There are few places where the West Australian bush meets the beach, and lucky Dunsborough bears most of them. In a region of breathtaking bays, Dunsborough’s stand out, each one a dreamy combination of crystalline turquoise water, granite boulder stacks and leafy canopies.
Dunsborough is a relaxed yet refined coastal town that’s just under three hours’ drive from Perth. The nearest airport is at Busselton, a 30-minute drive away. There are also daily coach services.
Travel bible Lonely Planet singled out Dunsborough’s beaches when it named the Margaret River region the number one destination in Asia Pacific in 2019.
“Take one look at Meelup Beach and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life,” it said, comparing the water to the hue of a Bombay Sapphire gin bottle.
Meelup, along with neighbouring beaches Castle Rock, Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay, is stop-and-stare breathtaking. Yet despite its supermodel status, you can always find a patch of sand to roll out your towel, although you may have to wait for a turn at the free-use outdoor barbeques.
It’s only a six minute drive out of town, or a captivating, one hour coastal walk along the Cape Naturaliste headland.
Drive across the cape to Sugarloaf Rock, a windswept islet that features in many a photograph and is a favourite local sunset spot. Between September and December, you’ll likely also see the splash of migrating whales, while dolphins wave jump year round.
On the way back to town, drop into Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Wise Wine and Meelup Farmhouse, just a few of the many wineries, breweries and restaurants that dot Dunsborough’s surrounding landscape.
On Dunsborough’s main street, day spas mingle with homewares boutiques and photography studios within sight of Geographe Bay. The flat, sandy town beaches are especially loved by families; the shallow, tranquil ocean allows for safe paddling. Food trucks park at some of them, making for easy alfresco meals, while town restaurants offer everything from Asian fare to vegan dining and gastro pub meals.