Yeagarup Sand Dunes, Pemberton, Western Australia
Road-trip the length of the coast from Perth to the white sand beaches of Esperance, an epic journey that passes through wine and wheat country, coastal beauty, historic attractions and unique nature.
Margaret River is spectacular in so many ways it can be hard to leave, but if you venture further in the region, you will find hidden gems of equal beauty. Western Australia’s southwest has phenomenal views and exhilarating drives. While out enjoying all that natural beauty, you can also indulge at world-class spas and restaurants, explore colourful towns and celebrate at regional festivals. Or just find your own slice of secluded heaven in ancient forests and along dramatic coast.
Explore the natural beauty around Denmark
Just under 370 kilometres (230 miles) southwest of Perth, find William Bay National Park, home to Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, a jaw dropping concoction of huge, smooth granite boulders in clear turquoise waters lapping across white sand. Make sure you bring your camera as the changing light on this scenery is a photographer’s dream.
Head into the stunning beachside town of Denmark, a haven for spas, with more wellness operators per capita than anywhere else in the state. Sample the local drops at nearby wineries such as Singlefile and Howard Park.
Whale Watching, Albany, Western Australia
See the largest pod of Orcas on earth
Join Naturaliste Charters in the hope of seeing Orcas ( killer whales) in the deep southern waters around Bremer Canyon, a rich feeding ground that draws more than 100 Orcas to the wilderness hot spot from January to April. Naturaliste Charters is the only tour operator to follow them, thanks to an exclusive collaboration with research body, the Bremer Canyon Killer Whale project. Join a tour at Bremer Bay, northeast of Albany. Giant squid, sperm whales and large flocks of sea birds have also been seen in this isolated part of the ocean.
Birdwatch in Fitzgerald National Park
While at Bremer Bay, swim at the stunning Point Ann beach in the Fitzgerald National Park. At the right time of year, you’ll see carpets of wildflowers and the whole area is great for birdwatchers. Stay at the environmentally-friendly Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat on 40 acres of bushland close to Bremmer Bay to experience generous local hospitality.
Cape to Cape Track, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Western Australia
Feel a friendly stingray slide over your toes at Hamelin Bay
Between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste, Hamelin Bay is a quiet little settlement with a few shops, a small local population and the kind of perfectly beautiful white-sand beach that’s characteristic of the area. But come here for something completely out of the ordinary. You’re almost guaranteed to squeal with delight when curious, tame and gentle stingrays come right to the water’s edge and swim over your feet. They hover around the boat ramp and the ruins of the old jetty once used when Hamelin Bay was a major timber port. It’s an astonishing spectacle, all the more because it’s free and uncrowded.
Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia
Join kangaroos on Lucky Bay beach
If you’ve ever seen the photos of reclining ‘roos basking in the sun on a white sand beach fringing sparkling clear ocean, you might be tempted to think it’s a trick, but it’s not. See the real thing at Lucky Bay where you’ll often find kangaroos lazing on the sand, seemingly admiring a view that stretches out from the nearby town of Esperance. The beach itself is simply stunning, and it’s within Cape Le Grande National Park, which includes a string of 110 islands dotting crystal clear water.
See the Pink Lake from Frenchman’s Peak
All this is in vivid contrast to the red outback earth of the area; it’s another world, and a very beautiful one. In spring, the area bursts with wildflowers. Go rock climbing at Frenchman’s Peak and seek out the salt Pink Lake that appears bright pink at times, most likely thanks to algae in the water. Stop by Wave Rock, a spectacular prehistoric granite formation reaching 15 metres (50 feet) high in a curving wonder.
Go inland to see towering karri forests
Incredible trees that reach up to 90 metres (295 feet) high and an awe-inspiring wilderness await in The Karri Forests Region, the only place of its kind on the planet. See thick forest of the majestic karri trees and, if you’re game, climb one of the fire lookout trees – the Gloucester Tree, Bicentennial Tree and Diamond Tree have rungs spiralling their trunks. Look out over a richly textured canopy mingled with jarrah, tinglewood and marri. Another great way to see it is to canoe the Frankland River from Monastery Landing.
Visit a vineyard, or an alpaca farm
Tour a landscape of vineyards producing great wines, alpaca farms and pretty towns such as Manjimup, Donnybrook and Bridgetown. All these places love a festival, time your visit to coincide with the brilliant Blues at Bridgetown.
Find accommodation in Western Australia's southwest region