Caves Road (WA Tourist Route 250) is the main scenic touring route through the Margaret River Region.
Many of Margaret River’s wineries have an address on Caves Road. Side roads branch off to the left and right, with those on the west leading down to the coast and those on the right leading to yet more wineries and tourist attractions.
Driving Caves Road
Caves Road officially begins at Busselton in the north, then follows the Geographe Bay coast west to Dunsborough and Yallingup.
From Yallingup, where most people would consider the beginning of the drive to be, the road turns south to follow the length of the Cape-to-Cape coast almost all the way to Augusta.
The ocean is never far away, but you never actually see it on the drive because the road is set back inland a few kilometres behind hills and forests. But don’t worry – the scenery is varied and pretty along the 111km length of the drive, with forests, vineyards and bucolic pastures making up for the lack of coastal views!
Caves Road is an enjoyable road to drive with some very pretty scenery. However I would not go so far as to call it a “scenic drive” or a tourist attraction in its own right. It is not a road that I’d recommend driving all in one go just for the sake of driving along it.
Rather, enjoy it bit-by-bit. Stop in at wineries, galleries and tourist caves as you pass, and branch off to explore inland country lanes or side roads down to the spectacular beaches and coastal rock formations. You could drive it in a day if you wanted to, but if you’ve got more time in the Margaret River Region you might prefer to drive a shorter section each day, exploring each area in more detail.
The great thing about Caves Road is, it makes it so easy to find your way through the Margaret River Region (or at least, harder to get hopelessly lost!). Explore the winding network of country lanes and sideroads through the vineyards and as soon as you find yourself back at an intersection with Caves Road, you will know roughly where you are.
Caves Road is bitumen all the way along and so is fine for caravans and trailers, although there aren’t many places to overtake.
The Caves of Caves Road
Caves Road is aptly named, for it runs along the length of the limestone Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, a lithified sand dune ridge undercut by over 150 caves.
Only a small number of these caves are open to tourists. Ngilgi Cave is located just outside of Yallingup. Five more are south of Margaret River. Calgardup, Moondyne, Giants and Lake Caves are all near Redgate and the start of the Boranup Forest, and Jewel Cave is further south still, close to Augusta.
Caves Road Scenery
Caves Road is narrow with plenty of bends and turns and gorgeous views. It’s a scenic and enjoyable drive, winding through varied scenery including jarrah forest, vineyards, dairy pastures and karri forest. The only scenery you won’t see is the dramatic coastline, however numerous side roads lead down a short distance to the beaches, cliffs and coastal rocks.
In forested sections the trees grow very close along the roadside, and at times it feels like you’re driving through a tunnel of trees. The scenic highlight is at the southern end of the drive, where the road leaves the pastures and vineyards behind and enters into the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park through the incredibly pretty Boranup Karri Forest.
Caves Road Safety
Part of the appeal of Caves Road is that it’s narrow and winding, but unfortunately this makes it quite dangerous. The speed limit is 90km/h, and most people want to drive around that speed rather than at a more leisurely pace.
It’s a road worth taking a bit of extra care on, especially when you factor in that other drivers may be tourists unfamiliar with driving in Australia, or worse- they may have been tasting wine! Watch out for kangaroos early in the morning and at dusk.
Attractions Along Caves Road
- Wineries and Breweries – many and various! Most are in the northern half of the drive, with lots more to be found on side roads around Cowaramup and Metricup.
- Ngilgi Cave
- Yallingup (beach and town)
- Canal Rocks and Smiths Beach
- Injidup and Wyadup
- Prevelly – Surfers Point, Margaret Rivermouth and Gnarabup Beach
- Mammoth Cave
- Lake Cave
- Calgardup Cave
- Redgate – rocks and beaches
- Contos Beach and cliffs
- Boranup Forest
- Hamelin Bay and the sting rays
Caves Road Drive on a Map – Busselton or Dunsborough to Augusta
- Sues Road – a quick travel tip to take this inland back road to Augusta during the busy time of year.
Last Updated: 12th July, 2015.
First posted on 11th July, 2015 by Bonny.
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