HERE’S YOUR ENDLESS SELECTION OF POSSIBILITIES FOR WINTER DOWN SOUTH
There’s some experiences in the south west that are only on offer in winter. And once you’ve prepared yourself with warm clothes and an umbrella, nothing will be able to rain on your holiday parade. (Well, except rain. But you’ll be prepared so it’s fine.)
1. Watch a storm roll in from a coastal lookout – Nothing gets the heart going like being outdoors on a stormy day (pictured above, The Gap by Elements). Do yourself a favour and hit one of the coastal lookouts if there’s a storm rolling in. Trust us, it’s good for the soul! (And we won’t judge if you choose to stay in the car.. in fact, we recommend it if there’s lightening.)
2. Visit the mainland Quokkas at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk – yes, you’re often told the only quokkas in WA are the ones on Rottnest. There’s also a small population that live at the base of the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants near Nornalup, between Walpole and Denmark. Keep your eyes peeled and visit late in the day, as they’re nocturnal!
5. Take a Sunday (or any day) drive – the warm car heater, beautiful scenery out the window, your favourite music and the promise of a hearty lunch at your destination? Yes please!
6. Head underground – did you know the caves of the Margaret River region stay and a nearly constant temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius all year round? And they’re dry too! There’s five show caves in the Margaret River Region open to explore, each with its own fascinating formations and quirks. Pictured: Ngilgi Cave by Elements Margaret River.
7. Stuff yourself full of comfort food – Look, you won’t be wearing beach attire for a while, so why not make the most of high-coverage clothing and treat yourself to some comfort food. Slow-cooked BBQ meats at the Margaret River Tavern or the classic pizza and beer combo at Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery.
8. Get up early and watch the mist lift in the Southern Forests and Valleys – a misty morning is a pretty picture indeed, particularly when it’s rising through a verdant green valley or an immense karri forest. And another secret? In the height of winter, you don’t even necessarily have to wake up early. The mist is commonly still lifting around the gentlemanly hour of 10am.
9. Get some alone time – one of the best things about winter travel? It can be so deliciously quiet. A whole beach and only your own footprints, an uninterrupted forest path, a quiet café to contemplate over coffee..
10. Book a cosy cottage – Grab the board games, a host of hamper produce and you’re set for a weekend with loved ones by the warmth of a cosy fire with good conversation.
11. Go whale watching –If you’re in the south west during winter and close to the ocean, you’re nearly guaranteed to spot whales. Whether from a tour boat, or high vantage point along the 1200 kilometres of south west coastline, keep your eyes to the horizon.
12. Do go chasing waterfalls – There’s several to choose from – Beedelup Falls near Pemberton, Fernhook Falls and The Cascades near Walpole or Pemberton and Quininup Falls near Margaret River. See them all..
13. Take a cruise – dolphins live in Koombana Bay all year round, and on clear winter days you can take a Dolphin Eco Cruise from the Dolphin Discovery Centre to get close to these friendly mammals. Picture by Dave & Fiona Harvey.
14. Tackle the Cape to Cape Track – sure, it might call for some all-weather gear, but it’ll be exhilarating none the less. Plus, you’ll get some great whale watching lookouts. Alternatively, give the Bibbulmun Track a go. This 1000km long distance walk trail winds through the heart of the South West. Walk all or part of this world-renowned track.
15. Head to one of the region’s winter events – there’s something for cinema buffs, foodies, wine drinkers, jazz fans, car lovers, plus everything in between.
16. Take time to pick up that good book and snuggle by the fire. Nothing beats a day listening to rain on the roof while you’re fireside indoors with a good read.
17. Book a private wine tasting – treat yourself to a private tasting in the luxurious Howard Park Wine Chapel. They’ve got one of the largest wine lists in the region and include cool climate varietals from their Great Southern vineyards.
18. Get high in the trees – the new high ropes course at Forest Adventures South West will get the blood pumping as you climb through the treetops.
19. Visit the home of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – one of Australia’s favourite children’s books in Harvey at the Stirling Cottage Replica and Visitor Centre displays. The author, May Gibbs lived in the original Stirling Cottage in her childhood. It is believed that May Gibbs drew much of her inspiration for her bush stories and illustrations from her experiences while living in Harvey.
20. Head out on a horse ride – the professional team at Jesters Flat in Margaret River can take you on a range of rides for all levels, through farmlands, vineyards, forest and even on the beach.
21. Indulge in afternoon tea – Scones, jam, cream. Yum. There’s the traditional Devonshire or the more luxe high tea on offer throughout the region, so eat lunch accordingly.
22. Get on the water – the high rivers in winter are great for a canoe or kayak. Check out the Blackwood or Margaret River for canoeing options. Pictured Blackwood River Canoeing by Matt Blakers Photo.
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