Australia’s South West is a destination of diversity. It’s a place where world-class wineries, spectacular coastline and the solitude of ancient forests and country charm come together to form this unique part of the world.
Enjoy an easy getaway to the Geographe Region, starting just one and a half hours drive south of Perth. There’s much to see in the historic riverside town of Harvey, the adventure playground of Collie and the undulating hills in the Ferguson Valley. All surrounding the coastal cosmopolitan city of Bunbury. Discover it all as you take the loop!
Take The Loop
DAY 1 HISTORY AND ADVENTURE - Harvey to Collie
Early morning, head south on South Western Highway driving through Pinjarra and Yarloop with your first stop inHarvey. Visit the replica of Stirling Cottage, behind the Harvey Visitor Centre. The original cottage was the home of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’s author, May Gibbs whose stories and illustrations are said to be inspired by her childhood in Harvey. Climb the Big Orange then taste some Harvey Cheese, produced with time-honoured methods and the freshest, creamiest Harvey milk.
Stirling Cottage Replica in Harvey
Big Orange in Harvey
Locally made cheeses
Next take a drive out to Harvey Dam. Walk along the Dam wall to the lookout and watch the kids play in the playground as you strike up the barbeque. You can even throw a line for trout in season. Image below: Fishing at Harvey Dam by Josh Taylor (via Instagram #AustraliasSW).
Next stop is Collie, 40 minutes’ drive via Coalfields Highway. On the way, stop in to Honeymoon Pool, a popular spot for canoeing, swimming, fishing, bush walking, and camping. Continue to the Collie Visitor Centre to see the old locomotive display and descend into the Replica Coal Mine. Collie is famous for emerald green pools and turquoise lakes. Below image Honeymoon Pool in Collie by Tammy Watson.
Autumn in Collie by Tammy Watson
Replica Coal Mine by Webster Photography
Visit the Collie Art Gallery, WA’s only purpose built gallery outside of Perth. Visit a winery and brewery or time your visit to include the Railway Precinct Markets in town to enjoy tea and scones in a restored train cart. Kids will love the new Skate Park and Soldiers Park in town. Feed the ducks, have a barbeque and relax under shady Camphor Laurel trees. The park also features a playground including a Liberty Swing for wheel chairs. Stay in a hotel or if you’re camping, try Stockton Lake, a long abandoned coal mine filled with water that’s now a hotspot for boating, skiing and camping.
Collie River by John Byland
Collie Skate Park by John Byland
DAY 2 GOURMET DELIGHTS - Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook and Bunbury
Head to the Ferguson Valley via Mungalup Road and Pile Rd. Stop to meet King Jarrah, the tallest in the forest, estimated to be 300 to 500 years old. Around the corner you’ll find Gnomesville, a hit with kids of all ages. There you’ll be greeted by thousands of smiling faces and find yourself wanting to meet them all. Take your pick of many wineries, breweries, galleries and cafes for lunch, or find the perfect picnic spot in the trails among Crooked Brook Forest or Wellington Discovery Forest.
The Geographe Wine Region is predominantly made up of small family owned and operated wineries. Meaning that chances are, you will be tasting wines with the guidance of a very knowledgeable and passionate person that lives and breathes (or shall we say drinks) wine. The region hugs Geographe Bay, providing cool afternoon sea breezes, ideal for a long stable growing season and particularly produces excellent Shiraz, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Pictured below: People behind the wine in Geographe.
Continue onto the Apple-centric town of Donnybrook. Stop for a coffee on the main street and if you’re travelling with kids, you can’t miss Australia’s largest free playground, Apple Fun Park. Apples are now in season, pick straight from selected orchards in autumn and winter or treat yourself all year round to tasting at boutique wineries in Donnybrook, Boyanup and Dardanup. There you will also find a large collection of machinery from another era at the Dardanup Heritage Park.
Finish your day in Bunbury. Situated on a peninsula, it’s known as the City of Three Waters, with the rumbling surf of the Indian Ocean, the calm waters of Koombana Bay and the tranquil Leschenault Inlet providing a range of water activities. See it all from Apex Lookout as you watch the sun set over the sea.
Explore the city full of life. See a show at the Entertainment Centre and when night falls watch as the quirky café culture of Victoria Street and the Marlston Waterfront makes way to the limitless choices of cocktails, craft beer, tapas and fine wine.
DAY 3 OCEAN LIFE AND A CITY OF STREET ART – Bunbury
After a café breakfast, visit the friendly dolphins (most active around 9am) that come right to shore and interact with people in Koombana Bay at the Dolphin Discovery Centre. If you miss them from sleeping in, make sure to join an Eco Cruise at 11 or join a swim tour in season. As Australia’s most comprehensive dolphin experience, there are plenty of activities in the centre. Image below: Dolphins in Bunbury by Matt Blakers.
Art lovers can walk through the CBD with the free Re.discover Bunbury Street Art map to discover over 30 large scale murals and visit the A-class Bunbury Regional Art Galleries in the distinctive pink historic building. Keen divers should visit the Lena Wreck for world class coral 30 metres under sea but beautifully clear and close to the coast. More activities include stand up paddle boarding, cultural tours and a good old family beach day. If you’re travelling with the kids, don’t miss the wildlife park and surrounding playground precinct.
Dive Charters at Lena Wreck by Max Fagan
Bunbury Beach by Matt Blakers
Spend weeks or just a few days as you “Take the Loop”. If it’s just a few days you have; reluctantly leave Bunbury mid afternoon. Stopping to soak up the Geographe vibes and savour the south west flavour at one last brewery or winery off the Forrest Highway.
You might also be interested in...
Get the most out of your holiday and make a local visitor centre your first port of call as you arrive in a new town.
Proudly supported by