Winter is such a wonderful time to experience the beauty of the Great Southern Treasures region. Glorious mornings with the mist rising across the valley towards the Stirling Range, cool days for walking and adventures and evenings spent around the crackling fire inside the cosy chalet.
The Great Southern Treasures is a region famed for its biodiversity, breath-taking views, rich farming history and world class produce.
Witness spectacular mountain ranges, grand old homesteads, and luxurious hotel suites, then indulge in a feast of fresh produce straight from nature’s pantry, while sipping on award winning, world-class drops.
Those after a tipple or two will be pleased to learn that the Great Southern is the largest wine producing region, by area in Australia. Made up of five wine sub-regions – Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Albany – it is renowned for producing a variety of wine styles, including cool climate wines.
So, whether you’re looking to feast on the fruits of nature’s pantry, taste some world-class drops, or conquer the highest peak on an adventure trail – it’s all right here ready and waiting for you!
Highlights of the Great Southern Treasures in winter:
1. Hike to the peak of Bluff Knoll, southern Western Australia's tallest peak, for a chance to see snow! This icon of the Stirling Range National Park provides stellar views across the landscape. Enjoy the moods of the mountains on other winter walks while here.
2. Go road tripping along The Horsepower Highway and see the unique historic tractors all dressed in beanies and scarves for winter. The Horsepower Highway is a 75 km trail of vintage and quirky tractors from the Broomehill turnoff, through the Gnowangerup township, into the Stirling Range National Park. Get off the beaten track and experience one of Australia’s most beautiful scenic drives.
Follow the Map from https://greatsoutherntreasures.com.au/attractions/trails/
3. Visit the massive grain silos with painted murals by internationally renowned artists in Albany and Pingrup as part of the PUBLIC Silo Trail. While on route, stop by Katanning to discover vibrant street art.
4. Experience the Aboriginal traditions and culture in Kojonup, where you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal storytelling at The Kodja Place.
5. Relax by a wood fire at one of the many cosy accommodation options.
6. Go wine tasting at country cellar doors and take in the autumn colours of the vineyards that hang around for winter. Be sure to pick up a local bottle of wine and a cheese picnic box from Castle Rock Estate to take back to your accommodation and enjoy by the fire.
The Great Southern region is known for its fine, cool climate wines. Riesling and Shiraz are the cornerstones of an environment that produces a wide range of distinctive wines from classic and emerging varietals.
Wineries in Frankland River
Cool nights and warm days provide a true Mediterranean climate in Frankland River. Although inland, a moderating sea breeze often finds its way into the region. The ironstone-based gravels and duplex sandy loam lie over clay sub soils derived from granite and gneiss outcrops. These have weathered over time to create the undulating rolling hills that define the region.
Wineries in Mount Barker
Just 50 kilometres from the Southern Ocean, Mount Barker’s Mediterranean climate displays strong continental aspects. It is the coolest of the subregions, with high daily temperature fluctuations and occasional frosts. Mount Barker soils are marri with lateritic gravelly and sandy loams derived from granite protrusions.
Wineries & Distilleries in Porongurup
The Porongurup boasts a special climatic feature – a nocturnal thermal zone created by warm air rising above the denser cold air sliding down the hillsides of the range and settling on the valley floor. This ‘air drainage’ produces ideal conditions for ripening. The Porongurup’s spectacular geomorphic granite range creates a range of soil types with karri loams the most productive.
In a converted old sheering shed in the base of the Porongurup Range in Western Australia is where you’ll find Woodlands distillery. With our fireplace and comfy leather couches, expect to find a cozy spot to sip on a brandy or jarrah liqueur and take in the sprawling mountain range. You can get chatting to our friendly distiller Pete about how we incorporate a sustainable approach to our business and how we grow our own grains to use in the distilling process.
Trails in the Great Southern Treasures
PUBLIC Silo Trail
This cultural tourism trail connects a series of regional towns by a common thread of art on an epic scale, while a social documentary project will catalogue the lives of regional Australians in film and story. Grain silos, transformer boxes and all sorts of unexpected infrastructure are the canvas for national and international artists throughout Western Australia’s regional heartland.
Mount Barker Food and Wine Trail
This wine and food trail takes you to family-owned vineyards, where you can meet the passionate, hard-working vineyard owners and winemakers. Sample award winning Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with other varietals such as Chardonnay Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The trail also rewards you with beautiful views of the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges. Visit the Mt Barker visitor Centre for more information.
(08) 9851 1163
Southern Art and Craft Trail
Held in mid-September every year, the art trail promotes fine art and craft created by artists living and working in the Great Southern region. Art is on display in studios, galleries, cafes, wineries and varied exhibitions.
The Holland Track
The Holland Track is a popular outback 4WD track from Broomehill in the Great Southern to Coolgardie in the Great Western Woodlands. Slashed from the bush during the goldrush of the 1890s, the Holland track was a short-lived alternative route to the Eastern Goldfields. At the time, it was claimed that the original 500km course between Broomehill and Gnarlbine Rock (south west of Coolgardie) was the longest cart track ever cut in one stretch in WA. It took John Holland, brothers Rudolph and David Krakouer, and John Carmody two months and four days to complete.
08 9825 3555
Cranbrook Frankland River Drive Trail
This 60km drive trail takes you from the nationally recognised Balicup Wetlands Lake system, through the townsite of Cranbrook, finishing in the town of Frankland River. There are picnic tables and information panels located at each stop on the trail.
Trail brochures are available at the Cranbrook Shire Office, Frankland River Community Resource Centre and the Gillamii Centre. 08 9826 1234
Woodanilling Heritage Walk
Opened in 2008, the Woodanilling Heritage Walk consists of 13 panels on a short walk around the townsite. The panels feature photographs and stories about Woodanilling’s people and places. Heritage Walk guides are available at the Shire office.
Shire of Woodanilling, 3316 Robinson Road
08 9823 1506
Tambellup Heritage Trail
Starting in the centre of town, this series of three interconnecting trails tells of the history of early settlement in Tambellup.
The Town Trail is a 600m loop with information boards and plaques along the way. The 2km River Trail to the north of town has an information board at its starting point and more stories in the brochure. And the 1.5km Noongar Trail follows the Gordon River south of the town and takes in the landscape of the river and reserve.
Trail brochures are available at the Tambellup Community Resource Centre and the Shire office.
Tambellup CRC, Norrish Street
08 9825 1177
Kojonup Town Walk
Discover Kojonup’s rich history as you explore Kojonup’s Historical Town Walk, listing 52 historical sites of significance. Visitors can either walk or drive the 10km trail or select key historical sites. Information is available at the Visitor Centre.
Kojonup Visitors Centre, 143 Albany Highway
08 9831 0500
Gnowangerup Heritage Trail
The physical trail is a delightful 2km walk through town which explores some of Gnowangerup’s history through its heritage buildings. There are five storyboard signs which provide information, and you can listen to the audio stories about the early days in Gnowangerup.
Experience Kojonup’s history by visiting The Kodja Place Interpretive Centre which showcases local indigenous heritage and culture and tells stories of European settlers. The town is home to one of the oldest surviving military buildings in Western Australia, the Military Barracks, which now houses a museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the many walk trails, including the trails at Myrtle Benn Sanctuary. Billy’s Guided Tours of The Kodja Place are available and can be made by phoning (08) 9831 0500 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Located just 15 minutes adjacent to the Porongurup Range and within easy reach of the Stirling Range, Mount Barker is a quaint small agricultural town, rich in history and heritage that has diversified into viticulture and wildflower cultivation and the only place you will find every species of Banskia grown.
The area around Mount Barker is significant for wine growing and award winning wineries with cellar doors that take in the picturesque views. Enjoy seasonal produce and discover specialist display gardens, craft galleries and wander heritage trails and scenic drives. Mount Barker Hill provides panoramic views across the ranges and back to Albany.
The Porongurup Range rises from the landscape like an island surrounded by a sea of giant Karri trees. The 12km long range is 670 metres high, formed of solid granite and is 1.1 million years old, making it one of the oldest in the world. A 1.5km walk trail leads you through spectacular forests on your way to the Granite Skywalk.
Enjoy the breathtaking, panoramic views from the 38 metres, upper and lower lookouts atop Castle Rock, just 15 minutes from Mount Barker. Numerous bushwalking tracks cater to different skill levels. Bolganup Heritage Trail is an easy 600 metre stroll and Marmabup Rock Trail is a three-hour walk.
The park also attracts rock climbers and bird watchers and is considered a mecca for botanists, wildflower enthusiasts and photographers with its unique flora (over 700 native species) and prolific bird life. Surrounding the national park are boutique wineries producing cool climate wines and accommodation offering lovely views over the range.
Cranbrook and Frankland River
Cranbrook is the gateway to the National Heritage listed Stirling Range National Park. A beautiful old station master’s house, the oldest building in town, is now home to the Cranbrook museum. With a great collection of local history items, it tells the story of the development of this lovely railway town. Be sure to visit Sukey Hill lookout for spectacular views of salt lakes, mountains and farmland.
The stunning Frankland River Region boasts the production of olive oil, organic produce, raspberries and some of the finest cool climate wines in Australia.
Katanning is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered. From breathtaking landscapes and awe-inducing natural attractions, to authentic cultural experiences and down-to-earth characters who exude plenty of country charm – find them all in the RV-friendly town. Check out these top 10 things to do in Katanning for an unexpected adventure.