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
Caretaker of Lost Selves & View from the Magpie's Nest ~ a double bill of music, dance & storytelling.
- Dates:Friday 26 November
- Time(s):4pm & 7:30pm
- Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
- Hosted By:Breaksea
- Ticket Price:$39 Adults $34 Concession $16 Junior
- Performing Arts:Dance
- Event Venue:Albany Entertainment Centre
Commencing with welcome to country from Menang Noongar Elder Aunty Eliza Woods and Breaksea original 'Horizon' together with the children of the Mount Barker Community College Choir, Breaksea presents its double bill Caretaker of Lost Selves & View from the Magpie's Nest. View from the Magpie's Nest ~ an immersive movement piece choreographed by Emily O'Brien with beautiful narration by Naomi Lake performed by "Let's Shine" a performing group for people living with a disability. Caretaker of Lost Selves ~ a magical multi-arts experience where true stories weave a mysterious tapestry. A play with musical interludes, movement and projected visual art promises a feast for the eyes and the soul! With newly composed music performed live from Breaksea's Jonathan Brain featuring a huge and talented cast including Soprano Pia Adriana Harris, Tim Dunn, Rachael Colmer, Rita Cobussen & Great Southern community participants. Come and experience the power of Breaksea music, theatre and storytelling directed by Artistic Director Matt Reuben James Ward.
- (08) 6820 3000
Learn from Logie Award winning actor Joel Jackson in his acting masterclass at the Albany Town Hall on the 20th of October. This free masterclass focuses on performance and creating a character.
- Dates:October 20th
- Venue:Albany Town Hall
- Ticket Price:Free event
- Type:For Kids,Free,Workshops,Youth Art / Performance
Join Albany born AACTA and Logie award winning actor Joel Jackson (H is for Happiness, Jungle and Peter Allen) for a unique two hour acting masterclass focused on performance and creating a character. This free acting masterclass is open to young Great Southern actors aged 12-16 years. The event runs between 4:00pm and 6:00pm and includes free entry.
Blush is reopening on September 28 with a beautiful new collection of fine art.
- Dates:Sep 28 - Oct 23
- Venue:Blush Retail Gallery
- Art Exhibitions:Painting
Our feature artist this spring is the talented Albany artist, Cynthia Orr. Cynthia brings the gallery walls to life with her latest collection of oils and acrylics. After her sell-out show in January this year, we are super excited to get to see what she has been creating.
- 08 9842 8044
Perth’s HOTTEST eight-piece Swing Band, Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings, are returning to Albany Port Theatre, Saturday October 23! Launching on Vinyl, their 10-track album of originals.
- Dates:Oct 23
- Venue:Albany Port Theatre
- Hosted By:Evan Ayres
- Ticket Price:$30
- Type:Youth Art / Performance
THE WAIT IS OVER! Perth’s HOTTEST eight-piece Swing Band, Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings, are returning to Albany Port Theatre, Saturday October 23! Launching on Vinyl, their 10-track album of originals, (written by Evan), Charm of this Lady. Recorded at Crank Recording Studio the album features crowd favourites Just A Moment and Rhythm. As well as brand new tunes Retiro de Montaña and Only Guy in the City. Evan’s smooth Vocals and superb Guitar is backed by the mighty Swing Kings featuring Trumpet, Tenor Sax and Trombone. Two backup Vocalists, Double Bass, and Drums. The show’s first hour will be the album performed live in Albany for the very first time! The party will then kick up a gear, as the band play through all your favourite Swing, Jazz, Rock n Roll and Country, standards and classics. From Mack the Knife all the way to Peaceful Easy Feelings. Born and raised in Albany, Evan moved to Perth early 2020, to study a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Voice at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Known for Selling out the Albany Port Theatre six times, performing in Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company musicals and playing regularly on ABC Great Southern. Evan could not wait to return home with the band! Doors open 7.00pm. With the show starting at 7.30pm and Swinging until 10pm (depending on the number of encores)!!! Dance floor at front of theatre, so be prepared to dance the night away. Cabaret seating with tables of 6 - some row seating available at back of theatre. BYO nibbles, drinks and glasses Tickets are only $30 so get them quick before they sell out! Available online or in person at Paperbark Merchants. https://paperbark.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/15389 Of course, the legendary white tuxedo jacket will be on display in all its glory!!!