Once considered a little stop over before getting to Margaret River, Dunsborough is now one of southwest WA’s premier holiday destinations. Offering a more metropolitan vibe to the deeper south, there’s a huge array of fantastic eateries and drinkeries, along with stunning coastline to explore, and much more.
SEE & DO
Margaret River and Dunsborough’s wine regions overlap plenty, home to some of the world’s most heralded wineries, and there’s HEAPS of ‘em. Dozens in fact. So many, that perhaps it can feel a little daunting when it comes to picking places. If you’re looking for a full list of wineries follow this link, otherwise you can check out 15 of our favourites here.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
At the top of Cape Naturaliste, you’ll find the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, which offers views of the Cape to Cape. A short walking track from here to the free viewing platform is a great place to sight whales from September to December.
For an immersive experience, Koomal Dreaming next door to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse offers an excellent Aboriginal tour, where you’ll gain insight into the area’s history and the native flora and fauna surrounding it.
Spot migrating humpback, southern right and blue whales on a whale watching charter boat tour via a number of different operators in the area. Cruise up and down the coast in search of the world’s largest mammals, who often frolic just beneath the surface and right next to the boat. These mighty creatures look majestic from the shore, and even more magnificent in the water, so a whale-watching tour is a must for those wanting an unforgettable experience.
Castle Rock Bay
Castle Rock Bay used to be a bit of a locals only secret, but in recent years has become a popular alternative to Meelup Beach around the corner. It’s a tranquil slice of beach, sheltered from predominate southwesterly winds and swells down south, making it the perfect spot for an arvo on the water. Read our full guide here.
One of – if not the – most popular beaches around Dunsborough, it’s hard to resists the bright white sands and crystal clear turquoise waters of Meelup Beach. It’s ready and willing for the multitude of visitors who stop in, featuring picnic areas under shady trees, barbecues, change rooms and toilets.
A popular little swimming (more like sitting) hole in our state’s South West, Injidup’s natural spa has become an irresistible stop amongst a plethora of beautiful beaches down south. A natural rock formation protected from the wilds of the Indian Ocean, it can be a relaxing – if not a little crowded – spot to chill on a warm summer’s day. Read our full guide here. Keep going down the road and you’ll find Injidup beach, a cracking surf spot amidst many in the area.
On the open ocean side of the Naturaliste headland you’ll find the stunning Sugarloaf Rock, fully open to the wild southern ocean wind and swells. In the middle of winter it can make for turbulent viewing and photography, while the calmer summer waters make for a spectacular sunset vista.
A popular spot for whale watchers, you can also pop in for a swim if you get there on the right tide. The rocky outcrops spill over into clear blue ocean, and keen fishers will find plenty to catch here.
The town’s main beach is popular for visiting families thanks to its tranquility and being mostly protected from the prevailing southwesterly winds of Dunsborough.
Another section of beach protected from the southwesterlies, access is slightly more limited than some of the other beaches in the area, so if you’re will to do a bit of exploring you might be able to find a little patch all to yourself, and its well worth it if you do.
A mini version of Margaret River Mainbreak, the waves still get huge once you get out past the rockpools of Yallingup Lagoon. A little further north you’ll find the white sands of Rabbits Beach, a casual swimming spot in summer turned rough-and-tumble surf break in big winter swells.
South around the headland from Yalls you’ll find popular tourist destination Smiths Beach, packed with visitors year round. With a couple of popular surfing spots along the white, sandy stretch of coast, it’s home base for a lot of visitors during the warmer months.
Cape To Cape Trail
The 135km-long Cape to Cape Track is a hiker hotspot in spring, and Dunsborough is at the northern tip. The track is the perfect vantage point to spot whales and dolphins from the shore and is home to a whole variety of coastal wildflowers. Pick a section and go for a gentle stroll, challenge yourself with an all-day or all-track hike, or take a guided tour with operators like Cape to Cape Explorer Tours or Walk Into Luxury.
HMAS Swan Dive
Experienced divers visiting the area must add the HMAS Swan to their itinerary. One of five sunken dive wrecks in the country, the Swan was sunk in 1997 to create a massive, 113m long dive recreational dive site. You’ll need a permit, head here for more info.
Formerly Yallingup Cave, Ngili Cave is located on Caves Road between Dunsborough and Yallingup. Discovered in 1899, it was the first cave in WA open to tourists and has a number of different tours on offer, including the popular ‘Adventure Tour’ options that give thrill-seekers the opportunity to take a hard-hat and lamp and venture off the boardwalks. For more information head here.
The coastline around Dunsborough is littered with fish-filled bays and sandy beaches to cast from. Meelup, Castle Rock and Bunker Bay are the most popular, but with a sense of adventure and exploration you may find you’re own little secret spot – just be careful when fishing from the rocks (or avoid altogether).
A small-yet-stunning winter waterfall, Quinninup Falls will make you earn it with a rewarding hike that’s about 2 hours return from the Moses Road carpark. Spectacular ocean views can be found along the way, just mind the steep dune climbs on your way back.
The Dunsborough/Yallingup region is covered in brilliant art galleries celebrating the many talented folk of the region, and the best part is many are within a short drive from each other.
The township of Dunsborough is filled with some great little clothing shops and boutiques to find yourself a wearable memento from your time down south. Hillzeez, Board Store and Evolution have your surf gear covered, while Olive + Lily (pictured, below), Cove and Laneway are but a few of many that offer some nice clothing options for women.
EAT & DRINK
If you love your beers frothy and your faces friendly, a pop-in to Beerfarm should be high on the list. An independently owned Aussie brewery, their focus on sustainability and working with the land is only matched by their emphasise on good times and great beer. They sling some serious eats too, and there’s always something going on for people of all ages.
Merchant And Maker
Merchant And Maker opens at 6:30am, making it the perfect spot to visit after catching a sunrise or an early morning swim. Arriving there at 6:30 will have the place packed out with people with wet hair, cute dogs and smiles all round, along with the amazing smells of freshly baked bread and roasting coffee. The cafe has a lovely clean interior, and also has a small gift shop packed with local goods.
Cafe La Lah
Taking over the old Mealup spot, Cafe La Lah are serving up picture-perfect brunches and even better coffees. The family-run cafe utilises local ingredients – including locally roasted coffee from Margaret River Roasting. If you want your food to taste as good as it looks, this is the spot for you.
Goanna Gallery Cafe
Tucked away in the bush, Goanna Cafe & Gallery has great food, and it truly is a lovely experience to sit outside and eat your eggs benedict surrounded by bush. After you’ve finished with your meal you can head around the art trail, which is full of quaint statues and art pieces scattered throughout the neighbouring bushland. If that doesn’t hit the spot, there’s a small gift shop inside you can check out as well.
Yallingup General Store
A real community hub, the Yallingup General Store has been on the road to Yallingup beach for decades, providing a cafe, general store and post office all in one. It’s always stocked with fresh produce, gourmet delights, souvenirs and plenty more. Pull up a pew in the shaded area just outside and get the latest on the beach conditions from the local crew chilling out post-surf.
What Settlers is to Margs, the Tavern is to Dunsborough – a community pub with a ripping beer garden, tasty traditional pub fare and plenty of live music to keep you grooving on the weekends. And sportsball fans are well catered for with their cruisey Sports Bar.
Caves House is basically the super club of the south (minus the tack), featuring four main rooms, a terrace, billiards room, long bar and the popular outdoor deck. One of the biggest and beer gardens in the southwest, Caves gets pretty rowdy on the weekends when bands come into town, and it’s the best place around for a Sunday Sesh.
For almost two decades Artezen has been getting the breakfast, lunch and dinner job done in Dunsborough without pretension and with plenty of flavour. They also support local artists with rotating exhibitions, and while they always seem packed, will usually be able to find a spot for you no matter what. Their Smashed Avo might be the best in town.
If you’re chasing some big city small bar vibes, the Pour House is situated a nice little walk from the main drag, and specialises in craft beers, top shelf local wines and a share style menu perfect for groups. Some sneaky ocean views on the upper floor balcony don’t hurt either!
Simmo’s Ice Creamery
The place to go for family fun, Simmo’s Ice Creamery regularly rocks over 60 unique flavours to satiate children of all ages. Equally excellent times can be hard in the expansive grounds of Simmo’s, with heaps of open grassland, barbecues, an 18-hole mini golf, adventure playground and Edward the emu – plenty to burn off all size sugar hits.
From the team behind northern beaches faves Little Bay and Little H, Meelup Farmhouse has very quickly become the Dunsborough brunch hotspot, so make sure you book ahead! From bottomless brunches to curious cocktails (and a speccy wedding or two), it’s got a bit of everything – just make sure you say g’day to Lizzie the highland cow.
The original and the best, not a day goes by the Dunsborough Bakery isn’t packed with locals and visitors alike lining up for their little (vanilla) slice of heaven. Pro-tip: If you’ve been hitting the waves make sure you grab one of their famous Surfer’s Pies – you won’t be disappointed.
Blue Manna Bistro
If it’s fine seafood dining you’re on the hunt for, Blue Manna Bistro is the place for you. But don’t let the word “fine” turn you off, one of the friendliest joints in town, the staff is always happy to help you with any queries and make suggestions, and no matter how busy it is the head chef will always pop out to make sure everything is on point (hint: it will be).
Occy’s is a favourite amongst folks all over WA thanks to a true focus on vibes, namely the relaxed, friendly ones you’ll find exuding from owner Bill. Big food, big brews and a big, family friendly environment and beer garden make for a dangerous proposition – how are you going to explore the southwest if you don’t want to leave Occy’s?
Relaxed, casual yet classy, Yarri is one of the area’s most popular restaurants and it’s not hard to see why. The setting is stunning and their set menus are incredibly well-priced for how damn tasty they are, with a focus on seasonality and sustainability. As such, it’s ever changing and must be booked ahead.
Speaking of all things big, Burgertron bring huge flavours with their super unique menu. Swan Draught Beer Battered Fish Burger? Check. Tony Pork Pro Bracon 2 Burger? You bet (pictured). The funky menu is matched only by the funky art around the place, and if there’s a few of the $50 “Family Bag” is a steal.
Wild & Woods
On the opposite end of the good-for-you spectrum you’ll find Wild & Woods, a health food-focused cafe in the heart of town offering delicious GF/vegan/vegetarian breakfast options every morning from 8am til midday. Not only is everything super good for you, it’s one of the best priced places around town too.
Bayside Burger Bar
Burgertron’s crosstown rivals Bayside Burger Bar sling only the finest Black Angus Beef patties in a variety of down south-inspired options like the Bunkery Bay or Sugarloaf burgers. Check their menu to find the inspiration behind all the burgs while you destroy yours with a side of loaded fries, mac & cheese bites or popcorn chicken.
Eagle Bay Brewing Co.
If it’s sweeping down south vistas with a beer in hand you’re chasing, Eagle Bay Brewing Co. has it in spades. They’ve also got a great, unassuming lunch menu, friendly staff who’ll happily walk you through their brew selections, and a simple kids playground to keep ’em occupied.
Alright we said original and the best a bit earlier when it came to Dunsborough bakery, but many locals will argue Tas’s Bakery may be the real bread winner in town. We’ll happily sit on the fence with this one folks – the real winner is you once you’ve sampled some of their scrumptious cinni scrolls or succulent sausage rolls.
Yallingup Woodfired Bread
Chasing some bread for your down south picnic or barbie? Swing by Yallingup Woodfired Bread and grab not only one of the tastiest loaves in town, but also one of the best for you. They use traditional and biodynamic methods to keep those gluten levels low.
The southwest region is light on for Mexican joints, so you’d forgive Pedro’s for just phoning it in. Fear not though, it’s more than muy beuno! Their Tex Mex style menu is MASSIVE, matched only by a terrific tequila selection, fishbowl margaritas and beaut range of beers both Mexican and otherwise.
Bungalow Neighbourhood Social
When you’re based in the city, it can be easy to overlook the gems outside of Perth… but whispers about Bungalow Neighbourhood Social have put it firmly at the forefront of our minds. A fit out that balances slickness with some homey, retro vibes? 16 craft beer taps? A huge wine list featuring some killer minimal-intervention drops? Sourdough pizza? We’ve suddenly got pressing business in Dunsborough…
226 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough
Caesia – Melo House
Caesia is situated right in the heart of Dunsborough, just a short walk to boutiques, excellent cafes and the beach. The contemporary studio has two bedrooms, each with king size beds and MicroCloud bedding, for the perfect night’s rest. There are also two bathrooms, with a luxurious bath in the master ensuite, complete with bubble bath, locally-made lush truffle bath bombs and oil-infused body care products by Leif for the ultimate in relaxation and self-care.
Koorabin can accommodate a maximum of 4 adults, with the large main living area featuring large windows that look out onto the beautiful lake.
Garden Pavilion – Art House Yallingup
The Art House in Yallingup in the ultimate couples escape. Nestled amongst your own private oasis with marble garden pavilions, sculptures and delightful bird life you will truly feel that you have found your new favourite place!