Dunsborough (pronounced “Duns-bruh”) is a quintessential beach town in the heart of the Margaret River region in Western Australia. Offering easy access to some of the award-winning wineries in the Margaret River region, the small town is a firm favourite for both international visitors and local tourists alike.
Its well-designed town centre has everything you need for a perfect beach holiday including a number of fashion boutiques, local bakeries, charming cafes, bottle shops, high-end eateries and more. Those craving an immersion in nature can venture towards the foreshore for grassed lawns, the coastline for white-sand beaches or into Meelup Regional Park for picturesque walking trails.
Planning to head down south for a rejuvenating holiday? Here are some of the best things to do in Dunsborough and my personal recommendations for where to eat and stay.
How to get to Dunsborough
Dunsborough is sandwiched about midway between Margaret River town and Busselton, near the tip of Cape Naturaliste. Getting from Perth to Dunsborough is relatively easy if you rent a car – the town is located 3 hours away from Perth and the majority of the drive is via a freeway with minimal traffic. We recommend renting a car from Budget or Thrifty and have had good experiences with both rental car companies.
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Once you are in the area, public transport is pretty much non-existent (including taxi services) and private drivers and tours are pricey, so the best way to get around is to self-drive. Parking is plentiful and Google Maps is very accurate – just stick to the speed limits and be alert when driving as kangaroos love to roam around at dusk and dawn. Alternatively, there are a limited number of buses that you can take via South West Coast Lines to Busselton (though you’ll then need to arrange transportation from Busselton to Dunsborough).
Where to stay in Dunsborough
Dunsborough is one of the best places to stay in the Margaret River region, so there is plenty of short-term accommodation throughout town. Your best bet is to search on AirBnB or Booking.com for in-town boutique accommodation (villas, beach houses and apartments) as there are not many big-name chain hotels within the town centre.
The good news is, if you stay within Dunsborough you can easily get around by car or even on foot if you stay close enough to the shops. Click here to see highly-rated places to stay in Dunsborough!
Alternatively, you can also stay in the neighbouring town of Quindalup for more options – Quindalup is no more than a 5-minute drive away from Dunsborough. I recommend the ultra-luxe 2-bedroom Caesia Studio or Eucalypt Studio by Melo for couples or families with young children (right in the heart of Dunsborough town centre).
Another option is the charming Dunsborough Hideaway house, a short 5-minute drive from Dunsborough town in a quiet residential neighborhood, away from the hustle and bustle. Elaine’s house is often booked up months in advance, so check availability and book early – especially if you are planning a visit during long weekends and holidays.
Best things to do in Dunsborough
Wondering what to do in Dunsborough? Here are some ideas! You can easily spend a week lounging around Dunsborough town and getting used to the slower pace of life in this slice of Western Australian paradise. It won’t be long before you understand why Dunsborough is the perfect base for your Margaret River region getaway.
1. Visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Nestled within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Take a guided tour to the top or take in the magnificent views from the observation platform. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale or two during the whale watching season!
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2. Go spelunking at Ngilgi Cave
The Margaret River region is also home to more than 100 natural caves, and there are 4 show caves that are currently open to the public. Ngilgi Cave is the closest cave to Dunsborough town – just 10 minutes away by car.
The underground millenia-old labyrinth was discovered in the late 1800s and features stunning stalactites, stalagmites and shawl formations. There are a number of stairs and pathways leading visitors through the expansive underground cave – it is a lot bigger than you might imagine and there are some tight spots to navigate through, so I would give this a miss if you are claustrophobic.
3. Watch the sunset at Sugarloaf Rock
Sugarloaf Rock is a small outcrop located off the western coast of Cape Naturaliste and just 15 minutes away by car from Dunsborough town. It is one of the best sunset viewpoints in the Margaret River region so set aside some time to take in the breathtaking views in the late afternoon!
4. Go beach hopping
Dunsborough is home to a number of the best beaches in the Margaret River region. Meelup Beach, Castle Rock Beach, Dunborough Beach, Eagle Bay, Bunker Bay or the beach next to the Old Dunsborough boat ramp are a handful of the best beaches in Dunsborough.
5. Walk the Cape to Cape Track
The 140-kilometre Cape to Cape Track is a coastal trail that follows the coast from Cape Naturaliste all the way to Cape Leeuwin down in Augusta. There are also a number of short sections and loops within the Meelup Regional Park that take under an hour to do if you’re looking for a breezy stroll along the rugged coast.
6. Go whale watching
The region offers an extremely long whale watching season, and the ability to spot whales during nearly 6 months of the year is one of the top reasons why you should visit the Margaret River region. The whale watching season in Dunsborough begins in September and ends in early December; during this time, an estimated 35,000 whales migrate from the Antarctic to the warmer waters in southwest Australia and the chances of spotting whales is extremely high. Naturaliste Charters has an office right in Dunsborough Town so you can always pop in to book or ask questions.
7. Check out the region’s top wineries
There are more than a hundred wineries to choose from in the broader Margaret River region, and Dunsborough offers easy access to some of Australia’s best cellar doors. There are no wineries in the heart of Dunsborough town itself, but there are several within a short 10-15 minute drive away including Flametree Wines, Barnyard 1978 and Wise Wine. Wine aficionados can venture out of town along Caves Road to visit even more of the unmissable Margaret River region wineries.
If that isn’t enough for your to-do list, Dunsborough is just a stone’s throw from neighbouring towns like Yallingup, Cowaramup, Margaret River town and Busselton; it’s a fantastic beach town to base yourself in to explore the wider Margaret River region.
Where to eat in Dunsborough
Dunsborough town is home to a number of quality local eateries – here are some of my personal favourites!
- The Pour House – great craft beer and classic pub fare
- Bamboo Spice – decent Thai food with a large menu
- Tas’s Bakery – best pies in Dunsborough, hands down
- Simmo’s – delicious homemade ice cream with a children’s playground, great for families with small children
- Blue Manna – outrageously tasty food, mostly seafood but plenty of other options too
- Yarri – modern Australian dishes, great for special occasions
- Occy’s – classic pub food and local brewery
Best coffee in Dunsborough
Looking for the best coffee in Dunsborough? You can’t go wrong with one of these spots.
- Yallingup Coffee – the OG coffee joint in Dunsborough town
- Wild and Woods – a small cozy coffee shop right in the heart of Dunsborough town
- Merchant Maker – one of my personal favorite spots for a classic flat white, lots of indoor and outdoor seating
- Silver Bullet Coffee – a slick converted airstream that parks at the Old Dunsborough boat ramp, Sally serves up a delicious coffee next to the beach
- Conscious Craves – perfect for anyone looking for plant-based milk options
- Meelup Farmhouse – a trendy venue with stunning decor and fantastic coffee
Where to shop in Dunsborough
Money burning a hole in your pocket? Here’s where to pick up some new clothes, accessories, gifts, booze and groceries in Dunsborough.
- Bathing Beauty – fantastic selection of swimwear, beach accessories and casual wear
- Board Store – one of the best-stocked surf shops in the Margaret River region
- Nourish – local health food store and pharmacy
- Dunsborough Cellars or Liquorland – wine and liquor store with a great selection
- Coles or IGA – self explanatory, large supermarkets where you can stock up on groceries
- Laneway – womenswear boutique for the fashion-conscious
- Cove Dunsborough – local boutique with homegrown brands and souvenirs
Ready to book your relaxing Dunsborough beach getaway? Click here to check out highly-rated accommodation options in Dunsborough or head on over here for even more ideas for things to do in the Margaret River region.
You might also like:
- Check out outstanding wineries, beautiful beaches, natural wonders and unique landmarks – read on for the best places to visit in the Margaret River region!
- Wondering where to go for the best beaches in the Margaret River region? Here are my recommendations
- Not convinced? Here are 10 reasons why you should visit the Margaret River region
- Who doesn’t love a delicious glass of wine? Here are 10 unmissable wineries not to miss in the Margaret River region
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