Dunsborough: Everything You Need To Know About This Coastal Paradise

We've rounded up the best things to see and do in the coastal paradise that is Dunsborough, as well as where to eat and drink along the way.

Dunsborough: Everything You Need To Know About This Coastal Paradise

We've rounded up the best things to see and do in the coastal paradise that is Dunsborough, as well as where to eat and drink along the way.
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Western Australia’s South West is often touted as the state’s crown jewel, brimming with magnificent coastlines, verdant natural beauty, and world-class culinary experiences. Despite Dunsborough’s small town name, there is plenty to do and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get bored. Here are the best things to see and do, and where to eat and drink along the way.

What to see and do

Hit the beach

The beaches in Dunsborough and Yallingup are some of the most beautiful in the country, if not the world. When it comes to our favourite swimming holes, Yallingup Beach, Meelup Beach, and Eagle Bay take the cake.

If you’re a surf fiend or new to the game, Yallingup is a great place to start. Here, you’ll find plenty of different sections almost reserved for surfers, with colloquial names like Rabbits or Three Bears.

For snorkellers, the aptly named Aquarium – a hidden oasis of thriving sea life – is a must. Nestled between the iconic Smiths Beach and Canal Rocks, The Aquarium is a small, crystal-clear lagoon — a slice of heaven for snorkellers and beach hoppers alike. With rock pools galore, there’s space for the adventurous and the lay-in-the-sun-all-day or sit-on-a-towel-with-a-book types to live their very best lives. 

Eagle Bay | Source: Michelle McEwen

Lighthouses

If you’re not keen on jumping into the water, why not appreciate it from above? Dunsborough and Yallingup are home to multiple lighthouses worthy of exploration, and many even offer tours.

The closest to Dunsborough is the limestone, 20-metre-high Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. And you can make it to the top with just 59 steps.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is a bit more of a drive away — closer to Augusta — but since it’s Australia’s tallest mainland lighthouse, it’s worth a visit. If you’re down for a healthy dose of exercise, the trails around each lighthouse are incredible with sweeping ocean vistas.

Dunsborough Light House
Dunsborough Lighthouse / Source: @australias_southwest & @shotbyloky

Coastal hike

If you haven’t had your fill of coastal walks, there are plenty to choose from. The Cape to Cape is easily the region’s most renowned. It traverses 123 kilometres along Australia’s South West edge between the lighthouses of Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. Expect spectacular coastal and forest scenery, fascinating geology of cliffs, caves, headlands, and rock formations, and an ever-changing display of vegetation and wildflowers.

One of the world’s most famous long-distance walk trails, the Bibbulmun Track also passes through this region. If a gruelling multi-day track tickles your fancy, tackle a section of the behemoth that stretches 1000 kilometres from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany, winding through the scenic heart of the South West.

Alternatively, there are a couple of easier ones including the Meelup Reserve Trail — a serene 7-kilometre track that traverses the sandy turquoise bays and pristine bushland along Geographe Bay.

Cape To Cape | Source: @katesmeda

Whales

Speaking of sweeping views, if you’re walking between May and December, you’ll be likely to get a glimpse of the great migration of humpback whales. Even without binoculars, you’ll witness them flapping their tails and frolicking in the water.

Or, if you’d like to get up close and personal, jump on one of the region’s many whale-watching tours.

Whale Watching in Dunsborough Western Australia WA
Whale Watching / Source: @westernaustralia

Fishing

Some of the best fishing spots in the South West are merely a stone’s throw from Dunsborough. Something is always biting, from flathead and snapper to salmon and whiting.

If you have the means to get out to some deep water, then get going! One of the best places is Four Mile Reef, about 6 kilometres off Dunsborough. There, you’re likely to snag pink snapper, samson fish and even bluefin tuna.

But there are plenty of beach fishing spots, including right on Geographe Bay, which is brimming with plenty of King George whiting, flounder, flathead, and pink snapper.

Eagle Bay is the go if you’re in the market for herring, salmon, and King George whiting. While Bunker Bay is a fantastic spot to join the annual salmon run.

Fishing In Dunsborough WA
Fishing / Source: @westernaustralia

Caves

If the ocean isn’t your thing, you can always head inland and underground. That’s right, we’re talking about caves. The South West has an incredible network of caves to explore, with some – like Ngilgi – located just outside the Dunsborough town centre.

Mammoth and Jewel Cave are perched further south but are well worth the drive time. Each cave is special for different reasons, be it size (yes, we’re talking about Mammoth Cave) or crystalline features (Jewel Cave).

Mammoth Cave Dunsborough WA
Mammoth Cave | Source: @mammothcavemr

Relax a while

While there are plenty of reasons to get your shoes scuffed and hands dirty in Dunsborough, it’s also the perfect place to relax and unwind at one of the day spas.

BODHI Yallingup is one of the best. The luxury wellness retreat overlooks the tranquil waters of Gunyulgup Lake. All while offering a collection of holistic treatments to restore and revitalise the mind, body, and soul.

Injidup Spa Retreat is another favourite. Here, you can indulge in massage and body treatments or spa journeys overlooking the breathtaking Indian Ocean coastline.

Another winner is EMPIRE Spa, where you can stay the whole day and even overnight in utmost luxury. The same goes for Bunker Bay’s Vie Spa, in the Pullman Hotel, which has something for all tastes and preferences.

Empire Day Spa Yallingup
Empire Day Spa | Source: @empireretreatyallingup

Galleries

It’s little wonder that there are so many incredible artists and galleries in a region so steeped in natural beauty. Right in the heart of Dunsborough, you’ll find some of the state’s best photography at the Christian Fletcher Gallery. Bay Gallery has more traditional paintings, while the Red Cloud Art Space is more alternative.

For a mix of mediums, Yallingup Galleries is another worthy of the bucket list. These guys specialise in artworks both large and small, and we’ll forgive you for bringing a little slice of the South West home with you. Because, how could you not?

Bay Gallery / Source: @baygallerydunsborough

Where to eat and drink

Wineries

You’re going to want to spend a fair bit of time at the region’s wineries, that much is true. There are literally hundreds to explore, and many are close to Dunsborough. We’re talking Windance Estate, Happs Wines, Aravina Estate, and Swings and Roundabouts. However, the local favourite would have to be Wise Wine as the drops are as divine as the views.

Wise Wine Dunsborough
Wise Wine / Source: @wisewine

Breweries

Similarly, there are breweries with equally as delicious beers. Eagle Bay Brewery is a must-visit. A little further from town, Wild Hop Brewing slings tasty eats and tipples, while the kids can keep themselves entertained on the playground.

Wild Hop Brewing Company Dunsborough
Wild Hop Brewing Company | Source: @wildhopbeer

Cafés

On the café front, Wild and Woods, Merchant and Maker, and La Lah are all beautiful breakfast and coffee pit-stop options. And for a caffeinated brew, Hot Chocolatté has everything from dark chocolate mochas to caramel lattes.

La Lah Cafe Dunsborough
La Lah / Source: @lalahcafe_dunsborough

Restaurants

Perhaps the crown jewel when it comes to Dunsborough eats and drinks is Meelup Farmhouse. If you’re searching for somewhere aesthetic for brunch or lunch, look no further than this relaxed restaurant and bar set amongst the trees on a charming hobby farm just eight minutes from town. Encapsulating the quintessential South West lifestyle, Meelup Farmhouse oozes all things coastal luxe, with a sensational view that goes down a treat with their exquisite culinary offerings.

For dinner, we recommend the incredible seafood fare at Blue Manna Bistro. While local favourite Occy’s exudes a relaxed pub vibe, but is a step up from the trusty tavern. For damn good Mexican, it’s got to be Pedro’s. Or for Mediterranean dining in the stunning surroundings of the Dunsborough forest, try Casina.

Meelup Farm House / Source: @meelupfarmhouse_

Where to stay

Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget or something in between, Dunsborough is home to an abundance of places to stay. If camping is your thing, there are plenty of options including Yallingup Beach Holiday Park, Yallingup Caves Holiday Park, and Four Seasons Holiday Park.

For a stay dipped in luxury, well, we’ve already mentioned Empire Day Spa and Injidup Spa Retreat. Alternatively, Smiths Beach Resort, Pullman Bunker Bay, and Waterfront Dunsborough are all spectacular options.

While Whalers Cove Villas don’t have a spa, the holiday homes overlook Geographe Bay, which after all, is the best spa in the region. Or for something a little alternative, Barn Hives eco-cabins offer a retreat away from the hustle and bustle.

Barn Hives Dunsborough
Barn Hives / Source: @barnhives