Australia’s South West is like our second home. We visit this area of Western Australia several times a year and no matter when we go it never disappoints! Whether you come here during the summer or winter, the South West has so much to offer. So if you are planning a trip to Australia’s South West, this ultimate guide is all you need for the perfect holiday down south.
Ready to explore the most diverse region in Western Australia? Use this travel guide to plan the ultimate down south getaway in Australia’s South West!
What to Expect
Australia’s South West is a large region that includes the towns and cities of Bunbury, Busselton, Yallingup, Margaret River, Augusta, Denmark and Albany. It is such a beautiful destination with an extensive coastline, the best beaches, farmland, wineries and forests.
The South West is one of the top 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world! It is filled with plenty of free activities, as well as luxury experiences to enjoy. We particularly enjoy the pristine beaches and the great food scene that the area has to offer.
How to Get Here
Australia’s South West region is roughly a 2.5hr drive south of Perth, Western Australia. While it is possible to take a train as far as Bunbury, the best mode of transport for getting here and around the area is your own vehicle.
When exploring the region I suggest that you have your own car. This is because the region is quite large and most of the attractions are only accessible by car. There are plenty of tour bus options that will take you to different sites and wineries throughout the South West. However, having a private vehicle will give you more flexibility to explore at your own leisure.
When to Go
The best time of year to enjoy Australia’s South West beaches is during the Summer time. This is also the peak season for tourists so popular beaches and attractions are often crowded. During the summer school holidays accommodation often gets booked up. So, if you plan oncoming during this time make sure you book your accommodation well in advance!
While the summer beaches are stunning, the South West also has a lot to offer during the winter months. With less crowds and mild winters, many of the outdoor activities are worth the visit. Winter is also a great time to spot whales along the coastline. From June until early December, whales from the Antartic migrate through the region, a sight that can be seen from shore.
Read More: Things to Do in Margaret River in the Winter
How Long to Stay
If you want to see the entire South West you would need more than a month in the area of Western Australia. The region is huge and there is so much to do. Each time we come to visit, which is multiple times a year, we find something new to see or try!
So, if you want to see as much as possible, I suggest taking a two-week road trip through South West Australia. However, the area is also a great place to visit for a weekend getaway. In just a few days you can get a really good taste for what there is to offer. Our favourite is to stay anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks for the perfect mix of relaxing on the beach and exploring!
Where to Stay
You will not be short of choices for accommodation within the South West region. There are so many options available to suit either a luxury stay or a budget holiday.
Camping in the South West
Holiday Parks: Busselton, Margaret River and Albany are the main hotspots for camping, each destination having several campgrounds to choose from. However, there are plenty of campgrounds scattered throughout the region. You can stay at a fully facilitated campground from an average of about $40 a night. These are generally Holiday Park styled camping.
Read more: Tips for Camping with a Baby
Natural Campgrounds: Our favorite places to camp in Australia’s South West are natural campsites. These are a great option for families who love spending time outdoors or are taking a budget holiday. We loved camping Parry’s Beach in Denmark, Contos Campground near Margaret River and Honeymoon Pool near Collie. You can book this type of campground through the Parks and Wildlife Park Stay WA website.
Glamping: Looking for somewhere you can stay in nature without having to deal with all the work that goes with camping? Glamping is a glamorous style of camping where you don’t have to set up your tent and you get to sleep in a cosy bed! There are plenty of glamping options throughout the South West, particularly around Margaret River.
Australia’s South West is a popular area for Western Australian’s to own a holiday home. As this is not their primary residence many of these homes are rented out to people on holiday. This is a great option if you are travelling with kids or with another family.
Prices vary widely with options to stay at luxurious beach side houses to standard suburban homes. You can easily find listings through AirBnB, Stayz or Downsouth Getaways.
If you’re looking for accommodation specifically in the Margaret River area, then check out these beautiful stays in Margaret River!
Hotels & Resorts
If you are travelling to South West Australia and have some flexibility with your budget for accommodation there are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from. There are options to stay in a standard hotel or beachside resorts. You can also find accommodation that will offer an experience such as eco-friendly retreats and cute cabins amongst nature.
What to Do
You will not be short of things to do during your stay in Australia’s South West. Activities range from exploring nature for free or paying a high price for a unique experience. I have actually put together a list of all the free things you can do in Australia’s South West in this blog post.
The region is known for its fine wines and gourmet food. So, visiting a winery and going out for lunch is a very popular activity to do. There are many opportunities to try local produce. You can also shop local products at markets set up around the region.
The beaches here are stunning so be sure to visit many of them (especially at sunset!). You can see plenty of wildlife on land and in the ocean. There are many amazing hikes where you can walk along the coastline or in a national park. Fishing is a popular activity in both the rivers and ocean.
If you have chosen to visit the South West during the winter, there are plenty of activities to enjoy during the cooler months. I suggest basing yourself in Margaret River, as it is a central location for the best winter activities.
Over the course of our visits to South West Australia, we have compiled a range of blog posts on the top things to do. Each gives a more detailed list of activities and experiences for different areas of the region. Be sure to check them out if you are planning on visiting.
- Top Free Things to Do in Australia’s South West
- Complete Guide to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
- Top 10 Things to Do from Denmark, Western Australia
- Top 10 Things to Do in Collie, Western Australia
- Australia’s South West 2-Week Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Instagram Places in Australia’s South West
- Top Things to Do in Margaret River in the Winter
- Where to Stay in Margaret River
Where to Eat
South West Australia is known for its amazing food scene, so it is easy to find a unique place to eat. There are plenty of opportunities to taste food, whether you go out for lunch, on a wine tour or sample the local produce.
Visiting on of the many breweries is my favourite way to enjoy some lunch. Many of the breweries are family friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. In the summer time you can sit out in the sun, with a cold beer, and watch your kids play on the playground. During the winter you can find a cosy seat inside with some delicious comfort food.
Australia’s South West is also known for their good coffee, with plenty of unique and quirky cafes to enjoy a cup. We love the White Elephant Café, which has stunning views of the ocean, at Gnarabup Beach in Margaret River.
The Margaret River Region in particular is famous for their quality wines. However, wine is produced throughout Australia’s South West. A popular tourism activity is to go wine tasting at the various wineries. You can either book a wine tour with a local company or take a self-guided tour (just be sure to have a designated driver!) Generally these wine tastings are free, so be sure to purchase a bottle or two to take home with you!
While you explore Australia’s South West, be sure to sample some of the local produce along the way. You can taste delicious food and delicacies such as chocolate, cheese, flavoured olive oils, jams and preserves, honey, bread, and ice cream! Most places will have free tastings available, so why not purchase some products for a beach picnic?
Australia’s South West has some of the most stunning coastline & is a wonderful place to visit.
The ability to be outdoors in the stunning scenery and at the same time enjoy wonderful cuisine is unique to this part of Western Australia. It’s the ultimate road trip destination for a family getaway, or weekend away.