The Great Southern is the largest and most diverse region within Australia’s South West. Located approximately 4-5 hours southeast of Perth, it varies from unspoilt coastline and idyllic seaside towns, to sprawling agricultural lands and national parks harbouring some of the world’s rarest species of flora and fauna.
Explore the coast
Along the south coast, the sheer force of the Southern Ocean has sculptured a raw, dramatic coastline, creating some remarkable seaside scenery – think cliff faces carved out by crashing waves and natural rock formations in the shape of giant bridges. It’s an adventurer’s playground, with everything from rock climbing and windsurfing, to four-wheel driving and coastal hiking on offer. Looking for a picture-perfect beach? Bremer Bay, Albany and Denmark offer some of the most #instaworthy spots in the world.
Discover ancient forests and mountains
A little further inland you’ll find karri, jarrah and tingle trees that are hundreds of years old, towering above the forest floor. Walk among beautiful tingle trees at the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk, or get a magnificent view of the Frankland River at the Mount Frankland Wilderness Lookout. Then, there are the ancient mountain ranges, with breathtaking views worth the challenging hike and climb. A visit to the Stirling Range National Park or Porongurup National Park won’t disappoint.
Learn about the Great Southern’s historical past
The Great Southern’s historic landmarks and the stories behind them are equally impressive. Albany’s King George Sound was the first European settlement in WA, settled before the Swan River Colony in Perth. In addition, the area has significant ties to World War I, with Albany being the departure point for the majority of Anzac troops who left for Europe during the war. The Great Southern’s hidden treasures – pioneering farming communities that offer insight into the region’s rich rural heritage – can also be found dotted between winding rivers and picturesque farmland.
Feast on the best of food and wine
Those after a tipple or two will be pleased to hear 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. Team a good bottle of vino with freshly caught seafood and locally grown produce, and you’ve got a recipe for a great foodie holiday.
Top 10 things to do in the Great Southern
- Listen to the sand squeak between your toes as you walk along one of Australia’s best beaches, Little Beach, near Albany; or have a fun day exploring Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, near Denmark.
- Discover the legend of the Anzacs at the National Anzac Centre and Albany Heritage Park.
- Taste the best international whisky in the world at the Great Southern Distilling Co.
- Hike up one of Western Australia’s highest peaks, Bluff Knoll, for spectacular views of the Stirling Range National Park; or climb Porongurup National Park’s Granite Skywalk, for 360-degree views of the countryside.
- Marvel at Albany’s coastline from The Gap and Natural Bridge lookouts in Torndirrup National Park, then meander under giant wind turbines at Albany’s Wind Farm.
- Stay in Katanning’s historic old flour mill, which has been transformed into The Premier Mill Hotel ¬– a heritage-listed venue that pays tribute to the town’s rich historical past.
- Learn about Albany’s whaling history at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, which features a giant blue whale skeleton and the world’s only preserved whalechaser ship.
- Walk amongst 40m-high tingle trees at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, near Walpole.
- From February to March, head out to sea in search of Bremer Canyon’s migrating orca population.
- Discover the Aboriginal traditions and culture of Denmark, Albany, the Stirling Ranges and Kojonup, by taking part in an Aboriginal experience or tour.
Explore the towns within the Great Southern region.