. The views from its 39 metre balcony are superb, and if you’re in luck you may even spot a whale or two. The lighthouse is open daily and well worth a look.

Nearby is the old historic waterwheel, built in 1895 to supply water to the lighthouse cottages and for the construction. The wheel was originally built from timber and has slowly turned to stone through the passing of time. The lighthouse can also be viewed from the scenic drive which overlooks the Cape from the western side.

The Lookout allows visitors a rare opportunity to look out over the meeting of two oceans for this is where the Indian and Southern water masses start or end. Residents naturally say this is where they start. More about Augusta.

CAPE LEEUWIN - LAND'S END
While you're in the South West Capes Region at Augusta it is well worth visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. This is the land's end of the West where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. From here the next land mass is the Southern Polar Cap. Also of interest is the remarkable water wheel. Deposits of lime completely covered the wheel and mummified it in stone.

Driving
As is the case throughout the entire South-West, the roads in the South West Capes Region are magnificent, allowing for easy and rapid movement between various locations.

All the major roads throughout the region are bitumen surfaced, wide, well marked and of first class construction, and while many minor side roads in the South-West are of well maintained gravel construction all major towns (and most small towns) can be accessed without once leaving the bitumen.

Return to the top of the South West Capes Region page.

Return to the Western Australia Holidays page.