The Margaret River region begins about 2 1/2 hours drive south-west of Perth. Hire a car from Perth Airport or city centre, and make the seaside town of Busselton your first stop. Here you'll find the 150-year-old Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk the 1.7 kilometre (1.1 mile) stretch, or take the miniature train to the end, where a living aquarium, the Underwater Observatory, can be toured (entry AUD$33, no bookings required; guided tours 9.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays for AUD$15). A circular room studded with windows eight metres (26 feet) beneath the ocean's surface reveals up to 300 species of colourful coral, fish and other marine life, fed by an unusually warm current. For added adventure, sign up for an underwater helmet walk, and walk along the sea floor.
Margaret River is best known for the excellent wines produced here, but the region is also home to great craft beer breweries. Sit down to a lunch of wood-fired pizza or slow-cooked meats paired with a paddle of craft beers at Eagle Bay Brewing Co, 30 kilometres (19 miles) west from Busselton, which overlooks rolling farmland. Then follow the road to Eagle Bay and comb the coast, stopping in at some of Western Australia's most breathtaking beaches. Meelup and Castle Rock, where the bush meets the sand, are local favourites. In season (August to December), you might spot whales swimming at these sheltered points. For your best chance of seeing them, head to Bunker Bay at the end of Cape Naturaliste Road and watch the horizon at either Bunkers Beach Café or the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse (or book in with Naturaliste Cruises for a closer look). Stay at nearby Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and dine in-house at the Other Side of the Moon Restaurant.