The coast of Western Australia is dotted with lighthouses, but over the years, the vast majority have been shut down and are now closed to the public. Margaret River is lucky enough to have two operating lighthouses you can climb and explore as part of a fully guided tour, including the tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia.
The lighthouses in Margaret River are also the perfect vantage point to see migrating whales. Roughly 35,000 whales migrate along the West Australian coastline from Antarctica each year, seeking to breed in the warmer waters up north. Augusta is a hotspot from June to August and Geographe Bay becomes a whale nursery from September through to December.
Lighthouse tours are usually limited to 10 people, although restrictions reduced the number of people able to climb to eight. Be sure to book ahead at one of the region’s visitor centres on 9780 5911 and ask about the packages, which can include a pass to see both of the lighthouses, or even a lighthouse and a cave.
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Situated at the southern tip of the Margaret River region and a 10-minute drive from Augusta, this magnificent lighthouse is the tallest on mainland Australia at 39m high.
Panoramic views show the convergence of the Southern and Indian Oceans, and if you’re lucky, during winter you may see the playful splash of a Humpback or Southern Right whale.
There are plenty of stunning walks surrounding the lighthouse. The Heritage Pass grants you a headset to guide you along the tracks and utilise the large binoculars dotted along the way. The new interpretive centre has high quality animations, pictures that come to life and interactive stories. The centre is actually a finalist in three WA Heritage Awards, so it is definitely worth checking out.
The tours depart every half an hour from 9am to 4.30pm daily. To get there, head south of Augusta to the end of Leeuwin Rd.
Cape Naturalise lighthouse is a 15 minute drive from Dunsborough on the northern tip of Margaret River and is the best place to admire the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and Geographe Bay coastline.
At the base of the lighthouse there is a nautical-themed playground and walking trails and vantage points to keep you busy for hours. Whales and their new calves tend to come closer to shore in Geographe Bay, enjoying its sheltered cove, so it’s popular for whale watching. A restored lighthouse keeper’s cottage offers lunch and coffee, or you could even bring your own picnic to enjoy on the landscaped lawns.
The guided tours are available daily, leaving every half an hour from 9.30-4pm. To get there, drive north of Dunsborough for about 15 minutes along Cape Naturaliste Rd.
Fully guided tours of these two lighthouses will give you an insight into the history and functions of a working lighthouses, as well as the maritime history of the area. It is also a great spot to take some photos!
Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia, Margaret River Visitor’s Centre