Great South West Edge

Naturaliste National Park, WA
Esperance, WA
Wildflowers
The Gap, Torndirrup National Park, WA

Great South West Edge

Enrich yourself in the extraordinary bio-diversity of the Great South West Edge, tucked away in the lower corner of Western Australia, stretching from Busselton to Cape Arid National Park. Nature has been flaunting her beauty here for millions of years with white beaches, wildflowers, wetlands, towering forests, limestone caves and the meeting of two oceans at one river. A wet winter and dry summer Mediterranean style climate, a dazzling array of flora and fauna and captivating contrasts between land and sea, make the Great South West a truly unique national landscape offering diversity at its finest. Surf, fish, dive and whale watch along the pristine coastline and go walking through the huge national parks. Visit world-class wineries, see ancient geological wonders and discover the region's rich Aboriginal history.

Five treasures of the Great South West Edge

A pristine coastline, WA
A pristine coastline, WA

1. A pristine coastline

Snorkel with colourful marine life off historic Busselton Jetty, dive the HMAS Perth Dive Wreck or HMAS Swan at Dunsborough, surf Margaret River's world-class waves or watch migrating whales glide through Albany's huge natural harbour. Whilst there, soak up the city's fascinating convict and whaling history and alsovisit the beautifully preserved Whale World museum. Albanyis also where the ANZAC soldiers last stood on Australian soil before being sent to Gallipoli. Further along the coastline lies Esperance, with Kangaroos that bask on the sand and home to Australia's whitest beach, Lucky Bay. Off the coast of Esperance are the hundred-plus islands of the Recherche Archipelago. In contrast to most of the coastline is the rugged, rocky coastal scenery of D'Entrecasteaux, William Bay, West Cape Howe and Torndirrup National Parks.

Tall trees, WA
Tall trees, WA

2. Tall trees, wildlife and wildflowers

Towering trees meet the ocean at Denmark, allow yourself to be awe-struck by its soaring southern forests, especially the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. The park has spectacular landscapes with estuaries, inlets and nine Ramsar-listed wetlands. The Tuart Forrest National Park near Busselton hides one of the world's last remaining stands of Tuart trees. Around Pemberton, nature lovers will be blown away by the giant Jarrah and Karri forests, the 600 yr old King Jarrah Tree and the 100 Year Old Forest. For thrill seekers, the Diamond Tree Lookout is located here and it's the only wooden treetop tower in the world. The region's spectacular National Parks sprawl for more than 100,000kms and colourful wildflowers are most abundant between September and November. Get up close to unique flora and bird life in Porongurup National Park, Stirling Range National Park and Fitzgerald National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere with 1,800 species of flowering plants. For birdwatchers, Cape Arid National Park is one of the most significant in the conservation of birds, with more than 160 species found including several that are listed as endangered.

Spectacular trails , WA
Spectacular trails , WA

3. Spectacular trails for walking and riding

Hike the Bibbulmun Track through the diverse landscapes of the Great South West Edge. The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world's great long distance walking trails, stretching nearly 1,000km from the Perth Hills to Albany. Although the entire adventure takes around eight weeks to complete, it can easily be broken into shorter day walks and longer overnight trips, to suit all levels of hikers. The track winds through Jarrah, Marri, Wandoo, Karri and Tingle forests and stretches of coastal peppermint and heathland. Mountain bikers can soak up similar scenery on the Munda Biddi Trail, which runs 500km between Perth and Nannup, and will soon reach all the way to Albany. For an exhilarating coastal adventure, walk the Cape to Cape Trail between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste, whilst there climb to the top of Western Australia's tallest lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular views. For those with access to a 4WD, Cape Arid National Park is a must with self guided walking trails giving access to pristine secluded bays and stunning coastal sights.

Ancient landscapes, WA
Ancient landscapes, WA

4. Ancient landscapes, ancient cultures

Visit Torndirrup National Park, where the Natural Bridge and The Gap have been sculpted over millions of years by the fierce Southern Ocean. From the Gap you can see rocks that pre‐date most life on earth. Hike the ancient granite Porongurup Range and see the shifting sands of D'Entrecasteaux National Park, formed 8,000 years ago. Explore the limestone caves of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, or head a little further south to Mammoth Cave where mega-fauna and Aboriginal tribes are thought to have co-existed. Learn more about the region's rich, living Aboriginal history on a cultural tour through Dunsborough, Yallingup, Esperance, Cape Le Grand or Cape Arid National Parks.

Margaret River, WA
Margaret River, WA

5. Margaret River food and wine

Go gourmet in the internationally-acclaimed Margaret River wine region, where the vineyards are fringed by tall forests and sensational surf beaches. Join a tasting tour or follow a scenic drive to some of the region's 100-plus cellar doors and wineries. Savour a glass of flagship Cabernet or Sauvignon Blanc at award-winning restaurants or sample local produce straight from the producers. This region is renowned for its exquisite cheeses, truffles, chocolate and olives, as well as its venison, beef and freshwater crayfish. Visit boutique breweries, picnic beneath the karri trees and browse the vibrant art and craft galleries.

More Australian Ideas