Ok so it’s a new year and COVID-19 is still putting a bit of a dampener on international travel. The thing is though, now is actually the perfect time to explore the South West of Western Australia, especially with the lack of international crowds, unspoiled beaches and some of the best farm to table dining experiences going around. We thought for this month we’d focus on a strip of road that connects Albany, Denmark and Esperance to help you plan your next road trip down south.
Starting off strong, Denmark offers a quaint township backed closely by some phenomenal coastline, great coffee and not to mention the Valley of the Giants Tree Tops Walk. Now a quieter alternative to the hustle and bustle of the Margaret River region – Denmark has something for everyone!
Things to do and see in Denmark
Still boasting some seriously good wineries, the climate in Denmark makes for a selection of premium vineyards. We recommend dedicating a day to visiting a few, uncovering how their wines are harvested and bottled. For those who need a quick list – Harewood Estate, Moombaki, Rockcliffe and Rising Star will produce the goods for your day and are located relatively close together.
Only a 15 minute, hop, skip and jump out of town you’ll land yourself in the William Bay National Park. The highlight of this park is Greens Pool and is sheltered from the natural elements almost all year round and provides a pristine and calm environment to spend the day! Further up the road will take you to Elephant Rock which brings to the party huge natural boulders that from certain angles resemble a herd of elephants. Finally, for those with kiddos, Peaceful Bay might be your best bet with open sand, quiet bays with shallow entry points and not too much wind!
Valley of the Giants
A quick 45-minute drive down the highway will transport you to the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. You’ll traverse 40 metres up before taking a stroll along the canopy linings of some of the states biggest trees! This has been designed with sustainability in mind where no local flora or fauna is impacted. Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you can complete the 600m loop as many times as you like on that day! Some people opt to have lunch before doing the track in reverse! We just ask that you take into consideration the limits on each platform and respect the signs.
Denmark Alpaca Farm
For those that love petting furry Alpacas, the good news for you is that Denmark has a whole farm dedicated to them. While here, you can witness these guys in their natural habitat along with a variety of other farm animals! Hot tip: the farm is only open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Once you’ve finished up in Denmark, the next logical step is over to Albany which is a short 45-minute drive! Albany offers a few different activities and is perfect for those looking for day hikes.
Things to do and see in Albany
If you are all about hiking, Bluff Knoll is the highest point in Western Australia and offers some pretty spectacular views of the Stirling Ranges. The walk will be approximately 6km return but averages a 20% gradient so it can be pretty challenging at points. It’s not a simple stroll that also requires those to come prepared for any change in weather. Sometimes it’s raining and high fog one minute, followed by sun an hour later. So, we really recommend coming prepared. Along the way, you’ll be able to see a variety of Western Australian wildlife and wildflowers.
From May to October each year, Albany plays host to the great whale migration of the southwest and features the famous humpback whale. With King George South also providing calm waters for newborns, this area is the perfect location to witness these phenomenal mammals play and interact in their natural habitat. There is a heap of tour companies offering day trips or there are a variety of vantage points to potentially see them on the horizon from land.
National ANZAC Centre
If you are in town exploring the high street, the National ANZAC Centre is worth a drop in to experience your hit of history. Featuring heaps of artifacts from WW1, immerse yourself in the lives of past soldiers using interactive exhibits. Each visitor will take on the persona and identity of 1 of 32 soldiers who will virtually accompany you through the exhibition!
Albany Farmers Market
If you can time your run right, the Albany Farmers Market is held each weekend on Saturday from 8 am to midday and is a great start to the weekend with fresh coffee, artisan stores, food trucks and a copious amount of fresh produce. Ran by locals, use this as an opportunity to get to know a few and find out whats it’s like to live in the Albany region!
From Albany, the next stop is Esperance which is a little bit of a drive coming in at just over 5 hours. We would recommend a quick pit stop at Bremer Bay for a dip and a breather to break up the drive. Here, you’ll be graced with potentially the best coastline in the country!
Cape Le Grand National Park & Lucky Bay
Boasting white sand that is so white it literally shimmers in the sun – Lucky Bay is located smack bang in the middle of Cape Le Grand National Park. Surrounded by granite limestone, blinding white sand – this stretch of beach is home to a resident population of kangaroo. They are super tame, friendly and are actually all on board with photos.
Just a little longer along the coast – Hellfire Bay is yet another gobsmackingly beautiful stretch of white sand and is the perfect lunch spot with BBQ facilities. There is something super rugged about this stretch of beach and our hot tip is just to watch for the wind. Although it can add to the wild feeling, sometimes it can get a bit too much to handle.
Although this one is only a 262-metre peak, it offers 360-degree views of the flat plains of Esperance. The top requires a bit of scaling with some loose rocks but other than that – most visitors will be able to hit the summit with ease!
Great Ocean Drive
Voted consistently in the list of the best scenic drives in the world – the Esperance Great Ocean Drive is highly recommended while in town. Only a short 1-hour drive will take you along some of the best lookouts, vistas, coastlines and white sand that you’ll likely see in all of Western Australia.
If you are also looking for some other road trips around our amazing state including the far north, check out our guide to 8 unmissable road trips in WA.
That’s a wrap! Use this as a guide to plan your next South West trip! If you are chasing group transport too, we can certainly help you out with that one too! Drop our sales team a line who will gladly help you!