Summer is officially here! The days are getting longer and the weather is warming. With the year drawing to a close, everyone is starting to think about their next summer escape. With interstate and international travel still an unknown for many people, this is the year to explore your own backyard and head down to the beautiful Great Southern wine region. Here are some of the best places in Albany, Denmark and Porongurup. Stay tuned next week as we share part two which covers our favourite spots in Mount Barker and Frankland River.
The oldest coastal colonial town in Western Australia, Albany’s landscape boasts historical architecture juxtaposed against white sandy beaches, enchanting shades of the Indian ocean, and clear views of the steep cliffs on the coast at Torndirrup National Park across the bay. The perfect place to set up camp this summer.
Image Credit: bosso.com.au
The Gap and Natural Bridge
If incredible sights are your thing, then the lookouts at both The Gap and Natural Bridge will provide you with scenic views of the Southern Ocean and the coast from Bald Head to West Cape Howe in the Torndirrup National Park. Situated on the Torndirrup peninsula, the area boasts some of the Rainbow Coast’s most magnificent natural wonders.
Downhill Mountain Bike Trail
Residing right in the centre of Albany on Mt Clarence, this purpose-built track for mountain bikes offers panoramic views of the beautiful King George Sound. Spanning 700m long, drops 76m and comprises of 41 technical trail features such as jumps, drops and wooden berns, this track will test even the most seasoned mountain bikers. Beginners can join in on the action by tackling the track slowly and opting for the less challenging lines down the course. The track is only a couple of minutes walk from the city centre, so once you finish the track you can walk back with a well-earned appetite or thirst. Lucky for you, the town centre of Albany hosts a range of worthy pit-stop choices, such as Vancouver Street Cafe and Fredrick’s Cafe.
This family-run winery prides itself on its certified organic and regenerative farming practices. Located at 64 metres above sea level, and only a hop, skip and a jump; or 10km, away from the coast, the climate at Oranje Tractor has been compared to wine regions such as that of Bordeaux, Champagne, Alsace and most of Germany and Tasmania.
Not only optimal conditions for growing grapes of impressive structure, but Oranje Tractor is also nestled amongst extensive organic gardens, vast with fruits and vegetables for you to discover. The rustic tasting room, adorned with vintage items and exuding an ambient charm, you will feel right at home. Since you’re reading this blog we know you’re interested in planning ahead. Make sure to book a Tours & Tastings experience which are conducted every Saturday. Check out their website here to learn more and book!
Albany Farmer’s Market
It’s not just the winemakers that benefit from Albany’s unique climate, but the food growers too. Known as the Real Farmer’s market, this market has on offer a huge variety of the freshest seasonally available fruits, vegetables, farmed meat, dairy, cheese, seafood and much more. All produced from local farms grown or reared down the road. You can find them every Saturday in a car park in the heart of Albany. A must-stop for visitors who enjoy sampling and buying produce that is truly local.
A mild climate all year-’round, Denmark is a summer getaway must! The Denmark Region is one of remarkable natural beauty. From its tall tree-covered hillsides, smooth rounded rocks, crisp white sandy beaches and wildlife, it has a plethora of natural attractions to experience.
Pictured: The Lake House Winery
The Lake House Winery
Located just a five-minute drive from the centre of town, this rustic lakeside property nestled in a karri tree-lined valley, along the banks of a tranquil lake, The Lake House Winery offers spectacular country views, award-winning cool-climate wines and the best gourmet food. Whether you’re wanting to eat or sample local wines, The Lake House boasts an award-winning restaurant and cellar door open daily. Stay awhile and relax by the gorgeous lake with a glass of your favourite Lake House Denmark wine.
Walpole Nornalup National Park
As if you stepped into the scene of a fantasy adventure film, the Walpole Nornalup National Park’s landscape will keep you guessing; from pristine forests of towering tingle trees to fiercely rugged coastlines, and peaceful inlets and rushing riverways, the park located in the heart of the Walpole Wilderness will leave you breathless–in the best kind of way!
Visitors can experience walking amongst the soaring treetops in The Valley of the Giants – Tree Top Walk, and then hop into their cars and drive along the Hill Top Scenic Drive, where you will encounter captivating views over the inlets at the Hilltop Lookout. And if the weather calls for it, make sure to venture on to Circular Pool; a perfect place to cool off, picnic and enjoy that Sparkling White from The Lake House Winery 😉
Greens Pool (William Bay National Park)
If you’ve spent any amount of time trawling Instagram, specifically Western Australia travel accounts, there’s a big chance you’ve seen that the incredible Elephant Rocks at Greens Pool has recently reopened after major site works forced its closure this year. Lucky for travellers, this iconic spot is back in action–and just in time for summer!
It’s smooth, silky white sand and picturesque granite boulders not only provide the perfect backdrop for your photographs, but the rocks also act as a natural buffer against the raging Southern Ocean waves, giving beachgoers still turquoise waters to enjoy.
The clear and quiet waters of Greens Pool is also home to vast amounts of fish and sea creatures. Whether you’re into snorkelling, exploring the landscape, or lazing around by the beach, William Bay has all your bases covered.
Denmark Thrills Adventure Park
For thrillseekers, young and old!
This family-owned and operated park is home to the world’s longest Globeriding track. Also known as Zorbing or Hyrdo-Orbing, this giant globe spans 3m in diameter and is your vehicle as you are placed inside (with 40L of water!) and decent down the purpose-built track. Located only 3km from Denmark town centre, the park also plays host to a series of family-friendly activities, such as tree climbing, zip-lining, and more. A must-stop for young families and adventurers alike.
Scotsdale Scenic Drive
Grab your favourite people, jump into a car and prepare to experience a scenic drive like no other. The Scotsdale Road drive spans 34kms from Denmark to McLeod Road where it joins South Coast Highway and finally connects to William Bay Road. Passing through rich natural landscapes exploding with wildlife, towering karri trees, orchards, vineyards and local farms, you will be spoilt for choice for places to stop and visit.
This small mountain range located in the lower pocket of the Great Southern region is home to eucalypt forests, immense ancient granite domes, breathtaking views of the Stirling Ranges to the north, along with wineries and vineyards to rival some of Australia’s best.
Image Source: porongorup.asn.au
Castle Rock – Granite Skywalk
Just like it sounds, this suspended walkway lays upon a huge granite outcrop of Castle Rock. The two lookouts provide spectacular views across Porongurup National Park, giving visitors a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience as you take in the vast natural landscape. The journey to the lookout is an experience in itself, as you pass through breath-taking jarrah, marri and karri forest to reach the lower lookout. Pack a picnic and enjoy the once in a lifetime view!
Nestled below the magnificent Porongurup Range, this historic farm homestead contains views of the iconic Bluff Knoll–the highest and most spectacular peak in the southern region. Experience quintessential country living as you take your morning coffee while sitting on the verandah with your own personal morning symphony in birdsong. Afterwards, unwind after a long and adventurous day exploring the region under a vast starry night sky privy only to you and surrounding local wildlife.
For scenery junkies and wildlife enthusiasts, the Devil’s Slide is a trail spanning the Porongurup Ranges highest peak. With an elevation of 670m, the trail provides incredible views of Porongorup Ranges’ granite domes and sweeping views of the Stirling Ranges and the Indian Ocean on a clear day.
The ranges are home to over 700 flora species, along with many mammal and bird species. Not for the faint-hearted, this trail takes 2-3 hours to complete, and with steeps and rough terrain in areas, we recommend visitors have a high level of fitness and experience required.
Views are very much a theme for the Porongurup sub-region, and Duke’s Vineyard is no different! This legendary vineyard is a must-stop for those who welcome a side of million-dollar views while sampling an award-winning wine.
The family-run vineyard is operated by Duke and Hilde, and their small and passionate local team. The Cellar Door is often manned by owner the famous winemaker Duke himself, along with his canine companion Freddie. Accompanying the Cellar Door is FLORNAMENTAL Gallery, home of intricate botanical-inspired paintings by owner and Artist in Residence, Hilde Ranson.
A place to truly lose yourself in the scenery–and wine! So, pack a picnic and relax and take in the incredible landscape, or pop down to Maleeya Thai Cafe for award-winning authentic Thai cuisine. Located at the foothills of the Porongorup National Park, Maleeya cooks authentic Thai cuisine using herbs and vegetables sourced from her organic vegetable garden.