Southwestern Australia has places to see and things to do in abundance. Incredible coastline, mysterious caves, and plenty of nature to enjoy. Everyone knows Perth, Margaret River, Busselton, and Albany, but there are a few lesser known places not to be overlooked while travelling this extraordinary region. Here are six of our favourites (In no particular order). Enjoy!
Get up close to stingrays as you wade into the crystal clear Western Australian waters in Hamelin Bay. At the beach near Hamelin Bay Holiday Park you’ll find the overly friendly residents gracefully swimming and enjoying the warm sunshine. Ankle deep, they bump into your legs as if to say “Hey! Play with me!”. If you don’t fancy getting in the water with them, you can still get a great glimpse from the safety of the beach. Speaking of beach, spend a little time soaking up some sun on the beautiful sand there! It’s a must visit between Margaret River and Albany.
Mount Barker-Granite Skywalk
A short trip north from Albany, the granite skywalk in Porongurup National Park near Mount Barker should be on your list of places to stop. The skywalk is a suspended walkway built into the granite rocks at the top of the mountain, offering splendid views of the surrounding area. The hike up the mountain is medium difficulty and takes around an hour. Half way up you’ll pass the balancing rock which is quite intriguing and offers a photo opp. Arrive at the summit and stroll out onto the skywalk. Don’t look down though, as your heart will drop realizing just how high up you really are! If you can’t stomach heights there is also a viewing platform with wonderful views, but nothing like the sensation you get on the skywalk. It’s a great way to get out into some Western Australia nature with the added bonuses of exercise and views.
Did you love climbing trees as a kid? We sure did! A bit of an ode to tree climbers, adventurers, and thrill-seekers, climbing Diamond Tree is not for the faint of heart. Metal bars protrude from this giant Karri tree and spiral their way 52 meters up to an old wooden fire lookout. The climb is daunting as there are no safety nets or harnesses. Wear proper shoes, comfortable clothes, and have your wits about you before attempting the ascent. There are a couple of small platforms at various heights and if at any point you reach one and don’t feel comfortable going higher, don’t push your limits. If you’re brave enough to make it the top though, you’ll be greatly rewarded. Soak in the magnificent scene over the Karri Forest and Manjimup area from a birds eye view. Catch your breath again and prepare for the equally daunting descent . Once down, bask in your conquest with your feet back on solid ground.
A truly stunning piece of Western Australian nature, Lake Cave is home to a one of a kind “suspended table” formation. Down into the sunken earth you’ll descend, far below the Karri forest to the entrance of the cave, where the sunlight and heat disappear. Magnificent limestone formations extend from ceiling to floor. The lake reflects the crown jewel, the suspended table, which seemingly defies the laws of gravity as it hangs inches above the water. Turn out the flash lights, stand quietly, and listen in eerie stillness to drips of water which have been forming the cave for millions of years. A wonderful experience, and great escape from the vicious Australian sun! It’s easy access from Margaret River, or stop on your way through to Hamelin Bay, but don’t miss it.
Cape Naturaliste is a three headed monster of a stop. First, head out to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. Meander down the tracks around the cape for some spectacular views and whale watching. We spotted a few humpbacks while walking and another from the whale watching platform! A short drive from the lighthouse, stop at Bunker Bay. It’s a lovely, secluded bay, perfect for a picnic after you’ve worked up an appetite spotting those whales! And last but not least, have a swim at Meelup Beach. Clear, cool waters, and a phenomenal little beach. What’s not to love?!
Truffle and Wine Co. – Manjimup
In an area of Australia known for its wine, how can a wine tasting get any better? Add black winter truffles, that’s how. At $2,000 per kilo, black winter truffles are highly sought after the world around. Grab a very reasonably priced truffle tasting platter from The Truffle and Wine Co (we highly recommend it) and sample some of their truffle infused products alongside portions of roast beef, cheese, and more! Add the free wine tasting and it doesn’t get much better than that. That hardest decision you’ll make is which truffle products and wine you’ll be bringing home with you. The truffle mustard and Shiraz are Plane Sailing approved!
There you have it! Six amazing places you must see while in Southwestern Australia. Pictures and words don’t do these wonderful places justice, so be sure to get out and visit them yourself! Have anywhere to add or tips for your fellow travellers? Leave a comment and don’t forget to share!