Your Insider Guide To Making The Most Out Of Summer Down South.
Ah, can you feel that warm sensation? Finally, summer is upon us, and there is no better way to bask in its true glory with a visit to Australia’s South West. From utopian coastal blues, rolling vineyards to greenlit woodland giants, this richly-hued nugget of Western Australia has so much to offer. Young or old, luxurious or adventurous, nature-lovers or history types can easily find something to satisfy their desire for a feel-good time. After all, there is nothing like relishing in a #SummerintheSouthWest.
To give you a dose of inspiration for your next trip down south, check out our sure-fire list of top 10 things to do to make the most of summer in the South West.
1. Pristine beaches (and all yours too)
We couldn’t kick start this list without mentioning the jewel of the south: its beaches.
Call it as you see it – sapphire, azure, indigo – they are all fitting ways to describe the heavenly waters of the South West. With over 1000km of tranquil coastline to explore, there is plenty of space to call your very own.
Make it your mission to visit the recently reopened Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, made Instagram-famous for its emerald waters amidst giant boulders. Spending a day here has never been easier with the newly upgraded car park and facilities, allowing you to make the most of this picturesque spot in Denmark’s William Bay National Park.
Have a round of scenic beach bingo with the other South West beaches’ worth dipping your toes. We recommend checking out Geographe Bay in Busselton (home of the Busselton Jetty), Smith’s Beach in Yallingup, Eagle Bay and Middleton Beach near Albany. To have your own infinity pool along the coast, check out rock pools Injidup Natural Spa and The Aquarium near Yallingup.
Want to experience the beach in a new light? Make sure you time your visit right to witness a bright moon rise over sea at Meelup Beach near Dunsborough. If in extra luck, you may even experience this special moment with beachside kangaroos hopping about!
2. Get into the festival spirit
Let the South West entertain you with its ever-growing calendar of events to appeal to big-time foodies, live music lovers and sporting enthusiasts.
You won’t want to miss the 2021 Bunbury Fringe Festival from January, 22-30, where you can enjoy a selection of cutting edge, diverse, eclectic shows. Think everything from stand up, to music, improv, comedic theatre, poetry, storytelling and more! Make sure to browse the Bunbury Fringe festival line up of events and book your tickets now.
Calling all Pinot-lovers! Raise your glass at this brand-new event in the Southern Forests and Valleys this February, 11-14. The first-ever Pinot Picnic is a chance to wine and dine your way through Manjimup and Pemberton with a four-day celebration of extraordinary pop-up pinot themed events, or take the experience home and indulge in local gourmet picnic hampers paired perfectly with regional pinots. From sparkling soirées, tasting masterclasses, vineyard experiences, to wine-matching brunches, lunches and dinners, there’s no doubt it’s the season for pinot! Stay in the loop by subscribing to the mailing list on their website. Tickets to Pinot Picnic go on sale soon!
For all those hoppy connoisseurs, the 2021 South West Craft Beer Festival is an absolute must. Taking place in Signall Park in Busselton on February 27, this is the perfect opportunity to sip and savour the best liquid gold the South West has to offer. The festival showcases more than 120 refreshing local brews alongside enticing cuisine and funky local beats. Secure your South West Craft Beer ticket now!
Foodies will love the 2021 Taste Great Southern Food Festival which celebrates 11 days of culinary experiences from over 20 chefs all across the Great Southern. In 2021, events from March 18-28 will include long lunches, degustations, premium pairings, festivals, community markets, free events, award-winning wine and local produce tastings, to name a few. Just make sure to bring the stretchy pants! Check out the Taste Great Southern Food Festival
3. Meet some ocean giants
When the sun’s out, ocean giants are out to play with the South West a hive of activity above sea level. Bremer Bay attracts the largest known pod of orca (killer whales) in the Southern Hemisphere. From January until early April, these majestic creatures visit the canyon so make sure you book a charter boat tour (bus transfers are available from Albany) with Naturaliste Charters or Whale Watch Western Australia to see a real-life nature show unfold right before your very eyes.
Experience life flip-flopping around you with sighting the wild dolphins that roam Bunbury’s Koombana Bay from November to April. To find out more about these smiley marine mammals, visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre during summer and catch them frolicking in the shallows of the bay outside the centre. Want to get up close and pose a selfie with a dolphin? You can also embark on a Dolphin Swim Tour for an up-close experience, or join the daily Eco Cruise for a closer encounter.
See the ocean vacuum cleaners – rays – at work with a visit to Hamelin Bay near Augusta. Along the shallows of this pristine stretch, wild rays glide along the ocean floor searching for fish scraps left behind by the fishermen near the boat ramp and old jetty. Don’t miss this exciting coastal visit by these rays: just make sure to respect the friendly giant’s space.
Those avid underwater explorers, choose to snorkel or dive through the region’s three dive wrecks: The Lena in Bunbury, The Swan in Dunsborough and The Perth in Albany. Swim through one of Australia’s best artificial reefs found below the iconic Busselton Jetty, where you can tour an Underwater Observatory. Or take a walk on the wild side with a fun Undersea Walk along the seafloor.
4. Have a mountain bike adventure
Want to take your pedal power to the extreme? The South West is home to a labyrinth of world-class mountain bike trails to cater to all skill levels, from those beginners to thrilling trail chasers. Better yet, your epic tour de force traverses through the South West’s most enchanting sceneries – wildflower and native forests – making it one daring tale for the ages.
Head to up-and-coming mountain biking mecca, Collie to try the recently upgraded Arklow Trail Network, situated just 5km from north of town along Harris River Road. Here you’ll find over 35km of trails to ride. From a 9.2km Adaptive Trail loop suitable for families and long easy rides along Railway Rise and Jarrah Jaunt, to the 7.5 km of old-school, blue and single tracks of Rays Trail involving complex twists and turns, and the 4.5km challenging blue rocky climb of Trail 7 with multiple log rides and the sweet reward of an exhilarating rapid roller coaster descent.
Across the region, there’s plenty of other trails to be explored. From the extensive 1000km-long Munda Biddi, to the Wadandi Track in Margaret River, the Old Timberline Trail in Nannup, Relentless Blue MTB Park in Pemberton, and the Downhill Mountain Bike Trail in Albany, plus many more. Check out our list of top mountain bike trails for more exhilarating adventures.
5. Indulge in good eats and sips
Here is one thing the South West can almost guarantee you – you will never leave on an empty stomach. The South West is WA’s greatest kitchen pantry: home to market fresh, locally-grown produce and makers of fine wines, craft beers and boutique spirits. So, what’s on the menu?
Are you looking for an eight-course degustation, complete with matching wines? How about a decadent picnic, with equally pleasing scenery to match? Or what about a classic pub lunch, designed to warm the heart and feed the belly? With a range of dining venues and options – varying from a café-style brunch or à la carte lunch, to a degustation or gourmet shared platter – there’s a food option for even the most discerning eaters. No matter where you go in the South West, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and get ready to indulge!
Here are some venues that are delivering the goods this summer:
The newly-renovated Swings & Roundabouts in Yallingup has relaxed outdoor dining and delicious food and wine perfect for your summer of indulgence.
Clairault Streiker in Margaret River is hosting vineyard picnics this summer so you can keep things classy yet casual.
Aravina Estate is hosting their 15 Days of Summer event from December 27 to January 10, where you can enjoy fresh taphouse beer, oyster shucking, live music on the lawns, a pizza and Aperol bar and free wine tastings.
Singlefile Wines in Denmark offer wine tastings of Great Southern drops, with BYO nibbles that can be consumed along its apple-green lawns. You can also book a private tasting here for an ultimate experience, including a vineyard walk.
6. Experience the South West like a local
Summer is a great time to see and experience the South West’s true wonders through local eyes. Take a tour with a local operator to unravel the layers of a destination that you can’t find or experience from guide books. We recommend a 4WD Beach & Forest Eco Adventure Tour with Pemberton Discovery Tours where you’ll see one of the world’s largest moving dune systems at Yeagarup Dunes and experience tricky-to-access national parks with the comfort of a local expert.
In Walpole, join a WOW Wilderness Eco Cruise to learn about this area’s history from a hilarious local guide. All while you cruise down the Walpole inlet towards biodiverse and untouched landscapes. Explore the actual Margaret River on a canoe tour with Margaret River Discovery Co. and see a local’s perspective on its hidden beauty. You may think you know the region well until you experience it like a local!
7. Have a ride on water
Summer is all about getting wet and wild, and what better way to cool off from the blistering heat than by spending a day on the water? The region’s lengthy coastline makes it an ideal place for water-based activities such as surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, and sailing. Fun can equally be had inland with the many lakes and fresh watercourses that wind their way through the valleys perfect playgrounds for water sports such as canoeing, kayaking and water-skiing.
The Blackwood River, stretching from Boyup Brook to Augusta and meandering through Bridgetown, is considered one of WA’s premier canoeing destinations. During summer, the calm waters of the Blackwood provide long stretches of river ideal for families. Our tip: BYO canoe, or hire one from the towns situated along the river.
In Wellington National Park near Collie, you can hire kayaks and SUPs from local tour operator Traaverse. Also seek out Lake Beedelup in Pemberton at RAC Karri River Valley Resort, Deep River in Mount Frankland National Park, Walpole’s Frankland River and Coalmine Beach at Nornalup.
For those that like to experience a luxe life on water, sail aboard one of the last fully operational pearling luggers in the calm blue waters of Geographe Bay this summer with Willie Cruises.
8. Take a dip in a natural swimming hole
Make a grand entrance this summer and jump right in one of many pristine natural pools dotting in and around the South West. Be the ultimate nature-lover at couples-favourite Honeymoon Pool in Wellington National Park or have a relaxing swim at green sanctuaries, Minninup Pool near Collie, Barrabup Pool near Nannup or Fonty’s Pool in Manjimup.
If you want to keep things blue on blue (we are talking blue skies, blue waters here), grab a floatie and lounge along the glistening turquoise-blue lakes, Black Diamond, Stockton and the new Lake Kepwari near Collie.
Read more: Top Perth Swimming Holes
9. Catch and camp
Have a castaway moment with a camping holiday, complete with a spot of fishing. There are many camping and fishing sites with stunning views of the coast, to gorgeous spots nestled under the peppermint trees.
We recommend you try Windy Harbour’s Campground for easy access to nearby beach fishing spots to make that catch of the day easier to reel in.
10. Experience The South West Edge
Want to do it all? Discover a journey into the heartland of an undisturbed, uncrowded Australia with this road trip that will change the way you will experience the South West forever.
The South West Edge is a 12-day adventure that traverses 1200km from Perth to Esperance, taking you through wine regions, towering forests and along marine life-rich coast before heading across the outback.
This breathtakingly beautiful trip is sure to recharge the mind and feed your soul with discovery and wonderment at every turn.
Find out more about The South West Edge at thesouthwestedge.com.au.
Discover more of Australia’s South West via australiassouthwest.com.
This is a sponsored post for Australia’s South West – endorsed by So Perth. We value your feedback so please contact us with any thoughts in regards to our sponsored post.