I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 28th 2012
A magical trail in the south-west of Western Australia
Situated approximately 3 hours south of Perth on beautiful Geographe Bay, Dunsborough is the archetypal chilled out south-west surf town. Tired of city life, I escaped there a few weeks ago, to breathe some fresh air and get some exercise, and returned home, refreshed and rejuvenated.
As a nature lover, the highlight of my visit to Dunsborough was the wonderful dual purpose trail which follows the coast for several kilometres. I discovered it by accident, when on my first morning in the town I woke early and headed down to the beach. Since I hadn't eaten anything, I was just planning to go for a short wander before returning to my hostel for breakfast. However, the gentle early morning sunlight on my skin, the fresh sea breeze and the beauty of the bay was addictive, and I couldn't stop walking. I didn't return until at least five hours later.
In spring, many native wildflowers can be seen along the trail
Arriving at the beach, I turned left onto the trail and started walking. Breathtakingly beautiful, the path wound its way past attractive sea-side homes, through native bushland and small local parks. A popular route, friendly locals and tourists greeted me as I strolled along.
At every twist of the trail, beautiful views can be appreciated.
The path is very well-maintained and is popular with walkers and cyclists of all ages. Due to being well away from the main roads, it was also popular with young families, and quite a few very little kids cycled past me, followed closely behind by their parents. The route would have to be one of the most family-friendly which I've encountered as every kilometre, or even less, there were children's playgrounds. This makes it perfect for families with little ones who tire and get bored easily.
This children's playground at Blackhurst Park is one of many which can be accessed from along the trail.
The scenery along the path is absolutely spectacular, and there's so much to point out to children: the many varieties of wildflowers which bloom every spring, the prolific native birdlife, and the whales which are regularly seen close to the shore. To help ramblers better understand the local environment and the unique ecosystem which it supports, interpretation signboards have also been erected here and there along the route.
One of several signs interpreting the flora and fauna of the area
The trail is a great spot for adults as well as kids, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was one of those places, so rare today, where strangers greet each other as they pass, and even engage in casual friendly banter as they stop to admire some especially beautiful scenery. I was also happy to see that some places not only had a children's play area, but also the outdoor exercise equipment which is becoming more and more popular in outdoor public spaces.
Serious hikers with enough water, food and the appropriate equipment may also want to extend their walk into the neighbouring Meelup Regional Park, at the far north of the trail. Several bushwalks begin from a trail-head there, including one to Cape Naturaliste, 14 kilometres away.
This bushwalking trail-head lists walks into the Meelup Regional Park
For me, one of the highlights of my walk was observing two whales frolicking in the calm waters about 100 metres off a rocky headland. I almost missed them, as I was so mesmerised by the beauty of the beaches and the attractive views across the bay. It wasn't until some other walkers pointed them out to me that I noticed them, and the next half hour was spent happily watching these gentle giants of the ocean.
Dunsborough is one of those beautiful, rare gems where life is slow and seems to gently flow in harmony with nature and the changing seasons. This energy influences the people who reside and visit there, making personal interactions very pleasing. One thing I loved about this trail was the many benches which were scattered along it. These encouraged walkers and cyclists to regularly stop and to contemplate the beauty around them, rather than constantly rush, in an attempt to get their exercise out of the way, so as to get onto the next 'duty'. Picnic tables were also widely available, once again encouraging the laid-back al fresco lifestyle which is so popular down there.
One of many benches which have been placed along the trail, and which offer walkers and cyclists a spot to quietly contemplate the beauty around them.
In my opinion, Dunsborough is the perfect family holiday destination, and despite its rapid expansion, it still has the ambiance of a small seaside hamlet. When you visit, don't neglect to take a wander along the foreshore trail. Whether you dally along there for half an hour or an entire day, it's a beautiful experience which you'll undoubtedly take home with you and treasure.
Why? The trail which follows Dunsborough's foreshore offers spectacular views across Geographe Bay, and during the cooler months you may be fortunate enough to see some whales frolicking in its waters.
Where:Dunsborough is situated on beautiful Geographe Bay, in the south-west of Western Australia.