Kaya/Hello, I’m Wendy a proud WA resident with a love of travel.
I’ve lived in Perth since 2001 and have visited the South West at least times every year since then. During these times, I’ve seen the South West region evolve and explode into a popular tourist destination.
In this post, I want to share my favourite things to do in the South West. Some experiences have been around since I first visited and some are new attractions that I’ve enjoyed recently.
Table of Contents
See Orcas in Bremer Bay
Seeing Orcas (killer whales) has been on my bucket list for years. You can join this Bremer Canyon Orca Experience from Bremer Bay. The 7-hour tour is on a purpose-built luxury whale-watching vessel.
Read our Orca Bremer Bay Tour review for more information.
Take a Whale Watching Tour
Western Australia’s South West is one of the best regions for whale watching. The long season runs from June to early December, starting in Augusta around June.
Read more about whale watching in the South West.
I’ve been lucky enough to see whales on a tour like these:
Another experience I have loved was seeing dolphins in their natural environment. Bunbury Dolphin Discovery runs a dolphin swim tour. An experienced guide accompanies you in the ocean of calm Koombana Bay. This tour runs from November to April.
While here, visit the Interactive Zone. The best chance to see wild dolphins in the bay is between 8 am and 9 am.
Visit Torndirrup National Park, Albany
Torndirrup National Park is one of my favourite National Parks in Western Australia. The park has some of the best beaches in the world, hikes, stunning scenery.
The Gap and Natural Bridge are the most popular attractions in Torndirrup National Park. They are best visited early before the crowds arrive. Misery Beach is a stunning beach where the pristine sand squeaks when walked upon, and the ocean is a clear turquoise blue. Bald Head Walk Trail, a challenging 12.5 km return trail, provides incredible views of the Southern Ocean and King George Sound.
If you don’t have a vehicle or would prefer to have the knowledge of a guide, take a tour. This The Gap and Natural Wonders Busy Blue Bus Tours visit Torndirrup National Park.
Read about other things to do in Torndirrup National Park in this guide on things to do in Albany.
Climb Castle Rock and Granite Sky Walk, Porongurup
The Castle Rock and Granite Sky Walk is a 4.7 km grade 5 hike that takes two to three hours. Although a short distance, it requires agility and a certain amount of fitness to climb the large boulders. The Granite Sky Walk has a ladder to access the suspended walkway, but I felt safe going up and down. This is one of my favourite hikes in the South West WA region!
If you don’t have transport or would like to the knowledge of a local guide, consider the Granite Skywalk Tour run by a local Albany company. This tour is perfect if you want an adventurous day out combined with a tasty lunch and wine tasting.
Swim at Little Beach, Two Peoples Bay, Albany
Little Beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Western Australia’s South West. I enjoy walking along the soft white sand where the blue ocean sparkles in the sun. The views towards Mt Manypeaks and Waychinicup National Park to the north are beautiful.
Hike Bluff Knowl, Stirling Range National Park
Hiking Bluff Knowl to see the sunrise at the summit is on many hikers’ bucket lists; however, I decided to hike it in daylight! This Grade 4, 6.8 km hike requires reasonable fitness, but the path is well maintained. There are rest stops along the way. It’s definitely worth the effort, as the views are spectacular.
Read more about Bluff Knowl and the Stirling Range National Park here.
Explore a Cave, Margaret River region
Several hundred caves are in Leeuwin National Park, with six open to the public.
Mammoth Cave is a multi-chambered cave, home to many ancient fossil remains. It is the most accessible cave in the region. The self-guided audio tour ends with a walk through beautiful bushland.
Jewel Cave is the largest cave in the area and home to one of the longest stalactites in any Australian tourist cave. Be amazed at the towering crystal formations that adorn the cave’s ceiling. During the one-hour guided tour, you will learn about the Tasmanian Tiger fossils found in the cave.
Read my Jewel Cave review for more information.
Lake Cave is a stunning preserved chamber beneath the earth. A long staircase descends through a sinkhole to a sunken forest floor. Crystal formations reflect on the tranquil lake inside the cave, and stalactites suspend from the ceiling. It’s not suitable for anyone with low mobility.
The other two are Calgardup Cave and Giants Cave.
See Stingrays at Hamelin Bay
Stingrays are a popular tourist attraction and my favourite thing to do in Hamelin Bay. At most times during the day in summer, you can see the black shadows in the ocean by the boat ramp, waiting for scraps from fishers. They are wild animals, though, so keep your distance as they will defend themselves if they feel threatened.
Cross the Suspension Bridge at Beedelup Falls, Pemberton
Beedelup Falls is a favourite of mine as the waterfall and 25m suspension bridge are beautiful. It’s best visited after heavy rainfall (usually at the end of winter or the start of spring) when the waterfall is in full flow.
The 300-metre loop trail takes you across the suspension bridge, where you’ll find the best views of the falls and Beedelup Brook.
Visit Wellington National Park, Collie
I enjoy hiking the many trails in Wellington National Park. But you can drive to Wellington Dam to see the world’s largest dam wall mural. It’s impressive to see it close up – view it from below, then drive up to the lookout to see it from above.
Read about Wellington National Park here.
Swim in Black Diamond Lake, Collie
This secret spot has now become well known due to social media, but it is still peaceful (at the moment, anyway). If you visit on a sunny day, you will see the stunning turquoise colour it is famous for. Previously a mine site, you can swim, kayak, or do stand-up paddleboarding.
When I visited, we were the only ones there, and the water was this colour.
Read more about Black Diamond Lake here.
Take a Cultural Tour
Join a cultural tour to learn about our incredible culture and history through the eyes of the traditional owners. One of my favourites is Koomal Dreaming. On their tours, you can taste native foods and learn about bush medicine, animals, plants and Dreaming spirits.
“Koomal” is the traditional name of Wadandi man Josh Whiteland. He’s a fantastic tour guide and passionate about his culture and commection to Boodja (land).
Learn about ANZAC at the National ANZAC Centre, Albany
The National ANZAC Centre is the most recent addition to the Princess Royal Fortress site. I liked following personal stories through state-of-the-art technology, multimedia, and historical artefacts.
You take the identity of a serviceman or woman and trace their life through the Great War in an immersive learning experience. Entry ticket is valid during opening hours; access to all buildings within the Princess Royal Fortress is included.
While there, visit the Princess Royal Fortress, Albany Heritage Park, one of Australia’s best outdoor military museums.
Read this post for more ideas on things to do in Albany.
Visit stunning Greens Pool & Elephant Rocks, Denmark
Greens Pool is my highlight when we visit Denmark, especially in summer when it’s warm enough to swim in the crystal clear water. It’s perfect for children as the beach slopes gradually, and the water is usually very calm.
You can walk along a 1.5 km trail that links Greens Pool to Elephant Rocks or drive. The rocks are in the shape of a certain animal, hence its name. The views here are stunning on a clear day.
See photos of Elephant Rocks and other places to visit in this guide on things to do in Denmark.
Take the train along Busselton Jetty to the Deep Sea Pool & Underwater Observatory
Our daughters enjoyed riding the red electric train along Busselton Jetty. It is the most popular attraction in Busselton.
At the end of the jetty, there is one of only six natural aquariums in the world. Here, you can watch wild marine life through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Read more about the Underwater Observatory here.
If you want to get up close to the marine life, you can swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in the Deep Sea Pool. It has the world’s first virtual shark net, which emits electromagnetic pulses that deter sharks but don’t harm them or other marine life.
Drive along Cape Naturaliste, near Dunsborough
The Cape Naturaliste beaches are some of the best in the world. Most are protected by the cape, making the water calm. My favourite swimming beaches are Meelup Beach, Eagle Bay, and Bunker Bay. Castle Bay, Point Picquet, and Shelley Cove are picturesque too.
Take advanatge of a tour of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, built in 1903 and one of the most popular attractions in Australia’s South West.
Watch the Sunset at Sugarloaf Rock, Cape Naturaliste
One of my favourite places to be at sunset, and the most photographed, is Sugarloaf Rock in Cape Naturaliste. It’s a short walk to the lookout for stunning island and coastline views.
Swim at the Aquarium or Injidup Spa near Yallingup
It’s hard to choose which are the best beaches in the Margaret River region as you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Injidup Natural Spa is an Instagram-famous spot which recently received an influx of visitors. It can be hard to park due to its popularity. I wasn’t that impressed and much preferred the quieter Injidup Beach on the other side.
The Aquarium was a secret beach that only locals knew about before social media outed where it was. This rockpool is between Canal Rocks and Smiths Beach but can only be accessed via the Cape to Cape Track. You can get to it from either direction, but from Canal Rocks is more accessible and shorter: 500 metres as opposed to 1.5 km from Smiths Beach. The water here is transparent and a fantastic spot to swim and snorkel, although the water was freezing!
There are lots of other beaches near Yallingup to explore, too.
Wine Tasting in Margaret River
The Margaret River region has over 120 world-class wineries and over thirty-six grape varieties. The most popular grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.
Visit the cellar door of one of over ninety boutique wineries to do some wine tasting. A whopping sixty-two of those received a 5-star Halliday rating. Margaret River is the third most visited wine region in Australia by international visitors (after Yarra Valley and Hunter). But the most visited wine region for domestic travellers.
Some wineries charge a small fee for the tastings. Most take it off any wine sale though.
Visit the Margaret River Visitor Centre, on the main street in Margaret River town for a free map.
Book an Eco-Friendly Tour
Experience the natural wonders of Geographe Bay and Cape Naturaliste like never before with South West Eco Tours.
Owned and operated by locals Ryan and Mick White, who have spent their lives in the Busselton and Dunsborough areas. Their tours provide a unique and in-depth perspective on the region’s rich marine life, diverse flora and fauna, captivating geography, and historical significance.
Hike part of Cape to Cape
The Cape to Cape track runs 130 km from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, mainly along the coast. It will take you around a week to complete it, walking about 20 to 25 km per day. However, an easier option is to tackle part of it on short walks.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia. This working lighthouse has stunning views of the rugged coastline and the Southern and Indian oceans.
The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour provides an in-depth look at a lighthouse built in the 1800s. It also has stunning views of Australia’s most south-westerly point.
Visit a Local Farm
Exploring local farms is a wonderful experience. One of my favourites is the Nannup Lavender Farm, where visitors can enjoy the fragrant fields of lavender and learn about the cultivation and uses of this aromatic herb.
This region also has various other farms, each offering unique experiences like fruit picking, farm-to-table dining, and interactive animal encounters.
Climb a Fire-lookout Tree, Pemberton
September 2023 update: The lookout trees are closed for climbing at the present time.
You can climb two fire-lookout trees in Australia’s South West if you’re feeling brave! Gloucester Tree is the closest to Pemberton, where you can climb to a height of 53 m via 153 metal pegs. Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is the tallest climbing tree in the world at 65 m above ground.
See what else there is to do in Pemberton here.
Watch an Historical Reenactment
The Balingup Medieval Carnivale is a family-friendly event where you can step back in time in a medieval fantasy world. Hosted in the scenic town of Balingup this event has evolved remarkably since its inception in 1996. From a small half-day affair to a full-fledged celebration of medieval culture, attracting over 10,000 attendees.
This two-day extravaganza features a wide array of medieval-themed activities, parades, and performances that cater to all ages.
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, Walpole
The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, the most popular tourist attraction in Walpole, climbs 40m above the forest canopy. It gives a birds-eye view over the 400-year-old giant red tingle trees without damaging them.
Read more about the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk here.
Walk inside a Giant Tingle Tree, Walpole
The Giant Tingle trail leads to the Giant Tingle, said to be the largest, living girthed eucalypt in the world at 24m. This red tingle has been hollowed out by fire but is still alive as the living and growing parts of the tree are located just below the outer bark. I found it awe-inspiring to stand in these impressive trees.
Read more about this Giant Tingle tree here.
Hike Mt Clare Summit Trail, Walpole
The 2.4 km Mt Clare summit walk is a moderate Grade 3 trail, which took us through magnificent tingle and karri forest. It’s one of the best less known spots in South West WA.
Look out for the teapot tingle along the way.
Find out more about the Mt Clare summit trail here.
See the Conspicuous Cliffs, Walpole
Conspicuous Cliffs has an isolated beach with soft, white, squeaky sand and wild surf. However, it’s known for its rips, so you must take care here (I don’t recommend swimming).
The uphill walk to the top lookout is worth the effort for spectacular views of limestone cliffs, granite headlands, and the unspoiled coastline. On the way, we had views over the coastal heathland with swamp paperbarks and red flowering gum trees (they flower in summer).
Find out more about Conspicuous Cliffs here.
My Map of the Best Things To Do in South West WA
South West Road Trips
The best way to see Western Australia’s South West region is by road. It allows you to see all the charming towns, beautiful coastline, and stop at some of the best eateries.
Here are my favourite road trips in the South West:
- Best of South West WA Road Trip
- Perth to Margaret River
- Perth to Albany
- Perth to Esperance
- Margaret River to Albany
Other Helpful Guides
- South West WA Travel Guide
- Western Australia Travel Planner
- Western Australia Travel Guide
- The Best South West WA Caravan Parks
Questions I’m Frequently Asked
What is the South West of WA known for?
The South West region of Western Australia is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from green forests and fertile farmlands to stunning coastlines. Some of the highlights are:
- Walpole-Nornalup National Park
- Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
- Wine Tours
- Whale Watching
What are some hidden places in South West WA?
The South West region of Western Australia has plenty of well-known attractions, but it also has some lesser-known spots like these:
- Cosy Corner Beach (near Hamelin Bay)
- Redgate Beach, Margaret River
- Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
- Blackwood River
- Yallingup Maze
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