Yallingup in Western Australia is like our second home as we have spent so much time there over the years and you can find out what are our favourite things to do in Yallingup.
This seaside suburb is one of the most popular places for Western Australian’s to holiday due to the trendy breweries, white sandy beaches, surf breaks, and beautiful national parks. The views of the Indian Ocean from the winding roads are stunning and an incredible place to watch the huge waves crash onto the shore.
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How to get to Yallingup
Yallingup is a 3-hour drive from Perth along Kwinana Freeway (State Route 2) and then onto Forrest Highway (State Route 1). At Bunbury, follow Bussell Highway and then signs to Yallingup.
International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety on our Australia page.
Tip: If you haven’t booked your flight yet, look at our travel resources to find out how to get the best flight deals.
Purchase Australian currency at Travelex in the arrival area.
Car Hire – There are several car hire companies available at the airport but I usually find that Europcar have the best deals for us. The earlier car hire is booked, the more options there are, and the lowest prices.
Yallingup Weather and Forecast
The hottest months are January and February, where the average highs are 28 degrees.
The coldest months are from July and August. During this time, the temperature will be around 16, with a minimum of 5.
The most rain falls between June and July, with January and February being the driest months.
See the detailed 7-day forecast at the Bureau of Meteorology.
The annual average water temperature in Yallingup (Indian Ocean) is about 20°C. The coldest time is September (around 18°C) and warmest is March (22°C).
I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Noongar People, the Traditional Owners, and First People of these lands. I would like to pay my respect to the Elders past, present, and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture, and hopes of the Noongar People.
Yallingup’s name means “Place of caves” in the local Aboriginal Wardandi dialect, with “yal” meaning “large hole”. The Wardan Centre was opened as a place where local Wardandi Noongars can pass on and maintain cultural knowledge.
The Caves House Hotel was the first building in this seaside township, built in 1903 to accommodate visitors to Ngilgi Caves.
Surfing began in Yallingup in the 1950’s and soon became a popular spot with surfers. From then on, tourism played a major part in Yallingup. The nearby premium wine region started in the 1960’s and now, along with tourism, is Yallingup’s primary industries.
Things To Do in Yallingup
You can spend as long or as little as you want in Yallingup. We sometimes drive down for a long weekend and spend our time just around this area. Other times we come down for longer and explore the whole Margaret River region. Bear in mind that driving distances are long, so if you don’t have much time, I would focus on Yallingup and return to see more of the other parts of the South West.
These are my favourite things to do in Yallingup and surrounds:
This region has the most incredible beaches. There are plenty to choose from; the sheltered shores of Geographe Bay or the surfy beaches on the other side.
Meelup Beach is a calm and protected bay with plenty of shade on the grassed area above the beach. It’s one of my favourite beaches.
Castle Rock beach is another calm bay that is protected from the westerly sea breeze. At the end of Castle Bay, Castle Rock is accessed by a lovely walk along the beach or on the Meelup Trail.
Eagle Bay is the location of the world-class HMAS Swan dive wreck. The sandy beach and calm, clear ocean are a beach lovers delight. It’s an affluent part of the region with lots of luxurious properties overlooking the sea. Not only great for swimming but also kayaking, snorkelling, photography and picnicking near Point Piquet.
Bunker Bay is near the tip of Cape Naturaliste and is sheltered from most of the winds. A good beach for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. There’s a cafe here too if you get a bit peckish.
Shelley Cove is at the far west end of Bunker Bay. The sandy beach is about 100 metres wide but mostly rocky. It’s not the best swimming beach but excellent for snorkeling and a photographers dream. If you’re an early riser, catch the sun rising over the ocean here.
Yallingup is split into two very different types of beaches. To the left of the main beach staircase is the Yallingup lagoon, tranquil waters encircled by a shallow reef. These crystal clear seas are perfect for snorkelling. Then to the right, you have a surf break. It’s one of the most popular surf spots in WA. In fact, Yallingup is home to WA’s most successful professional surfer Taj Burrow, as well as former Championship Tour surfers Jake Paterson, Claire Bevilacqua, and Melanie Redman-Carr.
Smiths Beach is another popular surfing spot, known for its supertubes (the ability to hold huge swells).
Indijup Beach is probably the most well known secret beach, thanks to Instagram. The Injidup Spa is found down a rutted walking track from the Injidup car park. Waves foam over this natural rock pool formation, forming a natural spa.
The Aquarium was once a secret that only locals knew about. Now thanks to social media most people are aware of this beautiful swimming spot and can even be found on Google Maps. The natural rockpool is located between Canal Rocks and Smiths Beach but can only be accessed via the Cape to Cape Track. You can get to it from either direction but from Canal Rocks is shorter; 500 metres as opposed to 1.5 km.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse Tour
Located only 13km from Dunsborough, this beautiful lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions near Yallingup and worth a visit.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was built in 1903 from limestone that was quarried from Bunker Bay. It sits at 123 metres above sea level at its highest point and has views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and Geographe Bay. The light is 14 foot in diameter and made in England by Chance Brothers. The steps are made of Burmese teak and the fact they still remain shows what brilliant craftmanship they are.
Three lighthouse keepers lived in the quarters which you can see when you visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. This lighthouse was the last one manned in on mainland Australia with the last keeper leaving in 1996.
The guided tour provides an informative talk on the history and functions of the lighthouse. The guide tells tales of the ships wrecked off this dangerous coastline and how hard it was being a lighthouse keeper. Even our daughters were intrigued by it all and listened intently.
There are 59 stairs to climb, but the views from up there are spectacular. Cape Naturaliste is the perfect vantage point for spotting whales on their annual migration so keep your eyes peeled.
There’s a café on-site if you want a drink or snack and the manicured gardens are picturesque. There are walking trails that leave from here too.
I recommend booking in advance as it does get very busy and the tours get fully booked.
Ngilgi Caves, Yallingup
This is a beautiful cave with coloured lights lighting up the stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, and shawls. There are quite a few stairs to negotiate, but it’s an easy walk along boardwalks once you are down. Our kids loved the option they had of crawling through a small part and then sliding down.
There are many tours on offer here, but we chose the semi-guided tour of Ngilgi Caves, which begins by explaining about the cave and the Aboriginal history and beliefs of the cave. The rest of the time, you can explore at your own pace, but there are guides around answering questions.
Ngilgi Caves are a great Yallingup rainy day activity.
Read: Ngilgi Caves Review
Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere at 1.841km long. It can be walked (at a cost of $4 for over 17-year-olds) or a train can be caught either way or return.
The train costs $13.50 per adult and $8.50 per child ONE WAY. It has always been jam-packed when we’ve been so recommend booking in advance.
There’s also an underwater observatory at the end of the jetty in which a spiral staircase takes you down to 8m for views of marine life. Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory is one of only six natural aquariums in the world and a tour that our whole family enjoyed.
Canal Rocks (Winjee Sam)
The pounding waves against the huge granite rocks over thousands of years have created a channel between the rocks.
There’s a timber walkway that crosses the canal with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean rushing through. Once at the end of the boardwalk, there are rocks in which people climb to get better views of the ocean. I advise caution if you do this as the swell is sometimes big and supervise children at all times.
It is spectacular here at any time of the year. Summer brings the turquoise water, and winter the storms and huge waves crashing onto the rocks. It’s a popular fishing spot, especially during the salmon run (usually around early-mid March and late April).
As you walk along the baordwalk to the bridge, look for marine creatures amongst the rocks. We saw quite a few crabs and a starfish.
The Cape to Cape track passes by Canal Rocks which means you can walk in either direction.
Canal Rocks are one of the best free things to do in Yallingup.
The wineries are a considerable part of the reason we visit this part of Western Australia so often. The number of vineyards has extensively increased since I moved here 20+ years ago. Every time we visit, there are new ones to visit.
Tastings are generally free, although some do charge a nominal fee, especially for their premium wines.
The grounds are often spectacular and have stunning cellar door interiors.
Wineries are popular for lunch, and bookings are advised.
I can’t list all the vineyards in the region as there are over 200! Part of the fun is exploring and finding your favourite.
Sugar Loaf Rock
Sugar Loaf Rock is one of the most beautiful photographed spots in the Margaret River region. A large granite rock towering out of the turquoise water.
It’s hard to say when the best time to visit is as it is equally stunning in summer and winter. Summer brings clear blue sky and turquoise water contrasting against the red rock. Winter, the waves are strong and crashing wildly against the rock. Of course, sunset is particularly beautiful and, if you stay long enough, you get to see the lighthouse light up.
Whale Watching Tour
The whale season in this region is usually from early September until around November/December. Humpback migration passes through Geographe Bay while the Southern Right Whales start to depart the area in October with their calves.
Late September to early November is the peak time to see these beautiful marine giants. The best way to view these marine giants are from the ocean.
Enjoy an exciting whale watching to cruise to view these spectacular wild animals.
Yallingup is a haven for nature lovers and hikers. With so many trails close by, you are spoilt for choice.
There’s a wide range going from short bush walks to the adventurous 123km Cape to Cape.
One of my favourites is the walk on the Cape to Cape Track from Sugar Loaf Rock towards the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. It is three kilometres along the cliff tops looking up to the lighthouse. One side there’s the rugged coastline of the Indian Ocean and the other, native Australian coastal bush. Between September and November, you will get to see some beautiful examples of Western Australian wildflowers.
Have lunch at one of the many breweries. There are a few to choose from, but they all get swamped, so I recommend booking.
Simmo’s Ice Creamery
Simmo’s isn’t just for kids. Their ice cream is seriously good. If you want some peace and quiet, away from the playground, head to the back field. Just watch out for the resident emu, he loves ice cream!
Read: Simmo’s Ice Creamery
Margaret River Chocolate Factory & Providore
Even though we have one in the Swan Valley in Perth, we still pop into the Margaret River Chocolate Factory when we are in Yallingup.
Margaret River is the original factory, opened in 1999, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Western Australia.
There are free samples of chocolate plus a cafe with seating indoors and out.
Just along from here, is Providore. This place is a foodies’ delight. The shop tastings include an ever-changing selection of homemade jams, chutneys, preserves, and sauces.
Sunday Sesh at Caves House
Caves House Hotel is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon. They have become known for their Sunday sesh (definition from urban dictionary: Short for “Sunday session.” The act of getting together on a Sunday to socialise and drink likely large amounts of alcohol.
Some fantastic local bands and musicians from further afield perform here and it is one of the best music venues in the region.
Visit an Art Gallery
Art Galleries have popped up all along Caves Road and are featured in many wineries. There are also furniture galleries, art studios, photo exhibitions and workshops that allow you to create your own masterpiece.
You will see the stunning local landscapes featured in a lot of the art work so if you want to remember your trip to Yallingup, head to one of galleries and support local artists.
Take a ride along Yallingup’s Marrinup Drive and Gunyulgup Drive, a thriving art precinct in the middle of bushland.
Day Trips from Yallingup
Where To Stay in Yallingup
Yallingup is not the place to stay if you are on a budget, except in the caravan parks, as accommodation is quite pricey.
Camping in Yallingup
We have camped at the Yallingup Beach Caravan Park a few times and also stayed in a cabin there. The cabin overlooked the ocean, and it was relaxing sitting on the deck, watching the sunset. They are quite basic though.
The other campsite is near to Caves House – Caves Caravan Park.
Canal Rocks Beachfront Apartments offers self-catering accommodation at Smiths Beach, next to Smiths Beach Resort. The large range of apartments all have ocean views with access to a garden, barbecue facilities, free on-site parking and free Wi-Fi.
Caves House Hotel and Apartments are one of the most popular choices in Yallingup. There’s a large choice of accommodation from budget rooms to luxury suites and self-contained apartments located next to Caves House.
Seashells Yallingup is right next to Caves House Hotel which makes it a convenient choice if you’re looking to have a few night outs there. Accommodation ranges from studios to two-bedroom apartments.
Cape Lodge is the ultimate luxury accommodation near Yallingup, winning many awards. This couples-only retreat has an award-winning gourmet restaurant plus has its own cooking school which runs classes and events throughout the year. Cape Lodge is on my bucket list.
Smiths Beach Resort features modern apartments on the beachfront. Each luxury apartment, house and villa has a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor dining area with BBQ facilities. See all the photos here.
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First I visit matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site.
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I mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.
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Travel Information & Guides
This Australia Travel Guide, which includes all essential information and tips, will help with the planning of your holiday to this beautiful country.
If you are looking for more things to do in Western Australia, check out this Western Australia Travel Guide.
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