The Margaret River region is renowned for its fine wine, unspoilt beaches and bags of adventure. Just three hours from Perth city, it’s the perfect weekend getaway, family holiday and road trip destination. But this trip is not just about the destination – there’s an abundance of incredible things to see and do along this route. This Perth to Margaret River Travel guide gives you the lowdown on the unmissable places to visit and things you have to see whilst on your travels.
Perth To Margaret River Travel Options
You can get from Perth to Margaret River in three ways – take the bus, train or drive. If you don’t have access to a car, the public transport route can still get you to the Margaret River fairly easily.
Perth to Margaret River by Bus/Coach
Departing from the city bus port and airports, South West Coach Lines run a daily service from the city to the Margaret River region. The service also offers stop offs in Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough meaning you could arrange a bus-road-trip of sorts.
TransWA operate a daily bus service to Margaret River from East Perth. This bus stops at Bunbury, Busselton and Yallingup en route.
Perth to Margaret River by Train
There is no train station at Margaret River so getting here by train is only an option via the nearest stations (Mandurrah or Bunbury) and then use a coach/bus service.
It’s probably best to just try and find a bus route that can work for you. However if trains are your thing then yes, you can incorporate some form of train travel into your route.
Perth to Margaret River By Road
The Perth to Margaret River drive in one stretch is just under 3 hours. For Australia overland travel… that’s pretty quick! This means you can take as little, or as long, as you like to explore all the amazing spots between the city and the Margaret River region.
We love road trips so will always choose a self-drive option where we can. The freedom of the road means you get easy access to wherever you like and, occasionally, stumble on a few hidden spots.
Perth To Margaret River Must See HotSpots
Below you’ll find the perfect stop off over towns between Perth and the Margaret River. There’s a round up of all the popular must see spots and also a few ‘off the beaten track’ suggestions.
Any of these places make a great stop off point along this Perth to Margaret River route. These places are ideal for those who can take a day travel to/from Margaret River. There’s so much to explore – have a read through and mix and match to create your ultimate travel itinerary.
If you’ve got a few days/weekend to spare, you’ll want to get to Margaret River fairly quickly and therefore suggest only one stop off. You could however stop off on both the outbound and return journey taking the opportunity to visit two of the recommended spots.
The quickest way to reach Margaret River is to take State Route 2 > State Route 1 > State Route 10. Alternatively. for the latter part of the journey, you can take State Route 250 along the coast from Dunsborough.
So, the must-see spots along the route are…
The first recommended stop off on the Perth to Margaret River route, Mandurah offers visitors a wide range of activities exploring its waterways and national parks. Just 55 minutes from the city its the perfect pitstop.
Explore the waters through the range of water based activities available locally – fishing, swimming, crabbing, cruising or even try jet blading!
Mandurah Boardwalk Market is a vibrant market loved by locals and tourists alike. On offer here you’ll find hand made crafts, art, coffee, food trucks and much more. Market days and opening times vary so check the facebook page for the latest information.
You could pack yourself a picnic and lunch alfresco in Yalgorup National Park. It’s free to visit and there’s plenty to explore here.
The park is well known for its lakes and woodlands as well as the thrombolites of Lake Clifton. There’s many trails throughout the park but the Lake Preston Walking Trail is a relatively quick and easy route for visitors passing by. Park at Preston Beach for easy access.
Head to Koombana Bay for a great Bunbury stop off. Here you can enjoy white sandy beach and calm waters with nearby picnic areas, shaded spots and a play park. If your lucky, you may catch glimpse of the famous Bunbury bottle nose Dolphins!
The biggest Bunbury attraction is the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Following a huge renovation project, the centre offer visitors a new interpretive experience with aquariums and heaps of information on the local environment and its history. There’s interactive displays, tours and feeding programmes to keep you entertained. The centre also offers opportunities to get up close to the local dolphins in their beach Interaction Zone and with specialised Dolphin Tours. Dolphin Swim Tours begin early November and Dolphin Eco Cruises run throughout the year.
Some other Bunbury experiences you may like:
- Ngalang Wongi Aborginal Heritage Tour: Emmerse yourself in the traditional and comtemporary Noongar culture and history around Bunbury. The tour guide, Troy, is a local expert and exceptional story teller.
- Bunbury Farmers Market: Be sure to stop by the legendary Bunbury Farmers Market to sample the most delicious local produce and artisan treats.
- Urban Street Art Walk: Pound the CBD pavements admiring some incredible street art creations leading WA artists. Download a copy of ReDiscover and Outside the Box Street Art Map from Six Two Three Zero here.
- Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre: This free entry museum shares the story of Bunbury – from the early settlers, their lifestyle and how life had changed since.
- Gravity ETC: If you need a break from the sun (or the rain!) Gravity ETC has you covered. This 2000sqm indoor trampoline park guarantees to keep the kids entertained whilst burning off some serious steam!
Two and half hours from Perth city is the turquoise bay of Busselton. Twice voted the best tourist town in Western Australia, it’s a great seaside stop off, especially for families. The calm waters here are perfect for swimming, paddling and snorkelling.
Leave Perth city early and make your way to Busselton to enjoy brunch at one of local eateries. Our favourite brekkie spot is The Good Egg – delicious food, vegan options and very family friendly. There’s plenty of parking in Busselton so you shouldn’t struggle.
You won’t want to miss the Busselton Jetty – at 1.8km long, its the largest timber jetty in the Southern Hemisphere! You can walk or take a train ride to the end of the jetty. There you can visit the spectacular Underwater Observatory, decending 8 meters to the ocean floor.
After refuelling head to the Busselton Jetty and Underground Observatory. If there’s a wait head to the Busselton Visitor Centre next door to discover the interesting history of this wonderful seaside spot.
Some other Busselton experiences you may like:
- Gelato Buonissimo – just a short stroll from the jetty is the first and longest-running authentic Italian gelato in Western Australia. The owners still use traditional gelato making methods but use local, seasonal produce to create some tantalising flavours like Wild Flower Honey, Rosemary and Orange Zest.
- Ludlow Tuart Forest – enjoy a drive through Tuart Forest National Park to see the largest remaining pure forest of tuart (eucalyptus) in the world. It also has the tallest and largest specimens of tuart trees on the Swan Coastal Plain, some of which are more than 33 metres high!
- Forest Adventures – climb ladders, hang around in the trees, ride the flying foxes, unicycle across ropes and take on suspended bridges in this awesome arial adventure! Forest Adventures is a really fun way to spend a few hours experiencing the forest (for anyone over 7 and 110cm tall!)
Head to Dunsborough, a short half an hour drive from Busselton. There’s three incredible beach spots in the area; Castle Rock Beach, Meelup Beach and Eagle Bay. Swim, snorkel and soak up some rays. Bliss.
HMAS Swan is a stunning wreck dive hotspot just off the coast of Dunsborough. The 113 meter long former HMAS naval destroyer was sunk off the coast in December 1997 in order create an offshore reef haven for marine life. Today the wreck is home to 100 different species of fish. Information about dives and permits can be found here.
Make sure you leave enough time to visit the Cape Naturalist Lighthouse and surrounding cape peninsula. Climb the lighthouse for 360° views of Geographe Bay.
From late May to early November Cape Naturalist is a prime spot for whale watching. You can normally spot a few splashing in the water from the top of the lighthouse. Otherwise booking onto a local whale watching cruise will get you up close with these beautiful creatures.
Sugarloaf rock is one of Western Australias most unique, and spectacular, coastal spots. You can hike here on the Cape to Cape trial from Cape Naturalist (3 miles) or, if strapped for time, park in the sugarloaf rock car park and stroll up to the elevated lookout.
Some other Dunborough experiences you may like:
- Countrylife Farm – the perfect spot for families with young kids! The all inclusive admission ticket gives you the opportunity to hand feed all the animals, enjoy the rides and inflatables, take a row boat out on the lake and visit the huge indoor soft play.
Located just a fourty minute drive from Busselton and fifteen minutes from Dunsborough, Yallingup is a great to incorporate into your Perth to Margaret River road trip.
World famous for its surf, caves, landscape and arts, Yallingup offers plenty to see and do for all types of visitors.
Yallingup has bred some of the worlds best surfers and after a visit to one of their local beaches, it’s pretty easy to why. Head to Yallingup Beach, Smiths or Injidup to watch the best surfers in action. Yallingup Beach has a calm turquoise lagoon perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
From Caves Road you can explore a range of impressive local art galleries. Yallingup Galleries, The Studio Gallery, Yallingup Garden Art Studio are all within easy reach.
No trip to Yallingup is complete without visiting the incredible Ngilgi Cave. This exquisitely decorated cave descends 37 meters below ground level. Aside from the high carbon dioxide levels, the pure natural beauty of this cave will take your breath away. Semi guided tours depart every half hour between 9:30am and 4:00pm.
Some other Yallingup experiences you may like:
- Cheeky Monkeys Brewery: Kickstart your Margaret River experience early with a visit to the super cool Cheeky Monkeys brewery. Awesome food, wine, beer, scenery and a great shaded play area.
- Goanna Gallery and Bush Cafe: A great spot to grab coffee or some lunch as you’re heading out of town. Nestled in bushland, this is quirky spot is great place to enjoy fresh, local, seasonal food in the most relaxing setting.
So that’s it for our Perth to Margaret River Travel guide round up. I hope its been useful and helped you to make the most of your visit to this beautiful corner of Western Australia.
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