Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough in the Margaret River region

The Best Things to Do in Dunsborough: An Idyllic Beach Town in the Margaret River Region

Kayaks on a beach in Meelup Western Australia with text overlay Woman standing in front of street art in Dunsborough Western Australia Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Western Australia with text overlay

Planning your trip down south and researching the best things to do in Dunsborough? Read on for my mini guide to Dunsborough!

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.

Old Dunsborough Boat Ramp Beach in Margaret River region in Australia

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.

Castle Rock Beach in Margaret River Region in Australia

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 road sign in Western Australia

Dunsborough is sandwiched about midway between Margaret River town and Busselton, near the tip of Cape Naturaliste. The closest international airport is in Perth. 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. Alternatively, if you are headed to Dunsborough from the east coast of Australia, Jetstar operates direct domestic flights between Melbourne and Busselton (approximately an hour away from Dunsborough) 3 times a week.

Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!

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).

Related article: Explore Australia’s gem on the west coast – here are some brilliant ideas for your perfect Perth itinerary

Where to stay in Dunsborough

Dunsborough visitor centre in Western Australia

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.

Dunsborough town in Margaret River region Australia

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 and modern Dunsborough Hideaway studio, a short 5-minute drive from Dunsborough town in a quiet residential neighborhood, away from the hustle and bustle. Elaine’s studio 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

Street art in Dunsborough in Margaret River region in Australia

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

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in the Margaret River region in Western Australia

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

Ngilgi Cave in the Margaret River region

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 at sunset in Cape Naturaliste Margaret River region Australia

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

Meelup Beach in the Margaret River region in Australia

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

Sandpatches in Cape Naturaliste Margaret River region Australia

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

Grapevines in Margaret River region in Western Australian

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.

Dunsborough street art in Western Australia

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

Pasta from Barnyard in Yallingup Western Australia

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
  • Lady Lola – perfect sharing plates with a constantly evolving menu so you’ll never be bored
  • Yarri – modern Australian dishes, great for special occasions
  • Occy’s – classic pub food and local brewery

Best coffee in Dunsborough

Merchant Maker coffee shop in Dunsborough Western Australia

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, come here for 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

Boardstore in Dunsborough Margaret River region Western Australia

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
Sugarloaf Rock at sunset in Cape Naturaliste Margaret River region Australia

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.

Street art in Dunsborough Margaret River region in Australia

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