If the early pioneers who endured the heartbreak of a remote land could look at what they built in Margaret River they would surely be proud. Known internationally for award-winning wine and gob-smacking landscapes, this little piece of southwest Australia is both otherworldly and unforgettable.
You can Google the region but nothing quite prepares you for some of Australia’s most dramatic natural wonders. Mother Nature has worked overtime to create a formidable landscape with never-ending beaches, towering forests and astonishing cave networks that are nothing less than awe-inspiring.
Formed over one million years ago, more than one hundred and fifty limestone caves lie beneath Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. There are guided and self-guided tours, and for the more adventurous opportunities to explore ‘the hard hat’ way.
Lake Cave is the deepest show-cave in the region with a lake that provides reflections of some of the most delicate formations. We followed our guide down into an ancient doline amongst the monolithic Karri trees via metal walkways and ladders.
The most impressive formation, the ‘Suspended Table’ somehow magically hovers just above the icy black waters. This is what they used to call a ‘Kodak moment’ as this crystal formation is considered to be the only one of its kind in the world.
Lake Cave is only a twenty-minute drive south from Margaret River along Caves Road. Guided tours run regularly throughout the day. Passes are also available to view all Lake, Ngilgi, Mammoth and Jewel Caves. Each network highlights how ancient Australia is and the diversity of limestone stalactites, stalagmites and shawl formations.
Locals say it doesn’t matter how often you drive down Smiths Beach Road, your heart always skips a beat as ‘that’ vista comes into view. Indeed in a region full of stunning views, it is one of the best.
Canal Rocks is unlike most scenic lookouts on the East Coast of Australia. There are no cyclone fences separating you from the view, no signs fore-warning you to don’t do this or don’t do that. Instead, a simple timber walkway winds its way through this remarkable spot where the usually ferocious Indian Ocean beats up the granite outcrops.
The walkway lets you view the calmer pools and more fierce pockets of swirling water. It’s popular with Cape-to-Cape walkers and allows all abilities with a sealed, flat pathway from the car park to the best views. Located just southwest of Yallingup, Canal Rocks is easily accessed off of Caves Road when heading south from Yallingup.
Cape Leeuwin near Augusta is where you get to witness the awesomeness of two oceans meeting or perhaps more appropriately head-butting. This most southwestern tip of Australia is home to both the Indian and Southern Oceans. It is also a treacherous shipping lane for mariners.The historic lighthouse is Australia’s tallest mainland lighthouse and still features the original lens with an intensity of 1 million candles. Our tour guide shared tales of shipwrecks as we climbed the stairs. Once you reach the top of the tower, you will be flabbergasted by the glorious views.
To anyone who thinks they know what to expect in the Margaret River, it will still surprise you. The man-made is sophisticated and leaves you wanting for nothing. If you want the best of nature from rugged landscapes to breath-taking views, they’re all here. It will leave you with indelible memories and many of those Kodak moments.