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
- 0413 629 969
James Abberley, with his warming, coastal acoustic sounds and gently pulsing minimalistic beats, has released his new single 'You're The One'
- Time(s):8.00pm to 10.30pm AWST
- Venue:Vancouver Arts Center
- Dates:Nov 13
- Music:Country & Folk,Indie & Alternative,Gig Guide
- Hosted By:James Abberley
- Venue Address:85 Vancouver Street Albany, WA 6330
- Ticket Price:22.19
Over the past number of years, Abberley has hit impressive milestones throughout his career which include supporting the likes of Xavier Rudd, The Waifs, Paul Dempsy, Ash Grunwald and Kim Churchill. Abberley's also performed at a number of WA festivals including Nannup Festival and Into The Sun Festival to name a few.
In January this year, Abberley made his way to New Zealand for the first time where four of the six shows sold out. This trend has continued with the return of live music in WA with Abberley selling out his last 5 shows.
Now in quick succession to follow up his most recent single 'Drifting' (released in August) is 'You're The One'. With a "from the heart" passion and seriousness, this weighty number is indicative of the heart-pounding emotions tied to a yearning for the one as the title suggests. Abberley states:
"'You're The One' is about that moment when you are trying to fall asleep, but no matter what you do, you just can't get that person that you love or want out of your head. It's amazing to me that you can feel like a slave to your own thoughts."
Generating this feeling is Abberley's easy listening blend of acoustic-folk, minimalistic beats and his tender vocal tone that is laced with a soft Australiana accent.
Abberley's music imbues a sense of tranquillity and meditative space for introspection.
Nov 6 - The Aardvark, Freemantle.
Nov 13 - Vancouver Arts Center, Albany.
Nov 21 - Little Village, Margaret River.
All tickets via Eventbrite.com.au
- 08 9201 9888
A festival that celebrates award winning wine, delicious fresh produce and amazing flavours of the Great Southern.
- Festivals:Taste Great Southern,All Festivals
- Dates:Mar 18 - 28
- Venue:Great Southern Region
- Food & Drink:Beer,Celebrity Chef,Cider,Festival,Food Event,Food Market Events,Restaurant Events,Wine
- Produced By:Taste Great Southern
- Hosted By:CMS Events
- Venue Address:Great Southern Region
11 days, 30+ culinary experiences, 20+ chefs
A festival that celebrates award winning wine, delicious fresh produce and amazing flavours of the Great Southern. Located along the pristine southern coastline and expanding into the mountains and forest ranges it includes major centres Albany, Denmark, Mt Barker, Kojonup and Katanning.
With 20+ chefs including local stars, Perth talent and River Cottage Australia’s Paul West across 30+ not-to-be-missed culinary experiences, this festival will be home to a music festival, a wine and food festival, long lunches, degustations, premium pairings, community markets and free events.
Great Southern produce is fresh, seasonal and exceptional. Foods like oysters and seafood, chicken, beef and lamb, heirloom vegetables and cheeses all excel on the south coast. You can indulge in all the delicious fresh produce and amazing flavours at many of the events.
The award-winning wine, winemakers and breweries of the Great Southern will also feature across the amazing program. You can expect to sip, taste and savour wine varietals such as Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Riesling, alongside craft beer made locally in the Great Southern.
Feast on the amazing culinary creations from the very talented local stars as they team up with Perth talent and National favourites while they host a range of smaller intimate gatherings to larger festivals.
Choose from several self-drive adventure packages and include the beautiful natural attractions such as Walpole’s Tree Top Walk and The Gap as well as manmade attractions. With Easter the following weekend, why not stay longer in the Great Southern!
Indulge. Feast. Savour. Adventure
Taste Great Southern is the heart of Western Australian food & wine!
- +61 417 269 477
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
- Hosted By:Albany Classic "Around the Houses"
- Venue Address:Mount Clarence Apex Drive, Mount Clarence, Western Australia, 6330
- Ticket Price:Free
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.
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
- Hosted By:Albany Classic
- Venue Address:Albany Central Business District York Street, Albany, Western Australia, 6330
- Ticket Price FROM:$5
- Ticket price TO:$15
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, children's entertainment, competitions, food and other stalls along with displays of vintage cars and street machines.
A new original fine art collection on show, called EMBODY - flesh made art made flesh.
- Dates:Nov 3 - 28
- Time(s):10am - 4pm Tuesday - Saturday
- Hosted By:Blush Retail Gallery
- Venue Address:York House 133 York Street Albany 6330 Western Australia
- Ticket Price:Free
- Art Exhibitions:Drawing,Painting