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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


CinefestOz Albany

Lights, Camera….Albany! CinefestOz is coming to Albany this year, showcasing the best of Australian Film with free community screenings and special film events.

  • Dates:Apr 29 - May 1
  • Time(s):Session Times Vary
  • Venue:Orana Cinemas Albany & Albany Town Hall

Details

  • Hosted By:CinefestOz
  • Ticket Price:$16 - $20
  • Type:Free
  • Festivals:All Festivals
  • Other:Film Events,Film Festivals

Description

The inaugural CinefestOZ Albany will take place from 29 April to 1 May, allowing a new audience of movie lovers to experience and celebrate the very best in Australian Film. This year's program is packed with 7 features, 12 short films, special film events, the Cinesnaps schools program and an Industry Program session. It boasts an array of live screenings and exciting events which are sure to satisfy every movie buff. Hurry, tickets are now available for purchase!

MSWA Albany Swim

Swim with us in 2021. The MSWA Albany Swim has become an iconic, much anticipated, annual community event for the region. Join swimmers of all ages, for an eight-hour relay challenge.

  • Dates:May 15
  • Venue:Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre

Details

  • Hosted By:MSWA
  • Type:Community,For Charity / Fundraising
  • Ticket Price:Spectator Entry Fee: $10 - See website for Competitor Fees
  • Sports:Swimming,Spectator Sports

Description

The MSWA Albany Swim is an amateur swimming event, that takes place at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre; where teams compete to swim the longest distance in a set 8-hour period. Teams of 10 challenge themselves in the swim - they must have one swimmer in the water at all times for the duration of the event. There are no rules on how the competitors swim the event (freestyle, backstroke, or doggy paddle!) and 2021 will see an adjustment to the rules, that allows all swimmers to utilise swimming aids during the event. For example, one competitor may choose to swim 10 continuous laps before passing to the next person; whilst another team may rotate their swimmers every two or four laps. As long as each person in the team swims a minimum of six laps or equivalent, the team score is considered valid.

Albany Classic "Around The Houses"

The Albany Classic "Around the Houses" is run through the heart of Albany’s central business district, overlooking Peace Park and Princess Royal Harbour.

  • Dates:Jun 6
  • Venue:York St, Albany
  • Time(s):9:30am to 4:30pm

Details

  • Hosted By:Albany Classic Classic Motorsport Club with the VSCCWA
  • Sports:Motorcar
  • Ticket Price:$15 adults, $5 seniors and students, children under 12 free.
  • Type:Community
  • Festivals:All Festivals
  • Food & Drink:Other
  • Art Exhibitions:Craft
  • Other:Markets,Arts & Crafts

Description

In 2021 they celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the current day event and eighty-fifth anniversary of the original Around the Houses race in Australia which was held in Albany in 1936. They will also pay tribute to the Holden.

This leading historic motorsport event presents a wide variety of cars from vintage wire wheels, post-vintage and classics as well as open wheel racers and big cube muscle cars. This event is part of the Western Australian Regularity Championship. It is organised locally by the Albany Classic Motorsport Club with the Vintage Sports Car Club of Western Australia.

An army of volunteers carry out this transformation overnight on the Saturday. On the Sunday, experience the spectacle of 150 vintage and classic cars competing on this temporary street circuit. Alongside the action of the cars is a family festival with bands & entertainment, competitions, food and other stalls along with displays of vintage cars and street machines.

Albany Classic Motor Event - Mount Clarence Hill Climb

Celebrate vintage and classic cars against the challenges of the windy road.

  • Dates:Jun 5
  • Time(s):Starts 8.30am
  • Venue:Mount Clarence Apex Drive

Details

  • Hosted By:Albany Classic "Around the Houses"
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Free
  • Sports:Motorcar

Description

Albany Classic Motor Event - Mount Clarence Hill Climb is a re-enactment of the 1938 Hill Climb involving vintage and classic cars facing the challenges presented by the twisting road to the summit.

 

Drummer Queens- Albany

A world-class live theatrical production by an all-female cast, combining movement and rhythm, coming this June

  • Dates:Jun 19
  • Time(s):7.30pm
  • Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre

Details

  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Drummer Queens
  • Ticket Price:From $45
  • Event Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre

Description

Presented by an all-female cast, Drummer Queens delivers an awe-inspiring live music performance uniting movement and rhythm. With WA's very own Georgia Anderson, the incredible cast of eight delivers an exciting and entertainment packed experience combining stunning staging, powerful rhythms and infectious energy. Created and composed by Joe Accaria, with creative direction by Nigel Turner-Caroll and choreographed by Peta Anderson, this spectacular perfomance is not to be missed.

Radio Active Albany

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

Details

  • 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

Description

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