Margaret River, Western Australia

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Margaret River
Western Australia
Bussell Highway, Margaret River, 2015 (05).JPG
Town centre
Australia Western Australia location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Margaret River
Coordinates 33°57′18″S115°04′30″E / 33.95500°S 115.07500°E / -33.95500; 115.07500 Coordinates: 33°57′18″S115°04′30″E / 33.95500°S 115.07500°E / -33.95500; 115.07500
Population6,392 (2016 census) [1]
Postcode(s) 6285
LGA(s) Shire of Augusta-Margaret River
State electorate(s) Vasse
Federal Division(s) Forrest

Margaret River is a town in the South West of Western Australia, located in the valley of the eponymous Margaret River, 277 kilometres (172 mi) south of Perth, the state capital. Its Local Government Area is the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.


Margaret River's coast to the west of the town is a renowned surfing location, with worldwide fame for its surf breaks including, but not limited to, Main Break, The Box, and Rivadog. Colloquially, the area is referred to as Margs. [2]

The surrounding area is the Margaret River Wine Region and is known for its wine production and tourism, attracting an estimated 500,000 visitors annually. [3] In earlier days the area was better known for hardwood timber and agricultural production.


The town is named after the river, which is presumed to be named after Margaret Whicher, cousin of John Garrett Bussell (founder of Busselton) in 1831. The name is first shown on a map of the region published in 1839. Before British settlement the area was inhabited by the Noongar people. [4] The first British settlers arrived as early as 1850, with timber logging commencing in around 1870. By 1910, the town had a hotel which also operated as a post office.

After World War I, an attempt by the Government of Western Australia to attract migrants to Western Australia (known as the Group Settlement Scheme) and establish farms in the region attracted new settlers to the town. In 1922 over 100 settlers moved into the district.

In the early 1920s the Busselton to Margaret River Railway was built and in 1925 the Margaret River to Flinders Bay line opened.

The Margaret River Perimeter Road, a bypass to take traffic, including heavy vehicles, from Bussell Highway, to the east of the town, and also connect to a new access road to the nearby airport, was opened in December 2018 and completed in February 2019. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Geography and climate

Margaret River
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm

Margaret River is located 9 kilometres (6 mi) inland from the Indian Ocean at a point about halfway between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia's South West region.

The climate is warm-summer Mediterranean (Csb in the Köppen climate classification), with an average annual rainfall of around 1,130 millimetres (44 in). Most rain falls between May and August, when around two days in three record measurable rainfall and around one in ten over 10 millimetres (0.39 in). On occasions, as in August 1955, the town has had measurable rain on every day of a month in this period. During the summer, the weather is warm, though there are usually sea breezes, and frequently sunny. The dry summers, coupled with strong winds, creates an environment where there is always a high risk of bush fires.

Wine region

Margaret River is the foremost Geographical Indication wine region in the South West Australia Zone, with nearly 55 square kilometres (21 sq mi) under vine and over 138 wineries as at 2008. The region is made up predominantly of boutique-size wine producers, although winery operations range from the smallest, crushing 3.5 tonnes (3.4 long tons; 3.9 short tons) per year, to the largest at around 7,000 tonnes (6,900 long tons; 7,700 short tons). [9] [10] The region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production, but commands over 20 percent of the Australian premium wine market.

Stretching some 100 kilometres (60 mi) from north to south and about 27 kilometres (17 mi) wide in parts, the region is bounded to the east by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and to the west by the Indian Ocean. A Mediterranean-style climate, lacking extreme summer and winter temperatures, provides ideal growing conditions. The climate is described as similar to that of Bordeaux in a dry vintage. [9] [10]

Humidity levels are ideal during the growing period and the combination of climate, soil and viticulture practices leads to consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour. Consequently, annual vintage results continue to exceed expectations and reinforce Margaret River's reputation as one of the premium wine-producing regions of the world. [11] [12]

The principal grape varieties in the region are fairly evenly split between red and white; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin blanc and Verdelho. [9] [13]


Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave Western Australia.jpg
Mammoth Cave

Several hundred caves are located near Margaret River, all of them within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Six of these are open to the public. [14]

One of which being the multi-chambered Mammoth Cave, which lies 21 kilometres (13 mi) south of the town and contains fossils dating back over 35,000 years. [15] The cave was first discovered by European settlers in 1850 and has been open to the public since 1904. The cave can be explored by a self-guided audio tour, and is one of the few caves in Australia offering partial disabled access. [16]

The other five caves open to the public in the area are Jewel Cave, Lake Cave, Ngilgi Cave, Calgardup Cave and Giants Cave. Many other caves can be accessed with a permit by experienced cavers.

Surfing breaks

The Margaret River area has acquired a range of synonyms for the collection of surf breaks nearby, with some 75 breaks along 130 kilometres (81 mi) of coastline. [17] [18] Usually significant surfing competitions concentrate their locale to Margarets Main Break (aka Surfers Point) which breaks in the vicinity of Prevelly at the mouth of Margaret River. [17]

The actual range of surf breaks range from the eastern side of Cape Naturaliste down to just south of Cape Hamelin, and despite web sites and online sources calling the whole Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin region the Margaret River surfing area, conditions and break types vary along the coast.

The Cowaramup Bombora ("Cow Bombie") big wave surf break 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) offshore produces one of the biggest waves in Australia. [19] [20] [21]


The town contains four primary schools, Margaret River Primary School, Rapids Landing Primary School, Margaret River Montessori School, and St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, and one high school, Margaret River Senior High School.

In the media

Arte-TV produced an episode of Nouveaux paradis about Margaret River. The 2008 documentary shows interviews with (amongst others) tourist officials, surfers, and dolphin watchers. [22] Margaret River was also visited in the 1966 documentary film The Endless Summer . On 25 April 2009, on Sky television's Soccer AM , Hugh Jackman called Margaret River the best place he's ever been to, citing the surf, the beaches, the food, the wine, the people and the air as his reasons for thinking so. In 2013, many locals featured in the film Drift , starring Sam Worthington, as well as many surfing scenes being shot on location at local surf breaks. [23] Surfing locations included popular breaks such as Grunters and Main Break. [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Protected area in Western Australia

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is a national park in the South West region of Western Australia, 267 km (166 mi) south of Perth. It is named after the two locations at either end of the park which have lighthouses, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. It is located in the Augusta-Margaret River and Busselton council areas, and is claimed to have the highest visiting numbers of any national park in Western Australia. The park received 2.33 million visitors through 2008–2009.

Busselton City in Western Australia

Busselton is a city in the South West region of the state of Western Australia. As of the 2016 census, Busselton had a population of 25,329. Founded in 1832 by the Bussell family, Busselton is 220 km (140 mi) south-west of Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Busselton was voted Western Australia's top tourist town in 1995, 1996, and 2005.

The South West region is one of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is so named because it is located in the south-west corner of Western Australia. The South West region has an area of 23,970 km², and a population of about 170,000 people, which is predicted to rise to 217,000 people by 2023. Bunbury is the capital of the region.

Shire of Augusta–Margaret River Local government area in Western Australia

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River is a local government area in the south-west corner of the South West region of Western Australia, approximately 270 kilometres (168 mi) south of Perth. The shire covers an area of 2,243 square kilometres (866 sq mi) and had a population of over 14,000 at the 2016 Census, about half of whom live in the towns of Margaret River and Augusta.

Augusta, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Augusta is a town on the south-west coast of Western Australia, where the Blackwood River emerges into Flinders Bay. It is the nearest town to Cape Leeuwin, on the furthest southwest corner of the Australian continent. In the 2001 census it had a population of 1,091; by 2016 the population of the town was 1,109.

Dunsborough, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Dunsborough is a coastal town in the South West of Western Australia, 254 kilometres (158 mi) south of Perth on the shores of Geographe Bay.

Hamelin Bay, Western Australia

Hamelin Bay is a bay and a locality on the south-west coast of Western Australia between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. It is named after French explorer Jacques Félix Emmanuel Hamelin who sailed through the area in about 1801. It is south of Cape Freycinet.

Bussell Highway

Bussell Highway is a generally north–south highway in the South West of Western Australia. The highway links the city of Bunbury with the town of Augusta and is approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) in length. The highway is signed State Route 10, except in Busselton where the construction of the Busselton Bypass in 2000 resulted in this stretch being changed to Alternate State Route 10 with the Bypass signed State Route 10.

Cape Freycinet

Cape Freycinet is a point on the coast between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste in the south west of Western Australia.

Gracetown, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Gracetown is a small town in Western Australia. It is located 269 kilometres (167 mi) south of the Perth central business district, and 21.5 kilometres (13.4 mi) north-west of the township of Margaret River in the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council area on the coast at Cowaramup Bay.

Cape to Cape Track

The Cape to Cape Walk Track is a long-distance walk trail located in the far south-west corner of Western Australia, 250 kilometres (160 mi) south of Perth. It meanders along the whole length of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, which forms the backbone of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Its start and finish are the lighthouses at the tips of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. The Track extends over 123 kilometres (76 mi) of coastal scenery, sheltered forests and pristine beaches, and is in close proximity to the caves, vineyards and other features and attractions of the South West Capes - Margaret River region.

Cowaramup, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Cowaramup is a town in the South West of Western Australia, 12 kilometres north of Margaret River in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.

Yallingup, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Yallingup is a town in the South West region of Western Australia, 256 kilometres (159 mi) south of Perth. Yallingup is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches and limestone caves, and proximity to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Mammoth Cave (Western Australia)

Mammoth Cave is a large limestone cave 21 km (13 mi) south of the town of Margaret River in south-western Western Australia, and about 300 km (190 mi) south of Perth. It lies within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and is surrounded by Karri and Marri forest. It has also had extinct animal fossils found in Mammoth Cave.

Boranup, Western Australia

Boranup, in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, is the site of a large coastal dune blow out known as the "Boranup sand patch" as part of the Boranup beach, and the site of a former M. C. Davies timber company mill. The sand patch area and sand blows affected the alignment of the Busselton to Flinders Bay railway.

Surfing locations in the Capes region of South West Western Australia

Most surf breaks in the Capes region – from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin – within the larger area known as the South West region of Western Australia tend to have the name Margaret River attached, despite the wide geographic range of locations where the breaks are located.

Ngari Capes Marine Park Protected area in Western Australia

The Ngari Capes Marine Park is a marine protected area on the lower south west coast of Western Australia, located approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) south of Perth. The 123,790-hectare (305,900-acre) marine park was gazetted on 12 June 2012 and the park's western and southern boundaries are the limit of coastal waters of Western Australia, abutting the South-west Corner Marine Park located within the Australian Commonwealth exclusive economic zone.

Caves Road is a 111-kilometre-long (69 mi) scenic route in the South West region of Western Australia. It connects western Busselton with Augusta, running along or to the west of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, and is an alternative route to Bussell Highway. Caves Road is also a major component of the route from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, in what is known as the state's Capes Region.

Cape Clairault is located south of Yallingup in the coastal region between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.

Canal Rocks

Canal Rocks is a series of granite rocks in the Indian Ocean just off the coast situated approximately 4 kilometres (2 mi) south of Yallingup in the South West region of Western Australia. The Noongar name for this place is Winjee Sam.



  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Margaret River (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 September 2019. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association (2005). "Augusta Margaret River Region - Fact Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  4. "Margaret River | Kaartdijin Noongar".
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  6. Main Roads Western Australia (3 December 2014). "Margaret River Perimeter Road". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  7. "Margaret River Perimeter Road open in time for Christmas". Government of Western Australia. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  8. "Margaret River Perimeter Road reaches practical completion". Government of Western Australia. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
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  10. 1 2 Campbell Mattinson, "Why the French hate us", Hardie Grant Books 2007
  11. "Margaret River wine region". Margaret River wine region. Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  12. The Australian and New Zealand wine industry directory, 27th Annual edition, 2009, Winetitles.
  13. Oz Clarke, 'Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guides', Harcourt 1 November 2002
  14. M. Bright, 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die, Quintet Publishing, London 2005
  15. "Bus Tour Margaret River. Eagles Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Tour from Perth". Margaret River Bus Tour. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  16. "Margaret River WA 6285". Margaret River. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  17. 1 2 "Surfing Margaret River | Surfing Busselton, Dunsborough, Yallingup, Augusta".
  18. Blair, Larry and Horan, Cheyne Wave Finder Australia (3rd edition) ISBN   0-9581726-6-8 give the name Margarets Area to the Cape Naturaliste to Boranup Sandpatch area and identify over 30 named breaks
  19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. "Storm Surfers - Near-Death Wipeout at Cow Bombie" via YouTube.
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. Les Nouveaux paradis, L'Australie, de la mer à la vigne on IMDB.
  23. Trevor Paddenburg (2 May 2013). "Drift fans to ride tourism wave in Margaret River". Perth Now. Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  24. "Drift Locations". Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014.


  • Burton, L.C. (1996). Barefoot in the Creek: A Group Settlement Childhood in Margaret River. Nedlands, W.A.: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN   1875560831.
  • Cresswell, Gail J. (2003). The Light of Leeuwin: The Augusta-Margaret River Shire History (new ed.). Margaret River, W.A.: Augusta-Margaret River Shire History Group. ISBN   0731694449.
  • Cullen, Shelley; Rigby, Peter (1999). Margaret River style. Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Arts Centre Press. ISBN   1863682856.
  • Wiltshire, Trea (2000). Margaret River. Australian Wine Regions series. Singapore: R. Ian Lloyd Productions. ISBN   9810426747.
  • Zekulich, Michael (2000). Wine Western Australia (all new ed.). Perth: St George Books. ISBN   0867780614.