Augusta attractions

 

AUGUSTA ...... the Jewel of the South West.

AUGUSTA ...... so much incredible natural  beauty.  Situated on the mouth of the beautiful Blackwood River, Augusta is surrounded by rugged coastlines, rocky headlands, pristine white beaches, sheltered bays, towering forests, extraordinary limestone caves and the impressive eco-wilderness of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.  Just ideal for those who love to get close to nature.

AUGUSTA ...... excellent for those who love to indulge in outdoor pursuits.  Go bushwalking, biking, fishing, boating & sailing, kayaking and canoeing, swimming & surfing, wind & kite surfing and adventurous four wheel driving.

AUGUSTA ...... plenty of appealing attractions close-by.  There's the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse precinct, whale-watching in Flinders Bay, enchanting limestone caves in the stunning Boranup Forest, world-class wineries and the pristine Hamelin Bay.

AUGUSTA ...... perfect for those who want to relax given its peaceful, charming country town atmosphere.  Re-charge away from the other commercially-driven tourist hot spots of the South West.

Read on ...... and learn more about the abundant array of things you can do in amazing Augusta.

Then take the plunge ..... and BOOK the best accommodation in Augusta for that well-earned week away.

 

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

On a dramatic rocky peninsula, at the most south-westerly tip of Australia is Augusta's most popular tourist destination, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.  Established in 1896 and still operational today, this remarkable lighthouse which stands as the tallest in Western Australia, marks where the powerful forces of the Indian and the Southern Oceans meet.

Open to the public daily, the beautiful historic lighthouse grounds include a Visitor Centre, renovated cottages and a popular glass-walled cafe.  Regular guided tours of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse occur throughout the day, providing fascinating history into the shipwrecks in this area of magnificent but treacherous coastline as well as interesting insight into the lives and challenges of the early lighthouse keepers.

Physically challenge yourself by climbing the 186 stairs through 7 levels to reach the top balcony of this lighthouse where you can breathe the freshest air from aloft, savour the rugged coastal beauty and observe incredible wildlife; rock parrots, dolphins, fur seals and sea birds hunting the waves for their prey.  In whale season, this is one of the best shore locations in Augusta to spot whales during their annual migration northwards.  

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse : Tour Times & Prices

 

Whale Watching (late May to September)

Whales are the prized attraction in Augusta during the Winter months.

In Winter, Augusta records the highest number of migrating whales in Australia.  Flinders Bay in Augusta being the first 'port of call' for thousands of whales as they escape the icy Antartic waters in their migration northwards to mate and breed.

Each year, Augusta celebrates the return of the whales with the renowned Whale Song Festival, a giant program of activities and fun over the June long weekend.

Most commonly seen in Augusta are the acrobatic Humpback Whales and the Southern Right Whales which were previously hunted to near extinction by the early whalers in the region.  Flinders Bay is one of the few places in the world where you can observe the Humpback and Southern Right Whales interacting with each other.

In recent years, there has been an increase in sightings of the rare and elusive Blue Whale off Augusta shores; these being the World's largest animals at up to 30 metres in length and 150 tonnes in weight.

The great aspect of coming to Augusta is that the whales can easily be seen from many shore locations.  However, it is well worthwhile to venture out on one of the increasingly popular whale-watching charters which depart daily in season. These whale watching cruises make for an unforgettable experience; it is not uncommon for the whales to be curious enough to come within metres of the charter boats.  Even more awesome is witnessing massive playful teenage Humpback Whales 'showing off' with spectacular acrobatic performances involving breaching, tail slapping and spyhopping.

Seine Bay Apartments recommends Naturaliste Charters, the largest and most long standing whale charter operator in Augusta.

Naturaliste Charters : Whale Watching & Eco Tours : Times and Prices 

 

Caves

There are five spectacular limestone caves worth visiting in the beautiful Boranup Karri Forest, just north of Augusta.  Travel along the aptly named Caves Road to find them.  Each cave is quite distinctive with its own appealing features.  You can experience the mystical underground scenery of these caves on either informative guided tours or self-guided adventures.

Only 8km north of Augusta is Jewel Cave; Western Australia's largest show-cave and one of the most decorated caves in the world.  It has recently re-opened after an extensive preservation facelift along with the construction of a new impressive interpretative centre and alfresco cafe.  The Jewel Cave Preservation Centre recently won Gold Medal for Best Tourist Attraction at the WA Tourism Awards.  The effect of water glistening on the limestone formations gives the cave a magnificent jewelled appearance and the soft golden glow from the new eco lighting on the impressive colossal formations in this cave's giant cavern gives that strange sensation of being under the ocean without water.   This cave features some of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world.

 

  • The Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association (AMRTA) operates the 3 showcaves : -
  • Lake Cave, Mammoth Cave & Jewel Cave.
  • Jewel & Lake Cave    * Guided Tours
  • Mammoth Cave          * Self Guided Audio Tour

 

  • The Department of Environment and Conservation manage the two showcaves :-
  • Calgardup Cave & Giants Cave.

 

Blackwood River

Augusta is situated on the mouth of the beautiful and unspoilt Blackwood River. The river serves as a natural aquatic playground for those who love cruising, fishing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, wind and kite surfing. 

Augusta has several river cruise operators. The picturesque Blackwood River is perfect for relaxing eco-scenic river cruises with its abundant array of wildlife with many species of water birds including the tiny red necked stints, egrets and majestic white pelicans. A pod of the river's resident friendly dolphins normally follow the cruise boats upstream venturing past fertile valleys and forests.  In Spring, the banks of the river become ablaze with a dazzling display of wildflowers making a river cruise the perfect way to experience the beauty of the river.

 

  • Miss Flinders River Cruises - Tour times & Prices
  • ** weatherproof, wheelchair-accessible ferry                                                                               
  • ** Can be booked at Augusta Hotel Reception      

                                                        

 

 

On a glorious calm, blue sky day, the Blackwood River at Augusta is perfect for kayaking and canoeing.  Some enthusiasts choose to venture on day trips upstream past Molloy Island.

Augusta is ideal for good fishing either  from a boat, the riverbanks or the jetties at the end of Ellis Street and Turner Street. Be rewarded with bream, herring, king george whiting, mullet, tailor and blue manor crabs in season.

The favourable weather conditions in Augusta and the flat protected waters around Seine Bay lends itself to great wind and kite surfing particularly for beginners.

There is a designated water ski area 5 kms up the Blackwood River at Twinems Bend, north of Molloy Island.

 

Ocean Activities

The Augusta region is dotted with beautiful bays and beaches making it perfect for  swimming, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and beach fishing.

There are lots of safe swimming beaches with the protected natural pool at Granny's Pool being an all time favourite.

Surfing is popular at Jays Beach with the best shorebreaks in the region.

Flinders Bay in Augusta has a reputation amongst local and international wind and kite surfing enthusiasts as one of the best places for these sports with the conditions being exceptional.  This is reinforced by Tourism WA which cites Augusta as one of the top kite surfing spots in Western Australia.

Fishing off the beach and rocks is popular in Flinders Bay.  There are a number of dirt tracks east off Leeuwin Road leading to great fishing spots including a wheelchair-friendly jetty at Dead Finish.  Skippy Rock is also regarded as a top fishing location for skippy, herring and whiting. 

The more adventurous can venture offshore for some deep sea fishing and diving. The spectacular Augusta Boat Harbour has been operational since November 2014, being a great boon for fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Diving and snorkelling can be done around Skippy Rock and the adjacent Quarry Bay.  Experienced divers can snorkel and dive around Skippy Rock during low swell conditions whereas the protected Quarry Bay is safe for diving in most conditions.

 

Scenic Drives

Augusta and the surrounding area lends itself to enjoyable scenic drives.

A popular drive is the scenic forest drive along Hillview Road to its Lookout with magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside and coastline including a bird's eye view of Augusta's picturesque golf course. 

Then there is the all time favourite coastal drive along Leeuwin Road to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where stops can be enjoyed along the way at bays, lookouts and memorials.

For day trips north of Augusta, there is the popular scenic drive winding through Boranup's majestic Karri Forest.

For more adventurous travellers, there are four wheel drive tracks off Caves Road providing access to the pristine bays and beaches of Boranup, Cosy Corner and Deepdene.

Alternatively, one can head inland north from Augusta along Bussell Highway, turning right at Karridale and drive through farming and vineyard landscapes. Further along Brockman Highway is the historic Alexandra Bridge which is a popular picnic/barbecue area.

 

Augusta Walks

Augusta has many scenic walk trails allowing nature lovers and avid walkers to appreciate its unique river, coastal and bush landscapes. There are walks to suit different interests and abilities from short easy ones right up to the challenging 140km Cape to Cape Heritage Trail extending from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste.

Further information and map brochures on Augusta's walk paths can be obtained from the Augusta Visitor Centre and within our Apartment compendiums.

The river boardwalk starting at the main town jetty is a great one for all visitors. This easy, level scenic walk trail meanders along the banks of the beautiful Blackwood River.

Then there is the invigorating Ocean Walk along the coastline of Flinders Bay with its stunning views and fascinating history gleaned from memorials and information stations along the way.

In Spring, enjoy the wildflowers on the Flora Bushwalk at Flat Rock starting at the car park at the end of Victoria Parade.

Within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, there are 27 circular walks ranging from 4 to 16 kilometres.  In Spring-time, these walks are magical with the Park carpeted with brilliant wildflowers.

It is also possible to do discrete sections of the Cape to Cape Walk within the Augusta region. These include :-

  • Water Wheel to Skippy Rock (3km)  
  • Cosy Corner to Skippy Rock (20km)  *challenging
  • Hamelin Bay to Cosy Corner (13km) * medium difficulty

                                                                                                                                                                                          

Augusta History

As the third oldest European settlement in Western Australia,  Augusta is steeped in interesting history.  

Augusta has its own acclaimed small museum on Blackwood Avenue.  Rated as one of the best small museums in the country,  Augusta Museum is open daily to the public and provides insight into the challenging lives of the early settlers, the 1920's Group Settlement Scheme, shipwrecks in the region and its whaling heritage including  the well publicised 1986 community rescue of 96 of the 114 False Killer Whales stranded on Augusta shores.

Augusta has its own circular heritage walk trail which enables you to walk into Augusta's history.  Starting at the Colourpatch car park, this trail passes the Georgiana Molloy Memorial, the Turner's early settler cottage and the Pioneer Cemetery. 

The charming Flinders Bay First Settlement is south of the main township off Leeuwin Road.  A slow drive or walk through this tiny serene settlement with its early settler heritage homes in amongst beautifully kept rambling gardens on narrow winding roads gives visitors a glimpse into the past and an idea of the modest lifestyles of those in the early days of Augusta's settlement.

 

Augusta Golf

Golf Lovers will enjoy playing on  Augusta's 18 hole golf course, rated as one of  the best sandgreen courses in Western Australia.  Visitors are welcome and golf clubs and buggies can be hired.

The landscape is beautiful on this 5837 metre long course with its undulating fairways, wonderful bushland with blackboys and of course, its breathtaking views across farms, forests and out to sea.  Kangaroos are regular spectators of the games played.  Each year during the month of November, the Augusta Golf Club hosts the coveted Augusta Masters Green Jacket.

Augusta WA Golf Course

Closer to town, in Civic Park along Allnut Terrace, is a par 3 synthetic greens course in a delightful bush setting.  Great fun for families!

Then on Albany Terrace near Colourpatch, kids and families can enjoy Augusta's Mini Golf & Trampoline Centre with its 18 hole golf course, 4 large trampolines and indoor arcade game area.

 

Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay is a secluded, unspoilt paradise; a magnificent sweeping bay where turquoise sea meets the pristine white beach sands.

Today, only a single but popular caravan park is on its doorstep.  A stark contrast to the past where it was a busy port for the saw mills at Karridale.  All that remains from this era is a few weathered wooden pylons of the once substantial 529 metre long jetty.

During your stay at our luxury Augusta accommodation, choose a clear sky, sunny day to visit glorious Hamelin Bay; a straightforward 15 kilometre drive from Augusta along Caves Road.

This sheltered spot is perfect for long beach walks, swimming, fishing and snorkelling around the interesting limestone formations brimming with marine life.

Hamelin Bay is a top diving spot given its fascinating and unusual Dive Heritage Trail which allows for exploration of numerous shipwrecks visible on the ocean floor within the bay.  These wrecks date back to 1880 when this previous timber port was subject to violent storms resulting in a series of shipwrecks. 

South of the bay, there is a board walk over limestone cliff formations leading to a great lookout over Hamelin Bay Island.

Hamelin Bay is famous for its large gentle 1-2 metre stingrays which are now protected under new fishing regulations.  The appeal of these stingrays attracts many visitors to the area each year.  At certain times of the year, these graceful and friendly creatures congregate around the boat ramp and feed off fishermen's scraps.  Sometimes these stingrays swim close alongside snorkellers which can be alarming for first-timers; however they are relatively harmless unless patted or provoked.

Feeding of a stingray at Hamelin Bay

 

Boranup Forest

A stay at our Augusta accommodation would not be complete without a visit to the magnificent Boranup Forest with its valleys and hilly slopes of tall Karri Trees.  It is remarkable how tall these trees are given that this forest is actually re-growth after being extensively logged during the late 1800's timber boom.

On the winding scenic drive road through this forest, there are plenty of places where you can pull off the road, take photos, breathe in the fresh forest scent and listen to the harmonic orchestra of bird and animal life.  There are picnic and barbecue grounds and various walk trails including one to the peak Boranup Lookout with its sweeping views over the forest and coast including over the Hamelin Bay area.

Nestled in amongst the forest is the popular and inspirational  Boranup Gallery.  The gallery specialises in beautiful hand crafted timber furniture as well as displaying a substantial collection of other quality craft and artworks by talented Australian artists.  Paintings, blown glass, pottery, prints and jewellery are all beautifully displayed.  Adjacent to the Gallery is the delightful and popular Boranup Cafe serving appetising home-made, local and organic produce.

 

Wineries & Attractions near Augusta and Karridale

Wine lovers who stay at our luxury Augusta apartments can enjoy visiting the most southern wineries of the Margaret River region.  The coolness of the region produces premium wines with exceptional varietal character.

 

 

  • Hamelin Bay Wines   Open daily 10am-5pm
  • McDonald St, Karridale
  • Gourmet Lunch Platters from 12-3pm

 

  • Blackwood Meadery  Open daily 10am-4.30pm  * Tues & Wed by appointment
  • Brockman Hwy, Karridale
  • Wines made from different varieties of honey

 

In the vicinity of the above wineries, just east of Karridale, is the delightful Atelier Susi Jewellery Gallery better known as the Christmas Shop with its wonderful Christmas atmosphere and beautiful Christmas decorations and ornaments sourced from around the world.  Expect to see owner and jeweller Susi dressed the part in green and red as a Christmas elf.  On display is exquisite jewellery designed by Susi as well as items sourced from her annual European trips.  Check out Atelier Susi Gallery opening hours.

Whilst in the Karridale locality, consider a lunch or dinner stop at the Karridale Tavern; a quintessential Aussie Pub with lots of character, a warm and friendly atmosphere and an extensive meals menu.  With its location in vineyard country, there is also an extensive range of wines as well as beers and other brews on offer.