The holiday playgrounds of Dunsborough and Yallingup are nestled either side of Cape Naturalist and so have the best of both worlds, the raw energy of the open ocean and the calm of Geographe Bay, with endless stunning beaches, world-class surf breaks, protected bays, coastal hikes, great shopping and amazing wineries and restaurants.
Home to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, and part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the headland has views that are nothing short of inspiring. There’s a whale-watching platform on the cliffs, where you can gaze down over the bush into dizzyingly blue water and out to the horizon. The platform can be reached via various trails, one of which is paved for prams and wheelchairs. The air in the national park is impossibly fresh, and the occasional ‘roo might reveal itself through the bushland. Birdwatchers take note: lots of lovely species, including the blue wren and the endangered red-tailed tropicbird, can be seen flitting around.
On the western side of the cape you can head from the lighthouse down paved paths to see the magnificent granite formation of Sugarloaf Rock. Watch the enormous silvery waves roll in, and look out for dolphins playing in the surf.
The township of Yallingup attracts surfers from around the world, keen to try its perfect waves. With just over 1000 residents, the remoteness of this town and its peaceful bay has left it pristine. Stay in the crook of lily-lined streets behind the dunes, and wander over to the beach at your leisure, to be greeted by low-flying gulls. In winter, the gentle curve of Yallingup Beach can be a windswept wilderness, but there are also plenty of fi ne sunny days when the water ‘glasses off’. In summer, you can swim, surf, or enjoy a barbecue at the fantastic elevated look-out.
Along the sheltered eastern side of Cape Naturaliste is a string of tranquil beaches and boulder-strewn bays, perfect for swimming and fishing. With a permanent population of around 4000, the town of Dunsborough is ideal for families, with a decent-sized town centre so you’ll want for nothing. For active types, Dunsborough’s beautiful coastline and rural setting offer a backdrop for jogging, cycling, and water sports.
There’s a lively cafe scene in Dunsborough, and nightlife too, in town and down the road at Clancy’s Fish Pub and the iconic Caves House Hotel. The bars and cafes are frequented by locals and visitors from all over Margaret River. Don’t miss the Sunday sessions with live bands.
Eating well and drinking fine wine make this classic beach-holiday experience truly wonderful. Award-winning wineries and breweries, wonderful eateries, olive groves, and artisan producers dot the area, and provide a multitude of choice for gourmet indulgences. The remainder of Margaret River’s cellar doors are found within easy driving distance of Dunsborough and Yallingup.
Places to Stay
Yallingup has a great range of places to stay, many with ocean views. There are private spa retreats and hillside holiday houses, holiday parks, retreats, hotels and chic apartments, plus luxurious romantic resorts and lodges. Accommodation in Dunsborough varies from beachside resorts, B&Bs, chalets and holiday rentals to classic camping grounds. Major supermarkets can be found in Dunsborough, making self-catering accommodation an easy choice.