Yallingup in Western Australia’s South West is like our second home as we have spent so much time there.
This seaside suburb is one of the most popular Perth getaways due to the trendy breweries, white sand beaches, surf breaks, underground caves, 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.
Read on for our favourite things to do in Yallingup, WA.
Updated December 2022.
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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 around this area. Other times we come down for longer and explore the whole Margaret River region. Remember that driving distances are long, so if you only have a little time, I would focus on Yallingup and return to see more of the other parts of the South West.
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 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 lover’s 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, snorkelling, and fishing. There’s a café here too if you get a bit hungry.
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 snorkelling and a photographer’s dream. If you’re an early riser, catch the sun rising over the ocean here.
Yallingup Beach 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. Yallingup is home to WA’s most successful professional surfer Taj Burrow, and 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).
Injidup Beach is the most well known secret beach, thanks to Instagram. The Injidup Natural 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. Thanks to social media, most people know this beautiful swimming spot now, which can be found on Google Maps. The natural rock pool is 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 the Canal Rocks way is shorter – 500 metres as opposed to 1.5 km.
The calm water is ideal for swimming and snorkelling – we preferred it to Injidup Natural Spa.
Ngilgi Cave, Yallingup
Ngilgi Cave is beautiful, 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 Cave, which begins by explaining about this Yallingup cave and the Aboriginal history and beliefs of the ancient cave. The rest of the time, you can explore at your own pace, but there are guides around answering questions.
Ngilgi Cave is a great Yallingup rainy day activity.
Read: Ngilgi Cave Review
Canal Rocks (Winjee Sam)
The pounding waves against the huge granite rocks over thousands of years have created a channel between the rocks.
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 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 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 boardwalk to the bridge, look for marine creatures on the rocks. We saw quite a few crabs and 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 informative wine tastings are a considerable part of why we visit this part of Western Australia so often. The number of wineries has extensively increased since I moved here 20+ years ago. Every time we visit, there are new vineyards to visit.
Tastings are generally free, although some charge a nominal fee, especially for their premium wines.
The grounds are often spectacular and have stunning cellar door interiors. Some have gift shops with unusual and beautifully crafted home décor, luxury gifts, books, and accessories.
Award-winning wineries are popular for lunch, and bookings are advised.
I can only list some of the vineyards in the region, as there are over 200! Part of the fun is exploring and finding your favourite.
Sadly Yallingup Cheese has closed.
Gabriel Chocolate Yallingup
Gabriel Chocolate factory imports the world’s finest quality raw cacao beans to produce award-winning chocolate.
Visit the shop to taste their creations or enjoy a hot chocolate with a chocolate chunk cookie.
Open seven days (except Christmas Day & some public holidays) from 10 am to 4.30 pm (5 pm on Saturdays).
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.
The peak time to see these beautiful marine giants is from late September to early November. The best way to view these marine giants is from the ocean.
Enjoy an exciting whale-watching 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. On one side, there’s the rugged coastline of the Indian Ocean, and on the other, native Australian coastal bush. You will see some beautiful examples of Western Australian wildflowers between September and November.
This maze is a fun activity for kids in Yallingup. Here you’ll find an outdoor maze, nature play areas, a bouncy castle, and an indoor puzzle café where you can play with puzzles for free.
A new 18-hole mini golf course is now open, designed around a water feature with six cascading waterfalls.
We bought a few puzzles from the shop years ago that we still take with us on road trips.
Open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday (except 24th, 25th, 26th December, New Years Day & Australia Day).
Annual Maintenance Closure: Monday 30th January – Tuesday 14th February 2023.
For up-to-date prices and booking, see Yallingup Maze.
Sunday Session 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
Yallingup 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 artwork, so if you want to remember your trip to Yallingup, head to one of the 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.
Cape Lavender Tea House
This cute café is always busy due to being recognised as having the best Devonshire tea & coffee in the Yallingup region. Situated on the corner of Caves Road and Canal Rocks Road, you’ll have a view of the garden through the traditional mullion windows.
Devonshire Tea was A$12.50 in December 2022, which included your choice of scones, preserves and fresh local double whipped cream with one of their boutique teas or locally roasted coffee.
The shop also sells a range of handcrafted, natural lavender essential oil and body products, honey, jams, and lollies.
Quinninup Falls is an elusive waterfall located in Wilyabrup, near Yallingup, known for its beauty and how hard it is to find! The trail to the falls is moderately difficult and takes around 45 minutes to reach the falls and an hour to return (due to having to climb back up the sand dunes).
To find the Cape to Cape track to Quinninup Falls, enter Moses Rock Road into your maps. Follow the road to the end, where you will find the car park. From here, head right and up the log stairs.
The Wadandi (Saltwater) people are the traditional owners of this land. Quinninup is the Place of the Zamia Palm, and the Falls, and the surrounding area, are of great importance to Wadandi culture. “While visiting we ask that you walk softly, taking the time to listen to and care for Boodja (Country).” • Do not remove or alter any rock formations or flora, stick to walking trails and leave only footprints.
Cooking School at Wildwood Valley
Learn how to cook Italian or Thai dishes at this Yallingup Cooking School. Sioban trained as a chef under Neil Perry before working at Martin Boetz’ Longrain restaurant, known for Sydney’s best Thai food. In December 2022, the cost was A$180 per person, with classes limited to ten people. The price includes coffee, four hours of hands-on practical demonstrations and instruction, a five-course feast and a complete collection of take-home recipes.
Koomal Dreaming offers cultural tours providing an opportunity to experience the area through the eyes of the Wadandi and Bibbulman people, the traditional custodians of these lands.
Wadandi custodian Josh “Koomal” Whiteland will introduce you to the world’s oldest living culture with his authentic, personal interpretation.
The adventure playground on the Yallingup Foreshore includes a nature-based playground, a surf shack cubby, and swings.
The playground overlooks Yallingup Beach and has BBQs, picnic tables, showers, and toilets.
Things To Do near Yallingup
Sugarloaf 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. In winter, the waves are strong and crash wildly against the rocks. Of course, the sunset is particularly beautiful, and if you stay long enough, you can see the lighthouse lit up.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse Tour
Located only 13km from Dunsborough, this beautiful lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions near Yallingup and is worth a visit.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was built in 1903 from limestone 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 ft in diameter and made in England by Chance Brothers. The steps are made of Burmese teak, and the fact they remain shows their brilliant craftsmanship.
Three lighthouse keepers lived in the quarters, which you can see when you visit Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. This lighthouse was the last one operated by people 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, including 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.
A café is 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.
Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere at 1.841km long. It can be walked (A$4 for over 17-year-olds), or a train can be caught either way or return.
The family-friendly train costs A$16 per adult and A$9.50 per child. It has always been jam-packed when we’ve been, so I 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 worldwide and a tour our whole family enjoyed.
Margaret River Chocolate Factory & Providore
Margaret River is the original factory that opened in 1999 and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Western Australia.
There are free samples of chocolate plus a café 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.
Simmo’s Ice Creamery
Simmo’s isn’t just for kids. Their ice cream is seriously good. If you want peace 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
Have lunch at one of the many breweries. There are a few to choose from, but they all get swamped, so I recommend booking.
Day Trips from Yallingup
For more ideas on the must-see places and attractions in the Margaret River region, please see the following guides:
- Things to do in Margaret River
- Things to do in Dunsborough
- Things to do in Busselton
- Best beaches in the Margaret River region
- Best Things to do in the South West
Where To Stay in Yallingup
We use Booking.com for most accommodation bookings as they offer free cancellation on most rooms, have a loyalty program (Genius), a price match guarantee, the site is user-friendly and they have great customer support. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are often cheaper than Airbnb.
Yallingup is not the place to stay if you are on a budget, except in the caravan parks, as prices are high. However, there are some amazing luxury accommodation options if you feel like splurging on a holiday to remember.
|Canal Rocks Beachfront Apartments||4||4.5||$$||N||Book Here||Book Here|
|Caves House Hotel||4||4||$$||N||Book Here||Book Here|
|Seashells Yallingup||4||4.5||$$||N||Book Here||Book Here|
|Cape Lodge||5||4.5||$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Smiths Beach Resort||5||4.5||$$-$$$||Y||Book Here||Book Here|
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 – if you end up going, let me know what you think.
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.
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 Yallingup Beach, and it was relaxing sitting on the deck, watching the sunset and listening to the powerful waves crash onto shore. They are quite basic though.
The other campsite is near to Caves House – Caves Caravan Park.
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.
Use this Perth to Margaret River road trip itinerary to plan your route.
International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety in this Australia Travel Guide and tips on arriving into WA and other essential travel information in this Western Australia Travel Guide.
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction. Another option is Rentalcars.
Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
The Ultimate South West Road Trip
Jump in the car, or campervan, and explore what Western Australia’s South West has to offer. This Perth to Albany road trip itinerary is flexible so you can choose the length and where you want to go with handy tips to make the most out of your travels.
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 the warmest is March (22°C).
Where to eat in Yallingup
You will be spoilt with choice with all the beautiful places to eat in Yallingup. A few of my favourites are:
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 Noongar 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 1950s 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 1960s and now, along with tourism, is Yallingup’s primary industry.
This detailed travel guide provides information on all the regions that make up Australia’s South West. Read about the destinations, including what to do and where to stay.
Save money planning your holiday
Click on the links which will take you direct to the website.
Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Kiwi.com and try different routes.
Travel Guides: As well as using online resources, like other travel blogs, I like to flick through a paper travel guide too. I either rent them from our local library or buy them from Bookdepository if I want to take it with me.
Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated. Another option is Rentalcars.com
Campervan Rental:Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Tours: We use third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.
Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic.
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