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 on a Margaret River adventure, check out our Self Drive Holiday-Perth post.  During our trip to MR, we met 3 families who had read our first post to plan for their trip to Perth.  It was amazing 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 of this trip will be
  • Self Drive Route from Perth to Margaret River
  • Farms in the Margaret River Region
  • Margaret River Beaches
  • Margaret River Caves
  • Margaret River attractions for kids - Maze, Mini Golf, Icecreamery and more!
  • Lighthouses
  • Whale Watching
The trip took a week to complete. But, even then, we felt it was not enough. So ride with us as we drive you from Perth to Margaret River and back!

Full itinerary and suggested highlights in the post
* Warning: Super long 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. However, the 5 hours of flying did not allow us much time to sleep, so we recommend considering 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. In hindsight, buying a Telstra Sim card from the convenience store may be better. However, Telstra's reception was the most reliable in most parts of Margaret River.

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

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

The first stop was Hungry Jacks at Mandurah.  The plan was to stop every hour for meals/attractions/toilet breaks. That would make the 3 hours of 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. Again, there was a choice to take the Forrest Highway / Old Coast Road or the South Western Highway. Guess which route 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 bit longer as it passed through smaller towns. However, 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 spent: 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 significant renovations when we were there in June. The beach in front of the centre 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 Wildlife Park
Recommended Time Spend: 2 hours
Our next trip was a short 12 min ride away.
Bunbury Wildlife Park
Since it was almost a must to see Kangaroos in Australia, we made a detour to Bunbury Wildlife Park.

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

Feeding Kangaroos
The birds were pretty friendly too!
Birdman
Give about 2 hours at the Bunbury Wildlife park, especially if you want your children to stretch their legs at the huge playground next to it.
Playground @ Bunbury Wildlife

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

Don't think we have any complaints about 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 a quick lunch near Bunbury Target, we headed out on the roads again. Our next destination is our resort at Pullman Bunker Bay. A stopover was made at Coles in Dunsborough to stock up for food and supplies. It was best to get our dinner here before we reached the resort, as Pullman was relatively isolated.

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.

You can book your resort stay at Pullman Bunker here.


Pullman Bunker Bay


Day 3: Exploring Dunsborough
Destination: Dunsborough Surrounds
Highlights: Xscape, Simmons, Wonky Windmill

Bunker Bay
There were plenty of options for hotels in the Dunsborough region; we opted for Pullman as it was one of the rare resorts 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 its beaches than Sydney or Gold Coast. However, we do reckon the beaches at Bunker's Bay will give the best beaches in Australia a run for their 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 energised to start our holidays.

Want to have a Pullman Experience?
We booked our hotel from booking.com here.
Strike a Post

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

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

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


Our first stop was Xscape's outdoor playground at Cape Fun Park.  We took the Combo ticket option, where we had one Laser Tag game, one Wacky Putt, unlimited trampoline jumps, an endless 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, was a pleasant experience.
Waterplay  Xscape
If you are there during summer, the Waterplay area will be open. Judging from the slides, it looked like a great place to be away from the summer heat. Unfortunately, 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 to Simmo's Ice Creamery to cool down. Simmo's Ice Creamery won the Australia National award for ice cream of the year. It was also known as one of the Top 15 ice creameries 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 from, it was not easy to pick a flavour.

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

Travel: Simmo's Ice Creamery to Wonky Windmill  (15 mins)

Wonky Windmill
Recommended Time Spend: 1.5 hours

We wanted to spend more time, but time was a rare commodity in Winter. So 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 saw a total of 3 farms in one trip. Among the three, Wonky Windmill was the most relaxing to walkabout. The main activity here is feeding the animals. Therefore, it is best to allocate 1.5-2 hours to truly enjoy the experience.

Wonky Windmill.
Before we knew it, the sun had set. We stopped at Dunsborough to fix our Chinese food 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

Attractions: Sunrise at Dunsborough, Sugarloaf Rock, Yallingup Maze, Waves Rock
, Countrylife farm
Pullman Bunker
If time permits, we do recommend an additional day in Dunsborough. This is because there are a lot more family-friendly attractions to explore. That was the reason we added another day in Dunsborough 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 wake up early to watch the sunrise.

After decent morning breakfast, we are ready to head out. If you are staying in Pullman Bunker's bay, we highly recommend you to take the breakfast buffet. Not only was it convenient, but it was also the only place you could have a decent breakfast around the resort. Also, with the nearest restaurant a good 10-minute drive away, it made sense to have breakfast as an alternative 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 

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

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

Sugarloaf Rock
It was a kid's friendly attraction with an open-air carpark nearby and a viewing platform. So 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 a lack of time. One of the reasons was that we thought it was just a maze. It would not be anything much. I was pleasantly surprised when we discovered it was more fun than it sounded.


The Yallingup maze is a giant puzzle where you would have to make your way through the twist and turn to find your destination.

Choose from the easy route (Find 1 or 2 corners) to the challenging way (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 twists and a secret passage to find all 4 corners. But, at least in between, we had colourful wall panels to entertain us throughout the maze.

It was 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. Of course, it was winter, but we still felt the blazing sun during high noon.

I conquered 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 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 famous site for rock formations around Dunsborough. 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 offer two different occasions in one location.

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

On the way out, 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 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. Besides feeding farm animals, you also get to play in the indoor playground, inflatable slides, Dodgem cars, rowing boats and more.



In hindsight, we should have allocated more time there with much to do. Unfortunately, the day was much shorter during the winter, leaving us 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 an excellent 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. After all, how many times do you come across Hairy Highland Cow?
Highland Cow
Given the number of activities on the farm, the farm area is relatively minor 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 stopped at Dunsborough to get our dinner before heading back to Pullman 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 moved to the next destination.

After hearing his glowing reviews, we decided to tag along with him this time. 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.


Yoga by the serene beach during Sunrise should be on the bucket list for the more adventurous.
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 made a quick detour to Cape Naturalistic Lighthouse. Since we were here on the last trip, we decided not to climb the lighthouse.

For a quick tour, 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 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 above 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 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 tea.

You could consider stopping at Nigili Cave instead of Lavender Tea house. For those who have 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.
Ngilgi 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. So whether not, be disappointed if you love white, dark or regular chocolates.

If you want more chocolates to bring home to savour, there are plenty of other flavours for you to choose from. There is also a small cafe too. However, 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 was time for lunch, and we headed to the famed Bootleg Brewery for a quick bite. Margaret River is well known 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. A lake faces the brewery, making it a great spot to kick bag and enjoy the view.
Bootleg Brewery Margaret River
The meals were good, too, with a generous serving enough to fill the stomach.
Lunch at Bootleg Brewery
The main attraction would be the beers. So 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


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 of accommodation.

We chose the 2 bedrooms 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.

You can book your stay at Margaret Forest at this link. 


 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 complaints from the family as we visited Sunflower farm, located less than 10 minutes from Margaret River. We did not make any farm stays the last time we were down, and we made up for it during this trip. It was easy to spot Sunflower Farm with 3 Minions 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 kangaroos on the farm too!



You can even feed the goats if you are there at the right time.

Our favourite activity will be feeding the rabbits. Unfortunately, the rabbits are in an open pen, and pretty tricky 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 want a farm stay, you can opt for accommodation at Sunflower Animal Farm.  The location less than 10 minutes from Margaret River town makes it an ideal place for a farm stay.

It was nightfall when we headed back to the hotel. After grabbing takeouts ( look for the Korean Fusion restaurant - Teddies Big Spoon, we think the food is excellent!), we headed back to Margarets Forest for a good night's 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 we were here, we had the best whale watch session. Breakfast as doughnuts that we grab from the petrol station right outside our hotel. As we would be in the 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 where would you find a town called Witchliffe anywhere. Parts of the small village are decorated with Witch inspired theme, making every day feel 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 saw fewer 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




On the last trip, we missed visiting Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse due to the lack of time. So 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, 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, 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!



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


Australians consider the Cape 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. Besides farms and vineyards, Margaret River is famous for its numerous limestone caves dot Caves Road. Jewel Caves is considered 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 lasts about 1 hour or so.

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

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 Summertime. But unfortunately, we underestimated our timing, and it was almost sunset when we reached.
Sunset Hamelin Bay
No Stingrays insight, 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 an easy straight road. Dinner was a takeaway from one of the restaurants in Margaret River town. There is a Coles supermarket there too if you decide to make your own meals.

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 Elephant Cafe @ Margaret River
The adventure continued as we explored the 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.

Nestled just next to the shorelines, you can enjoy 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 of the valley, we spotted a viewing point. There we finally caught a glimpse of Margaret River. This is probably one of the rare spots where you can see the river in its glory. A must-see if you are in the namesake town - Margaret River.
Margaret 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, about 20 minutes away from White Elephant Cafe. Do not stop on the roads, as it may be pretty 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 again at Hamelin Bay. Since it was a self-drive holiday, we were 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. There were only another group of visitors besides us when we were there, making exploring the cave a mini-adventure.
Inverted Ice Cream
The caves itself was not as colourful as jewel caves. However, it was still well lit, and you could spot several interesting structures, such as the 'inverted ice cream' and the glowing golden rock.


Upon exiting the caves, you must 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 visited one of the many famous wineries.


This is one of the more impressive estates 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 on 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.

If you are a wine lover and have sufficient time, you might be keen on taking this wine package from Klook. It includes a cave and lighthouse tour too.

Travel: Voyager Estate to Amazon (6 Mins)
Source: Google Maps


Amaze'n
Recommended Time Spend: 2 hours

The next stop would be the largest family playground on Margaret River. Then, finally, we stopped by Amaze'n and started a 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 the Yallingup maze. Here tall hedges replaced the wooden structures found the latter.

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


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

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

There are floor puzzles, giant chess, ball games, and playgrounds between the pretty landscape to entertain the little ones. We do recommend more time to spend here exploring.
Cafe at Amze'n
If you are hungry, there is also a cafe 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 return to 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 day's first stop was at the quirky Margaret River Bakery for our breakfast. The bakery is located just opposite Margarets Forest.


This quaint little bakery is filled with many pieces of bread from doughnuts, scones, croissants and more. If you want 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 hour

Rotary Park Margarets Forest
While driving, we spotted an old heritage steam engine 'Kate' at Rotary Park. Rotary Park is located within walking distance of 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 its existence before this trip. Usually, when you googled caves in Margaret River, the main caves that pop 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 are one of the 2 caves managed by the 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 decided to make a go for it.


Compared to the other more famous caves. This cave is not massive. It is only 27 metres deep with 2 branches of 150 meters track to explore. There is one significant difference, though... it has NO lights.


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


During our visit, we were the ONLY group there. Going down to a dark cave was a scary yet exciting experience. Some caves are only 1.2 metres high 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 placed them in front of your face!


The boys showed no fear in the caves, while the older folks were a little crept out. Regardless, we think you should not leave this cave 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 to 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 in 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 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. Besides Witchcliffe, the home for witches, we found a paradise for cows. Cowaramup.

Our first pit stop was Busselton Jetty. We were disappointed when we learned that the Jetty was under renovation. Compared to our earlier trip, you could hardly see the Jetty due to 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 decor 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 McDonald Kwinana Freeway Northbound (1 h 22 mins)
Source: Google Map
We stopped at McDonald Kwinana Freeway Northbound to get dinner before checking into our hotel in Perth for the night. After a long drive, the driver would probably be too tired to head out for dinner. So this pitstop is an excellent alternative to grab a meal before you check into your hotel/apartment in Perth City. Besides McDonald's, you can have chicken from Red Rooster and coffee from Wild Bean Cafe.


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

For this trip, we decided to stay in South Perth instead of the city centre.
The Peninsula Riverside Apartment
Our Hotel for this trip will be The Peninsula Riverside Apartments, with a view of the city across Swan River. A few restaurants within walking distance from the apartment make it an excellent location to consider. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is our home for the next 2 nights. It is also a short 3minutes drive away from Perth Zoo.




Perth City


Day 8: Bonus  - Exploring Freemantle
Destination: Freemantle
Highlights: WA Maritime 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 getting back to Singapore!

Travel: The Peninsula to Freemantle (22 mins)



Our destination for the day is Fremantle. Having experienced the charm of Fremantle 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 exhibitions, they will cost extra. If time is an issue, we recommend you tour the submarine - HMAS Ovens instead of opting for the exhibit.

HMAS Ovens
After all, how many times can you say that you have actually been inside a real submarine?
Heading
It was a very insightful tour as we checked how submariners lived and worked 20,000 feet underwater.

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

In some spaces, there is only room for one to pass. So for catastrophic people, things can get a little tight in the submarine.

Future Submariners?
After the 1 hour tour, we took 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 stopped 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.

Fremantle Prison
Recommended Time Spend: 1.5 hours



After our meals, we took a stroll to Fremantle Prison. We were there 'Doing Time' on our last visit.
This time, 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, we could not resist making a pit stop.

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

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

Day 9: Time to head home...

The following day, 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 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 goodbye to Perth and Margaret River. We had such a good time and promised to be back in the future!

You can book your accommodations in Perth here.


Booking.com

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 certain areas in Margaret River had no reception. Telstra network was more reliable.

2 Get Full insurance for peace of mind
The insurance cost 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 are not allowed in Australia. See here for more information.

4 Google is your best friend
For this trip, we used Google Maps intensively.  There are occasions that we used Apple maps, but they were not as accurate. Our car came with carplay, so we just linked up our iPhones and are good to go. There is no need to get an 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 made pit stops along the way. This would help break the monotonous drive and allow you to explore the smaller towns.

Watch out for Kangaroos

Beware Kangaroo Crossing
We spotted kangaroos on the road at least 3 times. One of them came pretty 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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32 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 !

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  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 . :)

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    2. Thanks for the prompt reply!

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  4. Hi what place of interest would u recommend us to visit in perth is if we were to have a 2 night stay in margater river. We currently arr having a 6D5N trip to Perth. Trying to work on the itinerary and fit Margaret Rivers. Do you think we should do spend the last 2 nights at Margaret River before our midnight flight home? We are going as 2 families with small and big children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret Forest . We stayed there twice and it is located near the eateries . 2 nights is good , but we think a week is even better !

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  5. hi, looking at 2 weeks for perth. should i use your margaret river schedule for the 1st week and then perth schedule for the 2nd week. does it make sense?

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    Replies
    1. Yes it does. I think it will be a great way to spend the holidays!

      Delete
  6. Hi there, thanks for the post! Can I just ask why you decided to split your time between two hotels in the Margaret River region? Is it worth it to move between two hotels... Especially with kids? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. We did it mainly for the Whales and Caves down at Augusta region . Pullman Bunker is a 2 hour drive to and fro Augusta . Heading to Margaret River town would cut down the travel time significantly ( less than 1 hour per day ) , so it made sense . Since we are on a road trip , it was actually quite ok to change hotels mid way . The kids treated it as part of the adventure and new experiences :)

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    2. Thank you! It just so happened that I was looking at both these hotels before I read your post, I was gonna choose one, now I'll consider staying at both. We have two weeks in the region, but our one year old has a lot of baby stuff haha hence I'm less keen to pack and move. Thanks for your super quick reply, love your trip reports, very useful.

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    3. You are welcome. Have a good trip!

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  7. hi! Love your very detailed itinerary! I am considering staying at Pullman Bunker Bay while in Margaret River in July. Assuming I am not going as far as Augusta, would it be advisable to stay here? It looks nice and I love that it's near the beach. Also given it's a hotel I assume there is housekeeping for the room daily? however I notice it's a bit of a drive to places like Sunflower Animal Farm. I rather not move to another hotel because we have 3 kids 4 years old and under.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. Thanks for dropping in. Pullman is a great place to stay. It's a little far from Sunflower but it is manageable if you are not heading to Augusta ( It's almost a straight road ) you can consider other farms such as Wonky Windmill and Country Life Farm that are much closer. If you like our review , do use this link to book your stay (Cost the same as the website). Thanks for the support. http://www.booking.com/hotel/au/pullman-bunker-bay-margaret-river.html?aid=1443390&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much!
      Sorry. Just one more question. Which is a nicer place to stay (the comfort & cleanliness of the room itself, amenities etc.) - Pullman or Margaret Forest? Thanks in advance!

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    3. Pullman has a beach but need to travel out to Dunsbough for meal if you do not want to eat indoors ( about 10 mins) Margaret Forest is more centralised and has restaurants and supermarkets just outside the hotel . In terms of comfort , Pullman is better imho. Besides you can’t beat the sunrise from the beach in the morning .

      Delete
    4. Hi there,

      Thanks for the detailed post on Perth! What time were you at the beach to catch the sunrise?

      Delete
  8. Hi, can i get the Telstra sim card at Perth airport?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Use to be able to get one at the convenience store , not quite sure the situation now

      Delete
  9. hihi

    You have visited both Caversham Wildlife Park & Bunbury Wildlife Park. Would you recommend that we go for both? (family trip - with 4yo toddler & the grandparents)

    If not which is more worth a visit? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, if time is not an issue , do both :)

      Delete
  10. We wanted to visit, but never did. I am determined now. I love your pictures, so vibrant and full of colour!

    Darren
    Agoda hk

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, I saw your first Perth trip post mentioning Hertz to be probably your first and last time but you have choosen Hertz once again. Did they follow up on the extra $100 charge?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    Thank you for the generous sharing of your itinerary, very informative.
    Can I check whether the accommodations you stayed in had car parking facilities? I read from Pullman Bunker Resort that they do not have car parking.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they all have . Parking was one of the criteria for me as we self drive for the trip

      Delete
  13. Hi! I noticed you stayed in Quest on James(Best Western Northbridge) as well as Peninsula Serviced apartment in Perth on 2 different occasions. Can I find out which apartment is more suitable if I have 3 young kids with me? I'm particularly looking for 1 which is not too dead at night and have restaurants and supermarket nearby?
    Btw, Thanks very much for the detailed itinerary! It helped so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i would take the Peninsula over Quest. There are eateries a street away and it is much safer imho compared to quest

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    2. Thanks very much! We booked the Peninsula in the end.
      Btw, who did you rent your car from? I might have miss out the information somewhere. ��

      Delete
    3. We booked from Hertz for Perth trips :)

      Delete
  14. Hey,
    Thank you for all the wealth of information.
    Im wondering what there is to do and see in Dunsborough. We will be staying 2 nights at Pullman after spending 3 nights at Margaret river. Your thoughts?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is lots to do at Dunsborough. We stayed there a couple of nights at Pullman. You can visit Cape Naturaliste , Visit country life farm, canal rocks, Ngilgi caves. In fact, 2 days is not enough to explore the area.

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