Augusta is town on the southwest coast of Western Australia. The town sits at the confluence of the Blackwood River into Flinders Bay and is at the very southern point of the Margaret River Region. The southern portion of Margaret River is known for it stunning natural scenery and Augusta doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
It is also the least commercialized and touristy of all the towns in Margaret River and it has maintained the feel of a small, agricultural Western Australia town. Augusta is the nearest town to Cape Leeuwin, and sits on the furthest southwest corner of the Australian continent. As such, it is surrounded by ocean on two sides and the wilderness of a National Park on the other. The slightly cooler weather in Augusta as made it a very popular holiday destination over the years. However, more recently, it has experienced a growth in full time residents as the weather and beautiful scenery has made it a popular retirement destination.
Augusta: What to Do
One of the main attractions in Augusta sits on Cape Leeuwin, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The functioning lighthouse, offers tours all the way to the top where visitors are treated with a truly fantastic view of the Indian and Southern Oceans. The lighthouse also serves as another significant landmark. It is the start of the Cape to Cape Track, which is a 135 kilometre coastal trail between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. This is a stunning hike and walkers can choose between doing the whole thing, or just walking a portion of the trail.
Augusta also offers a variety of water based recreation. The area offers world-class kite-surfing, windsurfing, paddling, snorkeling, and whale watching. Additionally, Flinders Bay, which shelters Augusta from the harsher waters of the open ocean is lined with a number of wonderful beaches divided by orange granite outcrops.
These beaches are great for just relaxing, beachcombing, swimming, whale watching, during the proper seasons, and windsurfing and kite-surfing. During the whale migration season, Flinders Bay is a haven for whales who often stop in the bay to rest. Obviously this makes Augusta one of Australia’s premier whale watching destinations. Additionally, the Saint Alouarn Islands and reefs at the western end of the bay off Cape Leeuwin are home to a variety of wildlife, including New Zealand fur seals, a variety of seabirds, and diverse marine life.
In addition to the oceans, the Blackwood River also passes through Augusta. It is a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and boating. The river passes through beautiful karri forest and a cruise down the river on a canoe or kayak is a great way to take in the wonderful forest scenery. There are a number of campsites along the river between Augusta and Margaret River that make for a wonderful place to spend a night or two as you explore the river and the forestland.
In fact, the forestland bordering Augusta makes for another popular attraction. The Boranup Forest is a large karri tree forest that is incredibly scenic and filled with possible activities. In addition to the Blackwood River, the forest is lined with walking tracks that make for some excellent bushwalks. If you aren’t up for walking, there are also roads through the forest that make for a very scenic drive. The forest also has multiple campgrounds, making it a wonderful place for a backpacking trip, as well as numerous picnic facilities.
Augusta is also short drive away from the Witchcliffe Caves. These caves are a group of hundreds of small to large sized caves along the coastline in the region. Jewel Cave is the closest to Augusta. However, Lake Cave, Giants Cave, Calgardup Cave, and Mammoth Cave are less than a half hour north. These caves are all open to the public and there are a number of tours that will take you through them allowing you to explore and learn all about these eerie wonders. The largest is the multi-tiered Mammoth Cave. While the other caves of the Witchcliffe Caves are not open to the public, experience cave explorers can explore them at their own peril and there are some where self-guided tours are available.
Finally, it would be remiss to talk about Augusta without mentioning its position within the Margaret River Region. Margaret River is one of the premier wine and food regions in Australia and visitors to Augusta have the ability to enjoy the tastes of the region. While the region is home to over 120 wineries, many of which also offer wonderful restaurants and cafes, Briarose Estate, Hamelin Bay Wines, Alexandra Bridge Estate, and the Blackwood Meadery are all very close to Augusta. Visitors can visit these wineries and taste the wines, tour the cellars and vineyards, and learn more about what makes the wines of Margaret River so well regarded both within Australia and internationally. Of course, if visitors want to expand their culinary horizons, a trip farther north into Margaret River will only present them with more opportunities to try world-class food and wine.
Augusta: Where to Stay
In addition to the campgrounds already discussed in and around Augusta, the area provides a variety of accommodation options. If you are looking for something a little less rough then a campground, Augusta is home to hotels, motels, and a variety of self-contained apartment and holiday home rentals.
How to Get There
Augusta is connected to by public transport with Perth via the Transwa SW1 coach service. You can also reach it in just under four hours driving from Perth. Finally, travellers can also fly from Perth to Busselton (around 50 minutes) and then drive just over an hour from Busselton to Augusta.