What do you get when you cross a lighthouse and an animal farm with a winery and a maze?
The answer, of course, lies roughly 2.5 hours south-west of Perth and is Western Australia’s holiday capital, especially for families embarking on a week or weekend away.
Made up of Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Augusta and everything in between, the Margaret River region is an ideal destination for troupes looking for a bit of everything. And for Mums and Dads who know Margaret River for its grapes – the kid-friendly wineries mean that on this getaway you can both treat yourself to a glass or two and make it all about the kids.
Animals All Around
Wonky Windmill Farm is as delightful as it sounds. You can feed sheep, goats, ponies, ducks, llamas and some Aussie stars such as emus and kangaroos. Cuddle up close with rabbits, and bottle feed cute lambs and brand new calves. At Sunflower Animal Farm, you can enjoy pony and tractor rides and more animal feeding. Sunflower also offers overnight farm stays – you’ll be able to wake up to freshly laid eggs for brekky. For an alternative animal encounter, visit Margaret River Silk Road and its silk worm displays, where you’ll learn about the life cycle of a silk worm and production of silk. From September to November, go whale-watching from the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste.
Scenic sights and natural delights
Take a scenic drive along Tuart Drive through the last remaining tuart forest on the globe, just before you hit Busselton. Here, Forest Advenutres has a high-wire course and zipline for kids aged 7 and over. Once you hit Busselton, catch the jetty train along its history wooden jetty, the longest of its kind worldwide, to see the coral at the underwater observatory. Underground along the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge lies a network of more than 150 caves. Jewel Cave and Lake Cave have guided tours, and Mammoth Cave and Ngilgi Cave are also good for families. Some have more stairs and uneven ground than others so be prepared to carry toddlers.
Foodie frenzy (and kid-friendly wineries)
Start your foodie’s foray into the Margaret River region with a sweet stop at the Chocolate Factory. Grown-ups can then enjoy guilt-free wines at one of the numerous cellar doors open to families – many of which cook up a great lunch to boot. At Edward Wines in Cowaramup, enjoy games and a picnic in the gardens, play with bubble wands and check out the old tiger moth plane in the shed. Robert Oatley Winery has outdoor dining and outdoor play equipment. There is also an enclosed playground at Watershed Wines and Killerby Wines. To shake it up, Margeret River’s Colonial Brewery is also family-friendly.
Enjoy the fresh air and getting active as a family? Your first stop should be one of the awesome beaches along the western border of the Margaret region, from Cape Naturaliste down to Cape Leeuwin. We recommend checking out Smiths Beach, Yallingup Beach, Castle Rock beach, Meelup, Eagle Bay, Gnarabup Beach and Bunker Bay beach. You should visit Augusta to climb up to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, go fishing at Hardy Inlet and take a putt at Augusta Mini Golf. For more outdoor fun, take an eco-bike tour through Boranup karri forest, a canoe trip along the Margaret River itself, or a brain-frazzling adventure in A Maze’n Margaret River and its 3-metre-high giant hedge maze, 18-hole mini golf and playgrounds.
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