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A five-minute drive south of Yallingup, beautiful Smiths Beach has some of
the world’s finest, most consistent surfing waves. If you're a non-surfer, the
beach is also great for families with kids wanting to muck around in the clear
waters and explore the rock pools.
Famous for the Main Break surf, this sheltered lagoon also offers superb
snorkelling along the reefs at the southern end of the beach. The best swimming
spots for families are in front of the town where the playground and picnic
benches are, and the shallow lagoon off the Yallingup Reef Beach is a safe place
to swim in the shallow waters.
This curving sandy beach is popular with surfers looking for beach breaks, and
perfect for snorkelling and fishing, with some spectacular marine life on show.
Bunkers Beach Cafe, nestled in the dunes, produces fabulous homemade bread,
and a brilliant assortment of meals and snacks is on offer.
This long pocket of white sand is a favourite for family holidays, and a popular
place for boats and yachts to drop anchor. With shady open grass areas and good
facilities (tables, barbecues and toilets) lining the white sandy beach and its clear
water, this protected bay is perfect for a day of swimming. Those in the know head
to Meelup Beach on summer evenings when, for a few nights each month, the full
moon rises over the Indian Ocean horizon.
Dunsborough Beach is perfect for families with young kids or anyone who likes
swimming at calm, tranquil beaches without big waves. The seagrass meadows that
occupy the majority of the water provide swimmers and snorkellers with a unique
way to enjoy the marine life of the southwest, and offer fishermen the opportunity
to catch many species of fish, squid and shark.
There’s plenty of fishing to be had in these
waters, and for bait you can try pippies
dug from the sand, along with burley at
dawn and dusk. If you’re in a dinghy, try
between Bunker Bay and Dunsborough
for whiting and flathead; salmon can be
caught from April when they come in close
to the bays. North of Dunsborough, Eagle
Bay has good-sized herring and salmon, if
you’re lucky (use a bit of burley and squid).
Quindalup Beach (south of Dunsborough) is
good for fishing in winter because it’s quite
protected from the wind. Go rock fishing
at Yallingup Beach for herring, whiting,
skippy and salmon, while Sugarloaf Rock is
known for big salmon (fish only when it’s dry,
though). Bunker Bay is good for kids, with
sand whiting to be caught directly in front of
the resort. For a bit more variety, turn right
from the beach and fish off the rocks (known
as Rocky Point) for skippy, herring and tailor.
The most popular place for keen snorkellers,
or even those donning a snorkel and mask
for the first time, is Yallingup Beach. At
this protected spot you can see schools
of old wives, seagrass beds, coralfish and
trevally, to name a few. There are granite
boulders to the south, known as
Yallingup Lagoon, and limestone
rock platforms to the northern end.
Remember to look under the ledges
in just one metre of water – a popular
hiding spot for marine life. It’s a bit of
a steep decline from the carpark to the
beach, so youngsters might need help with
their gear. Eagle Bay is also a great spot
for snorkelling, and has a combination of
shallow water (2-3m deep) and sheltering
granite outcrops. It’s ideally sheltered from
the afternoon breeze so the water is usually
pretty flat. This spot is known to attract
stingers in summer (when the water is
warm), so a long rashie is a must.
CYCLING AND BIKING
Whether you’re a mountain biker or a road
cyclist, there’s plenty of terrain to suit. Road
cyclists should try the road out to Cape
Naturaliste Lighthouse in the morning (the
lighthouse doesn’t open until 9am, so there’s
little traffic). It’s about a 24km round trip
but if you detour along the various beach
paths along the way back it will make for
a longer and more challenging trip. Around
Meelup (3km out of Dunsborough) there are
some little-known off-road trails that can be
found off Cape Naturaliste Road. Head past
the school, and opposite Endicott Loop (on
the right-hand side) is a fire trail which is
the entrance to the tracks. There’s the main
track (Brown Streak) and other tracks that
aren’t quite as comprehensive. The trails are
pretty wide, making it okay for those who
want to take it easy, but there are plenty
of technical features (rocks and so on) for
those who want to be tested.
Three Bears Beach, Yallingup
(photography Insight Photography).
Smiths Beach, Yallingup
(photography Insight Photography).
Sugar Loaf Rock
(photography Ben Clegg
Photography Margaret River
Eagle Bay (photography
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