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Boranup Forest: Everything You Need to Know (Locals Guide)

RATING: 4.8/5 | 🌏DISTANCE FROM MARGARET RIVER: 20km |📍LOCATION: Caves Road, Boranup WA | Google Maps | ☀️BEST TIME TO VIST: Year round | 💲COST: Free | 🐶DOGS ALLOWED: No | 🕰️OPEN: 24 hours | 🚗PARKING: Yes | 🚻FACILITIES: None | 🛣️UNSEALED ROADS: No

Just south of Margaret River you’ll find Boranup Forest, a majestic realm where the towering karri trees stretch towards the sky, creating a natural cathedral that leaves visitors in awe. This forest is renowned for its towering karri trees, some of the tallest in the world which can reach impressive heights of over 60 meters, and is a popular destination for its scenic beauty. I absolutely adore the drive along Caves Road from Margaret River town, with the journey to the forest is as breathtaking as the destination itself, with the landscape slowly giving way to the dense canopy of green.

Boranup Forest has it all – scenic drives, bushwalks, and picnic spots. Wildlife flourishes here, and it’s not uncommon to encounter native birds and maybe even a kangaroo or two as they move through the undergrowth. There’s something magical about the way the light filters through the leaves, casting a verdant glow that seems to energize the soul.

Join me as we explore the tranquil paths, breathe in the fresh, eucalypt-scented air, and uncover the hidden wonders of this remarkable corner of Western Australia!

Winding road meandering through the tall karri trees of Boranup Forest, showcasing the natural beauty of Western Australia.

Where Is Boranup Forest?

Boranup Forest is located in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. It’s situated 20km south of the town of Margaret River and 30km north of Augusta, within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Caves Road and Access Routes

The easiest way to reach Boranup Forest is by taking Caves Road, which runs parallel to the coast and offers a spectacular drive. Boranup Drive weaves through the forest itself, providing direct access to this majestic area. Boranup Drive is a gravel road, and can be quite bumpy in sections, so allow plenty of time to drive it.

After marvelling at the towering karri trees of Boranup Forest, why not unwind at one of the many pristine beaches in Margaret River? Discover the best beaches in Margaret River in my comprehensive local guide.

Natural Features

Boranup Forest is a natural masterpiece, showcasing some of the most stunning features that make the Margaret River region so unique and captivating. Known for its towering karri trees, rich diversity of wildlife and unique fungi, the forest is a prime example of Western Australia’s captivating natural beauty. Here are the key natural features that define this enchanting forest:

Towering Karri Trees

The most striking feature of Boranup Forest is its majestic karri trees. These towering giants, reaching heights of up to 90 meters, are among the tallest tree species in the world. Their smooth, silvery-white bark and lofty canopies create a mesmerizing sight, especially when sunlight filters through the leaves.

Diverse Understory

Beneath the tall karris, the forest floor is a lush tapestry of ferns, shrubs, and wildflowers. This understory provides a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife and adds to the forest’s biodiversity. In spring, the forest floor comes alive with colorful wildflowers, including orchids and banksias.

Wildlife Haven

Boranup Forest is home to an array of wildlife. It’s a haven for birdwatchers, with species like the red-tailed black cockatoo and the white-breasted robin. The forest also supports mammals like kangaroos, possums, and bandicoots, as well as a range of reptiles and insects. Extend your family’s nature adventure with my guide to family-friendly activities in Margaret River.

Cave Systems

The area around Boranup Forest is known for its extensive limestone cave systems. These caves, formed over millions of years, add a mysterious and ancient element to the forest’s landscape. Notable caves like Jewel Cave and Lake Cave offer fascinating insights into the region’s geological history.

Dense array of eucalyptus trees rising from the lush fern undergrowth in Boranup Forest, a testament to the biodiversity of the region.

Recreational Activities

Boranup Forest is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s also a playground for a variety of recreational activities. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or someone looking for a peaceful retreat, this forest offers something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular recreational activities you can enjoy in Boranup Forest:

Hiking and Bushwalking

With its network of trails winding through the towering karri trees, Boranup Forest is a hiker’s paradise. Trails vary in length and difficulty, catering to casual walkers and serious hikers alike. The forest paths lead you through enchanting landscapes, offering a chance to connect with nature and spot local wildlife. If you are really keen, the Cape to Cape Walk snakes through the Boranup Forest as well.

Picnicking Spots

There are several picturesque spots throughout the forest perfect for a family picnic. Enjoy a meal surrounded by the tranquility of nature, a great way to relax and unwind.

Camping Facilities

For the quintessential outdoor experience, I find Boranup campground offers everything I need. Tucked within the forest, the sites allow me to reconnect with nature.

Bird Watching and Wildlife Spotting

The forest is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with a variety of bird species making their home among the trees. Keep an eye out for colorful parrots, majestic eagles, and playful kookaburras. The forest is also home to other wildlife like kangaroos, possums, and bandicoots, offering a delightful experience for wildlife watchers.

Sunlight filtering through the tall eucalyptus trees onto the curving road in Boranup Forest, inviting exploration.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Boranup Forest holds a rich tapestry of stories that speak to its cultural and historical significance. From its ancient Indigenous heritage to its more recent logging history, each chapter contributes enormously to the identity of this natural wonder.

Indigenous Heritage

As the traditional owners, the Wardandi Noongar people have a profound connection with Boranup Forest. For them, it’s a living library, echoing with the lore of their ancestors. The name ‘Boranup’ itself means “place of the male dingo”, illustrating the close relationship they have with the land, shaped over millennia.

Logging History

The Timber Industry: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, logging became a pivotal industry in Boranup. Majestic Karri trees, sought after for their strength and size, were felled, transforming the landscape and local economy.

  • Railway Lines: To transport this valuable timber, networks of railway lines snaked through the forest, becoming the lifelines of the timber trade.
  • Regeneration Efforts: Despite the intensive logging, the forest has shown an impressive ability to regenerate, leading to it being heralded as a prime example of natural eucalyptus regeneration on the Australian mainland by the mid-20th century.
Dirt track winding through the serene, sunlit Boranup Forest, with its tall, slender trees and lush understory.

Tourist Information

When planning your trip to Boranup Forest, be aware that there are certain times of the year that really showcase its natural beauty, as well as facilities like the Boranup Lookout, which offer a stunning view of the karri forest.

Best Time to Visit

Spring is my favorite time to visit; this is when the forest floor is a tapestry of colorful wildflowers. Plus, the light filtering through the karri trees in the late afternoon is simply magical.

Amenities and Facilities

At Boranup Lookout, you’ll find ample parking for cars. While toilets are not available at the lookout itself, there are facilities at nearby rest areas. The forest is accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles along Caves Road, and you can also take the Boranup Forest Drive, although this route is gravel, so allow plenty of time as you will have to drive slow. Picnic facilities here and there invite you to stop and soak up the serenity of the towering trees.

Travel Tips

  • Visit the Boranup Lookout for an ideal photo opportunity; you won’t want to miss capturing the forest from this vantage point, just watch for cars on the road!
  • If you’re driving a two-wheel vehicle, rest assured that the Boranup Forest Drive is suitable for your car, but always check local conditions before you visit.
  • Don’t forget to bring your own water and snacks, as there aren’t any shops deep in the forest.

Remember, the forest is a natural and somewhat remote area, so always plan ahead for your trip to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Sun-dappled Boranup Forest with a dense growth of karri trees and a lush fern understorey, highlighting the forest's vibrant ecosystem.

Wrapping Up: Boranup Forest

Boranup Forest holds a special place in my heart. Its majestic karri trees stretch towards the sky, creating a sense of grandeur unique to this corner of the world.

When you visit, you’ll be reminded of nature’s resilience. Despite the history of timber milling, the forest stands proudly today. It serves as a poignant example of the environment’s ability to recover and flourish, provided it’s given the chance.

If you’re ever in Margaret River, I recommend you visit the Boranup Forest. It’s a gentle reminder of our place within the natural world and the spectacular beauty that can be found in nature.

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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!