Things to do in the Great Southern
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
- Myrtle Benn Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Kojonup
- Farrar Dam Reserve, Kojonup
- Stirling Range National Park, Borden
- Fitzgerald River National Park, Bremer Bay
- Lake Magenta Nature Reserve, Pingrup
- Corackerup Nature Reserve, Jerramungup
- Chinocup Lake, Pingrup
- Banks of the Gordon River, Tambellup
- Broomehill Golf Club & Boot Rock Reserve
- Cranbrook Wildflower Walk
- [email protected]
- (08) 6304 6895
Radio Active is a special, one-off performance presented at the beautiful Albany Entertainment Centre by the students of Albany Senior High School, Great Southern Grammar and WAAPA Contemporary Music.
- Dates:Aug 27
- Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
- Produced By:WAAPA: WA Academy of Performing Arts
- Type:Youth Art / Performance
- Hosted By:WAAPA
- Ticket Price:$30 - $35
- Music:Pop,Rock,R&B,Soul & Gospel
- Event Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
It is the culmination of a series of workshops run over a week by the WAAPA Contemporary Music staff combining secondary and tertiary students, who present in one of WA's finest theatres. The performance covers a wide musical base from pop to rock, R'n'B to soul and funk classics in a spectacularly produced concert with a huge cast of talented young musicians and singers. Music Directors: Matt Allen and Ric Eastman Performed by: Contemporary Music students with Albany Senior High School and Great Southern Grammar students Bookings open: 20th Jul - Friends 20th Jul - Public
- [email protected]
Featuring a cast of over 40 local performers, Seussical the Musical is fun for the whole family and recommended for anyone aged 4 to 104 years old!
- Dates:Friday 3rd 7pm, Sat 4th 7pm & Sunday 5th 2pm Friday 10th 7pm, Sat 11th 7pm & Sunday 12th 2pm Friday 17th 7pm, Sat 18th 2pm & Sunday 19th 2pm
- Venue:Albany Port Theatre
- Hosted By:Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company
- Ticket Price:$25 & $30
- Type:Youth Art / Performance
- Performing Arts:Musicals
A display of stunning classic cars and motorbikes.
- Dates:Sep 26
- Time(s):10:00am - 3:00pm
- Venue:Strickland St, Denmark WA
- Hosted By:Great Southern Classic Car Show Inc
- Ticket Price:Entry by donation
- Sports:Motorcar,Motor Bike
The Great Southern Classic Car Show is an annual event held in the picturesque town of Denmark with live entertainment, Rock & Roll Dancers and a stunning display of pre-1988 classic cars and motorbikes.
Take a stroll around Albany & discover 7 gorgeous photographic portraits, 7 amazing films & 7 iconic premises celebrating the richness of Great Southern Arts & Culture!
- Dates:Jun 4 - Jul 31
- Venue:Albany CBD
- Hosted By:Breaksea
- Art Exhibitions:Painting,Video,Other Visual Arts
Breaksea is an Albany based arts organisation dedicated to promoting the benefits of creativity and participation in the arts within the community. Last year, in March when the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, Breaksea was engaging with 800 performers across WA culminating in a full scale original production By Other Eyes set for May at the Perth Concert Hall.
“We were devastated to cancel and ground 800 performers, however we rallied and took the opportunity to think innovatively on how we could connect with the community during this difficult time,” said Matt Ward, Breaksea Artistic Director. “12 months later we are presenting the Breaksea Film Art Trail.”
The trail consists of seven gorgeous photographic portraits shot by Nic Duncan & Luke Hetherington presented across local businesses around Albany’s CBD. On entering the businesses audiences scan the QR Code on the posters and watch the films created by Rob Castiglione & John Carberry featuring local Great Southern Artists and Cultural Workers celebrating their richness of culture, creative process & performance.