The South West has been a traditional family holiday spot for years. With white sandy beaches and peaceful bays, friendly dolphins, magical caves, farm animals, mazes and delicious treats such as chocolate, cheese and ice cream – it’s easy to see why. Need further convincing? Here’s some inspiration for your next family expedition.
Spend an afternoon swimming, snorkelling and building sandcastles at one of the many sandy, calm beaches in the region, or opt for something a bit more adventurous.
• Take a train ride along the famous 1.8km Busselton Jetty, then walk the seafloor with the help of a custom-made dive helmet
• Want to stay dry? Check out the Jetty’s underwater observatory or paddle around the pylons in a see-through kayak (available for hire in summer)
• Try your hand at fishing along the beach or from the many jetties found in the South West • Learn how to surf at one of the region’s many surf schools, or master the art of stand up paddle boarding
Parks and playgrounds
If you’re full of energy, head to one of the many fun parks, skate parks and playgrounds the South West has to offer. Donnybrook Apple Fun Park is the biggest free fun park in the Southern Hemisphere, the Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park features a giant slide, and there are also many newly built and refurbished skate parks free for all to play. Most fun parks provide free entry to spectators. Head to your closest visitor centre to find a park near you.
South West mazes
From a half hectare giant hedge maze, to a labyrinth grown from native and exotic shrubs – spend hours with your friends and family in one of the region’s many a-maze-ing attractions. Don’t miss these picks:
• A Maze’n Margaret River (pictured above), 9978 Bussell Highway, Margaret River
• Boranup Forest Maze, 8957 Caves Road, Karridale
• Denmark Maze, 94 Lapko Road, Denmark
Need to stretch your legs? Take a stroll through the South West’s beautiful parks and gardens. The Open Garden Scheme and the Festival of Country Gardens opens grand estates, parks and quaint cottage gardens to visitors seasonally, while many organic gardens are open all year round. Visit myopengarden. com.au, festivalofcountrygardens.com or organicgardentrail.com.au for more, and don’t forget to check out our Events Calendar at the front of this planner for flower and garden festival dates.
What’s on the menu?
No holiday is complete without a satisfied belly. Lucky for you, the South West has more than enough to tantalise the tastebuds. There’s plenty for big and small – from chocolate and fudge, to candy and ice cream – and most places offering free tastings. You can even pick your own fruit at farmstays and orchards in the region. Look out for kid-friendly wineries and breweries, which often have playgrounds or play corners for children (and tasty tipples for Mum and Dad).
Meet the animals
Want to see (and maybe even touch) some of the South West’s diverse creatures? Head to these wildlife parks and farms for a hands-on experience.
• Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, 81 Whaling Station Road, Frenchman Bay
• Bunbury Wildlife Park, Prince Philip Drive, South Bunbury
• Dolphin Discovery Centre, Lot 830 Koombana Drive, Bunbury
• Jesters Flat, 1549 Rosa Brook Road, Margaret River
• The Old Marron Farm, 304 Two Peoples Bay Road, Kalgan
South West Farmstays
Farmstays offer more than just a place to rest your head. Wake up and feed friendly farm animals, learn how a working farm operates or just sit back and enjoy a unique South West retreat. Here’s a selection of farmstays to consider for your next family holiday.
Big4 Taunton Holiday Farm 8113 Bussell Highway, Cowaramup
Situated on a working beef and sheep farm, Taunton Farm boasts 18 fully self-contained farm-style cottages, a bushy green camping area, playground and a large barn-style campers’ kitchen.
Billa Billa Farm Cottages 295 Hunter Road, Walpole
Free morning pony rides for the kids while Mum and Dad have a sleep-in? Yes please! Sheep shearing demonstrations, animal feeding and more are also available for big and little kids.
Clover Cottage Country Retreat 380 Wheatley Coast Road, Manjimup
Try your hand at catching a trout from Clover Cottage’s well-stocked lake, or fish from a canoe down the banks of the Warren River.
Diamond Forest Farm Stay 29159 South Western Highway, Pemberton
This 50-acre farm and 3-acre dam is family and pet friendly, which means everyone – including the dog – can go on the family getaway.
Eight Willows Retreat 266 Metricup Road, Wilyabrup
Eight Willows Retreat offers luxurious accommodation surrounded by beautiful bushland. Spot the retreat’s hand reared joeys roaming around the grounds or catch them being fed daily.