Whether it be for a gentle stroll or a full day trek, Margaret River has some of the most beautiful coastal walks in all of WA. Especially in the cooler months, it’s a chance to shake away the stresses of daily life and experience the very raw and stunning coastline.
We did some scouting to find some of the best trails where the scenery is stunning and the tracks well maintained, including some suitable for wheelchair use. Local expert Gene from Cape to Cape Tours, who knows the trails in the area better than anyone else, recommended a few of his favourites and key attractions to look out for along the way. If you’re interested in a guided tour, he also offers a range of half-day, day and customisable tours, which you can book in for here.
Meelup Reserve Trail
Beginning at Meelup Nature Reserve in Old Dunsborough and ending at Eagle Bay, the Meelup Reserve Trail will take you on a serene beachside walk, traversing isolated bays, a rugged coastline and peppermint forest.
The 14.8km return hike will take you past Curtis Bay, Castle Rock, the famous picturesque Meelup Beach and Point Picquet. During the warmer months, most of these are great for swimming, with lots of snorkelling opportunities along the reefs. Whilst the track officially finishes at Eagle Bay, if you are up for the challenge, it leads onto a rockier track with a steeper ascent, that continues all the way to Bunker Bay, eventually joining up with the Cape to Cape Track.
You can access the trail on the corner of Hurford St and Gifford Road, 2km out of the town centre, and leave your car at the car park facing the Dunsborough foreshore. Allow for at least 2 – 3 hours to complete.
Cape Naturaliste to Sugarloaf Rock
An easy stretch of the Cape to Cape track, the 3.5km trail (or 7km loop) from Cape Naturaliste running south to Sugarloaf Rock provides stunning coastal views out across to the iconic natural landmark. It’s one of the most photographed rocks in the state, so be sure to take your camera along for a few happy snaps.
Featuring sealed pathways and boardwalk, it’s also pram-friendly and wheelchair accessible, and can easily be completed in an hour.
To access the trail, just head to the circuit at the end of Cape Naturaliste Road, where you’ll find a car park at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, plus toilets, a lookout point and picnic area. There’s also a car park at Sugarloaf Rock, if you want to head in the other direction.
Conto’s Beach to Bob’s Hollow
The trek to Bob’s Hollow takes you along one of the most impressive stretches of the Cape to Cape walk. A 7km return trip, the trail runs along the limestone cliffside to Bob’s Hollow Grotto and back. An alternative route, a 7.5km loop, takes you back along the beach.
The path is generally flat making for a gentle walk, but you’ll enjoy the added adventure of being so close to the steep drop-off beyond the cliffs, and exploring rock pools scattered throughout. Featuring eroded cave walls, Bob’s Hollow is also a popular spot for climbers.
Park your car where the Cape to Cape Track crosses Conto’s Road down on the coast, just past the turnoff to Conto Springs. You should allow about 3 – 4 hours to complete the trail.
Bunker Bay Loop
A rough track that takes hikers from Quarry Bay, the Bunker Bay 3.6km loop takes you as close as possible to the cliff edges of Cape Naturaliste. Suitable for most ages and fitness levels, there are a number of viewing platforms throughout the journey, which provide incredible vantage points from which to take in the stunning Geographe Bay scenery. You may also be lucky enough to see the New Zealand Fur Seal Colony that calls the bay home.
You should allow between 1 – 3 hours to complete the walk, which, like the trail to Sugarloaf Rock, starts at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, but runs towards the east. Gene recommends you bring good, sturdy footwear for this one.
Rivermouth to Boodjidup Beach Loop
On this 12km return trip from Rivermouth carpark, you’ll be taken past Wallcliffe House, before heading up to Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge above Prevelly and Gnarabup. There, you can take in incredible east facing views extend all the way past Redgate Winery and over Nindup Swamp.
Continue down the 330 stairs into Boodjidup Valley, onto the wide expanse of Boodijidup Beach, before hike the beach all the way back, past the iconic White Elephant Cafe and onto the limestone footpath, past Surfer’s Point and back to Rivermouth.
You should allow approximately 5hrs to complete this one, and don’t forget to bring your hat!
Image credits: Tourism WA, Margaret River Visitor’s Centre, Cape to Cape tours.