Unlike Pemberton (which ended up being an awesome surprise), Margaret River was definitely on our must-do list. We had heard that it was a fabulous area to explore and so we ended up booking into Conto Campground, approximately 20km south of Margaret River township for four nights. Recently renovated, Conto Campground was very roomy with great amenities and free firewood. Plus, as an added bonus, we ended up meeting up with a family that we’d met at the Big Brook Arboretum in Pemberton, which made the girls very happy.
After we arrived, we headed into Margaret River to get the lowdown on the things to do at the Visitor Information Centre and ended up stopping in at Yahava coffee and temper temper chocolate, both places that I’d been keen to check out after watching them on a caravanning dvd. Yahava coffee proved to be a huge hit as they sold AeroPress coffee presses (which we have) and so we were able to have a tasting, and a one-on-one instruction by barista Jay of how best to use the AeroPress.
The next day we drove down to Augusta and to Cape Leeuwin to see the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. We were surprised at the underlying anti-tourist sentiment there, with quite gruff signs and rules posted around the place giving off the vibe that they didn’t really love having visitors there. That coupled with the fact that you had to pay to look at the lighthouse (not go in it, but to just go and look at it), meant that we stopped for lunch and then headed back up the coast.
We tracked back through the Karri forests and decided that we couldn’t stay in the region and not check out at least one of the numerous caves in the area. Many of them are a little bit too advanced for our two cherubs, but apparently the Mammoth Caves were more children friendly, and as a self-guided tour, we could pace ourselves and take our time.
Miss B, in particular loved the caves and listening to the audio tour about the caves.
It was a trip North the next day and the Busselton Jetty was our main target. We arrived mid-morning and spent a leisurely morning walking the 1.8km along the Jetty. We could have taken the train but #tightarseNardia struck again and so walked we did, which was a productive effort in getting over 17,000 steps for the day!
We had lunch in the park before taking a scenic drive around the area and back towards camp. We stopped in at the Yallingup Shearing Shed and discovered that they did a show at 11am each day, so we decided to come back the next day and check that out. It wouldn’t be right to leave the region without checking out a winery or brewery, so we ducked into the Bootleg Brewery for an awesome afternoon in the sun. Unlike the Hunter Valley, the Margaret River seems to get that just because you have kids, doesn’t mean that you don’t drink wine/beer or spend money. Many of the wineries and breweries have big playgrounds for kids to play whilst the parents can enjoy themselves within supervision distance.
To cap off our day, we ended up heading to Prevally to watch the sunset over Surfer’s Beach. This is the beach where the Margaret Rip Curl Pro is held. A stunning view, we watched the surfers in the water and the kids played on the sand as we waited for the sun to sink into the water. There’s something magical about seeing the sunset over the ocean.
Our final day of exploring turned out to be an awesome day. We started at the Yallingup Shearing Shed where were took in the 11am show. Hosted by Steve, the owner of the farm, he took us through the workings of the shearing shed, involving the tourists in his show and ensuring the kids got a real hands on experience feeling wool and feeding the new lambs.
Corey even had to burp the lamb after feeding.
The working dogs display was fabulous and we learned that the red Kelpie is the only dog that can walk upon the backs of sheep and that most farmers had a red dog and a border collie – with the red dog keeping direction up the front and the collie moving them up from the back.
After the awesome morning at the Shearing Shed, we took on Steve’s recommendation to check out the Canal Rocks which were a rock formation creating channels that the ocean flowed between.
We decided then to head to the Cheeky Monkey Brewery for lunch.
And then spent the afternoon sampling nougat, chocolate, cheese and venison! Stocked up with goodies, we decided to make for home and arrived back just on sunset, rounding off an awesome time in the Margaret River.
Have you been to the Margaret River? What were your highlights?