Augusta, Western Australia

Augusta, Western Australia

Augusta, Western Australia

Augusta (in Western Australia) is a sleepy little town where the Blackwood River meets the sea at Flinders Bay, near Cape Leeuwin at the far southern end of the Margaret River Region.

It’s a fantastic town to base yourself in while exploring the Margaret River Region – especially if your interests lie in the more outdoorsey Margaret River persuits, such as:

  • Bush walking
  • Cave tours, and more adventurous forms of spelunking
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing the Blackwood River
  • Camping
  • Swimming and surfing in the cool blue ocean
  • Walking and relaxing on deserted beaches
Activities in Augusta, Western Australia

Foul Bay (L) and fishing from the Augusta town jetty (R)

The southern half of the Margaret River Region is the most natural, with fewer wineries and other commercial tourist attractions, but a whole lot more forest, caves, four wheel drive tracks, bush campsites and deserted beaches to explore. The incredibly pretty Boranup Karri Forest begins just north of town and the Blackwood River winds its way through Augusta’s hinterland.

The main attractions around Augusta and the southern Margaret River Region are Cape Leeuwin, the Boranup Forest, and whale watching during winter. There are also some excellent tourist caves not far out of town.

Jewel Cave is very pretty and well-lit, whilst Giants Cave and Calgardup Cave are more adventurous, being unlit and self-guided only. And then there are lots more caves that are not set up for tourists that you can explore on a guided tour (or by yourself if you have the caving/abseiling experience).

For a fun day trip of wine tasting and good food, Margaret River town (and the area between Margaret River and Dunsborough/Yallingup where most of the Margaret River wineries are concentrated) is only half an hour’s drive to the north of Augusta.

Augusta: A Quiet and Peaceful Corner of Australia Right on the Doorstep of a Top Tourism Hotspot!

Augusta is the south western-most town in Western Australia. This is a peaceful and beautiful corner of WA – part of the magnificent Margaret River Wine Region, but far south enough not to be too touristy and built up. For me, it’s the best of both worlds!

Colourpatch, Augusta Western Australia

Colourpatch, a beach on the Hardy Inlet near where it meets the ocean, just around the corner from Augusta town centre

Augusta is the least commercialised and tourism-centric of all the towns in the region. Unlike Dunsborough, Margaret River and other towns in the region’s north, Augusta still feels like a typical WA agricultural town.

As Marc Glasby who writes the website WA Now and Then points out, the great thing about it is that it’s an End of the Track town. It is right next to Cape Leeuwin, which is the south westerly-most point in Australia, and surrounded by ocean on 2 sides and wilderness national park on another, the main roads running the length of the Margaret River Region end in Augusta and there is really nowhere else to go past that point!

Augusta
Hardy Inlet, Augusta

Hardy Inlet beneath the main street of town

Augusta Town, Western Australia

Getting to Know the Town of Augusta, Western Australia

Augusta is a coastal country town town with a population of 1200 people. It’s about half an hour’s drive south of Margaret River town and 3.5 – 4 hours south of Perth.

The main townsite of Augusta runs north-south along a hill above the shoreline of the Hardy Inlet, and along the western beaches of Flinders Bay, almost right next to Cape Leeuwin – the southwestern-most point of WA and the point where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet.

The hamlets of East Augusta and Molloy Island are close to the town centre, but are isolated by the Hardy Inlet and its lack of bridges down stream near town. Another tiny settlement, Kudardup, is located 8km north of Augusta on Bussell Highway.

Augusta, Western Australia: Main Street and Town Centre

The road into town is Bussell Highway, which turns into Blackwood Avenue, Augusta’s main street.

The main street of town runs along the top of a hill. From here, there are glimpses and views of the Hardy Inlet, the Scott National Park bushland across the water, and the ocean of Flinders Bay beyond. It doesn’t have the most attractive buildings (despite being one of WA’s oldest settlements), but the views, bushland and the peaceful, country atmosphere of the town make up for this!

The southern end of town hugs the coast of Flinders Bay. Take Albany Terrace along the water’s edge for wonderful ocean views, fishing spots and swimming beaches on the way out to Cape Leeuwin and the Lighthouse.

Augusta - Flinders Bay

Flinders Bay, Augusta: Coastline alongside the southern streets and beach shacks of Augusta town on the way out to Cape Leeuwin.

Explore Augusta and the Southern Margaret River Region

Hardy Inlet

The Hardy Inlet is the estuary of the Blackwood River, where it widens before it reaches the sea. Seine Bay and Colourpatch near the mouth of the inlet is a nice place for water activities like swimming, kayaking and windsurfing.

Flinders Bay

Flinders Bay is a large bay formed by the Cape Leeuwin Promontory. It is a haven for whales on their migration north, with many of them stopping to rest in the bay. The Saint Alouarn Islands and reefs at the western end of the bay off Cape Leeuwin are home to wildlife including colobies of New Zealand Fur Seals and seabirds, and provide some protection to the coast from large ocean waves.

Blackwood River

The beautiful Blackwood River winds down through the heart of the South West region of WA, reaching the ocean at Augusta. It’s great for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and boating while enjoying beautiful forest scenery. There are a number of camp sites along the river between Augusta and Margaret River.

Augusta Town Beaches in Flinders Bay

Along the Cape Leeuwin coast of Flinders Bay are a string of beaches tumbled with orange granite outcrops that are great for swimming and beach combing. This coastline is a good spot to watch for whales, and on windy days is popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders.

Molloy Island

Molloy Island is at a junction where the Blackwood River, Scott River and Hardy Inlet meet. Many people live on the island, but it’s a tranquil, quiet and forested place to escape to. The only way to get there is by boat – either your own, or the car ferry that crosses the river every half hour.

Cape Leeuwin

Cape Leeuwin just a few kilometres south of Augusta is the extreme south-westerly point of the Australian continent, and is where the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands at the very end of the cape, offering spectacular views of the coast and the ocean.

Augusta, Western Australia: Attractions and Things to Do

Augusta, Western Australia - Cape Leeuwin LighthouseIf you’re just passing through Augusta or on a daytrip from Dunsborough or Margaret River, be sure not to miss Cape Leeuwin and the Lighthouse.

This is Augusta’s number one attraction and the reason most tourists choose to visit Augusta.

On the way to or from Augusta, take Caves Road, which is the more scenic route, passing through the pretty Boranup Forest. It’s worthwhile taking a sidetrip into the forest along unsealed roads, and stopping for a walk or a picnic. The other attractions in the area that are most worth seeing are the caves and the beaches.

In my opinion Foul Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Margaret River Region. Hamelin Bay is nice too, and is frequently visited by friendly sting rays that are used to being fed by fishermen.

Whale watching is the other big reason to visit Augusta, during the season from June to November.

Augusta marks the end (or beginning) or the Cape to Cape Track from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. Day walks along the track and other tracks are a great way to experience the beautiful nature surrounding Augusta.

Augusta Attractions and Things to Do – In and Around Town:

  1. Whale Watching Cruise
  2. Blackwood River Cruise
  3. Colourpatch and Seine Bay (swimming, playground, kayak hire)
  4. Kids’ Fun Park
  5. Cape Leeuwin
  6. Explore the historic lighthouse precinct
  7. Climb the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse on a tour
  8. The Waterwheel
  9. Augusta Historical Museum
  10. Molloy Island
  11. Blackwood River
  12. Kayaking and Canoeing on the Hardy Inlet and Blackwood River
  13. Windsurfing on the Hardy Inlet and Flinders Bay
  14. Cape to Cape Track bushwalks from Cape Leeuwin
  15. Flinders Bay beaches on the way out to Cape Leeuwin
  16. Pleasant walks along the inlet and Flinders Bay coast
  17. Hillview Lookout – views of the ocean, forest, Blackwood River and farmland (views a bit overgrown though)

Attractions Further Afield, Within 20 Minute’s Drive of Town:

  • Fishing, snorkeling and exploring at Skippy Rock
  • Scenic drive to Skippy Rock – spectacular views of Cape Leeuwin
  • Quarry Bay for swimming, snorkeling, scenery, walks
  • Camping along the banks of the Blackwood River, in the Boranup Forest or on the wild coast (Cape to Cape Track campsites)
  • Beautiful Margaret River beaches – Cosy Corner, Foul Bay, Hamelin Bay, Boranup Beach and Contos Beach, to name a few of the most easily accessible from Augusta
  • Hamelin Bay and the sting rays – beautiful beach great for swimming and fishing, once-upon-a-time a historic port. Sting rays (friendly) regularly patrol the shoreline and swim right up to people swimming and wading in the shallows.
  • The Boranup Forest – large area of pretty karri forest – bushwalking, camping, scenic drives and picnics
  • Witchcliffe Caves – Jewel Cave is just a short drive out of Augusta, while Lake Cave, Giants Cave, Calgardup Cave and Mammoth Cave are less than half an hour north.
  • Wineries and Galleries – Stop by at Briarose Estate, Hamelin Bay Wines, Alexandra Bridge Estate, the Blackwood Meadery and the Boranup Gallery – all are very close to Augusta… And on a daytrip further north the opportunities for food and wine are endless!

Camping In and Around Augusta

Augusta is a great destination for a camping holiday. There are three caravan parks in town, one more on the Blackwood River across from Molloy Island and another further north on the beach at Hamelin Bay.

Basic Bush Campsites Around Augusta and the Southern Margaret River Region:

There are also a good number of bush campsites between Augusta and Margaret River. These campsites are run by the Department of Parks and Wild Life. They’re very cheap to stay at but facilities are much more limited than at the private caravan parks.

  • Conto Fields Campground – large campground in a shady peppermint woodland close to Contos Beach and Cape Freycinet.
  • Alexandra Bridge – large campgound on the shores of the Blackwood River near the old historic Alexandra Bridge. Suitable for caravans, has boat launching facilities. Dogs allowed if kept on a leash.
  • Chapman Pool/Warner Glen – a quiet and peaceful camping area in the jarrah forest by Chapman Brook, a tributary of the Blackwood. Not suitable for caravans, no generators. Dogs allowed if kept on a leash.

Last Updated: 24th May, 2015.

First posted on 24th May, 2015 by Bonny.

Further Links and Resources for Augusta, Western Australia

  1. Augusta on WA Now and Then

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About the Author

Bonny

Bonny is the founder and writer/photographer for Wild Western Australia. As much as she loves travelling elsewhere in Australia and around the world, she is always happy to come home to Perth and never gets tired of exploring the towns, beaches, forests and outback of Western Australia. Google+.