The South West region of Western Australia is a popular tourist destination, and we can understand why looking at everything there is to see and do.
(Image: Walpole- The Giants Trees Top Walk.)
Just off the South Coast Highway, east of Walpole is the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. This spectacular walkway is not for the faint-hearted as it sits 40 metres above the ground and leads 600 metres through the canopy of the red tingle trees. If you don’t like heights, there is a sealed base walk that winds its way along the forest floor. This ancient landscape is reminiscent of Gondwana, with the red tingle trees only found in this small area. Make sure you check out the 400-year-old Grandma Tingle.
Another tree challenge can be found at Pemberton. The Gloucester Tree was a fire lookout tower in the 1940s and you can still partake in this epic 53-metre climb via a pegged ladder, up to the lookout platform. From here you can enjoy views across the karri forest and South Western farmland.
(Image: In the Yeagarup Dunes - D'Entrecasteaux National Park - WA.)
GETTING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
The South West region of WA covers over 1000km of coastline with pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise waters drawing people in. There are also plenty of opportunities to throw in a line, whether that be for saltwater varieties including dhufish along the coast or freshwater fish like rainbow trout in the Blackwood River or Big Brook Dam. In season, the freshwater marron is also a favourite delicacy.
The expansive Yeagarup dune system is a haven for four-wheelers. This is the largest land-locked dune system in the Southern Hemisphere and is constantly moving, up to 4 metres per year. Once there, drop your tyre pressures and then follow the marked trail across the dunes. Access to Yeagarup Beach is via a marked track and while the descents are quite easy-going, getting back up again on your return can be a challenge. Low tyre pressures and recovery tracks are your best friend around here.
(Image: Breathtaking coastline, Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, WA.)
LEEUWIN - NATURALISTE NATIONAL PARK
Hidden within the Leeuwin – Naturaliste National Park are over 150 limestone caves, some of which are open to the public offering guided or self-guided tours past spectacular crystal formations including stalagmites, stalactites, helictites and shawls. The four main cave walks are Ngilgi Cave, Jewel Cave, Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave with each offering different experiences for the adventurous.
As well as the caves, Leeuwin – Naturaliste National Park is home to the iconic Cape Naturaliste lighthouse where you can join a guided tour and enjoy stunning coastal views of the Indian Ocean from the balcony. Below the lighthouse, a walkway leads to one of Western Australia’s best whale watching platforms where you can spot migrating southern right, humpback and blue whales. A walkway at Canal Rocks provides the opportunity to get up close to the rugged coastline, while the picturesque Sugarloaf Rock is a favourite for landscape photographers.
There are plenty of campsites to be found in the South West of WA and here are some of the better ones:
- Contos Campground near Lake Cave
- Banksia Camp in D’Entrecasteaux National Park
- Black Point Bush Camp near Augusta
- Drafty’s Camp, Heartbreak Trail on the Warren River
- St Mary’s Inlet, Fitzgerald River National Park
- Yeagarup Beach Camping Area, D’Entrecasteaux National Park
Famous for producing top-notch food and wine, the Margaret River region is a great place to hang out for a few days, especially if you’re a foodie. But that’s not all, pack your board, whether it be a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard, there are plenty of places to get in the water. Why not check out the tallest lighthouse on the Australian mainland, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and see where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. The Busselton Jetty has an underwater observatory at the end of the pier and while you’re there keep an eye out for migrating whales from September to December. If hiking is your passion, the 135km Cape to Cape Track offers impressive coastal scenery and picturesque wildflowers along this iconic walk.
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