Ultimate guide to things to do in Margaret River with kids
Margaret River packs a hefty holiday punch for a small town. Nestled in the bushland of WA’s coast, it’s a three-hour drive south of Perth. The region is Western Australia’s holiday capital and you’ll find incredible fresh produce, some of Australia’s best wine, a bounty of natural attractions and surfing that attracts champions from all over the world.
The region incorporates Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta and each is packed with a huge variety of kid friendly things to do and great family accommodation. From family friendly wineries with well-placed playgrounds to pristine beaches, epic snorkeling and diving, fun parks, mazes, horse riding and more, families will be spoiled for choice.
Internationally renowned as one of the best big-wave surfing locations in the world, take a drive along the coast to watch the surfers catching waves and wiping out on the treacherous breaks, and if your kids are a little older and have the skills, they too can enjoy a part of the watery action.
There is a limestone cave network beneath the surface of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and incredible national parks including The Boranup Karri Forest and Bramley National Park which are ideal for hiking and exploring with the kids.
Busselton is one of the jewels in Margaret River’s tourism crown. The seaside town is a popular spot for families with plenty of resorts and accommodation for every budget. Here you’ll find easy access to the vineyards and other attractions, plus ample playgrounds, calm sheltered white sandy beaches and, of course, the famous Busselton Jetty.
Top things to do in Margaret River
Just a short drive from Perth, Margaret River has plenty to offer families. Here are ten must dos for your family’s holiday hit list.
- Ride the vintage tram in Bendigo.
- Take a free walking tour to uncover the history and heritage of Ballarat
- Climb the Lighthouse in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
- Take to the waters for whale spotting during the annual migration.
- Stop to smell the flowers on a wildflower walk.
- Hit the surf on one of the patrolled beaches.
- Nibble your way through Margaret River Chocolate Factory
- Stroll the length of Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the world.
- Explore the ancient wonders of Ngilgi Cave.
- Get lost at A Maze’n Margaret River Maze and garden.
- Learn about native flora and fauna on a Cape Cultural Tour.
- Canoe up the Margaret River for a bushtucker meal.
Things to do in Margaret River with…
When tiny travellers aren’t busy paddling in the water or building sand castles on one of Margaret River’s many beautiful beaches, there’s plenty to keep them entertained. The wooden playground at Yallingup Foreshore is a must visit as is Rotary Park, located alongside the river in Margaret River township, where there are two playground areas and extensive picnic facilities.
For hands on animal fun, Sunflowers Animal Farm offers a hands-on slice of Aussie farm life where kids can pat, feed and play with pigs, dogs, rabbits, lambs, kangaroos, ponies, alpacas and more. There are also pony and tractor rides and a playground for when they want a break from all the feathered and furry action. Or for a peak at some of the Margaret River’s marine wildlife without getting wet, catch the train along Busselton jetty to the Underwater Observatory for views of the water world below.
The kids have plenty of opportunities to get lost in the Margaret River. In a good way. At Yallingup Maze kids can take on the ever-changing maze, try to solve tricky puzzles, and burn off any left-over energy on the bouncy castle. And at A Maze’n Margaret River, there’s a three-metre high giant hedge maze, along with five smaller mazes, giant chess and draughts, and 18-hole mini golf to keep the kids amused.
Animal lovers can visit the Naturaliste Reptile Park to learn about WA’s venomous snakes and at Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre see the largest collection of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls in Australia during twice-daily flight shows.
And when the family get a little peckish, you won’t get many arguments about visiting the Margaret River Chocolate Company for handmade chocolates, dripping chocolate fondue and the best hot chocolate in Western Australia.
The Heritage-listed Busselton Jetty, extending almost 2km out into Geographe Bay, is the world’s longest wooden jetty and one of the area’s biggest drawcards. Catch the train that carries passengers the length of the jetty to an Underwater Observatory offering views of the coral gardens and more than 300 marine species. Paddle in the water or grab a kayak or pedal boats to explore above the water. Head to the fantastic Dolphin Discovery Centre where you can learn about dolphins in the Discovery Pool and the Interaction Zone, where wild dolphins come to interact with visitors.
From June to December, thousands of humpbacks, southern right, minke and blue whales make their annual migration along the Western Australia coast. Geographe Bay near Busselton is where they rest and nurse their young for the return trip from September to early December. You can spot the mighty beasts from the shore or get up close on a whale watching cruise.
With some of the best surf in the world, the Margaret River is a great place for young surfers to get the grom on. For those wanting to learn or upgrade their skills, the Margaret River Surf School offers surfing lessons and high-performance surf coaching.
For more watery fun, head out onto Koombana Bay with a Swim on the Wild Side Tour, the ultimate up close and personal dolphin experience where you can enjoy an intimate encounter with one of the enchanting creatures in their natural environment.
Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours will mix things up with exciting adventure activities including kayaking, surfing and mountain biking in some of the prettiest parts of the region. For more dirt action, the team at Ecoadventures will take you through the stunning Boranup Forest to learn about shipwrecks, whale migration, early explorers and the regions giant megafauna on an electric quadbike tour that is fun as it is educational.
Best time to visit Margaret River as a family
Though it is touted as an all-year round holiday destination, the best time to visit this stunning West Australian region is from April to September, or the dry season as the locals refer to it. During this time temperatures are comfortable and access to all attractions is almost guaranteed. Add to that clear skies and the result is great days out from sunrise to sunset.
Autumn offers mild daytime temperatures, sunny days and vineyards filled with ripening grapes. Early April is popular with surf enthusiasts, as it hosts an international surf tournament that features surfers from around the world, but this draws a lot of visitors so book well in advance.
Spring is idyllic and nature lovers will love the months of September to October for its mild weather and blossoms. In summer, many Perth locals retreat to the region for the beach, surf, sun and sand as the temperatures peak.
Family-friendly places to eat in Margaret River
Boasting the sea to one side and rich farmlands on the other, the Margaret River region offers the best fresh produce when it comes to cuisine. Add to that seasonal delights such as berries and free chocolate sampling to form part of a free tasting trail, and no one should go away hungry.
The local produce from the area is world-class and exported to all corners of the globe. A top tip is to allow some extra room in your luggage for a bottle of jam, olive oil or another regional speciality to take home or give as a gift. The Berry Farm, in a stunning location, has 40 tasting opportunities while at the Fudge Factory you can taste and watch the mouth-watering sweet being made. And you can’t go past Simmo’s Ice Creamery, made using the best ingredients and local dairy products.
Things to do for free in Margaret River
- From Margaret River to Busselton, Augusta and Dunsborough, there is no end to the fun things you can do in this region. Take to the surf, stroll a deserted beach, watch whales breach and stingrays splash. Margaret River Mouth, where Margaret River meets the ocean, is a calm, sheltered family beach and Hamelin Bay is simply stunning and one of the best places to spot stingrays.
- Explore the coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. Boranup Karri Forest and Bramley National Park offer peaceful scenic drives and Cape Leeuwin is worth a day trip, as it’s the most south-western point of Western Australia, where two oceans come crashing together.
- Visit one of the family-friendly wineries or growers who will welcome you in to see how their produce is grown and prepared. Head on a free food tasting tour filled with samples of chocolate, ice-cream and other delicacies before working it all off with a walk.
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