Australia’s south-western corner is renowned as one of the ultimate grey nomad destinations. It delivers spectacular beaches, rugged coastline, amazing caves, fantastic little towns, great wineries and – with a little bit of luck – superb weather.
The drive from Margaret River down to Augusta and mainland Australia’s extreme south-west is one that will never be forgotten. Margaret River itself needs little introduction. The relaxed, one-time surfie town is home to an enormous array of artisans and there is an art or craft gallery on just about every corner.
Oh, and then of course there are the wineries. Many of these can be found off the famous Caves Road, west of Margaret River. While there are hilly sections along Caves Road, it is still fine for caravans. Not surprisingly, cellar door wine tastings are a favourite ‘journey breaker’ for relaxed grey nomads as they head south.
In spring, the road is lined with spectacular wildflowers, and top-class surfing, swimming and fishing beaches are always just a short turn-off away.
The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park with its dramatic cliffs and rocks, stunning beaches and superb camping opportunities simply demands travellers’ attention. Contos Beach, Hamelin Bay and Cosy Corner are just three of the many stunning coastal locations.
The bitumened Caves Road also takes you through Boranup Forest’s pale-barked Karri Trees, the third tallest trees in the world. A detour down Boranup Drive, which starts near Lake Cave and re-joins Caves Road 11km further south, offers access to some great walks through the towering Karris. Be warned though. It’s a gravel road and there could be corrugations and pot-holes.
Some 350 caves are hidden within the limestone ridge underneath the Margaret River area and the main attractions can be accessed off the aptly named road. There are four major caves open to the public: Yallingup or Ngilgis Cave; Mammoth Cave; Lake Cave; and Jewel Cave. It’s stalactite and stalagmite heaven.
Caves Road joins up with the Bussell Highway again just north of the fishing town of Augusta. It’s now a short drive to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and mainland Australia’s south-western tip. Here, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, geography dictates that this leg of your incredible journey must end. Don’t panic, though, there’s plenty more around the corner!
Snell Park, Harvey