What to do in Margaret River for holidays with kids

Saturday, September 09, 2017

What to do in margaret river with kids
Family holidays with kids in Margaret River

Having been on two multi-generation trips to Margaret river over the past two years, I wanted to share with you some highlights on what to do in the Margaret river when visiting for a holiday with kids. Below we have outlined a few things to do, plus a few ideas for places to stay with the family.  

What you should plan to do

Transport  

Margaret river attractions are spread out over quite a large area, and you will definitely want to hire a car.  If your family is flying into Perth, the best option is to rent a car from the Perth Airport.  Check out our travel resources page for car recommended rental companies. Find a comfortable car that offers space and provides excellent fuel economy - the drive from the airport to Busselton is approx two hours and thirty mins (221.3 km) along the State Route 2 and National Route 1. 

Create a plan of daily activities. 

When it comes to planning a family holiday in Margaret River region, it's important that you plan your daily activities, as the drive from North of the area around Busselton to south down to Augusta can take around 1 hour. When you throw kids into the mix, you need to factor what time tours will start and how much time you need to allow to get to your activities. We find it handy to have our day's activities planned out the night before, so we know what time we need to get away and on the road in the morning.

Google Map of margaret river
 The following journey time guide can help you plan out approx times from the top in the Busselton Area to some of the attractions we liked to visit. 
 

How long does it take to drive to the Margaret River Attractions?

Driving from Busselton WA to  Time Distance
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse 1:10mins 100km
Margaret River Mouth.  Surf Break and Kayak Hire 47mins 60km
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse 37mins 38kms
Jewels Caves Augusta 1:10mins 94kms
Canal Rocks Yallingup  33mins 37kms


Some ideas of things to pack when visiting the area

  • Soft cool bag for packing lunches and carrying wine purchases from the vineyard
  • Beach Towels or beach throws,
  • Beach umbrella or shade - there tends to be very little shade on the beaches around here, and the sun is fierce in the summer
  • Skateboards or Scooters for kids if staying at on the boardwalk around Busselton (see our notes on the Aqua Resort below) 
  • Own essential spices and condiment pack for self-catering families

Our list of ultimate boredom busters for Margaret river.

  1. Busselton Jetty - Walk along Busselton Jetty which is 1.8km long out to sea
  2. Aquatastic Busselton - Burn off some calories at this awesome inflatable experience at Busselton beach
  3. Morning coffee and a swim at Bunker Bay
  4. Jewel Caves Augusta and Lake Caves
  5. Walk around the Light house at Cape Leeuwin, the most southerly point in mainland Australia (do the self-guided audio tour)
  6. Kayak on the Margaret River 
  7. Ice creams at Simmos in the afternoon
  8. Take a tour of the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
  9. Meelup Reserve Trail - Coastal walk from Dunsborough to Eagle Bay with stunning little beaches along the way 
  10. Hamelin Bay - Check out the Giant Rays, ask a local for details. 
  11. Canal Rocks - scenic spot, swimming holes

Busselton Jetty on the line


Aquatastic Busselton - Burn off the ice cream!
What to do in Busselton

Kayaking on Margaret River with the kids. 


Simmos Icecream - Thumbs up!
Simmos Icecream Review Margaret River

Taking in the view from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Things to do in Margaret River with kids



Our Favourite Vineyards. 


Lunch at Hamelin Bay Wines

Visiting vineyards with kids isn't always a favourite thing for kids to do, but hey it's not just their holiday! We would often use the bribery of an ice cream stop at Simmos on the way back to get the kids over the line. Here are a few of our favourite vineyards. The trick is not to cram them all in, dropping in on one vineyard on the way home from another activity is what worked for our family. 
  • Vasse Felix wines - Nice spot to start the wine tasting experience
  • Voyager Estate - It's definitely worth paying for the wine experience, with a great selection of top class wines.  There is also a beautiful garden for the kids to have a roam around.
  • Hamelin Bay Wines - (One our favourites) Awesome place for a lunch break with a beautiful view, we suggest dropping in on return from visiting either the Jewel Caves to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.  
  • Hay Shed Hill - A great place for Brunch, and taste some lovely wines very close to the Providore deli shop and Chocolate Factory.  The garden is set up with games for the kids.
  • Pierro Vineyard - Personally we think this is one tasty drop, with some fantastic white wines to try. Grab a bottle to have in the evening back at home. 

Advice on making the most of what to do in Margaret River.

  1. If you plan on visiting the Chocolate factory in Margaret river, pick your timing! When we visited, it was overcrowded and full of people double dipping on the free chocolate. Dad found the place so nauseating, he had to leave and go and lie down on the lawn, ghastly!  But the kids love it, and it's worth a trip if you go early in the day (before the crowds descend...)
  2. Simmos Ice cream can be busy in the afternoons, but it's well worth it. Enjoy a Cinnamon Ginger icecream on the lawn before heading back home for an afternoon swim.
  3. Eating out all the time can be expensive in WA. Purchase some of the great local produce during the day and have a casual BBQ or meal back at your hotel, apartment or rented house.  
  4. Yum yum - keep an eye out for Fre Jac Bakery and the little white van delivering fresh baguettes and pain au chocolate.  The van calls in at a number of resorts around Busselton and Dunsborough, and we would often grab breakfast and also some tasty tarts or bread to cater for lunch.
  5. Accommodation in peak school holiday periods will be more expensive (supply demand),  book early if you can. 
  6. Bunker Bay - Visit the beach in the morning and have an early lunch at the Bunkers Beach House Cafe (another favourite pick of ours), soaking in the stunning view of Bunker Bay
  7. Get up early and take a walk along the Busselton Jetty before 8 am. Cost is $4 per adult after 8 am.  Return from a walk and enjoy breakfast at the Goose Bar and Kitchen, which is also a great spot for an early evening meal to watch the sunset. 

Where to stay in Margaret River on holidays with kids

Having visited the area twice now, we have stayed at the same place, the Aqua Resort Busselton, on both occasions. We loved the stylish villas built around lovely gardens and with access to a pool, small gym, and a tennis court.  Aqua Resort is less than 10min drive away from Busselton shops or Dunsborough shops.  Situated right on a beautiful, calm beach, you can also access the board walk that runs all the way to Busselton jetty (you can hire bikes at the resort, or just enjoy the scenic walk).  There are a few bars and cafes/restaurants within walking distance. The villas are very comfortable and set up with all the things you need for a week to two weeks. 

Three places to consider to stay as a family.
  1. Aqua Resort Busselton 605 Bussell Hwy, 6280 Busselton
  2. Pullman Bunker Bay, 42 Bunker Bay Rd, NATURALISTE WA 6281
  3. Smiths Beach Resort, 2 Smiths Beach Road, Yallingup WA 6282
If you plan on staying in the region for longer than a week, you might like to stay in a couple of different places - there is plenty to see and do over quite a large region, so take the time to explore it properly.
 
Further Resources

The Margaret River regional tourism site has heaps of great information with plenty of options on what to do in Margaret River.  Best places to eat around Margaret River. Grab a copy of the Margaret river and Surrounds while away guide

Share your thoughts with us.

Maybe you have some great tips or ideas on what to do in Margaret River with the kids and the best places to stay - join us on Facebook to share your thoughts or leave a comment below. 


Slider photo credit: Gary Norris

 
Author

James Hayward

James is the founder of Little Nomads a family-focused​ travel site where he shares his experiences about travelling with kids. You can have a conversation with James on twitter @littlenomads or via his Facebook page.



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