Whether you’re there for a weekend away or showing off the south west corner to visitors, there are some Margaret River locations which are simply breathtaking. We all know the area is renowned for its food and wine but the natural landscape puts on a free show for those wanting to soak up the beauty of the area. It’s also great for impressing interstate and overseas visitors.
Prevelly and Gnarabup
Prevelly is often a first stop for us and probably is many tourists to the region as there is plenty to see and do in the small town. The carpark at Margarets’ main break provides a viewing platform to watch far braver souls face off with mountains of water. From the viewing platforms, you can watch the wild coastline in either direction and be whipped by winds we in the city only experience vicariously as Rick Arden reports from a cyclone in Port Hedland. Ok, I exaggerate but it is thrilling to feel your breath catch on the salty air and watch in awe at the power of the ocean.
Gnarabup Beach is a short drive through Prevelly and is less windy but no less alluring. Stop at the White Elephant for a cuppa or something delicious and watch people stand up paddle, surf or perform a combination of both. There’s a track leading off from the cafe up to a lookout at the point, providing an optimum viewing platform for the bay and wider ocean.
Wow. Drive to the end of Contos Road to see the unleashed fury of the south west coast at South Beach. We visited a few years ago on a seemingly fine day and the ocean was no different to this visit – fierce and a little terrifying. Huge waves break close to shore with such intensity, you can feel the rumble through the rocks. It’s quite mesmerising and you could end up spending quite a long time simply standing on the beach, taking in the power of the ocean.
Had enough of windswept beaches? Well, the region has plenty of beautiful forest locations to explore too. We rode the Wadandi Track from Cowaramup to Margaret River to take in the beauty of the area, but for a quick fix, Boranup Forest is the spot. Along Caves Road, Boranup Forest is your Instagrammable stop on the way to Hamelin Bay or Augusta. There’s a track leading down into the forest or a viewing platform beside the car park to take in the full panorama of the area.
If choosing to walk into the forest, take care crossing the road. It’s a sharp, sudden bend in either direction (recommend using Google Maps to save slamming on the brakes when you come across the car park). Don’t, say, stand in the middle of the road to take a selfie as we witnessed one potential Darwin Award nominee do.
There is an eerie beauty about Gracetown. Luring you in with its dramatic scenery and fresh air scents, you can still sense the scars of past tragedies. A small town with perfect Cowaramup Bay for swimming and outer breaks for surfing, it’s not hard to see how it has lured some from the city to live in the cradle of the sloping land. Most striking are the red rocks scattered in the bay, unlike anything we saw in the area.
We watched surfers of all ages and experiences take to the water, watching the phenomenon of the waves ripple into the bay. A lookout extends along the point, providing an excellent vantage point for watching as those in the water attempt the various breaks. Afterwards, we found the local cafe, which wasn’t serving the best hot drinks and was being guarded by a bloke who was hell-bent on telling anyone who would listen (and there weren’t many) about changing the flag.
Visiting Margaret River
Wherever you go in the region, you find some unbelievable natural beauty. We didn’t even get to the caves. I feel we easily forget the simple enjoyments of nature when there’s so much to consume – wine, produce, tourism. It’s refreshing to stand atop a windswept sand dune or within a still forest as the rain drips and simply take it it all in. Plus, it’s free. So next time you’re staying in the area, just take a drive down a different road and see where it leads you.