The Great Southern W.A.
The Great Southern region of Western Australia is the state's smallest geographic zone but possibly offers the most diverse range of attractions and tourist hotspots in W.A.
250km of breathtaking Indian and Southern Ocean coast frame the southern part of the region - pure waters that reach, unbroken all the way to Antartica. This regions southern proximity is evidenced by the noticeably milder climate.
Winters can be cold and wet while summer provides perfect weather for exploring the endless small bays and beaches that line the craggy coast.
The Great Southern region hosts large numbers of small marsupials and rare bird life and combined with one of the richest marine environments in the world - the whole area practically reverberates with the local flora and fauna. Numerous National Parks, State Forests and Nature Reserves are well maintained, sign posted and advertised. The area is teeming with tourist information and plenty of local wines and produce take care of any developing culinary desires. The towns of Mount Barker and Denmark offer local arts and crafts as well as being surrounded by great countryside and river systems.
The Great Southern is all about investigating and exploring the natural world with some time taken for Albany, the oldest settlement in Western Australia and brimming with colonial history.
Facts about The The Great Southern
Population: 54,000 approx.
Climate: Mediterranean climate - warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Geography: Coastal zone bordered by impressive granite and sedimentary cliffs. Inland agricultural and horticultural lands are punctuated by forested mountain ranges and river systems.
Flora: Stirling Range has 1500 native plant species alone with 87 species occurring nowhere else on earth. Porongorup Ranges hosts 750 plant species and 55 different orchids. Other flora include native wildflowers, Kangaroo Paw, Banksia and massive Karri Tree and Tingle Tree forests.
Fauna: Numerous marsupial species including Gilbert's Potoroo, Tammar Wallaby, Numbat, Woylie, Chuditch, Dibbler, Brush Tailed Phascogale, Western Pygmy Possum, Quenda, Brushtail Possum, Western Brush Wallaby, Western Grey Kangaroo. Abundant birdlife including the rare Western Whipbird, Western Bristlebird and Noisy Scrub-bird.
The Great Southern Attractions
- The historic town of Albany
- Breathtaking coastal scenery
- Great Southern Wine Region
- Stirling Range, William Bay , West Cape Howe, Waychinnicup, Fitzgerald National Parks
- Porongurup Range
- Scotsdale Scenic Drive
- Torndirrup National Park - The Gap, Natural Bridge and the Blow Holes
- Dozens of idyllic small bays and beaches
- Whale watching from shore or boat
- Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
- Wildflower and Bird watching
- Bibbulmun Track
- Albany windfarm
- Walking Trails
- Bluff Knoll
- Whale world
- Variety of tours, charters, scenic flights and cruises.
Woodanilling, Kojanup, Frankland, Rocky Gully, Denmark, Albany, Mount Barker, Cranbrook, Tambellup, Broomehill, Katanning, Nyabing, Pingrup, Gnowangerup, Jerramungup, Wellstead, Bremer Bay, Ongerup, Borden, Tenterden
Getting Around The The Great Southern
Albany is the hub of the Great Southern and makes a great central location for exploring the region. It's the largest town/city in the south of W.A. (pop. 33,000) and has anything you may want in the way of car rental, bus tours, bicycle hire, scenic flights or ocean cruises.
Ideally the best way to see the region is to self-drive. Many attractions are away from the townships and the coast deserves a leisurely time frame to sight-see and explore.
The area lends itself to days of travel along peaceful roads broken up by barbecue lunches or picnics on quiet beaches.
Best Time to Visit
Albany's Whale Season runs from June to October with Southern Right and Humpback whales visiting the sheltered coastal coves in large numbers. The winter months can offer some spectacular scenery of the Southern Ocean lashing the coast but it also brings rain and biting wind.
September to December is wildflower season as spring turns to summer.
The summer months of December through to February offer the best opportunity to properly enjoy the coast.
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