Our Favourite Town
We have visited many towns in W.A. but there are some we keep going back to again and again because we enjoy the experience so much. Towns like Toodyay, York, and Esperance have been on our travel itineraries time after time but there is one town that stands out from all the others and we have been there probably more times than we can count.
Nestled in the far south west corner of W.A. is the lovely sleepy little town of Augusta. It hasn't changed too much over the years and has always managed to retain a lovely small town atmosphere.
In peak season it does get rather busy but any time outside of school holidays, you can more-or-less guarantee that you will find a very relaxed quiet little town set on a magnificent inlet and near some of the best coastline in W.A.
Busselton and Margaret River tend to dominate people's impressions of the capes area but Augusta retains a special charm that has been lost in the two larger towns. Development usually comes at a cost and when there is too much development and too many people move into an area, much of the original charm that brought people there in the first place is lost.
Although there is some development going on in Augusta, notably the new marina that has been constructed along the road to Cape Leeuwin, there has not been the kind of unbridled land grabs that have happened further north.
Augusta is an 'end of the track' town. This means that it is a destination in its own right and is not somewhere people just pass through. Towns that possess this characteristic are almost always different from towns where people are stopping only on their way to somewhere else.
Although it is only a little over a couple of hours drive from Perth, Augusta has not gone the same way as another 'end of the track' town, Exmouth. Exmouth was discovered by the tourist 'hordes' a couple of decades ago and the greed for money has completely changed the character of the town so that today, it is unrecognisable from the sleepy little place it was back in the 1990s.
Augusta has so much going for it due to the wonderful area that surrounds it. West along the south coast is Cape Leeuwin and some magnificent coastal scenery. The tall, almost elegant lighthouse that dominates the cape, has kept shipping safe since the late 1800s. Much of the coast is protected by National Parks and natural splendour abounds here.
The cape is where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet and waters here can be rough. Right on Augusta's doorstep are the more protected waters on the Hardy Inlet. The inlet is tidal and empties out into the ocean at the southern end. The Blackwood River feeds into the inlet from the north eastern corner and fishing and crabbing are very popular activities. Bird life is prolific and one of the best locations to see a variety of water-birds are the sandbanks of the Hardy Inlet along an area locally known as 'the sticks'. This is the channel that runs up into the Blackwood River and 'the sticks' are the navigation markers on each side of the channel.
The whole inlet can be taken in at a glance from a lookout set on a hill to the north west of the town.
Further to the north west you can find spectacular beaches, that even in tourist season, seem to be almost deserted. The rather oddly named Foul Bay is easily accessible and is one of the many beautiful places on the coast that run north to Cape Naturaliste.
The coast is only part of the story as inland you will find towering karri forests, farmland, vineyards and a host of man-made attractions scattered around the capes area.
The forests and bushland contain many varieties of native wildflowers and even as late as December, when wildflowers further north have finished for the year, you will still find plenty in flower around Augusta. One of the best places to find wildflowers is right near town, at a place Called Flat Rock. You can get there either from the Donovan Street trail, or you can drive round to the rock from the track leading to the Augusta Yacht Club.
There are plenty of caravan parks and campsites in the area as well as bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation choices. Close to Augusta are Westbay Retreat, Turner and Flinders Bay caravan parks and a little further out is Molloy Caravan Park.
The natural attractions of the area include over 400 known caves. Only some are open to the public and the closest one to Augusta is probably the best known and certainly the most decorated. Jewel Cave is literally 10 minutes from town and is possibly the most visited cave in the whole south west.
Decorations in the cave are plentiful and guided tours provide visitors with an insight into the types of formations and the history of the cave.
If all these natural attractions aren't enough then there are plenty of man-made 'magnets to draw visitors to the area. Many are situated a little further north with the majority situated between Margaret River and Cowaramup but all are easily accessible for day trips from Augusta.
Not sure where to start? Well we can recommend the Cheese Factories, Deer Farm, Berry Farm, Provedore, Chocolate Factory, Vasse Virgin, Moon Haven, Lavender Farm, Bootleg Brewery, The Maze, Boranup Gallery and then of course there are the dozens of wineries scattered through out the area. The oldest of the wineries is Vasse Felix and this is a good place to start any wine tour.
When you are tired of tasting wines, chocolates and boutique food, you can retreat to Augusta as a sanctuary of calm, where you can relax and sample all the goodies you have purchased.
There are just so many different reasons to visit this area. The natural beauty of the coast and the forest, amazing walks including the Cape to Cape Track, swimming, fishing, crabbing, bird watching, photography, shopping, fine dining, arts and crafts, the list just goes on and on.
It doesn't matter if you have a few days, or a few weeks, there is so much to see and do in this area, that we can guarantee you will find something to love about it. We go back year after year and we have never been disappointed.
We have only one word of caution, the weather on the capes can be very changeable. The day can start wet, windy and cold but by afternoon there can be bright blue skies and warm sunshine. Weather at the northern end of the capes can be completely different to that at the southern end just 100 km away. When you visit, it is wise to take both cool weather and warm weather clothes as well as something waterproof. This can be the typical 'four seasons in one day' experience so if you go prepared, you will enjoy it all the more.
IN THIS AREA