While the Harvey Region is synonymous with quality fresh produce and cosy farm stays, it’s also home to some of the state’s most beautiful — and lesser-frequented — country and coastal waterways. Fringing the Indian Ocean, there are no less than 42 kilometres of coastline between Myalup at the region’s northern boundary and Australind in the south. And that’s not all.
From crabbing and boating to windsurfing and snorkelling, the rivers, estuaries, and beaches in this part of the state have it all covered. Best of all, it’s right on our doorstep. The Harvey Region is just a 90-minute drive from Perth — close enough for a quick weekend getaway yet far enough to feel as though you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.
The Harvey Region’s Wonderful Waterways
As the longest beach in all of the South West, Binningup Beach has so much to offer, from snorkelling and fishing to extended beach strolls.
Reefs running parallel to the shoreline create a semi-sheltered area with inviting, calm waters. Duck beneath the surface, and you’ll see plenty of small reef fish darting in and out of the rocky caves. If you have a boat, you can take it out past the reef, where you can throw in a line and hook a pink snapper or few. If you don’t have a boat, the fishing from the beach is just as good, with an abundance of Silver Bream, Tailor, and Yellowfin Whiting.
The transgressive dunes provide some protection from the wind, so bring some camp chairs and blankets and watch the sunset as you feast on a grazing board. Being only 20 minutes from Harvey, you can spend the whole day at the beach before scooting back to your accommodation.
At the most southern point of the 12,888-hectare Yalgorup National Park, Myalup is a nature-lovers paradise, surrounded by a system of lakes and wetlands. Lake Josephine and Lake Preston are two of the most easily accessible from the town centre. Head to Lake Preston and take the short walk out to the viewing platform, where you can see all kinds of migratory birds on the flats. The Paperbark-studded Lake Josephine is most beautiful in winter when it transforms into a sea of pink as the Red Samphire blooms.
Soft white sands line the coast of Myalup Beach; it’s perfect for building a sand castle fort with the little ones or walking hand in hand with your loved one as the sun sets. Take a dip in the refreshing Indian Ocean to start your day the right way.
There’s a protected calcarenite reef just off the beach, which means keen anglers can catch Bream, Tailor, and Yellowfin Whiting right off the beach. Bring your eskies down and claim the perfect patch of sand to spend the afternoon catching your dinner. If you’re out of luck and don’t catch anything for dinner, don’t stress. You can always head to the Myalup General Store to pick up some fish and chips or a burger.
For the best seats in town, head up to the dunes for sunset and watch as the dolphins dance through the waves.
Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park
Separating the mouth of the Collie River from the Indian Ocean is the 11-kilometre-long Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park.
Swimming and snorkelling are a must here, with Buffalo Beach a favourite amongst locals for its relative lack of crowds. It will also end the debate as to if river or ocean swimming is better as you’ll get the chance to experience both. If you’re not in the mood to swim, head into the Tuart and Peppermint woodland at the heart of the peninsula. The scuttering brushtail possums will be most playful during sunset, so keep an eye out if you’re an animal lover.
Extend your visit by camping overnight at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions’ Belvidere Campground. If you head down in a 4WD, you can access both Belvidere and Buffalo Beaches, heading up the sand to find a secluded spot to set up for the day. With nobody else around, you can swim, stand-up paddleboard, or windsurf in relative privacy.
Wade through the knee-deep water of the estuary, scoop net at the ready, on the lookout for Blue Manna crabs. They’re plentiful over the warmer months, though they can be fished right from December 1st to August 31st. If you’re not a fan of crabs, the estuary is also swimming with mullet, whiting, and prawns. Head out at night with a torch and a throw net to test your luck on the small crustaceans.
The protected waters of the Estuary make for the perfect conditions for stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. Launch off from Ridley Place Foreshore on the Australind side, or drive out to the Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park to paddle on the farther side. There’s an almost endless coastline, much of it covered in natural bushland. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, wait until the wind picks up to have a go at windsurfing, cutting through the small surface waves.
As the sun sets, drive towards Cathedral Ave to find a picturesque spot to relax and watch the skies. Dusk is a hive of activity as kangaroos begin their grazing, and spoonbills, swans, and long-legged egrets go in search of their dinner.
Brunswick River Pool
Just north of the Brunswick town centre are the shaded green lawns and fresh, cool water of Brunswick River Pool. The river is dammed between late October and early April each year to create a natural pool. It’s a serene spot for a picnic year-round and a favoured local swimming spot when the temperatures soar.
Before treating yourself to a dip, take a short stroll around the riverside walk trail that encircles the river to the east of the South West Highway. It’s dog-friendly, so bring your pooch on a lead and enjoy the serenity. While you’re by the pool, be sure to stop by the nearby toilet block to see the colourful exterior wall entirely covered in local murals.
Head out at first light to gently putt or paddle your way along the Collie River. It’s magical in the early morning; the air crisp and the water mirrorlike. Head upstream from the Eastwell boat ramp in Australind on your boat or kayak to explore the river’s quieter reaches, or follow it downstream towards the Eaton Foreshore. It’s an excellent spot for a picnic or a wander along the riverside. Take the walking trail to stretch your legs and explore the Peppermint tree groves along the banks.
Fishing enthusiasts can pack rods and bait to hook some black bream. They’re common in the lower parts of the Collie River, trout becoming more common the further up you follow it.
No trip to the Harvey Region is complete without a stop at the famed Crooked Carrot in Myalup. With its sprawling nature-based playground — complete with a two-storey fort and giant chess board — and farm-to-table menu, it’s not hard to see why this place has become such a popular stop-off. Before leaving, stock up on some of the raw treats for the road.
Fuel up for a big day on the waterways at Benesse. An institution in the region, they’ve proven themselves time and time again to be the masters of breakfast and brunch foods. Wrap your hands around a giant mug of coffee and ponder whether you’ll go for a sweet or savoury dish; the berry souffle and chilli egg scramble with shark bay crab make it a difficult choice.
If you’re certain it’s a steak sandwich you’re after, the award-winning Treendale Farm Hotel is your go-to. The menu is chocked full of pub classics, their char-grilled steaks a particular speciality. Bring the whole family down and let the younger ones run about the huge indoor and outdoor playgrounds while you kick back, enjoying a beverage and the live music.
After a dip in the pool and stroll around the river, make a beeline for the Brunswick Tavern, known for its hearty pub meals and old-fashioned country hospitality. Sip on a cold pint and scan the details of the beautifully restored historic tavern as you wait for your meal. Built in the 1900s, the walls have a story or few to tell.
This article was sponsored by Harvey Region.
Head to the So Perth summer hub and make the most of the last days of summer.
Images: All supplied by Harvey Region.