Bussell Highway, Margaret River

  • A local square will be a place for events and festivals.
    A local square will be a place for events and festivals.
  • Activating the streetscape with alfresco areas encourages visitors to the main street.
    Activating the streetscape with alfresco areas encourages visitors to the main street.
  • Improved paths will encourage pedestrian activity.
    Improved paths will encourage pedestrian activity.
  • Street trees and innovative ways to provide drainage options will improve the pedestrian experience within the main street.
    Street trees and innovative ways to provide drainage options will improve the pedestrian experience within the main street.

Margaret River is an important town in the South West with 13,000 residents and some 500,000 visitors a year. In 2010, Lonely Planet voted Australia’s South West one of the world's Top 10 Regions, with the town of Margaret River being a key destination. The Margaret River town centre and main street redevelopment project is focused on creating a pedestrian friendly place along Bussell Highway within the centre of town.

Description of project

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River understands the importance of an inviting town centre and a pedestrian friendly main street to the health and well being of the community. As part of the strategic Margaret River SuperTown Growth Plan for 2035, the Shire seeks to rejuvenate the town centre of Margaret River. The main street redevelopment focuses on the quality of the public realm of Bussell Highway as it passes through the town.

The objective is to relocate heavy vehicles and high-speed commuters away from the centre of town and encourage increased pedestrian movement along a safer main street. The design integrates best practice water sensitive urban design techniques with new hard landscaping, paving, seats, benches and street trees to improve pedestrian amenity. Lighting will provide improved safety levels for those using the main street. At the southern gateway to the main street, the existing park will be upgraded to provide shelters, additional paths and links to the main street. At the northern gateway is an area of natural bushland linking to the river and opportunities for mountain biking to the north-west. 

There have been challenges that the design of the main street has successfully addressed. These challenges have been met through comprehensive collaboration with the relevant stakeholders before establishing design outcomes. 


Consultation resulted in the main street redevelopment plan specifically identified the following design initiatives:

  • Reduced Bussell Highway road reserve through increased pavement widths and plantings.
  •  Traffic management along Bussell Highway such as, planted median strips. 
  • Inviting shared street surfaces within the town square.
  • Increased number of sheltered resting places and shade trees in the main street.
  • Improved pedestrian amenity by providing pedestrian bridges over planted swales within adjoining parks.
  • Provide greater access to Reuther Park.
  • Increased cycle paths linking to the mountain biking area to the north-west of the town.
  • Continued support for shop front awnings to protect pedestrians from sun and rain.
  • Support new development to provide an active edge orientated toward the main street, including alfresco terraces.
  • A town square or festival precinct area identified at the intersection of Bussell Highway and Wilmott Avenue, central to the main street.
  • Recommended built form around the town square area to support a lively community area.

The Shire will continue to develop and adopt planning policies and provisions to support the long term vision established by the main street redevelopment plan.

Project team
  • Shire of Augusta-Margaret River
Project cost

Approximately $8.29 million. The Shire will receive $5.49 million from Royalties for Regions funding and will contribute $2 million funded through the sale of Shire land.


A centre based on main street development principles has a positive impact on health, economic, environmental, social and use indicators.

Health value
  • The Margaret River main street redevelopment is expected to increase pedestrian activity providing a more inviting environment, which includes shading and locations in which to rest and take shelter. 

  • Areas once unsafe due to high-speed vehicles will be opened up to the public, improving safety, walkability and cycling around the town.
  • The proposal to link the main street to park areas north and south of the street will support increased use of those parks and pathways.
Economic value
  • Some $80 million of Royalties for Regions funds has been made available to the nine SuperTowns in 2011-12, with the objective of supporting transformational projects in the communities. An additional $5.5 million was allocated to local governments undertaking strategic plans. The redevelopment of the main street of Margaret River (Bussell Highway) and the surrounding road network was identified as a priority by the community and is seen as a transformational project. 
  • Margaret River is surrounded by some 5,500ha of vineyards and approximately 130 wineries, which produce approximately 20% of Australia’s premium wines. The Margaret River Region produces predominately boutique wines, making up 3% of the total Australian grape production. Tourists come to see, experience and taste Margaret River’s premium wines. A revitalised town centre will continue to enhance Margaret River as tourist destination within the premium wine district. 
  • The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2013 World Championship Tour is expected to attract some 31,000 people to Margaret River, while the value of the international TV exposure will be approximately $24.5 million. Margaret River has become 1 of 12 towns around the world hosting World Championship Tour events. The redevelopment of the town centre and main street will ensure a high quality environment is provided for visitors to Margaret River and support the local economy.
Environmental value
  • Margaret River has many natural characteristics that both the local population and international tourists come to enjoy. The town is only 9km from the Indian Ocean. It has a humid Mediterranean climate with an average of 1,130ml of rain per year. Summer time is warm with sea breezes. The main street redevelopment allows people to enjoy that wonderful environment through additional seating, alfresco dining and shading. 
  • The Margaret River main street redevelopment plan has also integrated the most current water sensitive urban design strategies to provide a sustainable main street landscape. Native water-sensitive plantings and iconic Blackbutt trees will also contribute to a strong sense of place. 
Social value
  • Western Australia’s population is predicted to double over the next 40 years to 4.9 million people. The Shire has experienced its share of rapid population growth over the past 15 years, with a residential growth rate of almost 20% between 2001 and 2006. Around 30% of the total population of Margaret River is made up of transient workers and holidaymakers. It is anticipated Margaret River will experience continued growth into the future, which will place pressure on public facilities such as the main street. An upgrade to the main street that supports healthy community outcomes is an investment in the future.
  • The town of Margaret River is a creative hub. Around 40 artists, craftsmen and artisans are working in the area between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Jahroc Gallery, Melting Pot Glass Studio, Christian Fletcher Photo Images and River-Crossing Gallery are cultural and arts-craft businesses that directly benefit from being located on Bussell Highway in the heart of the Margaret River town site. A more inviting pedestrian focused main street will support this well-established community of artists.
Use value
  • The redevelopment of the main street is progressing in conjunction with the preparation of the SuperTown Growth Plan for Margaret River. Part of the process is to establish a vision of Margaret River in 2035 - to have communities with a number of lifestyle options and access to services and affordable, quality housing. The aim is for towns to offer more choices for people to live in regional areas with a diverse range of job opportunities. A main street that attracts locals and tourists will support local business, which in turn supports the long-term viability of the community. This encourages sustainability and will ensure the youth of the region are given more local opportunities into the future. 
  • A number of events in Margaret River are located within the town centre. Currently, the Margaret River Farmers’ Market (located at The Old Hospital – Community Resource Centre, 200m from the main street) attracts customers to the high quality food and wine stalls each weekend. Redevelopment of a new town square along the main street will support pedestrian movements between businesses and events in the main street and existing local attractions.

Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and AHA Viticulture Consulting, Margaret River Region Profile. Sourced on 19 April 2013 from: http://www.gwrdc.com.au/?s=margaret+River+regional+profile+viticultural+practices

International boost for Margaret River Pro. Sourced on 22 April 2013 from: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/newshome/15362328/international-boost-for-margaret-river-pro/

Margaret River Artisans Cape to Cape. Sourced on 22 April 2013 from: http://www.margaretriverartisans.com.au/pages.asp?pageid=home&catid=collapse

Margaret River Pro goes world class. Sourced on 22 April from: http://www.margaretriver.com/news/70-margaret-river-pro-goes-world-class

Margaret River Visitor Centre. Sourced on 22 April from:  http://www.margaretriver.com/margaret-river-visitor-centre

Margret River Farmers’s’ Market. Sourced on 22 April 2013 from: http://margaretriverfarmersmarket.com.au/

Shire of Augusta - Margaret River, SuperTowns. Sourced on 22 January 2013 from: http://www.amrshire.wa.gov.au/development/supertown/

Shire of Margaret River, SuperTowns Community Consultation. Sourced on 19 April 2013 from: http://www.amrshire.wa.gov.au/development/supertown/community-consultation/

Tourism Western Australia. Sourced on 19 April 2013 from: http://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Destinations/Australias_South_West/Pages/Australias_South_West.aspx

Type of project
Scale of project
Local Area