Bunker Bay

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The most beautiful beach in the world. That’s what people in the know will always think of first when asked to give their impressions of Bunker Bay. For residents of Australia’s South West region, it’s indisputable. This long wavy stretch of pearly white sand meanders its way around a bay with waters so crystal clear one can see every submerged rock, pebble, grain of sand and the occasional dolphin. 

Until the relatively recent opening of a discreet and luxurious hotel resort, the surroundings were almost completely uninhabited – leaving nature alone to thrive. Bunker Bay beach was a well-kept secret, a family tradition for the few who knew of its existence. Although word has got out, the place remains sufficiently remote to thwart throngs of holidaymakers.

On the eastern side of Cape Naturaliste, beachgoers are sheltered from chilly winds and ocean swells, although there is just the right amount of rolling surf at one end to make this a popular spot for wave catchers of all kinds. It’s a particularly good place for kids (of all ages) to play with their boogie boards as the conditions are, more often than not, quite gentle. A little further up the coast, towards the tip of the cape where Geographe Bay meets the Indian Ocean, is Shelly Cove – a beach that didn’t get its name for its silky soft sand. Pretty shells and sea glass speckle the shoreline that lies low beneath atmospheric limestone cliffs. The waters here can be turbulent, but when ocean swells are at a minimum, it’s a great place for snorkelling.

Thanks to the resort, Bunker Bay is now a fantastic place to stay when exploring the Margaret River region. Ask someone what Margaret River means to them, and the first answer will most likely be ‘wine’. Since an American viticulturist visited Western Australia in the 1950s, reporting that grapes could be an interesting way to boost the state’s economy, the region has heavily invested in vineyards. Today, 20% of Australia’s finest wines are produced here, with about 100 cellar doors open to the public for tastings and tours. But there is more to Margaret River than Shiraz and Chardonnay.

For many visitors, the endless coastline and dense forests are their playground. They come to ‘Margs’, as the locals fondly call it, to catch a wave at one of 50 incredible surf spots, or to see the region from another angle as they crawl through caves and abseil off cliffs. For a bird’s-eye view, a seaplane tour is de rigueur, while adrenaline seekers can skim the treetops hooked to a zip line. A visit around the wineries in a chopper is also a luxurious way to spend a day discovering some of Mother Nature’s finest work from above, while savouring Margaret River’s best vintages along the way.

The cellars are also great places for gourmet dining. The untouched environment and regional microclimate have long attracted farmers looking to raise their cattle in the greenest pastures or grow their crops in the fertile soil. This means that locally produced, fresh farm produce features on practically all the menus of restaurants in the region. Bunker Bay itself is home to one of the most popular restaurants on Cape Naturaliste, Other Side of the Moon – a place that combines the very best of local charm: sweeping views of the beautiful bay, contemporary Australian cuisine and award-winning local wines.    

Another advantage of the region is that it never takes you long to get from point A to point B. Whether shopping for souvenirs in the nearby town of Dunsborough, or strolling through Yallingup’s art galleries, visitors can savour each moment, knowing there will still be time for a trip to the most beautiful beach in the world back in Bunker Bay at day’s end.
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