AUSTRALIA’S SOUTH WEST
DESTINATION OF THE MONTH
WEEK 1 OF 5
With more than 1,000km of pristine, marine life-rich coastline, towering forests and five premium wine regions, the South West corner of Western Australia fits the bill for a dream destination for travellers. In fact, Margaret River and Southern WA was named by Lonely Planet as the most desirable destination in Asia Pacific in 2019.
Australia’s South West, as it is known, is more than just a destination, it’s a hotbed for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, breathtaking scenery and quirky wildlife encounters. Here, there’s a chance to explore natural beaches, beautiful vineyards, forests, caves, Aboriginal culture and more, all in a single day.
There are four sub-regions that make up Australia’s South West, each offering their own unique experiences.
In Bunbury Geographe, the natural beauty of the region’s green pastures and rich orchards contrast nicely with the urban buzz of WA’s largest regional city, Bunbury – a place where wild dolphins frequent the port city shores.
In the Margaret River region, find the most indulgent culinary and spectacular coastal adventure in the world. Margaret River is the most awarded fine wine region in Australia and home to pristine beaches, tall timber karri forests, renowned surf breaks and ancient underground caves, making it a unique destination on Earth. Stretching from Busselton to Augusta, each of the towns can be found hugging the coast of the Indian Ocean, nearby vast landscapes of vineyards and kangaroo-dotted farmland. Here you can indulge at fine restaurants and boutique breweries, seek out wildflowers and wildlife, explore bespoke art galleries and immerse yourself in one of many food and wine festivals.
Further south, the Southern Forests and Valleys are characterised by lush, rolling hills and charming country towns. Think Devonshire tea, quaint main streets, and antique stores aplenty. The clear, crisp air means it’s not just the magnificent karri, marri and tingle forests that grow in abundance here, as more than 50 types of fruit and vegetables are produced in this region, including the black Périgord truffle in Australia’s truffle heartland, Manjimup.
In the Great Southern region, dramatic forested cliffs are pounded by the wild Southern Ocean, providing shelter for cosy coves and calm bays. Both rolling pastoral landscapes and one of WA’s highest mountain ranges are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
With 24 national parks across the entire South West region, there’s plenty of nature and wildlife to see and meet, while rich soils and fertile land provide foodies with the best in fresh produce and gourmet experiences, and over 50,000 years of Aboriginal history provides an opportunity to learn about one of the world’s oldest living cultures.
HOW TO GET HERE
Located just a few hours’ drive south of Western Australia’s capital city, Perth, Australia’s South West is a great self-drive destination. Along with rental car options – public transport, tours, flights and cruises leave Perth regularly en route to the region.
Domestic travellers can fly direct into the South West region from Melbourne to Busselton-Margaret River Airport with Jetstar Australia. This direct service lands in the heart of the Margaret River region, where visitors can hire a car or pre-book a tour without having to drive from Perth.
Flights arrive into Western Australia from all Australian capital cities, along with direct international flights from the UK, continental Europe, New Zealand, the Middle East and South East Asia. East Coast visitors can also access Perth via rail.
- Indulge in long-table winery lunches or degustation dinners, paired with the region’s finest local drops.
- Take a dip in the sparkling waters of Dunsborough’s Meelup Beach, where the sand is like icing sugar and the ocean the hue of a Bombay Saffire bottle.
- Visit the 1.841km-long Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and catch the solar-powered electric train to the end of the jetty to delve below the surface for a view of colourful sea-life at the Underwater Observatory – all while staying dry.
- Stand atop one of the world’s largest moving sand dune systems at Yeagarup Dunes near Pemberton.
- Feel the whoosh of the Southern Ocean as it crashes against rugged sea cliffs at The Gap and Natural Bridge near Albany.
- See the largest known pod of orca (killer whales) in the Southern Hemisphere from January to early April off the coast of Bremer Bay.
Whether they’re looking to feast on the spoils of nature’s pantry, taste world-class drops, spot the biggest and smallest animals on Earth or surf the perfect wave – travellers can discover it all on their next trip to Australia’s South West.