Risky’s tips – Southern Loop
Margaret River to Augusta on the Highway is a 40-minute drive but I recommend the long way round. Take all day or as long as you like on the scenic route and return to Margaret River on the highway.
Turn right out of the Station House carpark onto Railway Tce, drive 1km to the end, turn right onto Boodjidup Rd, this will take you to Eagles Heritage wildlife rehabilitation facility.
See flying displays of large wedgetail eagles, watch as Phil throws food in the air and large wedgies swoop in at speed to grab the morsels out of mid air. Australia’s largest collection of eagles, hawks and owls, a very informative presentation and an opportunity to have a large bird sit on your arm.
Heading further along Boodjidup Rd turn left then right to Leeuwin Estate winery.
Leeuwin is one of the more established and scenic wineries, home to the famous annual Leeuwin Concert. If you are only going to one winery this is it.
Also off Boodjy Rd is Chateau Xanadu, Voyager Estate and Redgate - all superb wineries.
Going to the end of Boodjy Rd brings you to Caves Rd.
Turn left to head south to Redgate Beach, next turn right.
Redgate Beach is easily accessed by car and worth seeing for the clean, clear waters and large waves that smash into the big rock on days when the swell is more than 2 metres (often).
Continue south down Caves Rd to Lake Cave.
Lake Cave is the best developed facility for people to enjoy the marvels of speleology. Knowledgeable people guide you thru the best cave in the region. Unique formations only found here, huge stalactites and stalagmites make this a must-see.
Also at the entrance to the Lake Cave turnoff is the road to Conto’s Spring, another special beach for the scenic cliffs and rugged granite rock-lined coast. Plenty to explore here but be warned the road in is somewhat corrugated (just go slow)and the coastline and large and unexpected king waves at Slopy Rock have been responsible for more than a few drownings of people washed off the rocks and into the water. Beware! Don’t go near the wet rocks.
Next heading south along Caves Rd is the Boranup Karri forest.
Boranup Karri Forest (said B’ran up) is a regrowth forest approx 100 years old. Take the scenic route and stop for a picnic or just stop in the pullover bay, get out of the car and sit quietly for 10min to see how many types of birdsong you can identify.
Boranup Cafe and Gallery is located in the forest on the left off Caves Rd. Besides Lake Cave this is the only opportunity between Margaret River and Karridale for food.
Keep going another 5km to Hamelin Bay beach and boat ramp. Take note, the road to Augusta turns to the left about 1km before Hamelin Bay.
Hamelin Bay is a stunning 10km-long beach only accessed from one end at the boat ramp by normal cars and at the other end by 4WD vehicles. Sheltered from the southerly winds and large swell, this is the perfect spot for families to enjoy the ocean safely. Also spot the large and friendly manta rays that are often (not always) skimming the water’s edge for edible debris just near the boat ramp. Don’t worry, these magnificent creatures are harmless but don’t try to grab or interfere with them as they are protected.
Go back to the continuation of Caves Rd and turn right for Augusta (left if you are coming from the north) this will take you to Cosy Corner approx 3km along and Jewel Cave 5km along then to Bussell Hwy. Turn right onto Bussell Hwy and head for the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Climb mainland Australia’s tallest lighthouse and breathe the freshest air in the world, coming over 5000km straight from Antarctica. Take in the view of two oceans meeting and spot whales in the season (May-Nov).
Check out the historic Leeuwin Waterwheel just around the corner or just take a walk in the wind (one of the windiest places in the world).
Head back to Augusta for a well-earned rest at the Bakery or for a drink and/or a more substantial meal at the Augusta Hotel. Go to the back bar where you can sit and look over the Blackwood River and Flinders Bay while the kids can play on the large grassed area.
Return to Margaret River on the Bussell Hwy (only 40 mins) on the way stop at Cookies Galore in Witchcliffe and Bellview Shell Museum (the largest collection of shells in Australia – open 9am-5pm Fri-Wed) and then if you still have the time or energy watch the sunset at Surfer’s Point, followed by a good night’s sleep at the Station House.