A Biodiversity Hotspot
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 Amazing South Coast during spring/summer 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.
KILLER WHALES AND WILDLIFE
Seeing a Killer Whale, also commonly known as an Ocra, is a privilege very few have witnessed. Just half a square kilometre off the coast of the small holiday and fishing town of Bremer Bay is a deep canyon, quite recently discovered. It's home to the largest known pod of Killer Whales in the Southern Hemisphere, with up to 100 killer whales spotted in the area. It's also teaming with life of many kinds - from giant squid and sunfish, to seals and seabirds. You can witness this unique phenomenon by joining a research expedition that departs from Bremer Bay daily from late January to April each year. Daily transfers from Albany are also available as a day trip or stay over night to include a Bremer Bay sights tour the following day. Below image by Dave and Fiona Harvey.
THERE’S MORE TO EXPLORE
The Amazing South Coast 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. Don't know where to begin? Check out Taste Great Southern, which runs from the 8th to the 25th of March, 2018, across venues in the Great Southern. Experience a great foodie lineup of more than 40 events, including festivals, markets, degustations, dinners and lunches. If you're visiting Denmark, try Trails WA's Food & Wine Trail, which offers some of the best gourmet experiences in the region. 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 artifacts, rare images and film.
The Amazing South 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 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.
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. 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.
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.