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Things to do in the Great Southern


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Great in every way, this internationally renowned biodiversity hotspot is the region of soaring mountain ranges, massive seas, stunning beaches, ancient forests and edge-of-the-earth towns. As WA’s oldest port it is steeped in history and has since become the food bowl of the state producing world-class wines, whisky and locally grown and caught produce. Welcome to nature and adventure-lovers paradise. A visit to the Great Southern is not just about the region’s spectacular and unique natural environment, it is also about wine, food, history and indulgence.
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This region is that little bit further away along a slightly less-trodden track, but isolation has given the Great Southern an opportunity to develop its own niche, true to the unique soul of the ancient land. Its inhabitants range from the Noongar people, the mariners and fisherfolk, to the many hundreds of thousands of native animals who live in the forests, and the close-knit farming communities who work the land and spend summer on the shores of the Southern Ocean when the harvest is done, year after year, generation after generation.

There are so many reasons to pounce upon this unsuspecting corner of the world. A love of great food and wine is intrinsic to the culture. With the pristine seas delivering seafood, and the prime agricultural land acting as a food bowl for the state, the region’s chefs are serving up inspired fare. The Great Southern has been doing great wine for a lot longer than most realise, across five sub- regions, each with a distinct terroir. Mt Barker has celebrated 50 years of grape growing, and at the QANTAS.

Wine Show of Western Australia, Mt Barker wines were hot-ticket items. Connoisseur travellers are well rewarded with fantastic scenery and perfectly matched cuisine. The Great Southern’s spectacular coastline, forests and mountain wilderness are some of the most amazing you’ll see. Attractions like the Gap and Natural Bridge in Albany, and the Granite Skywalk in the Porongurup Range join the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk atop any nature lover’s bucket list.

Board a charter from Albany during whale-watching season. Humpbacks and southern right whales gather in sheltered bays along the south coast, visible also from sighting platforms along the cliffs. To the east of Albany in Bremer Bay, an enormous pod of killer whales congregates over a deep- sea hotspot in the early months of the year. A tour is not to be missed!
The Great Southern region is big, so if you can, add a day or two to your travel plans, take a detour from the Albany Highway at Beaufort River and head on a journey through five of the Great Southern region’s Hidden Treasures – hinterland towns that include inland Katanning, and loop you back onto the highway at Cranbrook.

When to go

Locals will tell you their favourite time of year is autumn. The region has a stillness that sets the scene for alfresco winery lunches, mountain biking, bushwalking and coastal treks. Winter is spectacular, as the Southern Ocean unleashes all its fury. Whales are about in large numbers from June to October. Some days are gloriously still and sunny, and yes, others can be cold and wet. If a big front comes in, outdoor activities are delayed in favour of roaring log fires, big reds and hearty meals. Spring is the season for wildflowers, with thousands upon thousands of species blooming. Many birds, including the splendid blue wren, are in full song. Mild southern summers offer a lovely reprieve from the northern heat, and are great for a cool swim after hiking through shady forests, or mountain-biking the pristine trails.

The hidden treasures

Bloom Festival Sep – Oct

If you’re heading through the Great Southern in springtime, don’t miss the fabulous annual Bloom Festival. Comprising more than 40 colourful wildflower- and spring-themed events scattered throughout the Hidden Treasures towns, the festival offers self-drive trails through fields of flowers, and an array of secret wildflower and orchid beds. It’s a great chance to spot rare flowers endemic to the Great Southern region.

Top wildflower locations

  1. Myrtle Benn Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Kojonup
  2. Farrar Dam Reserve, Kojonup
  3. Stirling Range National Park, Borden
  4. Fitzgerald River National Park, Bremer Bay
  5. Lake Magenta Nature Reserve, Pingrup
  6. Corackerup Nature Reserve, Jerramungup
  7. Chinocup Lake, Pingrup
  8. Banks of the Gordon River, Tambellup
  9. Broomehill Golf Club & Boot Rock Reserve
  10. Cranbrook Wildflower Walk

Guides

Guides


Pastorales - WA Regional Tour - Denmark

Following the recent release of their debut album, Perth's most dynamic Baroque ensemble, HIP Company, are touring 'Pastorales: Arias for the Open Air' to Regional WA.

  • Dates:Jan 23
  • Time(s):5:30pm
  • Venue:Denmark Civic Centre

Details

  • Music:Chamber Music,Classical
  • Hosted By:HIP Company
  • Ticket Price:$15 - $35

Description

Baroque, folk and contemporary Australian music unite in a musical meditation on the natural world. Featuring Bonnie de la Hunty (soprano), Sarah Papadopoulos (violin), Krista Low (cello), and James Huntingford (harpsichord). DATES AND VENUES: Saturday 22nd January, 5:30pm: Balingup Town Hall Sunday 23rd January, 5:30pm: Denmark Civic Centre Monday 24th January, 7:00pm: Albany Uniting Church Saturday 5th February, 3:00pm: York Town Hall Sunday 6th February, 3:00pm: Narrogin Town Hall TICKETS: $35 (adult), $25 (concession), $15 (child under 18), available at www.hip.company. Thank you to the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries of WA for supporting this tour.

Pastorales - WA Regional Tour - Albany

Following the recent release of their debut album, Perth's most dynamic Baroque ensemble, HIP Company, are touring 'Pastorales: Arias for the Open Air' to Regional WA.

  • Dates:Jan 24
  • Time(s):7pm
  • Venue:Albany Uniting Church

Details

  • Music:Chamber Music,Classical
  • Hosted By:HIP Company
  • Ticket Price:$15 - $35

Description

Baroque, folk and contemporary Australian music unite in a musical meditation on the natural world. Featuring Bonnie de la Hunty (soprano), Sarah Papadopoulos (violin), Krista Low (cello), and James Huntingford (harpsichord). DATES AND VENUES: Saturday 22nd January, 5:30pm: Balingup Town Hall Sunday 23rd January, 5:30pm: Denmark Civic Centre Monday 24th January, 7:00pm: Albany Uniting Church Saturday 5th February, 3:00pm: York Town Hall Sunday 6th February, 3:00pm: Narrogin Town Hall TICKETS: $35 (adult), $25 (concession), $15 (child under 18), available at www.hip.company. Thank you to the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries of WA for supporting this tour.

The Cicada Experience - Albany

Inspired by Shaun Tan’s stunning book Cicada, this 4-day, drama-based workshop centres around themes of belonging, alienation, freedom, prejudice, self-expression and transformation.

  • Dates:Jan 24 - 25, 27-28
  • Time(s):9.30am – 3.30pm
  • Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre

Details

  • Event Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
  • Produced By:Barking Gecko
  • Type:Kids,Workshops
  • Hosted By:Barking Gecko Theatre
  • Ticket Price:$40

Description

Inspired by Shaun Tan’s stunning book Cicada, this 4-day, drama-based workshop centres around themes of belonging, alienation, freedom, prejudice, self-expression and transformation. Through the eyes of a humble and hard-working Cicada, trapped in the colourless and soul-less world of a multi-storey office block, participants will explore and recreate this monochromatic world and Cicada’s existence within it whilst also discovering their own, inner landscape of self-expression. Engaging in drama processes and techniques, this workshop series dives into the unknown to discover new ideas, celebrate the unusual, and get curious about the endless possibilities of creating worlds, exploring characters and discovering stories. Led by Barking Gecko Teaching Artists, the workshops will conclude with participants presenting a small showing to parents and families at the end of the four days. To book or for more information about The Cicada Experience and other Barking Gecko Theatre workshops and productions visit www.barkinggecko.com.au or email [email protected] Suitable for ages 7 – 11

I Liked It., But... (Albany Entertainment Centre)

A very silly look at very serious shows in a pub trivia night out at the theatre

  • Dates:Feb 23
  • Time(s):7:30pm
  • Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre

Details

  • Event Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
  • Produced By:Perth Festival
  • Hosted By:Perth Festival
  • Ticket Price:$19

Description

I Liked , BUT… goes where few 'experimental contemporary immersive performance' works dare to tread … out of the theatre and into the bar to see what passes the 'pub test'./Grab a drink and enjoy some tunes with Joel Bray and local musicians for a pub trivia night about the craziest, weirdest, most confusing stuff Joel’s ever had to see on and off of a stage./Expect very silly stories about very serious people and their very serious shows, served with tongue firmly in cheek, as we try to find out what’s really going on in the art world. Warnings: "May contain coarse language Suitable for ages 12+," Access: WCH

2022 MSWA Albany Ride - Powered by RetraVision

Ride for the Region!

  • Dates:Saturday, 12 March
  • Venue:Emu Point, Albany

Details

  • Type:Charity and Fundraising
  • Sports:Cycling
  • Hosted By:MSWA

Description

The MSWA Albany Ride is fast becoming an iconic, much anticipated, annual community event for the region. The 2022 MSWA Albany Ride – Powered by RetraVision will be the fifth annual event. Come together to ride for the region to support people living with neurological conditions. All funds raised stay in Albany and the Great Southern region to provide support and services. Join hundreds of dedicated cyclists on Saturday, 12 March to cycle through the beautiful City of Albany in support of MSWA. With four ride distances to choose from, there is something to suit all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Including the 10km Family Ride, 40km Ride, 80km Challenge and 103km Challenge. The routes take riders through Albany, and the various courses explore some of its most iconic spots including the National ANZAC Centre, the Historic Whaling Station, the Wind Farm and Middleton Beach! The routes are new improved for 2022 exploring even more of scenic Albany and the amazing views. Sign Up Today! Register - Here https://mswaalbanyride.org.au/