The South-West Region of WA

This page has been accessed times since 15 December 1996.

For the purposes of my travelogue, I consider the South-West Region to include all areas West of the Albany Highway and South of Armadale, as well as Albany itself, while the South-West Corner is that area South of Bunbury and West of the South Western Highway. Areas to the East of the Albany Highway fall into the South-East Region.

Albany

Albany is a major commercial and tourist centre located 255 miles (409 KM) South-East of Perth on the shores of Princess Royal Harbour. Christmas Day 1996 will mark the 170th Anniversary of settlement of this historic city. Albany was once the base for a thriving whaling industry, the history of which is preserved at Jaycee's Whale World. The historic fort buildings have been restored to the way they were 100 years ago. This area also saw duty as a lookout point during the Second World War, when Albany was home port to a large fleet of United States Navy submarines. More of the history of this area can be found at the Residency Museum, the Old Gaol Museum and a replica of the brig Amity which brought the first settlers to the site in 1826.

Spectacular views of the Southern Ocean are to be found close to Albany, as well as coastal cliff structures including The Gap, Natural Bridge, and The Blow Holes.

South-West Corner

The South-West Corner of Western Australia, from Busselton to Augusta, offers a huge range of tourist attractions all within reasonable driving distance, regardless of your choice of base. Gracetown and Margaret River are fairly central to the region, but Busselton and Augusta are less than 30 miles (54 KM) away in opposite directions. Dunsborough, Yallingup and Hamelin Bay are also popular places to stay at or use as a base. We have "based up" at Margaret River, Busselton, and Augusta at various times, and our preference is probably for Augusta, with Busselton a close second.

The Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association has it's own Home Page for further information, well worth the visit.

Augusta is only 200 miles (320 KM) South of Perth, just a few miles from the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean at Cape Leeuwin.
Cape Leeuwin - a view of two oceans
The town is on the Western bank of the Blackwood River estuary, and offers a range of holiday/tourist accommodation including two 3 star motels, holiday cottages & flats, a YHA hostel, and four caravan parks. The caravan parks all have river frontage and, except for Molloy Caravan Park, are located close to the town centre.
A cruise of the Blackwood River aboard Miss Flinders is an excellent way to see some of the sights around Augusta. Knowledgeable operators provide a running commentary on the sights and wildlife.
Car Ferry to Molloy Island near Augusta February 1993 (seen from Miss Flinders)
Entrance to Molloy Caravan Park
Molloy Caravan Park is located about 9 miles (15 KM) by road North-East of Augusta, opposite Molloy Island which is at the junction of the Blackwood and Scott Rivers.
The Windsor and canoe with outboard at Molloy Caravan Park February 1996
The park offers tent and caravan sites as well as on-site vans and park homes, and is my preferred base for exploring the South-West corner of our great state. The park has an excellent sealed boat ramp, and mooring facilities suitable for dinghies. A water skiing area is located only a few minutes run up-river. Bicycle, boat and canoe hire are available from the park office, as are fuel, bait, ice and food. Note that dogs are not permitted in the park. Very Highly Recommended.


Busselton

Busselton is a major regional centre situated 143 miles (229 KM) South of Perth on Geographe Bay. There is a wide range of accomodation to choose from, including resorts, hotels, motels, holiday homes, guest houses (B&Bs) and about a dozen caravan parks. Mandalay, Acacia and Beachlands Caravan Parks are my recommendations, but all the others are very good (these 3 are just known from personal or friends visits). As well as being an ideal base for touring the
caves and wineries region, Busselton has many interesting and historical sites worth visiting. The Old Jetty, over a mile long, is a popular spot for fishing, or just for a walk, or even just to be able to say "I walked the length of the jetty". A local committee is hard at work attempting to preserve the jetty, please help with a donation if you like what you see.

The old Busselton jetty, looking back to the shore
and looking seaward - note fire damaged section
Dunsborough is a popular spot for holidaymakers situated just 160 miles (255 KM) South of Perth and 16 miles (26 KM) West of Busselton . Nestled in the shelter of Cape Naturaliste it offers safe beaches for swimming and diving, good fishing, and easy access to all the other attractions of the South-West such as the caves and wineries

Yallingup is another popular spot, just 165 miles (263 KM) from Perth, on the opposite side of Cape Naturaliste from Dunsborough. This position facing the Indian Ocean produces surfing conditions said by some to be better than anywhere else in Australia - Not being a surfer I can't judge, but I've seen some magnificent waves here.

Gracetown is a beautiful spot roughly halfway between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin,. This is a small settlement on Cowaramup Bay with guest house/holiday home accommodation and a small caravan park. Gracetown offers good fishing and swimming and, while being "quiet and out of the way", is centrally located for exploring the caves and wineries in the surrounding area.

Margaret River

The town of Margaret River is situated on the river of the same name, 173 miles (277 KM) South of Perth and about 6 miles (10 KM) inland from the great surfing beach for which the area is reknowned (although strictly speaking Prevelly Beach should probably be the internationally known name).

Margaret River is the hub of the South-West wine making industry, and is rapidly gaining world reknown. The serious wine lover can spend days just visiting the wineries in the region and sampling the huge variety on offer, provided they have a non-drinking driver to chauffer them around. PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE
A visit to the wineries can be interspersed with visits to the caves or other interesting sites in the area including historical, craft and wildlife sites.


Bridge over Margaret River to Old Settlement
Old Settlers Barn

Interesting Sites

Interesting sites in or within a short distance of Margaret River include:
Old Settlement An interesting display of buildings and equipment from the days of the Group Settlement Scheme is to be found at the North end of town.
Clydesdale Museum Enjoy a trip through the forest on a wagon drawn by these magnificent animals, and view the displays of equipment and harness from a bygone age.
Ellensbrook Homestead This house, now owned by the National Trust, was built in 1851 by Alfred Bussell, a pioneer of the district. The house is open for viewing on weekends and public holidays.
Eagles Heritage See the largest collection of raptors (birds of prey) in Australia, and watch demonstrations of the mediaeval art of falconry.
Margaret River Marron Farm Enjoy a tour of this well run commercial marron farm, make use of the barbecue and picnic facilities and tuck in to a delicious fresh marron lunch - no marron fishing licence required here. For those who haven't tried them, marron are a delicious freshwater crayfish if you like seafood, you'll love marron.
Arts and Crafts Local arts and crafts can be seen throughout the region, including a variety of pottery and woodturning, as well as a shell gallery.


The Caves
The area between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste is noted for it's natural limestone caves, four of which (Lake, Jewel, Mammoth and Yallingup Caves) are open to the public every day except Christmas Day. The caves are all easily accessible from Caves Road and well sign-posted, and excellent information is available from
Tourist Information Bureaus throughout the area.
Caution - viewing the caves can be quite strenuous for those with health or mobility problems - please read the information in the brochures for more details.

Wineries
The South-West is gaining worldwide fame as a wine growing region, with many wineries throughout the area and particularly around Margaret River. The Berry Farm situated South-East of
Margaret River offers something different in the form of wines made from various fruits - I particularly recommend their liqueurs, a very nice drop. The Regional Vineyard brochure and Berry Farm brochure are available at Margaret River Tourist Information Centre and most other Tourist Bureaus in the region.
A common roadsign in the area

PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE


Pemberton
Pemberton is a major timber milling town located 210 miles (335 KM) South of Perth and surrounded by magnificent karri forests. Apart from the forests and national parks, which abound with wildflowers in the spring, there are the spectacular Beedelup Falls, the Cascades, and the Gloucester Tree, a tree-mounted fire lookout said to be the tallest in the world. The King Trout Farm and
Karri Valley Resort both offer the opportunity for trout fishing.
Beedelup Falls June 1990

Karri Valley Resort

Karri Valley Resort and Caravan Park is located 12 miles (20 KM) South of Pemberton , and offers motel units and chalets all with ensuite facilities. Guests have the use of a dining room/restaurant, playground, mini golf, tennis courts, trout fishing and boat hire. This is a beautiful spot surrounded by magnificent country - Very Highly Recommended.

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