Cover photo: Jester’s Flat
Just about everybody’s had some travel plans interrupted over the last year – but there’s no reason a trip to our very own South West can’t be one for the ages. As we emerge from the rainy season of Makuru into the gorgeous spring bloom of Djilba, we can’t get outside quick enough. Plus, while the lockdown situation for our east coast friends and the ensuing border restrictions has been horrible, it’s created plenty of openings bookings-wise down south and we’re sure a heap of folks down there would be grateful for some replacement visitors!
Here’s a nice little list to work your way through:
1. Visit the Underwater Observatory at the end of the 1.8km Busselton Jetty and see some of the breathtaking and unique ocean life of Busselton.
2. Hitch a ride on the Humpback Highway with All Sea Whale Charters. In the pristine waters of Geographe Bay, you’ll be able to see frolicking humpback whales and their calves.
3. Check out even more ocean life with Naturaliste Charters – who have over 25 years experience on the south-west coast and whale-seeing guarantees, plus ties to conservation and research programs.
4. Make friends with the dolphins of Koombana Bay at Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre, and enjoy a sunset drink on the deck of its awesome rooftop bar.
5. Defy gravity with an afternoon of trampolining at Gravity Etc., where there’s 2000 square metres of extreme trampoline, dodgeball, air bag, foam pit and even an adrenaline-packed virtual reality roller coaster.
6. Witness the shifting sand dunes of Yeagarup with Pemberton Discovery Tours, who will take you on an exciting 4WD tour through the remarkable inland dune system that moves a huge four metres a year, swallowing the forest and unearthing fossilised trees.
7. Explore the actual Margaret River on a canoe with Margaret River Discovery Co. – followed by a full day exploring the region and meeting the makers of some truly tasty food and wine – and some 4WDing of course!
8. Running since 2008, CinefestOZ has become one of Australian cinema’s most distinguished events, featuring dozens of films competing for the country’s biggest film prize.
9. Continue this feast for your eyes at the spectacular Nannup Flower and Garden Festival, where their famous winter flowers will be on show until mid-September.
EAT & DRINK
10. Take a tour through some of the region’s top-tier farms and producers with a customisable Genuinely Extraordinary Southern Forests Food & Farm Experience – from truffles to apple orchards and dairy farms and everything in between, you’re guaranteed a delicious time.
11. Enjoy some bespoke wine blending available at Clairault Streicker, guided by their expert winemakers to help create your own estate-grown Margaret River wine!
12. Delve into a mouth-watering charcuterie board to go with your tasting at Domaine Naturaliste’s picturesque cellar door set amongst the vineyard.
13. Roast some delicious nougat by the fire with guided wine tasting at Bettenay’s.
14. If you’re in the region in October, you’ll also be able to check out the brand new Fine Vines wine festival, running from the 15th to 25th of October and bringing together more than 30 unique events to showcase Margaret River.
15. Can’t wait ‘til October? Lost and Found is a brand new food and wine festival that will be taking place from September 9 to 12 in Bunbury and Ferguson Valley.
16. If you’re keen to do it on your own time (and with your own crew), hit up a few that pique your interest with a customisable tour from Hinterland Escapes, who specialise in the Bunbury Geographe Wine Region.
17. If wine isn’t your thing, get amongst Bunbury’s Cuprum Distillery, who utilise botanicals indigenous to the area in hand made copper stills to create their distinct, small-batch spirits.
18. So close to the beach you can practically dip your toes in, Abbey Beach is the largest resort in the area, with a range of suites and serviced apartments within their four hectares of landscaped gardens.
19. While you’re in Bunbury, you can choose from plenty of unique accommodation offerings – whether it’s the serene waterfront cabins of Evedon Lakeside Retreat, or travel further inland to the mystical and misty forests surrounding the Balingup Heights Hilltop Forest Cottages.
20. Stay at the historic Roelands Village. Originally used as a mission between the 1940s and 70s to house hundreds of children removed from their families across WA, it’s now administered by former residents as unique accommodation.
22. Head to the picturesque lakeside accommodation of Tanah Marah – newly renovated, self-contained rammed-earth chalets – or the family-friendly Margaret River Holiday Cottages, set amongst 12 acres of bush gardens.
23. Keep the adventurous vibes going with a night of luxe Gourmet Glamping with Walk Talk Taste – who can also take you on a tour of Margaret River’s best venues to sample some of the sensational produce of the area.
24. Stay at charming retreat Oak Hill House – a historic country estate and homestead built in 1920, situated just outside of Bridgetown and oozing with early 20th century charm.
25. Finally if you’re venturing a little further south, try Beach House at Bayside – a boutique B&B a few minutes from Albany’s town centre whose current Winter Wanderer package is looking pretty irresistible.
Head to the Australia’s South West WEBSITE now to start planning your own southwest experience this Spring.