The road trip from Perth to Margaret River is a relaxed drive, with plenty of interesting pit stops to enjoy along the way
If you are visiting Western Australia for the first time, it is worth exploring the beautiful and vibrant city of Perth. Check out King’s Park, one of the biggest inner city parks in the world, with beautiful views of the cityscape. Cottesloe Beach is another must-see spot, with options for swimming and surfing. What makes Perth even better is its easy reach to a host of alluring locations that are ideal for a short break.
Driving down from Perth, I am fascinated by the lush environs of this region. My journey takes me through beaches and forests, capes and wetlands, punctuated by towering lighthouses and never ending jetties. Ancient towns and settlements dot this route from Perth to Margaret River. We drive through Geographe Bay into Busselton where we board a toy train that chugs along the 1.8 kilometres Busselton Jetty to see an underwater observatory. Most travellers hike or drive between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, traversing through the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park.
It was late spring in Australia, which was fast blossoming into a warm summer, but the landscape was teeming with colourful wild flowers. The bush was abuzz with birds as we were on the lookout for emus or kangaroos crossing the road. However, we slowed down to let a flock of geese cross the road as they head toward the wetlands.
Dunsborough is a resort town that has grown into a holiday spot rich in luxury and fun, ideal for family, friends, couples and backpackers. The sparkling calm clear water and white sandy beaches are linked to town by lush green grass and shady paths. There is a bustling café atmosphere and plenty of gorgeous boutique shops.
Crossing Dunsborough, we reached Cape Naturaliste. Climbing up the winding staircase, we reach the top, listening to haunted tales. Even today the lighthouse is a piece of antiquity retaining its old world charm. I heard stories of how the lighthouse was managed by the keepers who used to manually operate it. Today, it is believed that one of them haunts
Standing atop the 100 metre lighthouse, with the wind in my face, I looked towards the Geographe Bay, lost in the world of blues. My reverie was interrupted by a splash in the ocean and as I saw a hump backed whale showing off its acrobatic skills. The show, however, was over, in a moment but that became my cue to carry on to the next leg of my journey.
Spending a day there, we reached the Ngilgi Cave in Yallingup. The cave tells the story of the victory of a good spirit (Ngilgi) over a bad spirit (Wolgine). It is just one of the four ancient caves in the Margaret River region. The other three caves are Lake Cave, Mammoth Cave and Jewel Cave, known for their precious fossil and stunning formations. The Ngilgi Cave lies below the limestone ridge that forms Cape Naturaliste, one of the headlands along the coast.
The region makes for a great getaway that has an impressive showcase of all things natural – its scenery varies from the impressive rugged coastline to awe-inspiring limestone cave networks to renowned culinary delights. There’s a reason why the Margaret River and its surroundings are quickly becoming one of Australia’s best destinations to visit.
Words: Lakshmi Sarath