Margaret River Perth Self Drive Holiday Blog : One week Itinerary




Best. Holiday. Ever Part 2


This was our second DIY trip in consecutive years to Perth. Since our last Best.Holiday.Ever in Perth, we just had to come back to this city to explore. After our initial brief affair with Margaret River,we decided to make it a week long self drive adventure for this trip.

Before you head off to a Margaret River adventure, check out our Self Drive Holiday-Perth post.  During our trip at MR, we had met 3 families who had read our first post to plan for their trip to Perth.  It was an amazing feeling to have Singaporeans coming up to you 4000 km away from home to say hi :). We felt like mini  (like very very very mini) celebrities.

The main highlights for this trip will be
  • Self Drive Route from Perth to Margaret River
  • Farms in Margaret River Region
  • Margaret River Beaches
  • Margaret River Caves
  • Margaret River attractions for kids - Maze, Mini Golf, Ice creamery and more!
  • Lighthouses
  • Whale Watching
The trip took a week to complete. Even then, we felt is was not enough. Ride with us as we drive you from Perth to Margaret River and back!

Full itinerary and suggested highlights in the post
* Warning : Superlong post ahead!

Day 1 : Night Flight to Perth
Midnight flight from Singapore
From Singapore to Perth
We took a midnight flight because we wanted to be in Perth early in the morning for our trip to Margaret River. The 5 hours flight did not allowed us much time to sleep so we do recommend to consider staying in Perth for one night, especially for new travellers.

Day 2 : On Route to Margaret River
Stopover - Mandurah, Bunbury, Dunsborough
Destination - Pullman Bunker Bay
Highlights -  Bunbury Wildlife Park

Perth Airport
Landed at the airport at 5 am in the morning. After check out, we headed straight to the Optus store to grab a sim card. On hindsight, it may be better to buy a Telstra Sim card from the convenience store. The reception was the most reliable for Telstra in most parts of Margaret River.

Our car was from Hertz as they had the best rates for our needs. Since they are only opened around 7 am , we had to wait till a while to collect our Hyundai Tuscon for this trip.

Travel - Perth Airport to Mandurah Hungry Jacks (55min)
Source : Google Map

First stop was Hungry Jacks at Mandurah.  The plan was to make a stop every hour for meal / attractions /toilet breaks. That would make the 3 hours drive to Pullman Bunker less monotonous. For drivers from Singapore who may not be used to long drives, stopovers will be good to recharge for the next leg.


Hungry Jacks Mandurah
Travel Mandurah - Bunbury (1 H 20 M)
Source : Google Map

After lunch , it was back on the road. There was a choice to take the Forrest Highway / Old Coast Road or the South Western Highway. Guess which route did we chose?

Forrest Highway
If you have taken the South Western highway, this will be your view for the journey.

The Forrest Highway / Old Coast Road option took a little while longer as it passes through smaller towns. We reckoned the views made up for the extra 20 mins or so.
Old Coast Road Perth
Old Coast Road
Train Crossing
Dolphin Discovery Center 
Recommended Time spend :  30 mins

Our first stop in Bunbury was the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Dolphin Discovery Centre
We were hoping to see some dolphins there. The centre was undergoing major renovations when we were there in June. The beach in front of the center was also under renovation, thus no live dolphins for us. Instead we met Biskit, Dolphin Discovery Center sleeping beauty,
Biskit @ Dolphin Discovery centre
The centre would be completed in a few years. Once completed, we are sure it will be a hit for those travelling en-route to Margaret River.


Bunbury Widelife Park
Recommended Time Spend : 2 hours
Our next trip was a short 12 min ride away.
Bunbury Wildelife Park
Since it was almost a must to see Kangeroos in Australia, we made a detour to Bunbury Wildlife Park.

This is a smallish park where you can feed kangeroos and see other animals. No Koalas here, but the kangeroos made the trip worth it.

Feeding Kangeroos
The birds were pretty friendly too !
Birdman
Do give about 2 hours at the Bunbury Wildlife park, especially if you would like your children to stretch their legs at the huge playground next to it.
Playground @ Bunsbury Wildlife

The playground does not require entrance fee. There are plenty of slides and climbing structures for the kids to unwind.

Don't think we have any complains with this stop even after a journey that lasted 15 hours since we left Changi Airport!


Travel :  Bunbury to Pullman Bunker Bay (1h 8 min)
Source : Google Map

After quick lunch at near Bunsbury Target, we headed out on the roads once more. Our next destination is our resort at Pullman Bunker Bay. A stopover was made at Coles in Dunsbourough to stock up for food and supplies. It was best to get our dinner here before we reach the resort as Pullman was rather ulu (isloated).

We left the airport at 7am and reached the Pullman by 5 pm.

Home for the night
After a long day of travelling, we were finally settled in our cosy 2 bedroom hut at Pullman Bunker Resort. Sleep came fast the moment we lay on the bed.

Pullman Bunker Bay
Day 3 : Exploring Dunsbourgh
Destination :  Dunsborough Surrounds
Highlights : Xscape, Simmos, Wonky Windmill

Bunker Bay
There were plenty of options for hotels in Dunsbourgh region, we opted for Pullman as it was one of the rare resort with direct beach access.


An early morning stroll along Bunker's bay resulted in these lovely morning shots.

Surfer at Bunkers
Perth is perhaps the least known for their beaches as compared to Sydney or Gold Coast. We do reckoned the beaches at Bunker's Bay will give the best beaches in Australia a run for its money. The surfers are also up early to catch the waves over Bunker's Bay.

Sunrise @ Bunkers
The best part about Bunker's Bay was that it was the perfect spot to see the Sunrises. Since it was Winter, the beach was relatively quiet, making it a serene place to enjoy the sunrise.



After a hearty breakfast, we were engerised to start our holidays.
Strike a Post

Travel : Pullman Bunkers to Xscape at the Cape Fun Park (20m)
Source : Googl Map

Xscape at the Cape Fun Park
Recommended Time Spend : 2 Hours

From our travel experiences, we would usually start with a kid friendly attractions before anything else. The strategy worked as it get us into the mood to enjoy the rest of the day.


Our first stop was an outdoor playground , Xscape at the Cape Fun Park.  We took the Combo ticket option where we had one Laser Tag game, one Wacky Putt, unlimited trampoline jumps, unlimited mine shaft maze and unlimited jungle mountain.

Mine Shaft Maze

Laser Tag

Trampoline
The main takeaway from this experience was that we discovered we love miniature golf!
Wacky Putt
It was a great way to spend family time together as Mom and Dad joined us for a round of golf. Coming from Singapore where Mini Golf had disappeared, this was indeed a pleasant experience.
Waterplay  Xscape
If you are there during summer, the Waterplay area will be opened. Judging from the slides, it looked like a great place to be away from the summer heat. As we were there during winter, it was closed during our trip.

Travel : Xscape to Simmo's Ice Creamery
Source : Google Maps

Simmo's Ice Creamery
Recommended Time Spend : 30 mins 

Simmo's Ice Creamery
After over 2 hours of fun at Xscape, we headed down to Simmo's Ice Creamery to cool down. Simmo's Ice Creamery had won Australia National award for ice cream of the year. It was also known as one of the Top 15 ice creamery in the world by USA Today.

Since it was only a 5 minutes drive from Xscape, we could not resist a visit.
Simmo's Ice Cream

With over 60 flavours to choose, it was not easy picking a flavour.

You could easily spend an hour or two there with kids. There was a playground and a 18 hole mini golf course onsite.
Simmo's Ice Creamery Playground

Travel : Simmo's Icre Creamery to Wonky Windmill  (15 mins)
Add caption
Wonky Windmill
Recommended Time Spend : 1.5 hours

We wanted to spend more time, but time was a rare commodity in Winter. Soon, it was back on the road for a short trip to Wonky Windmill Farm and Eco Park.
Wonky Windmill
Wonky Windmill was one of the many family friendly farms found in Margaret River. You get to meet and feed farm animals.


Being City folks, the chance to get up close and personal with the farm animals was an experience we enjoyed.


We loved feeding the farm animals especially the pretty Alpaca.

Tree Post At Wonky Windmill
Wonky Windmill was the first farm we visited during this trip. We loved the farm excursions so much that we had visited a total of 3 farms in one trip. Among the three, Wonky Windmill was the most relaxing to walk about. The main activity here is feeding the animals . It is best to allocate 1.5-2 hours here to truly enjoy the experience.

Wonky Windmill.
Before we know it, the sun had set. We made a stop at Dunsborough to get our Chinese food fix before heading back to Pullman Bunker's Bay. If you looking for Chinese food in Dunsborough, this will be the place to go.
Dunsborough Chinese Restaurant

Day 4: Exploring Dunsborough 
Destination : Dunsborough Surrounds

Atttractions : Sunrise at Dunsborugh , Sugarloaf Rock, Yallingup Maze , Waves Rock
, Countrylife farm
Pullman Bunker
If time permits, we do recommend an additional day in Dunsborough . This iss because that there are a lot more family friendly attractions to explore. That was the reason we added another day in Dunsbourgh for our trip.

The day began with another early morning stroll to the beach for Daddy. It was so peaceful and beautiful the day before that he wanted to be wake up early to watch the sunrise once more.

After a decent morning breakfast, we are ready to head out. If you are staying in Bunker's bay, we highly recommend you to take the breakfast buffet. Not only was it convenient, it was the only place you can have a decent breakfast around the resort. With the nearest restaurant a good 10 minutes drive away, it made good sense for us to have breakfast in the resort to start our day.

Breakfast @ Pullman Bunker
Travel :  Pullman Bunker to Sugarloaf Rock (6 min)
Source : Google Map

Sugarloaf Rock
Recommended Time Spend : 15 mins 

First stop was a natural attraction. Sugarloaf Rock 6 minutes away from the resort. The drive may be short, but the view enroute to Sugarloaf Rock was breathtaking.

Welcome to Sugarloaf Rock
Sugarloaf Rock is perhaps one of the most photographed costal structure in the region. If you look closer (bring a binoculars) , you might spot sea birds, dolphins and even humpback whales mingling around the rock.

Sugarloaf Rock
With an open air carpark nearby and a viewing platform, it was pretty much a kids friendly attraction. You probably only need to spend about 15 mins there to enjoy the sight.


Travel : Sugarloaf Rock to Yallingup Maze (26 min)



Yallingup Maze
Recommended Time Spend : 2 hours (including lunch)



From a natural attraction, we headed down to a man made attraction  - Yallingup Maze. We missed the maze on our last trip due to the lack of time. One of the reason was, we thought it was just a maze, it would not be anything much. It was pleasantly surprising when we discovered it was more fun than it sounded.


The Yallingup maze is essentially a large puzzle where you would have to make your ways through twist and turn to find your destination.

Choose from the easy route (Find 1 or 2 corner) to the hard route (Find all 4 corners in sequence) to complete the maze.
Yallingup Maze
We decided to take the medium option and it took us almost an hour and countless twist and secret passage to find all 4 corners. At least in between, we had colorful wall panels to entertain us throughout the maze.

It was indeed a challenging maze and we can see why it is so popular with travellers. Just a tip, try to avoid going at noon as it can get pretty hot. It was winter but we still felt the blazing sun during high noon.

I conqured Yallingup Maze
The good thing about Yallingup Maze is that they have a natural playground of logs for the little ones to indulge in.

If you are adventurous, you can even do some tree climbing there.


Yallingup Maze is also a great place for you to have a meal. The menu is kids friendly and there are even puzzles for kids to play with while waiting for food.


Travel : Yallingup Maze to Canel Rocks (8 min)


Canal Rocks 
Recommended Time Spend : 45 mins

The next destination was Canel Rocks. This is another popular sight for rock formations around Dunsbourgh. We love how these destinations are less than 30 minutes away from each other, making the self drive experience relatively easy.


Canal Rocks was a much more enjoyable experience compared with Sugarloaf Rock. Visually, Canal rocks may not be as spectacular, but it does offered two different experiences in one location.

The first iss to climb the boulders to reach the top. The boulders are about 25 ft high and pretty easy to climb if you are careful enough. The second experience is to take a walk on the boardwalk and see why Canal Rocks gets its name. From there , you can see the power of the rushing ocean through the natural rock canals.

On the way out, do make a stopover at the viewpoint (about 200 metres up the road)  and take in the sights and beauty of canal rocks. It is a great spot to sit and contemplate about life.

View of Canal Rocks
Travel : Canal Rocks to Country Life Farm ( 12 min)

Country Life Farm 
Recommended Time Spend : 2 Hours

The day continued with a quick 12 min drive to Country Life Farm. Country Life Farm is more than just a simple farm in Dunsborough. Other than feeding farm animals, you also get to play in the indoor playground, inflatable slides, Dodgem cars, rowing boats and more.



On hindsight, with so much to do, we should have allocated more time  there. Unfortunately, the day was much shorter during the Winter month leaving us with an hour to explore.
Rowing boat at Country Life Farm
With so little time, we decided to do activities we had not done before. Rowing the boat in a lake sounds like a good experience to have.
Dodgem cars at Country Life Farm
Daddy managed to bring us back to shore in one piece and we headed for the Dodgem cars for more thrills.

We had to give the impressive indoor playground a miss and head for the farm animals. Afterall, how many times do you come across Hairy Highland Cow?
Highland Cow
Given the number of activities in the farm, the farm area is relatively smaller compared to Wonky Windmill. Still it was worthwhile to pay it a visit, especially if you have kids in tow. Soon it was nightfall and we made a stop at Dunsborough to get our dinner before heading back to Pullamn for a well deserved rest.


Day5 : From Dunsborough to Margaret Town

Destination :  Margaret Town
Highlights : Margaret Chocolate Factory, Brewery, Sunshine Farm



Video Sunset
It was the last day at Pullman, Daddy could not resist visiting Bunker's Bay for the last time before we make our move to the next destination.

After hearing glowing reviews from him, we decided to tag along this time round. There we found out where the Sun had been hiding throughout the night.
Sunrise over Pullman
If you are staying in Pullman Bunker's Bay, the sunrise is a must see when you are there.


For the more adventurous, Yoga by the serene beach during Sunrise should be on the bucket list.
Yoga Bunker's Bay
Another activity you could do is to collect Seashells on the beach.

Seashells by the beach
After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful Pullman Bunker's Bay Resort. We did not swim in the pool, but if we are back during Summer, it will be the first thing we will do!

Recommended Time Spend : 1 Hour


We did a quick detour to Cape Naturalistic Lighthouse. Since we were here the last trip, we decided not to climb the lighthouse.

For a quick tour, do read our Self Drive Holiday : Perth for more details.

Travel : Cape Naturalistic Lighthouse to Castle Rock (13min)
Source : Google Map
Castle Rock
Recommended Time Spend : 10 min

On our way way out from Cape Naturalistic Road, we decided to make a quick detour to see Castle Rock. Castle Rock is a lesser known rock formation compared to Canal Rocks or SugarRocks. It is better known as a spot to whale watch. If you climb on top of Castle Rock, you will get a good view of Castle Bay.


Travel :  Castle Rock to Cape Lavender (15 min)
*Alternative- Nigili Cave

Cape Lavender

Cape Lavender
Recommended Time Spend: 45 mins 

While we were travelling to Canal Rocks, we spotted this quaint teahouse, Cape Lavender along the way. Since Mommy is a tea lover, we decided to make this special spot for her to enjoy her pot of tea.

You could consider making a stop at Nigili Cave instead of Lavender Tea house. For those who had yet to explore caves in Margaret River, Nigili Caves is a good start. It is on the same stretch of road as Cape Lavender and a short 2 mins drive away from the latter.

 Do read our previous Self Drive Holiday : Perth for a quick peek.
Nigili Caves
If you are a tea lover, Cape Lavender serves the nicest Lavender tea in Perth. Mommy regretted only getting a bag of tea leaves from Cape Lavender and will get more when we return in the future!

Travel : Lavender Tea House to The Margaret River Chocolate Factory (15m)



The Margaret River Chocolate Factory
Recommended Time Spend : 30 mins


Our next destination is for the chocolate lovers in the family . Having been to the one in Swan Valley, we just had to revisit the Original Chocolate Factory.


If you have not been to one, you would be glad to know that there are 3 bowls of Chocolate for tasting. Whether you love white , dark or normal chocolates, you will not be disappointed.

If you want more chocolates to bring home to savour, there are plenty other flavours for you to choose from. There is also a small cafe too. If you are thirsty,  we recommend only one drink...hot chocolate milk!

Travel :  The Margaret River Chocolate Factory to Bootleg Brewery (8mins)


Bootleg Brewery
Recommended Time Spend : 1 Hour

Bootleg Brewery
It's time for lunch and we headed to the famed Bootleg Brewery for a quick bite. Margaret River is well know for its wineries and breweries. The whole region from Dunsborough to Margaret River is filled with them at every turn.

We are not beer drinkers, but upon hearing that there is an awesome playground at Bootleg, it was hard not to choose it as our lunch destination.

Playground at Bootleg
The landscape for Bootleg Brewery is filled with greenery. There is even a lake facing the brewery, making it a great spot to kick bag and simply enjoy the view.
Bootleg Brewery Margaret River
The meals were pretty good too , with a generous serving enough to fill the stomach.
Lunch at Bootleg Brewery
The main attraction would be the beers. Daddy decided to get a cider to bring back to the hotel for a drink since he cannot drink and drive...


There is a mini art gallery on the 2nd floor. Even if you do not appreciate art, the view of the observatory deck is worth a climb.
Art Gallery @ Bootleg Brewery

Travel : Bootleg Brewery to Margarets Forest (24m)
Source :  Google Map


Margarets Forest
After lunch, it was time to head to our home for the next leg of the trip... Margarets Forest

Margarets Forest
Margarets Forest was the apartment we chose for the last trip. It may have been a one night fling then, but we loved to be back. The apartment is located right at the heart of Margaret River Town .  Restaurants and supermarkets were a mere 200 meters away from the apartments ,making it a choice accommodation.

We chose the 2 bedroom 2 storied apartments. By coincidence , we had the same room as our last trip. It still looked as inviting as the last time we saw it.

 After dumping our bags, we headed out for one more attraction before night falls.

Travel :  Margarets Forest to Sunflower Farm (7min)
Source : Google Map

Sunflower Animal Farm
Recommended Time (1.5 hours)

Sunflower Farm
It may be our third farm for the trip but it never got old.
Sunflower Farm
No complains from the family as we visited Sunflower farm located less than 10 minutes from Margaret River. We did not make any farm visits the last time when we were down and we were making up for it during this trip. It was pretty easy to spot Sunflower Farm with 3 Minions like statues greeting us from the entrance.


Animal feeding was the main attraction here.

Compared to Wonky Windmill, Sunflower farm is slightly smaller. However, the variety of animals is the farm is probably the largest. There are also kangeroos on the farm too!



If you are there at the right time, you can even feed the goats.

Our favourite activity will be feeding the rabbits. The rabbits are in an open pen and pretty difficult to lure them out from the bushes in the pen. Thankfully, the helpful staff at Sunflower farm aided us and we petted the chubbiest bunny we came across during the trip.

If you are looking for farmstay, you can opt for accommodation at Sunflower Animal Farm.  With the location less than 10 minutes away from Margaret River town, it makes it ideal location for farmstay.

It was nightfall when we headed back to the hotel. After grabbing take outs ( look for the Vietnamese restaurant, we think the food is great!) , we headed back to Margarets Forest for a good night sleep.
Margaret River Town at Night

Day 6 : Whale Watch Augusta
Destination :  Augusta, Hamelin Bay
Highlights : Whale Watch, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Hamelin Bay, Jewel Caves

Travel  :  Margarets Forest to Augusta Harbour (40 mins)

The next day, we woke up bright and early for our Whale Watch tour at Augusta. The last time while we were here, we had the best whale watch session ever. Breakfast as donuts that we grab from the petrol station right outside our hotel. As we will be in sea for 2 hours or so, having a full stomach was not the way to go.

Witchliffe
En route to Augusta boat harbour about 40 mins away, we stopped by the quaint small town Witchliffe to take a picture of the witch that lives there!

Ok, it was not a real witch, but hey where would you find a town that is called Witchliffe anywhere. Parts of the small town are decorated with Witch inspired theme, making everyday felt like Halloween there.

Whale Watch Augusta
Recommended Time Spend : 2 hours
Whale Watch Augusta
We reached the Augusta Boat Harbour and immediately spotted a whale swimming near the coast off the breakwater. It was a promising start.

We took the same boat, Whale Watch Augusta mainly because it was large and pretty stable out in the open ocean.


After a while, we spotted a water spout from the whale's blowhole.

Compared to the last whale session, we seen less whales today. They were not as active as the last time we saw them. There were a few tail slaps but no breech. We guess what we see will very much dependent on our luck.

No matter, we will be back one day!
Whales Augusta

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Recommended Time Spend : 1 Hour




The last trip, we missed visiting Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse due to the lack of time. We tried to make up for it this time round.

We took the audio tour. We would have loved to climb the lighthouse, but the tours were fully booked for our time slots. If you are visiting, do make an appointment first to secure your slot.


We took the audio tour. We would have loved to climb the lighthouse, but the tours were fully booked for our time slots. If you are visiting, do make an appointment first to secure your slot.


Compared to Cape Naturalistic Lighthouse, Cape Leeuwin was much taller. In fact, it is the tallest lighthouse in Australia!



Other than having the tallest lighthouse, Cape Leeuwin is also the place where you can see 2 oceans in one place!


To Australians, they consider the Cape as the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. The photo below shows very the oceans meet.

We could only watch in awe.

Travel  : Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Deckchair Cafe (9min)
Source : Google Maps

Deckchair Cafe
Recommended Time Spend : 1 hour

Soon it was lunchtime and we headed to Deckchair Cafe in Augusta for a bite. We loved the handwritten sign on the cafe's wall. The meal was good too !



Travel : Deckchair Cafe to Jewel Cave (9 Mins)
Source : Google Maps

Jewel Cave
Recommended  Time Spend : 1.5 hours


After a hearty meal, it was time to explore our first cave for the trip. Other than farms and vineyards, Margaret River is also famous for its numerous limestone caves that dot Caves Road. Jewel Caves is consider to be the biggest show cave in the region. It has 3 massive chambers for you to discover.

To explore Jewel Caves, you would have to join the tour. Each tour last about 1 hour or so.

Visually this has to be the prettiest cave we had seen in Margaret River.  It was the best lit cave we had seen . You can see Stalactite, stalagmite and many other limestone formation in the cave.

Since it was a guided tour, we could not take our own time to admire the caves,

Travel : Jewel Caves to Hamelin Bay (10 Mins)
Source :Google Maps

Hamelin Bay
Recommended Time Spend : 30 mins
Hamelin Bay Sunset
Hamelin Bay was our last stop. We initially hoped to see stingrays there as they are known to appear especially during Summer time. Unfortunately, we underestimated our timing and it was almost sunset when we reached.
Sunset Hamelin Bay
No Stingrays in sight, but the sunset made up for it.


Travel : Hamelin Bay to Margarets Forest (29 mins)

Source : Google Map

It was dark when we drove back to Margarets Forest. To make it more challenging, there were no lights along our route back to the hotel. We took the caves road instead of the highway as our Google Maps failed us due to poor signal. Nonetheless, it was a simple straight road. Dinner was a takeaway from one of the restaurants in Margaret River town. There is a Coles supermarket there too if you decided to make your own meals instead.

Coles at Margaret River

Day 7 : Explore Margaret River
Destination :  Margaret River Region
Highlights : White Elephant Cafe, Boranup Forest, Hamelin Bay, Mammoth Caves, Amaze

Travel : Margarets Forest to White Elephant Cafe (13mins)

White Elephant Cafe
Recommended Time Spend : 1 hour

White Elepant Cafe @ Margaret River
The adventure continued as we explore Margaret River Region . Since our hotel does not provide breakfast, we decided to venture out to the coast for a hearty meal. White Elephant Cafe was our breakfast destination for the day.

Nested just next to the shorelines, you have a good view of the open ocean while you dine.


Breakfast was fantastic too. It was a little pricey but it was worth it.
Caught!

On our way out from the valley, we spotted a viewing point. There we finally caught a glimpse of Margaret River . This is probably one of the rare spot where you can actually see the river in it's glory. A must see if you are in the namesake town - Margaret River.
Margaert River
Travel : White Elephant Cafe to Boranup Forest (20 min)
Google Map

Boranup Karri Forest
Recommended Time Spend : 15 Mins
Boranup Forest
Our next destination was Hamelin Bay, En route to the bay, we made a pit stop at Boranup Forest  that is about 20 minutes away from White Elephant Cafe. Do not stop on the roads as it may be quite hazardous. Instead, there is a run off / car park along the way for you to admire the giant trees of Margaret River. Some of the trees soar 60 meters above the ground!

Travel : Boranup Forest to Hamelin Bay ( 16 mins)
Source : Google Map

Hamelin Bay
Recommended Time Spend : 30 mins



As the stingrays eluded us the day before, we decided to try our luck once more at Hamelin Bay. Since it was a self drive holiday, we were pretty flexible in our itinerary.


We missed the Stingrays again.

The trip was not futile though. Daddy managed to capture some beautiful photos of us on the beach.

Hopefully, we will be able to catch a glimpse of the stingrays of Hamelin Bay when we revisit Margaret River in the future.


Travel : Hamelin Bay to Mammoth Caves (21 Mins)
Source : Google Map

Mammoth Cave
Recommended Time Spend : 1.5 hours

The main highlight for the day will be the visit to Mammoth Cave . Despite its name, it is not the largest cave in Margaret River. The accolade belongs to Jewel Cave.

Despite that, we were awed by what we saw. Mammoth Cave is a self guided tour. When we were there, there were only another group of visitors beside us, making exploration of the cave a mini adventure.
Inverted Ice Cream
The caves itself was not as colourful as jewel caves. It was still well lit and you can spot several interesting structures such as the 'inverted ice cream' and the glowing golden rock


Upon exiting the caves, you will need to cross the road and head back to the carpark. We decided to take the slightly longer Marri Trial back!

Travel : Mammoth Caves to Voyager Estate (10 mins)


Voyager Estate
Recommended Time Spend : 30 mins for non drinkers and 1 hour for wine lovers.

A visit to Margaret River will not be completed if you have not visit one of their many famous wineries there.


This is one of the more impressive estate to visit with its English style buildings. A giant Australia Flag greets you at the entrance. You can also opt for wine tasting and eat at the restaurant located in the premises.

Another attraction of Voyager will be the Rose Gardens. Take your time and smell the roses... they will ignite your sense of smell!

As it was winter, the vineyards were not in full bloom. Nonetheless this place is still worth a visit with its vast land, architecture and landscape.

Travel  : Voyager Estate to Amaze'n (6 Mins)
Source : Google Maps


Amaze'n
Recommended Time Spend : 2 hours

Next stop would be the largest family playground on Margaret River.  We stopped by Amaze'n and kicked off fun time with a game of mini golf.
Amaze'n Margaret River
After the game of golf, it was time to explore the maze. The maze was different from Yallingup maze. Here tall hedges replaced the wooden structures found the the latter.

The maze was relatively smaller and thus easier to complete as compared to Yallingup.


After finding our way to the center and out, we spotted another garden filled with gnomes.

Gnomes r Us
There are other parts to explore at Amaze'n . With 5 hectres of landscapes filled with birds and butterflies, you could take quite a while to explore every inch of Amaze'n.

In between the pretty landscape, there are floor puzzles, giant chess, ball games and playgrounds to entertain the little ones. We do recommend more time to spend here to explore.
Cafe at Amze'n
If you are hungry, there is also a cafe there for you to enjoy a quick bite before or after your fun in the park.

Travel :  Amaze to Margret River (6 mins )

After a fun filled day, it took us less than 10 minutes to be back in the hotel and recharge for a long day tomorrow.


Day 8 : From Margaret River to Perth
Destination : Margaret River Region
Highlights : Margaret River Bakery , Calgardup Caves , Surfer's Point, Margaret River Mouth ViewPoint, Busselton Jetty


Margaret River Bakery
Recommended Time Spend : 30mins
Margaret River Bakery
The first stop of the day was at the quirky Margaret River Bakery for our breakfast. The bakery is located just opposite Margarets Forest.


This is a quaint little bakery filled with many different breads from donuts, scones, croissants and more. If you are looking to find a place for breakfast at Margaret River, we highly recommend this place.


Travel : Margarets Forest to Rotary Park (1min)
Source:  Google Maps
Rotary Park
Recommended Time Spend : 1 hours

Rotary Park Margarets Forest
While driving, we spotted an old heritage steam engine 'Kate' at Rotary Park. Rotary park is located within walking distance from Margarets Forest. There are walking trails and playgrounds in the park as well. Unfortunately we had to give this a miss due to our schedule.

Travel : Rotary Park to Calgradup Caves (15mins)
Source:  Google Maps


Calgraup Caves
Recommended Time Spend : 1.5 hour
Calgradup Caves
This cave was not on our original agenda. In fact , we did not know of it's existance before this trip. Usually when you googled caves in Margaret River, the main caves that pops up in the search results are Jewel Caves, Mammoth Caves, Nigili Caves and Lake Caves. We only stumbled upon it when we drove along caves road during our earlier commute to other attractions. The beauty of a self drive trip is that we can make our own adventures as we deem it.

Calgradup caves is one of the 2 caves managed by Department of Environment and Conservation. Compared to the other caves, it is relatively untouched and less commercialised. Since it was our last day with nothing major planned, we decide to make a go for it.


Compared to the other more famous caves. this caves is not massive. It is only 27 metres deep with 2 brances of 150 meters track to explore. There is one major difference though... it has NO lights.


To explore the caves, we have to wear a helmet with lights. In addition, we were given torch lights to lit our way. This is a self guided tour.


During our visit, we were the ONLY group there. Honestly, going down to a dark cave was a pretty scary yet exciting experience. There are parts of the caves that are only 1.2 metres high that adults would probably need to squat to make their way through. The best part of the adventure... switching off all lights at the end of the route in the bowels of the caves. It was total darkness and you could not even see your hands if you place it in front of your face!


The boys showed no sense of fear in the caves, while the older folks were a little creep out. Regardless , we think you should not leave this cave our if you intend to explore caves in Margaret River. It may not be as pretty as the rest, but you will feel like Indiana Jones if you decide to explore it!

Travel : Calgardup Caves to Surfer's Point (15 mins)
Source : Google Map
Surfer's Point
Recommended Time Spend : 10 mins

Our last trip in Margaret River is to the Margaret River Mouth to bid our farewell to this beautiful place. En route to the destination, we spotted Surfer's point and saw some surfers taking on the waves at the open ocean.
Surfer's Point
Margaret River Mouth
Recommend Time Spend : 15 mins

The sight of the roaring ocean waves on one side and the serenity of the river on the other is an amazing contrast. This is the spot where you can see the power and soft touch of Mother Nature.

Take a walk around and you can see a statue holding a baby whale by the rocks.

Travel :Margaret River Mouth to Busselton Jetty (50mins)
Source : Google Map

With the last look at Margaret River, it was time to head back to Perth.

The Margaret River region has a few quaint little towns. Other than Witchcliffe , the home for witches, we found a paradise for cows.. Cowaramup.

Our first pit stop was Busselton Jetty. We were a tad disappointed when we learn that the Jetty is under renovation. Compared to our earlier trip, you could hardly see the jetty as a result of the work.


Travel : Busselton Jetty to Kmart (40 mins)
Source: Google Map
We decided to make a stop at Kmart Bunbury for lunch instead. Being Singaporeans, where shopping is in our blood, we decided to spend some time at Kmart. Kmart is an amazing place to shop. You get good bargains for clothes, home interior decors and more. In fact we picked up 9 cushions for our sofa.

The problem now would be how to fit those cushions into our luggage...
Kmart Mandurah
Travel : Kmart Bunbury to Mcdonalds Kwinana Freeway Northbound (1 h 22 mins)
Source : Google Map
We made another stop at Mcdonalds Kwinana Freeway Northbound to get dinner before checking in our hotel in Perth for the night. After a long drive, the driver would probably be too tired to head out for dinner. This pitstop is a good alternative to grab a meal before you check into your hotel / apartment in Perth City. Other than Mcdonalds, you can have chicken from Red Rooster and coffee from Wild Bean Cafe there.


Travel: Mcdonalds Kwinana Freeway Northbound to The Peinsular Riverside Apartment (30 mins)
Source:  Google Map

For this trip, instead of the city center, we decided to stay at South Perth.
The Peinsula Riverside Apartment
Our Hotel for this trip will be The Peninsula Riverside Apartments with a view of the city across Swan River. There are a few restaurants within walking distance from the apartment , making it a good location to consider. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is our home for the next 2 nights.
Perth City


Day 8 : Bonus  - Exploring Freemantle
Destination : Freemantle
Highlights : WA Martitime Museum, Fremantle Prison , Fremantle Market, Timezone


Our week in Margaret River may have ended, but we still have a full day to explore Perth. We kicked off the morning with a game on an old school arcade machine with games such as Donkey Kong and Pacman in the hotel lounge. We would love to get one of these when get back to Singapore!

Travel :  The Peninsula to Freemantle (22 mins)



Our destination for the day is Fremantle. Having experienced the charm of Fremantle from the last time, we decided to head back and explore other parts of Fremantle.


WA Maritime Museum
Recommended Time Spend : 2.5 hours

Our first stop was the WA Maritime Museum. From this location, you can spot the 2 lighthouses of Freemantle at a distance.
What are we pointing at?

The one in Green is known as the South Mole Lighthouse,


While the one in red is the South Mole Lighthouse.

After a quick pose, we head into the Museum.

The entrance fee to the museum only allows you to watch the general exhibits. If you want to see the special exhibits, it will cost extra. If time is an issue, we recommend you to take a tour in the submarine - HMAS Ovens instead of opting for the exhibit.

HMAS Ovens
After all, how many times can you say that you actually been inside a real submarine?
Heading
It was a very insightful tour as we check out how submariners lived and work 20,000 feet under the sea.

The Cockpit - Where is the window??
It was an eye opener for the boys as they take in what it is like in the submarine

In some spaces, there is only room for one to pass . For those who are catastrophic, things can get a little tight in the submarine.

Future Submariners?
After the 1 hour tour, we take a photo with our fantastic guide ( he was an ex submariner !) on a torpedo!

Fremantle Markets
Recommended Time Spend : 1.5 hours

Our next stop was at Fremantle market for lunch.

Look out for street performers. This juggler/comedian is a regular act at Fremantle. Judging from the large crowds who stop and watched him, he was pretty good and funny too!


Before lunch, we decided to walk around Fremantle markets. Here you can find fresh produce, quirky souvenirs and good food all around.

Fremantle Prison
Recommended Time Spend : 1.5 hours



After our meals, we took a stroll to Fremantle Prision. We were there 'Doing Time' at our last visit.
This time round we decided to make a 'Great Escape' from the prison.

No, we are not criminals lah , we are just taking one of the specialised tours Fremantle Prison offers to explore the grounds. Compared to the 'Doing Time' tour, we would have preferred the latter. So if you are at Fremantle Prison deciding which tours to take , you know what our choice is!

Timezone
Recommended Time Spend : 1 hour



It is an open secret that we are arcade fans. If you had followed us on Instagram, you would have seen some of our arcade escapades.Since Fremantle has a huge Timezone there, we could not resist making a pit stop.

It was dinner and back to the hotel thereafter. Compared to our Margaret River adventures, this is a pretty relaxing day spend in Perth.

If you want more alternatives itineraries in Perth, check out our Perth Top 25 Activities for kids.

Day 9:Time to head home...

The next morning, we took one last walk around the park outside our apartment before heading to the airport to go home. If you have more time, we do recommend a visit to the Perth Zoo located 5 minutes away from The Peninsula Riverside Apartment.



Travel :  The Peninsula Riverside Apartment - Perth Airport (20mins)
Source: Google Maps

It is time to say good bye to Perth and Margaret River. We had such a good time and made a promise to be back in the future!


Tips for a Road Trip to Margaret River


Want to embark on your own self drive adventure.

Here are some tips to aid your journey

1 Get a Telstra SIM card from the Airport convenience store 
We had the Optus SIM card and there were certain areas in Margaret River where there is no reception. Telstra network was more reliable.

2 Get Full insurance for peace of mind
Honestly, the cost of insurance can be as high as the car rental itself. Nonetheless, with full coverage, you do not need to worry about unwanted accidents or scratches made to the car (especially if you are going off road)

3 Don't bring your own car seat
Australia has pretty strict rules on car seats. As a guide, a child below 7 requires car seats. Portable booster seats such as mifold is not allowed in Australia. See here for more information

4 Google is your best friend
For this trip, we used Google Map intensively.  There are occasions that we used Apple map but they were not as accurate. Our car came with carplay, so we just link up our iphones and are good to go. There is no need to get additional GPS device for driving ( save that for the car seats)


Make stops along the way
Instead of a long 3 hours plus drive to and from Perth to Margaret River, we chose to make pit stops along the way. This would help in breaking the monotonous drive as well as giving you the opportunity to explore the smaller towns

Watch out for Kangeroos

Beware Kangaroo Crossing
We spotted kangaroos on the road for at least 3 times. One of them came quite close to a collision. Along the highway, we came across a few dead kangaroos by the road as well. Keep your eyes open and be alert while on the road. Try to avoid night drives as some roads are not lit at night.

A self drive trip is an awesome way to discover Margaret River. You can create your own itinerary to suit your needs and interest. Being a self directed holiday, you can even choose to change your destinations along the way. Driving to Margaret River was easy , uncomplicated and full of little surprises along the way. We highly recommend it!

Check out our Self Drive Itinerary in Perth from our last trip
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5 comments:

  1. Omg, can't express how timely this post is to me! TQ so much!
    (I actually read visited your blog abt 2 mths ago, on your old Perth post. Got curious again just now, to probably read on that old post.. only to be surprised with a new Perth trip report! Lol!)
    Will be heading there end Nov, and we have quite a similar itinerary planned out. :)
    Just a few qns if you don't mind..
    1) the Busselton jetty construction works? So the train ride to the end of the jetty is no-go?
    2) What abt the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre? I plan to visit that place otw back to Perth from MR. Read that the place is still open despite the works going on.

    I'm lapping all these up in bed, poring over all the important tips you've shared. haha
    Btw, awesome pics as usual!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for reading our blog :)
    1) We did not check the train rides . There were construction on the beach but not the Jetty itself . If you are there for photos of the Jetty , you might be disappointed by the view
    2) Bunbury Dolphin renovation will only be completed much later . The current premise was just the size of their previous retail shop . We only spend 15 mins there . Best to head to Bunbury Wildlife Park . That is worth the trip .
    Nov will be close to summer so days will be longer . It means you probably have more time to explore too . Enjoy the trip !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, i am reading your blog in preparation of our upcoming Perth trip. Much appreciated for the detailed info.... may i kindly check if we need to hire any specific car model if we were to go through Boranup Forest? is normal sedan car okay to go thru the forest? Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Normal sedan is fine as there are paved roads through the forest . Personally I prefer suv for longer rides as it is more comfortable . :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the prompt reply!

      Delete

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