Scale a skyscraper-sized tree, chase wild orcas at sea or just relax on a beach with a sunbaking roo. Whatever your speed, keep reading – we’ve got the activity for you in this list.
1. See the Valley of the Giants
The aptly named Valley Of The Giants (near Denmark), is home to a forest of gigantic old native trees – some more than 400 years old, and so big that historically, people would drive cars through gaps in their trunks. Explore the beauty of their treetops on a lightweight cabled walkway, which leads you high above the leafy canopy across a series of aerial platforms that sway gently back and forth with the breeze. Then, back on the ground, follow a twisting pathway through the forest floor to see their size and grandeur close up. As well as the famous karri trees native to the region, the valley is home to red tingle trees which, fittingly, often impart a sense of tingling wonder in those who come to see them.
2. Climb the Gloucester Tree
Feeling brave? You’ll need all the courage you can muster to climb to the top of Pemberton’s Gloucester tree, so tall it was once used as a fire lookout over the region. While no longer in use today, the giant pegs nailed into its trunk – which function as a makeshift ladder – remain the only equipment you’ve got to climb to the 58-metre-tall top. The same height as a 16-storey skyscraper, that’s a nerve-racking climb: but views from the enclosed balcony at its summit are a worthy reward. Cast your eye over the sea of green, which stretches all the way to the sea, and let your heartbeat return to normal before commencing the return journey. Treat yourself to a celebratory beverage afterwards at one of Pemberton’s lovely cellar doors; Silkwood, WoodSmoke, and Hidden River all have on-site restaurants.
3. Chase wild orcas in Bremer Bay
Ready to take a safari, south-west style? At Bremer Bay, you can board a small boat with Naturaliste Charters to embark on a journey to one of the most unexplored regions on Earth looking for largest-known group of orcas in the Southern Hemisphere. Over eight epic hours, you’ll chase pod after pod of these beautifully sleek creatures, who appear with mysterious regularity in a single patch of ocean, some 24 nautical miles offshore, each year between January and April. Little is known about the 100-strong population, but – like other dolphins – these highly intelligent, sociable creatures certainly know how to put on a show. Watch as they move like torpedoes through the water, splashing and crashing with playful regularity; you might also see sharks, whales, other dolphin species such as bottlenose, common and striped, and seabirds such as the majestic albatross.
4. Hike up Frenchman Peak
The climb to Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park is a lot like the trajectory of a firework – short, steep and definitely memorable. It takes just 40 minutes to reach the top of this local icon (though you may take longer if you stop to enjoy the views en route), but it’s no casual stroll. Follow the markers as you curve around the east side of the mountain; the walking path presently turns into something more like a scramble as you navigate the rocky incline on approach to the summit. Arrive to spectacular views stretching over the park, along the coastline and out to the islands at sea; a bonus vantage point, framed by the mouth of a cave-like rock formation, is on offer when you retrace your steps back down the mountain. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear.
5. Relax with the roos at Lucky Bay
Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park lives up to its name in plenty of ways – translucent water and sand like icing sugar, for starters – but how many beaches can boast of sunbaking kangaroos? The famous locals don’t spend all day on the beach, but you can almost certainly count on spotting at least one resident roo during a daytime visit to the beach. Appearing around 10am each day, usually at the western end of the beach, they nibble on dried-out seagrass before retreating to the shade for the hottest part of the day. Snap a selfie without getting too close – they’re still wild animals, after all – then treat yourself to a coffee on the beach at Lucky Bean Cafe. If you’re still here come dusk, you’ll likely see the roos out and about again on the sand.