Margaret River is a popular tourist destination located in the southwest of Western Australia. Known for its stunning beaches, world-renowned wineries, and immersive nature experiences, it’s no wonder that visitors flock to this region year-round. However, with so many options for accommodation, it can be challenging to know when the best time is to book.
Booking in advance can often save travelers money, but how far in advance is too far? Is it better to wait for last-minute deals, or should you book as soon as possible to secure your preferred accommodation? In this article, I will explore the best time to book Margaret River accommodation to help you plan the perfect trip.
Drawing from my firsthand experience owning and managing a 29-room motel in Margaret River from 2016 to 2023, as well as being a Margaret River resident since 2016, I’ve literally helped thousands of people plan their holidays here, as well as gathered insights and patterns that will guide you to make an informed decision.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, read on to discover the best time to book Margaret River accommodation!
Understanding Margaret River’s Seasons
Margaret River is a popular destination for tourists, and the best time to book accommodation mostly depends on the weather, and therefore what season it is. Understanding the different seasons can help visitors plan their trip and make the most of their stay.
The peak season in Margaret River is from December to February, which is summer in Australia. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
However, the peak season also means that accommodation prices are at their VERY highest, and availability is limited. Visitors who plan to visit during the peak season should book their accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment. If you want to book over Christmas and New Years, then be prepared to pay huge rates and book 6 months or more in advance.
If you are able to book outside of summer school holidays, which is generally the last two weeks of December and the whole month of January, you might have a better chance of nabbing a good deal.
The off-peak season in Margaret River is from June to August, which is winter in Australia. During this time, the weather is cooler, and there are fewer tourists, which means that accommodation prices are lower, and availability is higher.
Visitors who plan to visit during the off-peak season can enjoy a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, but they should be prepared for cooler weather and fewer outdoor activities. Bring your rain jackets and umbrellas!
You may find prices are a little higher around July school holidays, and the June Long weekend, so just double check dates on those if you are travelling in June or July.
The shoulder season in Margaret River is from September to November and from March to May, so basically Autumn and Spring. During this time, the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists than during the peak season. Although, that being said there a few caveats to this:
- Margaret River is a premium wedding destination, and September-November is wedding season, so be prepared for accommodation to be heavily booked on weekends.
- The wildflowers are crazy beautiful from September-early November, and lots of people walk the Cape to Cape Track to see them. This can affect availability at some properties.
- Easter dates change every year, however this is a super peak period, so be aware of the dates if you want to travel in March or April, as most properties will also set 3+ night minimums.
- There is the March long weekend in WA, which will be a peak weekend too, and most properties will set minimum nights.
- There is also a long weekend at the end of September which will cause prices to raise and minimum nights to be set.
Accommodation prices are lower than during the peak season, but they are still higher than during the off-peak season. Visitors who plan to visit during the shoulder seasons of can enjoy a pleasant climate, fewer crowds, and affordable accommodation options.
Hoteliers Tip: If you are looking for the cheapest prices and nice weather, look for the month of February (tends be quiet as the kids go back to school and people settle into regular life again) or the first two weeks of December (not many people go on holidays right before Christmas). If weather isn’t an issue, and you just want the cheapest accommodation possible, definitely visit in August, as this is the quietest time of year in Margaret River as people head north to better weather. That being said, some wineries and restaurants have shorter opening hours in August because of this – just keep that in mind.
Factors Influencing Accommodation Prices
When planning a trip to Margaret River, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of accommodation. The prices of accommodation can vary greatly depending on a number of different factors, including:
One of the biggest factors that can influence the price of accommodation in Margaret River is the timing of local events. Margaret River hosts a number of popular events throughout the year, such as the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival, CinefestOZ, Margaret River Region Open Studios, Strings Attached Festival, Cape to Cape MTB, the Margaret River Pro surfing competition, and various other events. During these events, accommodation prices can skyrocket due to the high demand. It is important to plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance if you plan to attend one of these events, or will be in the region while one is happening.
Another factor that can influence the price of accommodation in Margaret River is school holidays. During school holidays, families flock to the region to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and family-friendly activities. As a result, accommodation prices can be higher during these periods. If you are looking to save money on accommodation, it may be best to avoid booking during school holidays. Check current scheduled school holidays HERE.
Weekends vs. Weekdays
Finally, the day of the week can also have an impact on the price of accommodation in Margaret River. Generally, weekends tend to be quite a bit more expensive than weekdays. This is because many people prefer to travel on weekends, especially as Margaret River is only 3 or so hours from Perth, our capital city, so accommodation providers can charge higher rates during this time. If you are flexible with your travel dates, it may be worth considering a weekday stay to save some money on accommodation.
Recommended Booking Timeframes
When planning a trip to Margaret River, it’s important to consider the best time to book accommodation. Here are some recommended booking timeframes to help you secure the best deals and availability.
Advance Booking Period
For travelers who like to plan ahead, it’s recommended to book accommodation in Margaret River at least 3-6 months in advance. This allows for ample time to research and compare different options, as well as take advantage of early bird discounts. Additionally, booking in advance ensures that you have a wider selection of available accommodations to choose from, especially during peak travel seasons.
Spontaneous Travel Considerations
For those who prefer more spontaneous travel, it’s still possible to find great accommodation options in Margaret River. However, it’s important to keep in mind that availability may be limited, especially during peak travel seasons. It’s recommended to book accommodation at least 2-4 weeks in advance to ensure availability and secure the best deals. Additionally, travelers may consider booking last-minute deals for even greater savings.
Comparing Online Travel Agents (OTA) vs. Direct Booking
When it comes to booking accommodation in Margaret River, travelers have two options: using an Online Travel Agent (OTA), like Booking.com or Expedia, or direct booking. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.
Pros and Cons of OTAs
Booking with an OTA is a popular choice among travelers because it’s convenient and easy to use. With just a few clicks, travelers can compare prices and amenities from multiple hotels and resorts. Plus, many online booking sites offer special deals and discounts that are not available through direct booking.
If you are booking many stops on a holiday, using the same OTA for all of your bookings can be nice as all the information is then in the one place, be it the OTAs app or website.
However, online booking also has its downsides. One of the biggest disadvantages is that travelers may not always get the best deal. Quite a lot of hotels and resorts offer lower rates for direct bookings, so travelers may end up paying more if they book online.
Additionally, online booking sites may not always have accurate information about the hotel or resort, which can lead to misunderstandings and disappointment.
Benefits of Direct Booking
Direct booking is another option for travelers who want to book accommodation in Margaret River. When travelers book directly with a hotel or resort, they can often get a better deal than they would through online booking.
Also, booking direct also allows travelers to communicate directly with the hotel or resort, and not through an OTA, which can be helpful for getting personalized recommendations and special requests.
Another benefit of direct booking is that travelers can be sure they are getting accurate information about the hotel or resort. They can ask questions about amenities, room types, and other details before making a reservation. This can help avoid any misunderstandings or surprises when they arrive at the hotel or resort.
I have also found as a hotelier and a customer, a guest who books direct will often get a complimentary upgrade or get shifted into the best rooms, over someone who books through an OTA. This is because accommodation properties pay between 15-20% commission to the OTAs, so they tend to reward direct bookers.
Hoteliers Tip: I check prices using an OTA, and then I cross check it against a properties website when I am booking accommodation for my family. I will also check the “Special Deals” page of a properties website to see if there are any additional discount codes I can use. Last time we went to Perth, I was able to get a cabin with a 30% discount from what the OTA was offering by doing this exact process! This saved us $500, as we were staying 5 nights! Not bad for 5 minutes of extra effort!
Wrapping Up: Best Time to Book Margaret River Accommodation
Finding the best time to book accommodation in Margaret River doesn’t have to be a guessing game. By considering the local seasons, events, and booking trends, you can strategically plan your visit to enjoy all that this beautiful region has to offer.
Booking at the right time can significantly enhance your travel experience, offering you the best in terms of weather, activities, and value for money.
Armed with the insights from my years of experience in the Margaret River hospitality scene, you’re now better equipped to make informed booking decisions!
Ready to dive deeper into making your Margaret River getaway unforgettable? Check out our related posts below for more tips, guides, and insider advice to plan your perfect trip.
Australia Travel Planning Guide
🚑Should I buy Australian travel insurance?
100% YES! — Australia has “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I like SafetyWing – their Nomad Insurance starts at just $1.50 USD a day!
🚗Should I rent a car in Australia?
Yes — Renting a car is a necessity in most of Australia! If you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, and even if you’re staying in a major city, you’ll want to rent a car. If you are visiting Margaret River, it will be even more important that you hire a car, you’ll need it to be able to get around and see all the great attractions and wineries!
🏨What’s the best way to book my Australian accommodation?
My go-to for Australian hotels is Booking.com. Pretty much all registered accommodation use Booking.com (but not necessarily any of the other major booking platforms), and even most of the holiday homes and caravan parks use Booking.com too!
If you’re planning a trip to Australia where you will stay at multiple locations, it’s super handy to have all your accommodation listed in one place, and accommodation owners like Booking.com because it’s easy to contact the guests using the messaging platform if the guest has an international phone number.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to Margaret River!