Anyone who knows us, knows just how much we love Dunsborough and its surrounding area. This town, located three hours south of Perth in Western Australia and in the beautiful Margaret River Region, has become a second home to us, and for good reason. With the beautiful blue Geographe Bay at its doorstep, the laidback surf lifestyle, coastal Yallingup as its neighbour, and the incredible wineries and coastal hues around Cape Naturaliste, the quaint town of Dunsborough has captured perfection. There are so many amazing things to do in Dunsborough that its not hard to see why we love it so much.
Despite Dunsborough’s very popular status as a holiday destination, it thankfully hasn’t reached international or even national scale. The town has become a popular hotspot for Perth locals on weekends and holidays but the rest of the world has yet to be let in on this secret gem of South West Australia. As a result, you can still expect to find secluded beaches and incredible spots all to yourself.
For a town of less than 5000 people, Dunsborough is teeming with adventure and things to do – making it the perfect holiday destination. After being lucky enough to call this place home on and off for three years, we have put together this list of our favourite things to do in Dunsborough and even included some incredible things to do in Yallingup.
Top Things to Do in Dunsborough
1. Margaret River Wine Tour
An obvious choice. This area is known for its rich soil that results in incredible wines. Not just for the wine lovers, a perfect wine tour also incorporates some local food artisans and producers, breweries, delicious restaurants and wineries.
The vineyards are not just limited to Dunsborough, incredible wineries are scattered all throughout this region including in Quindalup, Margaret River and Yallingup. We put together this DIY itinerary for a perfect day out exploring the vines and sampling the goods:
If you would prefer to go on an organised tour, which includes a gourmet winery lunch you can book online here.
2. Beach Hop
Even though there are so many incredible beaches in Western Australia, I swear there is nothing quite like the beaches around Cape Naturaliste. Although it is definitely a holiday destination, it thankfully hasn’t reached the celebrity status one would expect from its beautiful white sand and crazy pristine waters. The coastal drive between Meelup Beach and Eagle Bay delivers numerous beaches and incredible views worth exploring. For the clearest blue water, make sure you go to Bunker Bay, while Point Piquet is quaint and often secluded.
3. Whale Watching
From September until early December the oceans in the southwest become home to thousands of whales. We have never lived somewhere with so many whales swimming in the water. Anytime you go to the beach or drive along the coast you are likely to see whales splashing in the distance.
The waters around Dunsborough are home to Humpbacks, Blue whales, Southern Right Whales and Minke whales. It is an incredible sight to see the largest animals in the world in their natural habitat.
To get an incredible view of these whales from the shore head to Point Piquet on Cape Naturaliste. There is a deep channel about 100 metres from shore that the whales swim through daily and is known by some locals as the whale highway.
The best way to have an amazing encounter with these creatures is to head out on the water on a whale watching tour. Seeing these magnificent creatures while out on the water is an incredible experience.
You can check out prices and availability for a Dunsborough whale watching tour here.
Nothing says the holidays quite like a lazy morning filled with good company and even better food. Brunch is a go-to favourite activity in Dunsborough as indicated by the sheer number of cafes and brunch restaurants. Goanna Cafe is set back in Quindalup’s bush but is worth the drive. Be sure to try their Indo breakfast – it’s phenomenal. A couple other favourites include Canteen Kitchen and Yallingup General Store (aka Andy’s).
5. Sunset at Sugarloaf Rock
Out towards Cape Naturaliste is the spectacular sight of Sugarloaf Rock. This impressive mountain of granite rock juts out of the water in the shape of a pyramid and makes for a unique sunset spot. Grab a couple of drinks and take in the view as the sun sets on the horizon casting its golden glow onto Sugarloaf Rock.
6. BBQ at Yallingup
A true Aussie classic – it doesn’t get much more Australian than enjoying a BBQ on the beach. Take advantage of the free electric BBQs, picnic area, grassy lawn and amazing seascapes on offer here in Yallingup. The elevated viewing platform is the perfect spot to hang post-meal and witness some of the local talent as they surf Yallingup main break.
Over the years this has become a reoccurring activity and one of our favourite things to do in Yallingup. Whether it is to celebrate birthdays, bid farewells or just an excuse to get together, you cannot go wrong with a Yallingup BBQ.
7. Injidup Natural Spa
At the very end of Wyadup Rd out past Yallingup, you will find the natural-forming rock pool and spa. This incredible phenomenon occurs as ocean water surges through the crevasse in the rocks and flushes out into the pool, loosely mimicking jets in a spa. Nestle yourself into these cracks and enjoy the free massage.
From the car park, there is a bit of a scramble over some rocks but you will be well rewarded with this unique spot. This activity has gained popularity in recent years, and while you may not get this spot to yourself anymore, it is without a doubt still worth the trip.
8. Sunday Sesh at Cave House
If BBQing on the beach is the favourite pastime of Aussies, having a few drinks, listening to live music and enjoying a Sunday Sesh is a close second. Caves House in Yallingup is a local favourite on Sundays. The restaurant and bar offers a sprawling outdoor area perfect for events and shows. During the summer months take advantage of the good artists they bring in and the free shuttle bus from town.
No trip to the South West of Australia is complete with trying your hand at the local surf. If you are a beginner, Crystal at Yallingup Surf School offers awesome lessons to put you at ease. Unlike many other world class surf spots, you can expect to share the water with only a handful of others.
10. Coastal Hikes
There is no shortage of incredible walks around this area to experience the rugged, untouched seascapes of South West Australia. The popular coastal trek, the Cape to Cape Track takes you 135km through the Margaret River Region from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin and provides access to views and beaches not otherwise accessible. If 5 days of hiking isn’t your thing, smaller sections of the track are available.
Another beautiful route and a personal favourite, takes you along the Meelup Reserve Trail from Old Dunsborough to Castle Rock. Scramble up on top of Castle Rock at the end to enjoy the view of its surroundings.
11. Hamelin Bay
A little further afield than the rest of the activities, but no less desirable – Hamelin Bay is a must see. While the white sand and crystal clear waters are stunning, the true draw to this beach are the friendly resident stingrays.
Head down to the shoreline just to the left of the boat ramp and you can expect to see the stingrays cruising the coastline. Don’t be intimated by their dangerous image, these guys provide a friendly greeting by gently swimming right up to your feet.
12. Jet Ski Tour
We grabbed a few of our friends and headed out with Dunsborough Jet Ski Tours for an adrenaline filled day of adventure exploring this epic coastline from the water.
It was awesome to gain another perspective of this beautiful place and ripping around on jet skis is the one of our favourite ways to spend a few hours. Our guide took us along Cape Naturaliste from the Quindalup boat ramp just passed Shelley Cove on a 2.5-hour tour.
One of the reasons this made it onto our list is that they are not afraid to let you have a bit of fun on this tour. We were given the freedom to cut loose and put the jet skis through their paces. I truly can’t express how much fun this was. We felt like a bunch of big kids for a few hours.
If you are looking for the most fun day out in Dunsborough we reckon this is it!
13. Canal Rocks
The Southwest is home to some incredible geological arrangements and Canal Rocks is one of these unique rock formations. Similar to Injidiup Natural Spa but on a larger scale, Canal Rocks is a natural canal that funnels water through it. There is also a picturesque bridge and short walkway to enjoy.
Head out on a sunny day to enjoy the rock pools, snorkel around the rocks (keep an eye out for sharks) and watch the sunset make everything glow orange.
A couple summers back we spent the day hanging out in the rock pools with friends and had the pleasure of spotting a huge octopus. The sea life in this area is extraordinary.
Where to Stay in Dunsborough
Budget: Dunsborough Beachouse YHA – Our home away from home. We have spent over a year living here across three different spells. The location of this property and the friendly chilled out vibes are what makes this place great. There aren’t many places you can stay for this price with the beach at your doorstep.
Mid Range: Lanterns Retreats – Situated in the heart of Old Dunsborough you are just a few minutes walk from the beach, the town centre, coastal walks and cafes. It is one of the best rated accommodations in Dunsborough and offers amazing value.
Luxury: Pullman Bunker Bay Resort – Having worked here I can testify to just how amazing this resort is. Situated on Bunker Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, this 5-star resort is the perfect luxury retreat. Whether you choose to swim in the ocean or the infinity pool is up to you!
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The fact that this tiny town has so much to see and do is a testament of how good the area is. After 3 years, we are still finding new things to do in Dunsborough, and are forever exploring our beautiful backyard. Next time you’re in Dunsborough make sure to check out some of these things and make the most of your time in the beautiful South West! Let us know which ones are your favourites!