Meelup Beach is a place that features in many a happy holiday memory.
The gentle calm water, spacious white sand beach and the big shady park with barbecues and picnic benches makes it a favourite spot for family picnics and swimming. It would be hard to find a beach more perfect for families with little kids!
During school holidays and weekends when the weather’s fine the beach and park can get pretty crowded. It’s not a beach you’ll have all to yourself on a hot summer’s day but the fun and casual family atmosphere at Meelup on a crowded day is really quite enjoyable.
Swimming and Snorkeling at Meelup
On most days – especially hot summery days – Meelup Beach is completely sheltered from wind and waves. The water is crystal-clear and calm as a swimming pool. The white sandy seafloor slopes away gradually into the deeper water where you can anchor your boat, if you have one.
Waves at Meelup?
It’s extremely unlikely for waves to be breaking at Meelup on days when the weather’s warm enough for swimming to be something you’d want to do.
But even when Meelup gets a little wavy it remains a nice place to go for a swim or do some body boarding, though perhaps not quite so ideal for small children.
Meelup is great for snorkeling in that the water is so clear and calm and there are always some fish to see.
Despite it not being the best of the best snorkeling spots in the area, I still think it’s worthwhile bringing your snorkeling gear down to Meelup – especially if you’ve got little kids with you who might find most other snorkeling sites too deep or scary.
Picnics and Barbeques at Meelup
Meelup is the sort of beach where you can easily while away a whole day swimming, reading, relaxing and picnicing. Immediately behind the hot white sand of the beach there’s a grassy park, much of which is shaded by a woodland of beautiful tall jarrah trees. So you can always escape the sunburn and harsh blazing summer sunlight if need be.
The park behind the beach is the perfect place to kick a ball around or to sit on a picnic blanket with with a glass of wine and some local gourmet treats.
You can cook lunch or dinner on one of the park’s barbecues and sit down to eat at a picnic bench in the shade under the trees.
Evening Calm at Meelup Beach
Meelup is one of the most tranquil and beautiful places to be on a summer evening. It is so well sheltered from the strong south-westerly wind that blows most evenings during the summer months that you barely even notice it. Needless to say, it’s a wonderful spot for an evening picnic, casual BBQ dinner or one last swim in the ocean for the day.
Dusk is also an especially good time to cast a line out to catch some whiting or herring from the rocks at either end of Meelup Beach, or from the beach itself.
Watching the full moon rise over the calm waters of Geographe Bay at Meelup is a popular thing to do in the summer months for both locals to Dunsborough and tourists.
Why is Meelup Such a Special Place for Watching the Moon Rise?
Meelup is a very special place to watch the full moon rise, well at least it is for us west coast locals. This is basically because Meelup Beach (and some of the other nearby beaches, too) is one of the few beaches in Western Australia where you can view the moon rising over the ocean.
During summer the full moon rises in the northeast which is the exact direction that Meelup Beach faces. And depending on the conditions of the day you sometimes get to see the beautiful “Staircase to the Moon” phenomenon where the silvery moonlight is reflected the ripples of the water up to the horizon.
Place of the Moon Rising
Fittingly, the word “Meelup” means “Place of the Moon Rising” in the local Wardandi Aboriginal language. This is probably the main reason why everyone chooses to view the moonrise at Meelup rather than at another north-east facing beach else nearby such as Eagle Bay or Point Picquet.
You can read a little more about the Meelup Moonrise and other places that are extra-beautiful at day’s end on my Favourite Places to Watch the Sun Set in the Margaret River Region page.
And here’s a link to the Meelup and Dunsborough moon rise times on Willyweather.
Want to visit Meelup Beach? Here’s How to Get There:
Located within the Meelup Regional Park, the beach is a quick, 10 minute drive north west from the Dunsborough town centre on the way out to Cape Naturaliste.
There is a big carpark to cater for the summer crowds so it’s never hard to find parking.
Location of Meelup Beach:
Walk the Meelup Trail
When the weather isn’t too hot, my favourite way to get to Meelup Beach is to walk there from Old Dunsborough along the beautiful Meelup Trail. It is an easy, pleasant hike of 3.7km through the beautiful green coastal heath and past a number of deserted calm beaches where you can stop along the way for a swim.
The walk is especially beautiful in springtime when the air is fragrant with wildflower blossoms and lots of birds are flitting about. The scenic highlight of the walk is Castle Rock.
Another option is to walk to Meelup from the opposite direction, from Eagle Bay (3.1km) or Bunker Bay. Eagle Bay to Meelup is a very easy walk, whereas the Bunker Bay to Eagle Bay section is a little bit rougher with some hills.
Last Updated: 29th January, 2015.
First posted on 2nd December, 2013 by Bonny.
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