High in Nature - Mt Toolbrunup, Sitling Range

The Great Southern is the largest and most diverse region within Australia’s South West. It varies from unspoilt coastline and idyllic seaside towns to sprawling agricultural lands and national parks harbouring some of the world’s rarest species. Along the south coast, the sheer force of the Southern Ocean has sculptured a raw, dramatic coastline, creating some remarkable coastal scenery.

Spring is the perfect time to visit with the wildflowers in bloom, whales at play and milder weather to explore the magnificent coastal and inland landscapes. Above image, Mt Tollbrunup in the Stirling Range by Matt Fieldes Photography. Find great places to stay and visit below.

IMMERSED IN NATURE

With peaks to climb, walking trails for all abilities, picnic spots and scenic views there is plenty to do in 10 national parks in the Great Southern. The diverse range of wildflowers, forests and native animals contribute to the rare and unique nature of the region. More and more attractions are providing thrills for visitors with a penchant for heights, such as the Granite Skywalk, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk and the new impressive viewing facilities at The Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park, each offering a different perspective on nature.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
South West Regions
Tree Top Walk by Nic Duncan and WA Parks and Wildlife

WILDFLOWERS BLOOM IN THE GREAT SOUTHERN

Australia’s South West makes up one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots. With over 8000 species of flora in the south west, nature lovers visiting the Great Southern this spring are sure to receive a stunning display. The wildflowers are already in bloom, making the breathtaking natural landscapes all the more beautiful. Head to the local visitor centres when you’re in the region to get up-to-date information on wildflower walks and where rare species have been spotted. Below image, Bluff Knoll and the Stirling Range by Timothy Sargent Photography.

Bluff Knoll and the Stirling Range by Timothy Sargent Photography

WHALE WATCHING

The annual migration of humpback, southern right and the rare blue whale brings these marine creatures to Albany waters from June until early October. Spot them breaching and playing close
to shore or join a whale watching cruise (tours depart daily, weather dependant) for a strong chance to get close to the gentle giants. Check tour times and availability with the visitor centre. You can also reflect on Albany’s whaling history at Discovery Bay, Albany’s historic whaling station. East of Albany
you can visit the Southern Right whale nursery at Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park, near Bremer Bay. Image below by Nigel Hardy with Albany Whale Tours.

Image by Nigel Hardy with Albany Whale Tours

HIDDEN TREASURES BLOOM FESTIVAL

The Hidden Treasures Bloom Festival, presented by Act-Belong-Commit is a month long festival celebrating wildflower season in the hinterland region of the Great Southern. Commencing on September 16, and running until October 16, there are over 50 events for visitors to participate in including wildflower walks, self-drive tours, exhibitions, garden tours and long table lunches. In this area, you’ll also find grand old homesteads and hotels from an era when the country relied purely on farming, award winning wineries, local produce, spectacular hiking in world class national parks and that warm sense of country charm. Visit www.hiddentreasures.com.au and follow the links to download the program of events, or pick one up from a regional visitor centre.

Orchid Mt Trio Bush Camp wildflower walk 2016

THERE’S MORE TO EXPLORE

The Great Southern is rich with gourmet experiences, with scenic drive trails through each of the five wine regions offering you the opportunity to join a food and wine tour or to hop from door to door, sampling produce, award winning wines, beers and spirits with your meals. The National Anzac Centre in Albany is also not to be missed. Honouring the Anzacs of the First World War, set within Albany Heritage Park, the centre offers visitors a deeply personal connection with the Anzac legend revealed through interactive multimedia displays, unique artefacts, rare images and film.

National Anzac Centre

COASTAL ATTRACTIONS

The southern coast ranges from tranquil bays and bright blue lagoons to rugged granite headlands. Spectacular views from coastal lookouts and adventuring the many walking and cycling trails is a truly memorable experience with endless options on TrailsWA. Ocean Beach in Denmark, the Albany Wind Farm, Shelly Beach in the West Cape Howe National Park and the Bald Head Walk in Torndirrup National Park are just some of the lookouts and trails on offer. Image below, the new lookout at the Gap in Torndirrup National Park, by WA Parks and Wildlife.

The Gap lookout. Image by WA Parks and Wildlife

ABORIGINAL DREAMING

The Aboriginal people are believed to have had a connection with this land for almost 50,000 years. You can connect with one of the world’s oldest living cultures at Kodja Place in Kojonup, which showcases local indigenous heritage and culture and also tells stories of European settlers. Poornarti Aboriginal Tours (pictured below) offers deeply immersive and interactive experiences that connect you to this ancient culture and country in the spectacular setting of the Porongurup or Stirling Ranges.

Poornarti Aboriginal Tours

GETTING THERE

There’s a misconception that getting to the Great Southern is hard and/or lengthy. In fact, it’s just a four hours’ drive from the Peel region. It’s still possible to do Albany or Denmark over a weekend, although there’s so much on offer in the region that a few extra days will quickly be filled.

Boston Brewery in Denmark. Image by Elements Margaret River.


Where to stay and visit

Learn more about Bird in the Bush
Learn more about Poronurup Promotions Association
Learn more about Zarephath Wines
Learn more about Cheynes Beach Caravan Park
Learn more about The Lily
Learn more about Poornarti Aboriginal Tours
Learn more about Shire of Denmark
Learn more about Karma Chalets and Karisma Spa
Learn more about Nutkin Lodge
Learn more about Tree Top Walk
Learn more about The Old Marron Farm
Learn more about Maitraya Private Retreat
Learn more about The Beach House at Bayside
Learn more about Oranje Tractor Wine
Learn more about Mt Romance The Sandalwood Factory
Learn more about Albany Gardens Holiday Park
Learn more about Quality Suites Banksia Gardens
Learn more about Sleepwell Motel
Learn more about Albany Bayside Ocean Villas
Learn more about National Anzac Centre
Learn more about Amazing Albany
Learn more about Albany Whale Tours

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