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Gnarabup Beach: Locals Guide

RATING: 4.7/5 | 🌏DISTANCE FROM MARGARET RIVER: 9.2km |📍LOCATION: Gnarabup WA | Google Maps | ☀️BEST TIME TO VIST: Spring, Summer, Autumn | 💲COST: Free | 🐶DOGS ALLOWED: Yes, in parts | 🕰️OPEN: 24 hours | 🚗PARKING: Yes | 🚻FACILITIES: Toilets, showers, walk trails, cafe, boat ramp, jetty | 🛣️UNSEALED ROADS: No

Looking for a beach in Margaret River that’s perfect for both relaxation and adventure?

Gnarabup Beach is located just a 7-minute drive from Margaret River and is your go-to destination if you are looking for somewhere that offers stunning views of the coastline and plenty to do, including swimming, fishing, surfing, and places to walk your dog!

Just south of the famous Surfers Point, Gnarabup Beach is sheltered by a limestone reef and a headland to the south, also making it an excellent swimming beach, especially for smaller children.

With my extensive local knowledge, gained from owning a motel and spending countless hours by the sea, I’ll guide you through everything Gnarabup Beach has to offer.

From its laid-back vibe to its crystal-clear waters, this post will ensure you make the most of your visit to one of Margaret River’s most beloved beaches.

Where Is Gnarabup Beach?

Gnarabup Beach is located a 7-minute drive to the west of Margaret River. It starts at Riflebutts Reserve in the north and extends down to the Gnarabup Boat Ramp in the south. Gnarabup Beach faces due west and is 1.6km long, but is protected by near continuous reefs about 500m offshore.

Location: Google Maps

How To Get To Gnarabup Beach?

You can access Gnarabup Beach from four locations if you are driving there;

  • Starting at the north, there is a carpark at Riflebutts Reserve. Here, you will find not only access to the beach, but also a kid’s playground, a grassed area where you are allowed to have your dogs off-lead, toilets, and picnic tables.
  • Halfway along the beach, there is a very small car park on Mitchell Drive, which is a short walk through the dunes onto the beach. There is only room for 12 cars at this car park, so you can be guaranteed this is a quieter section of the beach.
  • At the south end of Gnarabup Beach, is a large car park, which is what most people think of as Gnarabup Beach. There is room for boat trailer parking here, as this is where a busy boat ramp is located. You will also find the iconic White Elephant Beach Cafe, which offers unpretentious, casual beachside dining. This is a great spot to grab a coffee, but it can be jam-packed, especially during peak periods.
  • Lastly, if you’re looking for a spot to take a nice photo, or just to sit and watch the ocean while you have your lunch, head to the Gnarabup Lookout. We have spent many hours here just watching the water, away from the crowds at Surfers Point!

Gnarabup Beach Facilities

Gnarabup Beach is not only a stunning coastal retreat but also well-equipped for a full day of enjoyment by the sea. Pet lovers rejoice, as parts of this beach welcomes your four-legged friends to join in the fun.

After a dip in the ocean, rinse off the saltwater at the public showers and make use of the clean public toilets. For a delightful meal with a view, there’s the White Elephant Beach Cafe to satisfy your cravings.

Nature enthusiasts can explore the scenic walk trails, while boating aficionados will appreciate the convenient boat ramp, launch, and parking facilities, making it effortless to take to the waters.

Things To Do In Gnarabup Beach

Gnarabup Beach Camping

If you’re considering camping at Gnarabup Beach, it’s important to note that camping is not permitted on the beach itself. But don’t let that dampen your spirits – you’re in luck, as Boranup, Contos, Jarrahdene and Point Road Campgrounds are all conveniently nearby. You can read more information on these fantastic camping spots in the Margaret River here.

Gnarabup Beach 4WD

You cannot drive on Gnarabup Beach, check out my post on 4WD Tracks In Margaret River to find out some nearby locations for that. The closest place to Gnarabup to drive on the beach would be Kilcarnup Beach.

Gnarabup Beach Fishing

Anglers will find Gnarabup Beach to be a prime fishing location, teeming with an abundance of Herring, Tailor, King George Whiting, Tarwhine, and Skippy that bite with pleasing regularity.

For those aiming for something bigger, the deeper channels offer the elusive Mulloway. Additionally, during the annual Salmon run, this beach becomes an ideal spot for reeling in Salmon.

Don’t overlook the jetty near the boat ramp, either; it’s a hotspot for squid and cuttlefish. Explore more fishing locales around Margaret River with my comprehensive guide to the area’s best fishing spots, backed up by hours of experience!

Gnarabup Beach Surfing

When there is a huge swell around, you can catch a wave at what is known locally as “Gnarabup Beachie.” Park at the main Gnarabup Beach car park to the south, and you will find it to the right of the jetty. There has to be a huge swell for it to be there, otherwise, it’s too sheltered of a location and the waves are small dumpers or don’t break at all. Local surf schools use Gnarabup for their “How to Surf” classes as it has a great wave for beginners and learners.

Gnarabup Beach Swimming

Are you wondering can you swim at Gnarabup Beach? Gnarabup is the most popular swimming beach near Margaret River and provides calm conditions for swimmers, making it perfect for children.

Is Gnarabup Beach Dog-Friendly?

There are a couple of places along the stretch of Gnarabup Beach where you can take your dog. Here’s a quick summary;

  • You are not allowed to have dogs on the stretch of beach north of the main Gnarabup Beach car park
  • You can have dogs off-lead on a 300m stretch of beach south of Narda Avenue
  • You can let your dogs off-lead at the beach known as “Back Beach,” accessed by the steps off Reef Drive Car Park. Dogs are allowed off-lead here 170m north of the steps and 130m south of the steps.
  • You can have your dogs off-lead in Rifle Butts Reserve, excluding the children’s playground

Please remember that the above sites designated as dog exercise areas mean that dogs may be off-lead, but still must be under effective control at all times.

gnarabup beach

Wrapping Up: Gnarabup Beach Margaret River

Gnarabup Beach is a great place to visit whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, catch some waves or go fishing. It offers a variety of activities to suit all interests and is conveniently accessible. Just remember to pack everything you need for a fun and safe day at the beach. Enjoy!

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!