Our favourite part of our travels has been exploring the south-west of Western Australia. Our road trip from Augusta to Albany was filled many unforgettable scenic drives and beaches that would easily make the top 10 beaches of Australia. Here is our trip below and some spots that you cannot miss when passing through these towns.
When leaving Margaret River we headed south along Bussell Highway straight for Augusta. We explored here in the summer so we missed the whale migration- totally bummed about that. I guess that means we will be coming back here in the cooler months… with plenty of jumpers!!! We found Augusta had a bit of everything from history, to scenic drives, to great beaches, friendly people and lots of marine life just popping up everywhere.
Here is a list of things to do in Augusta
- Cape Leewin Lighthouse
- Hamelin Bay
- Jewel Cave
- Boranup Karri Forest
We spent a day at The Hardy Inlet. This simple and free day spot was lovely for a picnic lunch and a game of cricket. While we were here having a fish we were greeted by the local manta-ray who swam up and down the shore every 20 minutes or so to drop by and say hi. The kids loved this and let’s be honest so did us parents. Not only did we have the manta-ray come past but we had dolphins swim in and out of the bay during the day. These friendly dolphins were not shy and came right up to the shore, close enough for us to pat them if we wanted to.
Augusta is a prime spot for whale watching. Western Australia is lucky enough to be one of the locations where the whales migrate and pass through along the coast. At the Cape Leewin Lighthouse there are binoculars that are located at the bottom of the lighthouse on the lookout points. There is a small cost to use these, which is the entry fee to the lighthouse itself but if there are whales splashing about then I think it would be all worth the cost. The migration takes place during June/July- October/November. If you are in Augusta during that time most definitely head to the coast and look out for these amazing mammals.
From Augusta we headed to Pemberton along the Great Forest Drive which was a stunning drive. The drive made for a nice welcome to an old town. Pemberton is a quiet old logging town located about 3 hours south of Perth and it has a good family feel to it. It’s popular Karri trees are the star of the town and are picturesque as you drive in. They sore high into the sky and in the winter have a magical mist that surrounds them.
We stayed in Pemberton for 3 days and to be honest we should have stayed more, we will definitely be coming back to revisit when we are in the south-west next. Here are some things to do while in Pemberton-
- The Pemberton Tramway
- Climb the Gloucester Tree
- Big Brook Dam
- The Cascades (best during the end of winter)
- Hidden River Estate (a good family winery)
If you don’t have much time up your sleeve, head to the information bay and ask for some advice on how you can plan your road trip through the forest so you can maximise your sight seeing. Most of the scenic drives are set in a loop, so you can choose which route you are going to drive along and see more than one attraction.
We chose to do the tramway, it was a gorgeous drive through the forest and we also seen the cascades on the tour, so we hit two birds with one stone. Our children really enjoyed this and was well worth the admission fee. We highly recommend doing this while here in Pemberton.
It was time to leave and move to our next destination. Walpole here we come! But first we stopped into Northcliffe for an overnight stay at Sid’s Campground. Great little spot for campers to pull up. Large sites and brand new amenities, Sid and his wife are renovating and expanding the campgrounds, so we cannot wait till next time to see the finished product.
Our stay in Walpole was at Crystal Springs in the DEntrecasteaux National Park, we stayed here for a few nights. Located 12kms from the town and set among soaring high trees. We were the only people there and had this whole campground to ourselves, it was beautiful. The trees gave us shade all day and covered the campgrounds like a big cubby house. Be careful though, as some of the trees are low and can scratch your van so you might want to get out and check as you drive through. We managed ok with our van but couldn’t access the back of the campground as the trees were too low.
Walpole has lots to offer. Here are some of the places we visited while we were there-
- Giant Tingle Tree
- Valley Of The Giants
- Fernhook Falls
- Mandalay Beach
- Walpole- Nornalup National Park
Our favourite place being the Valley Of The Giants Tree Top walk. We all loved the walk through the trees and being surrounded by nature and all the birds. It really was something that us as a family will never forget. We also had some really hot days while we were here in Walpole, lucky we were near the coast for those hot days. Our chosen beach was Mandalay Beach, it was clean with no seaweed. The water was calm and had showers and toilets for a wash down before getting in the car.
Moving onto our favourite town so far, the lovely Denmark! The vibe of this town is friendly, chilled and environmentally friendly. We have met two travelling families who have decided that after their travels that they were moving here, after being here I could see why. The town is small and the population is only 2500, although it seems like many more as there are always loads of tourists passing through.
While we were here we visited the famous Elephant Rocks and William Bay and yes it was all that is was cracked up to be! The water had a bluish/green colour to it, with large smooth boulder rocks randomly placed among the shore. While we were here the water was calm, the sun was shining and there were people floating on pool mattresses which I thought was a really good idea.
***tip- take something to float on, so you can float in and around the boulder rocks.
Here are some of the places you can go with kids when visiting Denmark-
- Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool
- Boston Brewing Co
- Denmark Animal Farm
- Denmark Thrills Adventure Park
- Ocean Beach
Our road trip from Margaret River to Denmark was memorable, each town we stopped in we visited the local pub and chose a winery to explore. All of them delivered and was great to sit back and enjoy a cold bevvie. The best time of year to visit the south-west would be summer as during the winter I would imagine it would get very cold. We even had some really cold days/nights and it was the middle of summer!
Now on for Albany to spend Christmas Day and to see the New Year In. Bring on 2020.
From Kylie and Dan
Fearlessly living and exploring