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.
Your Great Southern Bucket List
- Hike up one of Western Australia’s highest peaks, Bluff Knoll, for spectacular views of the Stirling Range National Park.
- Explore rugged coastlines at The Gap and Natural Bridge, with a viewing platform hanging over the edge of the Southern Ocean so you can watch the powerful waves crash against the cliff faces.
- Walk amongst the giants, the impressive tingle trees, with the 600m-long tree top walk 40m above the forest floor at Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.
- Marvel at the peppermint-tinged waters of Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, near Denmark and grab a snorkel as you frolic in their protected bays of crystal-clear ocean.
- Immerse yourself in rich cultural heritage at the National Anzac Centre and learn about the 40,000 soldiers who departed Albany’s shores for the First World War.
- Take a self-drive tour of the Great Southern wine region, sampling the vast array of wine varieties from cabernet sauvignon, to merlot and chardonnay.
- 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.
- Experience the Aboriginal traditions and culture in Kojonup, where you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal storytelling.
- See colourful wildflowers in spring (September to November) at the Regional Wildflower Garden at Discovery Bay.
- Get up close and personal with majestic whales onboard a whale watching charter departing Albany from June to August, or join a research vessel to spot the migrating wild orca population in Bremer Canyon from January to early April.
Explore the towns within the Great Southern region.