Give your beach bag the day off and soak up the summer vibes in Australia’s South West doing one of these beach-free activities instead.
Summer is a spectacular time in Australia’s South West. With an average daily temperature of around 30 degrees, and an endless number of bays and beaches stretching from Bunbury through to Albany, the region is a hotspot for holidayers. But, there’s more to be done on a south west summer escape than just beach-based activities. Whether you’re just not that fond of the sand between your toes or you’re keen for a reprieve from the endless blues, these are some of the best non-beachy summer activities to get involved in while in the region.
Immerse yourself in a sensory wine tasting with Whicher Ridge Wines
Sunshine and a leisurely afternoon of sipping on fine wine go hand in hand. Book in for a tasting at Whicher Ridge Wines and winemaker, Cathy Howard, will lead you straight outside to swirl and sip their portfolio surrounded by the sights and smells of the charming wine sensory garden.
The figure-eight shaped garden is the centrepiece of Cathy’s wine tasting experience and the only of its kind in Australia. Arranged in sections that correspond with each of the winery’s varietals, you can easily see, smell, feel, and taste the flavours and aromas present in the wine in your glass. You’re free to explore the garden at your own pace post-seated wine tasting, or you can book any one of their three outdoor tours for a more guided tactile experience. Cap off an insightful day with a pre-booked gourmet picnic hamper in the garden or feel free to bring your own.
Cool off at Barrabup Pool
Surrounded by trees in the Cambray State Forest, you’ll find Barrabup Pool. The quiet swimming hole and campground is just a 10-minute drive from the Nannup town centre and the perfect spot to cool off when the temperatures soar. Launch yourself off the wooden platform and into the deep, cool water below, or take the less adrenaline-filled approach and ease yourself in via the stairs adjacent. Be sure to watch your step as the wet stairs can get very, very slippery.
Once you’ve cooled down and dried off, pop on your hiking boots and tackle a section of the Old Timberline Rail Trail. It’s a 22km walking trail that follows the old tramway from the pool’s timber milling days. Post-hike, take another dip in Barrabup Pool before setting up camp in the shade of the towering natives and settling in for the night.
Let the kids run amok at Sea Play by the Bay
Kick your shoes off and park up in the shade of one of the Norfolk pines while the kids let loose on Busselton foreshore’s shipwreck inspired playground. Modelled after an American whaling vessel that ran aground near Quindalup in 1844, the state-of-the-art timber playground features climbing nets, a telescope, model cannons, and more. In summer, the giant whale tail splash zone is the main attraction, spouting water and creating endless hours of fun for little water-lovers.
Watching kids expending energy on the playground can be thirsty business, so it’s just as well Shelter Brewing Co. is only a stone’s throw away. Kids can continue playing at the brewery’s beer garden playground while parents enjoy a flight of beer and one of Shelter’s famed woodfired pizzas in the afternoon breeze, all with the perfect view of the Busselton Jetty.
Indulge on a Forage Safaris sunset picnic tour
Round off a beautiful south west summer’s day with an indulgent afternoon of wine tasting, touring, and picnicking on a sunset picnic tour. As the late afternoon sea breeze sets in, you’ll be collected by Forage Safaris’ luxury 7-seater Kia Carnival and taken on a scenic drive south-east of Busselton to the Whicher Ridge Wines estate.
Learn more about the winery and its operations on a guided farm tour before sipping your way through their portfolio of wines with the winery’s owner and winemaker. The final hoorah on the 4-hour experience is an indulgent, private 2-course picnic dinner in the garden. Forage Safaris will return you to Busselton safely, just in time to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
Take a WOW Wilderness eco-cruise
Spend a blissful morning cruising the waters of the Walpole Nornalup catchment area aboard the 18-seater ‘Naughty Lass’ or the 48-seater ‘Rainbow Lady’ of WOW Wilderness. Led by eco-guide and long-term resident of Walpole, Gary Muir, the highly entertaining 2.5-hour eco-cruise takes you through the fascinating history and ecology of Walpole and the surrounding areas. Not only will you get to see things like the distinct ‘Moses line’ in the water, but dolphins, rays, and migrating whales are often spotted while on tour too. The tours depart from the Walpole town jetty daily and include witty banter and a delicious selection of homemade treats from Gary.