Western Australia: Great Southern and South West Coastal
"A Holiday Package Like None Other"
From Walking in Tree-tops to Golden Sandy Beaches, Something For Everyone
The City of Albany is the heart of the Great Southern Region and its centuries old industries. Some like the Whaling Industry are long gone and tho the timber industry has changed over the decades the log trucks are still seen on the Albany Highway as they haul woodchip timbers to be loaded onto ships in the almost 200 year old Port of Albany. It was first settled and used in 1826!
Albany is still thriving and growing with a ever-increasing number of people finding the Great Southern natural beauty and moderate climate a great place to live or to holiday in. The places to visit in this vacinity are too numerous to mention but Cheynes Bay, Two Peoples Bay, Nanrup, and closer to Albany, the Torndirrup National Park where Natural Bridge, The Gap and Salmon Holes are just three of the many more natural wonders to see on this pennisula just a few kilometres from the city centre.
Stirling Ranges and the Porongurups
Within a couple of hours drive from Albany are the majestic Stirling Ranges and Bluff Knoll where it does snow in winter! Yes, not much but it does and the rugged hike to the top will sometimes take you right above the clouds as they seemingly settle like an ocean on the lowland surroundings. In fact it has been known to snow in the beautiful town of Mount Barker and on the Porongurups which is a popular tourist walk destination. Climb Castle Rock for a spectacular view of the landscape as it falls away towards Albany to the south and the Stirling Ranges to the north.
The Margaret River Wine Region is a leisurely three and a half hour drive south of the beautiful city of Perth. Stop along the way and visit several charming seaside towns including the old port City of Fremantle, Mandurah and Bunbury - where you can get up close to dolphins. The region has grown with a strong emphasis on conserving the environment and even today the tourism industry that thrives in the district is governed by strict regulations that preserve the natural focus of the surroundings that is the attractiveness of the area.
The Margaret River Wine Region stretches over one hundred and thirty five kilometres, from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south. The town of Margaret River lies in the very heart of the region and surrounding towns to visit and enjoy include Augusta, Prevelly, Busselton, Cowaramup and Dunsborough. The region offers a diverse range of experiences including world class wineries, superb local produce, secluded beaches and bays with some impressive surf and rock formations as well as the friendly people and relaxed lifestyle.
The Leewin-Naturaliste, Warren and Scott National Parks are just three of many that offer stunning caves - especially Lake, Mammoth and Jewel - and a reminder of the majestic Karri trees that supported the early settlers building Fremantle and Perth. There are plenty of trails to hike or just take some leisurely drives along country lanes that lead to unique towns and villages like Collie and Pemberton.
An hour or so further along the south coast towards the picture-perfect bayside town of Denmark is the Walpole-Noonalup National Park, home to the Valley of the Giants and the Tree-top Walk. The walk along a specially constructed timber pathway forty metres up in the tree-tops of the 'tingle tree forest' provides an exciting view of the scenery as well as the opportunity to get up close to some of the wildlife and see these majestic trees from above.
For a real adventure take a serious walk along the Bibbulmun Track, well part of it at least. One of the worlds longest walking routes it stretches over one thousand kilometres from the City of Perth to the old whaling town of Albany.
With clearly defined yet temperate seasons, the south-west corner of Australia offers a beautiful relaxing atmosphere and the accommodation is suitably serene with luxury retreats, stylish hotels, wonderful bed and breakfast homesteads, picturesque caravan and camping grounds, holiday houses and rental units. There is group accommodation, corporate accommodation and family accommodation as well as budget lodgings for those who have other Margaret River and South Coast delights to spend their money on.
As a guide, a two day visit is a quick taste and a week offers an opportunity to savor the diversity on offer, but to take a little more in allow ten to twelve days as some rest days will be needed in between all the action!
Margaret River Highlight Links
Photos: Bussellton Pier (Scott Phillipe) Elephant Rocks near Denmark (Scott Phillipe) Cheynes Bay (Lyle Stacpoole) Valley of the Giants (Frank Pittorino)