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Located about 300 kilometres south from Perth in the wonderful South West of Western Australia, the stupendous Southern Forests are home to many unique and iconic attractions and experiences.
The region begins in the south east corner with the idyllic town of Walpole, towards the southern coast and the town of Northcliffe, then heads northwards to the timber town of Pemberton and the rich agricultural lands of Manjimup.
I would describe this region as Australia’s answer to ‘Big Sur’, with trees reaching dizzying heights of 68 metres, the Karri, Jarrah, Marri and Tingle forests.
National Parks and State Forests cover most of this region and place names tend to have ‘up’ at the end of their names, aboriginal for ‘place of’, such as Nornalup, Mt Pingerup, Quinninup, Manjimup, Yeagarup, Beedelup, Palgarup, Mordalup and Nyamup.
Set on the tranquil waters of the Walpole Inlet and surrounded by the 18,000 hectare Walpole-Nornalup National Park, Walpole is a great starting point for the Southern Forests experience.
It offers a wide range of activities, from swimming, boating, sailing, inlet cruises, fishing, bush walking, mountain biking, scenic drives and climbing.
Walpole Inlet is a small estuary connected through a narrow channel with the bigger and deeper Nornalup Inlet.
So where do you start with such a diverse hotspot of natural beauty and magical landscapes? Here are some suggestions:
Surrounded by the D’Entrecasteaux National Park and close to the holiday fishing village of Windy Harbour, Northcliffe is an interesting little town.
Renowned for the Explore Understory purpose built walking trail, that takes you through the forests featuring stunning artworks such as sculpture, music and writing. The road to Windy Harbour takes you past Mt Chudalup, a granite monolith that rises above the surrounding Karris forest and coastal heath land. You can climb the rock and take in the 360 degree views.
From Windy Harbour you can enjoy a variety of fishing from the beaches of the L’Entrecasteaux National Park or by boat. There is a walking trail linking Windy Harbour and the lighthouse at Point L’Entrecasteaux that is well worth the effort. For freshwater Brown and Rainbow Trout and Redfin Perch, the Gardner and Warren Rivers in the National Park are worth a try. You can also catch Marron in the freshwater streams and lakes of the area.
Lying in the heart of tall timber country and surrounded by the Gloucester National Park, with lush green pastures and acres of rolling vineyards, is the township of Pemberton.
For such a small town it offers a lot of interesting things to do and see, including:
With annual events such as the Manjimup 15,000, Western Australia’s largest motocross competition, the Truffle Kerfuffle, the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival and the JB Ipsen Golf Tournament, it is little wonder that Manjimup is the centre of a thriving tourist area.
Manjimup is the main shopping precinct of the area, the centre of the fruit and vegetable industry and largest mainland producer of black truffles. You can learn all about this at the Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park that gives a fascinating insight into the local industry and logging heritage.
Although we only spent two days driving through the Southern Forests, I found the clear, crisp air and the magical landscapes of those stupendous forests, vine clad hillsides, fertile farmlands and the dramatic coastlines an experiences to be cherished. The South West really turns it on!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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