Losing yourself in Australia's South West is easy! Here you'll find a mix of sleepy towns bursting with arts, crafts and gourmet produce; delightful walks through forests and along a rolling coastline; enough wineries and eateries to last a lifetime; and some fascinating natural phenomena, from the ancient crystal caves of Margaret River to the giant tingle trees of Walpole.
Some of the best multi-day hikes are in this region, along the Cape to Cape coastal trail and around the Stirling Range and Porongurup National Park. The 1000km Bibbulmun Track winds through the region, taking in coastline, countryside and hills.
On a clear day, you can see for miles from Bluff Knoll in Stirling Range National Park - one of the highest peaks in Western Australia. Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia. Featuring stark cliff faces, sheltered gullies and magnificent views, the park is one of the world’s most important areas for flora with 1500 species, many of which grow nowhere else in the world.
You will enjoy exhilarating views both here and in the Porongorups. Over 1.2 billion years old, this ancient range is home to towering granite peaks, majestic stands of karri trees and some extraordinary wildflowers.
Further east into the Southern Forests, you can take a treetop walk among the Valley of the Giants, a head-spinning experience as you look down on the soaring tingle trees.
On the coast are the quaint towns of Walpole and Denmark, and historic Albany, where you can learn about the old whaling industry. Whales are treasured now for their magnificent beauty, often spotted as they migrate north or south along our coastline. Humpback whales are sighted from June through to December as they travel between Albany and Busselton. Southern right whales are usually around later, from August onwards.
Closer to Perth in the famous Margaret River region, the coastline folds into bays, perfect for coastal walks and views, as well as world class surfing. You also have the chance to get closer to one of our favourite sea creatures - the bottlenose dolphin. Many say that swimming with dolphins has an extraordinarily calming effect, and there have even been claims of healing through this experience. These animals are so friendly and playful, it's something to keep on your bucket list.
The Cape to Cape walk runs along the Margaret River coastline, between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin lighthouses. With some lovely towns dotted around the region, it's easy to do this walk in sections and sleep comfortably each night. This is where you'll encounter the crystal caves too.
But Margaret River is most famous of course for its wineries. You'll be spoilt for choice, not only for wines but for delightful restaurants and cafes as you trail the cellar doors. What many don't realise is that WA wineries are spread right across the South West, as far south as the Porongorups and right into Geographe, adjacent to Perth.
As you travel north from Margaret River, the popular holiday town of Busselton on Geographe Bay is worth a stop. The picturesque and historic Busselton Jetty, at 1.8km, is a must, while the sheltered bay is a fabulous place or enjoy water sports.
To find out more about the South West, go to Australia's South West.