20 Must Do Things To Do in South West WA: Locals Guide 2024

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Kaya/Hello, I’m Wendy a proud WA resident with a love of travel. I’ve lived in Perth since 2001 and have visited the South West at least times every year since then. During these times, I’ve seen the South West region evolve and explode into a popular tourist destination.

In this post, I want to share my favourite things to do in the South West. Some experiences have been around since I first visited and some are new attractions that I’ve enjoyed recently.

My #1 Pick
orca killer whale in the ocean bremer bay whale watch tour

Bremer Bay Orca Whale Watch Tour

I loved this bucket-list Orca cruise by Naturaliste Charters in Bremer Bay. It was an experience of a lifetime! To witness these creatures on the hunt in their natural environment was incredible.

Don’t miss out – book your tour today.

orca killer whale in the ocean
Orca in the wild seen on my Orca Cruise

1. See Orcas in Bremer Bay

Seeing Orcas (killer whales) has been on my bucket list for years. You can join this Bremer Canyon Orca Experience from Bremer Bay. The 7-hour tour is on a purpose-built luxury whale-watching vessel.

Read our Orca Bremer Bay Tour review for more information.

humpback whale tail flip western australia

2. Take a Whale Watching Tour

Western Australia’s South West is one of the best regions for whale watching. The long season runs from June to early December, starting in Augusta around June.

Read more about whale watching in the South West.

I’ve been lucky enough to see whales on a tour like these:

Dunsborough Whale Watching Eco Tour

Whale Watching Eco Tour Cruise from Augusta

dolphin up close in the wild
A wild dolphin visiting the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre’s Interactive Zone

3. Swim with Dolphins, Bunbury

Another experience I have loved was seeing dolphins in their natural environment. Bunbury Dolphin Discovery runs a dolphin swim tour. An experienced guide accompanies you in the ocean of calm Koombana Bay. This tour runs from November to April.

While here, visit the Interactive Zone. The best chance to see wild dolphins in the bay is between 8 am and 9 am.

wendy's daughters walking along the white sand into the ocean at misery beach albany wa
Our girls at Misery Beach, Albany

4. Visit Torndirrup National Park, Albany

Torndirrup National Park is one of my favourite National Parks in Western Australia. The park has some of the best beaches in the world, hikes, stunning scenery.

The Gap and Natural Bridge are the most popular attractions in Torndirrup National Park. They are best visited early before the crowds arrive. Misery Beach is a stunning beach where the pristine sand squeaks when walked upon, and the ocean is a clear turquoise blue. Bald Head Walk Trail, a challenging 12.5 km return trail, provides incredible views of the Southern Ocean and King George Sound.

If you don’t have a vehicle or would prefer to have the knowledge of a guide, take a tour. This The Gap and Natural Wonders Busy Blue Bus Tours visit Torndirrup National Park.

Read about other things to do in Torndirrup National Park in this guide on things to do in Albany.

aerial view of a walkway going around the outside of a massive granite rock
Granite Skywalk by Tourism Western Australia

5. Climb Castle Rock and Granite Sky Walk, Porongurup

The Castle Rock and Granite Sky Walk is a 4.7 km grade 5 hike that takes two to three hours. Although a short distance, it requires agility and a certain amount of fitness to climb the large boulders. The Granite Sky Walk has a ladder to access the suspended walkway, but I felt safe going up and down. This is one of my favourite hikes in the South West WA region!

If you don’t have transport or would like to the knowledge of a local guide, consider the Granite Skywalk Tour run by a local Albany company. This tour is perfect if you want an adventurous day out combined with a tasty lunch and wine tasting.

inside mammoth cave maragret river showing cave formations
Mammoth Cave

6. Explore a Cave, Margaret River region

Several hundred caves are in Leeuwin National Park, with six open to the public.

Mammoth Cave is a multi-chambered cave, home to many ancient fossil remains. It is the most accessible cave in the region. The self-guided audio tour ends with a walk through beautiful bushland. 

Mammoth Cave and Jewel Cave are my favourite show caves in Margaret River.

jewel cave ribbon drapery resembling streaky bacon
Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave is the largest cave in the area and home to one of the longest stalactites in any Australian tourist cave. Be amazed at the towering crystal formations that adorn the cave’s ceiling. During the one-hour guided tour, you will learn about the Tasmanian Tiger fossils found in the cave. 

Read my Jewel Cave review for more information.

inside Lake cave margaret river australais southwest with lights shining on the lake surrounded by cave formations
Lake Cave

Lake Cave is a stunning preserved chamber beneath the earth. A long staircase descends through a sinkhole to a sunken forest floor. Crystal formations reflect on the tranquil lake inside the cave, and stalactites suspend from the ceiling. It’s not suitable for anyone with low mobility

coloured lights displaying limestone formations in ngilgi cave margaret river
Ngilgi Cave

Ngilgi Cave is closer to Yallingup. Read my Ngilgi Cave review or Book Tickets direct with Ngilgi Cave here.

The other two are Calgardup Cave and Giants Cave.

stingray in the shaloows at hamelin bay western australia
Stingray Hamelin Bay

7. See Stingrays at Hamelin Bay

Stingrays are a popular tourist attraction and my favourite thing to do in Hamelin Bay. At most times during the day in summer, you can see the black shadows in the ocean by the boat ramp, waiting for scraps from fishers. They are wild animals, though, so keep your distance as they will defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Wellington Dam

8. Visit Wellington National Park, Collie

I enjoy hiking the many trails in Wellington National Park. But you can drive to Wellington Dam to see the world’s largest dam wall mural. It’s impressive to see it close up – view it from below, then drive up to the lookout to see it from above.

Read about Wellington National Park here.

aboriginal tour leader with traditional food
Koomal Dreaming Tours by Tourism Western Australia

9. Take a Cultural Tour

Join a cultural tour to learn about our incredible culture and history through the eyes of the traditional owners. One of my favourites is Koomal Dreaming. On their tours, you can taste native foods and learn about bush medicine, animals, plants and Dreaming spirits.

“Koomal” is the traditional name of Wadandi man Josh Whiteland. He’s a fantastic tour guide and passionate about his culture and commection to Boodja (land).

Book Koomal Dreaming Tours here

wendy's daughters at albanys Princess Royal Fortress, Albany Heritage Park
Our daughters at Princess Royal Fortress Outdoor Military Museum

10. Learn about ANZAC at the National ANZAC Centre, Albany

The National ANZAC Centre is the most recent addition to the Princess Royal Fortress site. I liked following personal stories through state-of-the-art technology, multimedia, and historical artefacts.

You take the identity of a serviceman or woman and trace their life through the Great War in an immersive learning experience. Entry ticket is valid during opening hours; access to all buildings within the Princess Royal Fortress is included.

While there, visit the Princess Royal Fortress, Albany Heritage Park, one of Australia’s best outdoor military museums.

Read this post for more ideas on things to do in Albany.

Wendy's twin daughters playing in the calm water at greens pool denmark western australia
Our girls at Greens Pool Denmark

11. Visit stunning Greens Pool & Elephant Rocks, Denmark

Greens Pool is my highlight when we visit Denmark, especially in summer when it’s warm enough to swim in the crystal clear water. It’s perfect for children as the beach slopes gradually, and the water is usually very calm.

You can walk along a 1.5 km trail that links Greens Pool to Elephant Rocks or drive. The rocks are in the shape of a certain animal, hence its name. The views here are stunning on a clear day.

See photos of Elephant Rocks and other places to visit in this guide on things to do in Denmark.

a white lighthouse on cape naturaliste
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

12. Drive along Cape Naturaliste, near Dunsborough

The Cape Naturaliste beaches are some of the best in the world. Most are protected by the cape, making the water calm. My favourite swimming beaches are Meelup Beach, Eagle Bay, and Bunker Bay. Castle Bay, Point Picquet, and Shelley Cove are picturesque too.

Take advanatge of a tour of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, built in 1903 and one of the most popular attractions in Australia’s South West.

We usually eat at Bunker Bay Café or Eagle Bay Brewery. Wise Winery is also a beautiful spot for lunch and wine tasting.

sunset over sugar loaf rock off the coastline
Sugarloaf Rock Island at Sunset

13. Watch the Sunset at Sugarloaf Rock, Cape Naturaliste

One of my favourite places to be at sunset, and the most photographed, is Sugarloaf Rock in Cape Naturaliste. It’s a short walk to the lookout for stunning island and coastline views.

people in injidup spa on a calm day with rocks either side
Injidup Natural Spa

14. Swim at the Aquarium or Injidup Spa near Yallingup

It’s hard to choose which are the best beaches in the Margaret River region as you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Injidup Natural Spa is an Instagram-famous spot which recently received an influx of visitors. It can be hard to park due to its popularity. I wasn’t that impressed and much preferred the quieter Injidup Beach on the other side.

the clear waters of a swimming spot called the aquarium
The Aquarium near Yallingup

The Aquarium was a secret beach that only locals knew about before social media outed where it was.  This rockpool is between Canal Rocks and Smiths Beach but can only be accessed via the Cape to Cape Track. You can get to it from either direction, but from Canal Rocks is more accessible and shorter: 500 metres as opposed to 1.5 km from Smiths Beach. The water here is transparent and a fantastic spot to swim and snorkel, although the water was freezing!

There are lots of other beaches near Yallingup to explore, too.

wine tasting area in aravina estate with private dining room behind
Aravina Estate Wine Tasting Room

15. Wine Tasting in Margaret River

The Margaret River region has over 120 world-class wineries and over thirty-six grape varieties. The most popular grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.

Visit the cellar door of one of over ninety boutique wineries to do some wine tasting. A whopping sixty-two of those received a 5-star Halliday rating. Margaret River is the third most visited wine region in Australia by international visitors (after Yarra Valley and Hunter). But the most visited wine region for domestic travellers.

Some wineries charge a small fee for the tastings. Most take it off any wine sale though.

Visit the Margaret River Visitor Centre, on the main street in Margaret River town for a free map.

white lighthouse standing tall on a cliff overlooking a rough ocean with a house in front surrounded by green fields
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

16.Tour Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia. This working lighthouse has stunning views of the rugged coastline and the Southern and Indian oceans.

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour provides an in-depth look at a lighthouse built in the 1800s. It also has stunning views of Australia’s most south-westerly point.

wendys girls walking along the steel platform of walpole tree top walk
Our family at the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk

17. Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, Walpole

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, the most popular tourist attraction in Walpole, climbs 40m above the forest canopy. It gives a birds-eye view over the 400-year-old giant red tingle trees without damaging them.

Read more about the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk here.

family inside the giant tingle tree in walpole
Our daughters at The Giant Tingle Tree Walpole

18. Walk inside a Giant Tingle Tree, Walpole

The Giant Tingle trail leads to the Giant Tingle, said to be the largest, living girthed eucalypt in the world at 24m. This red tingle has been hollowed out by fire but is still alive as the living and growing parts of the tree are located just below the outer bark. I found it awe-inspiring to stand in these impressive trees.

Read more about this Giant Tingle tree here

dave and the girls at little beach albany wa
Little Beach Albany

19. Discover a New Beach

The South West has some of the best beaches in Western Australia.

Bunker Bay, a serene spot near Dunsborough, is a perfect place for a family outing, with its crystal-clear waters and gentle waves. Then there’s the iconic Surfers Point in Margaret River, a paradise for surf enthusiasts with its world-class waves. If you’re after a wildlife experience, Hamelin Bay is where you can spot stingrays up close in the shallow waters. Another must-visit is Meelup Beach, known for its calm turquoise waters and ideal for swimming and picnicking. And finally, Greens Pool in William Bay National Park near Denmark is an absolute jewel with its sheltered emerald-green waters and surrounding rock formations.

Each of these beaches offers a unique experience, making them perfect destinations for your adventures in exploring our beautiful state!

kangaroos on sand beach

20. See Kangaroos on the Beach

Lucky Bay near Esperance is not only famed for being one of the whitest beaches in Australia but also for its resident kangaroos. Groups of kangaroos casually hop along the shore. It’s a surreal and quintessentially Australian scene.

These friendly marsupials are quite accustomed to visitors and often appear unfazed by human presence. Watching them play and lounge in their natural habitat, with the stunning backdrop of the pristine beach and crystal-clear waters, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, seeing kangaroos at Lucky Bay is an unforgettable and iconic Aussie experience.

My Map of the Best Things To Do in South West WA

map of western australias south west with pins showing attractions and things to do in the south west

South West Road Trips

The best way to see Western Australia’s South West region is by road. It allows you to see all the charming towns, beautiful coastline, and stop at some of the best eateries.

Here are my favourite road trips in the South West:

Other Helpful Guides

Questions I’m Frequently Asked

What is the South West of WA known for?

The South West region of Western Australia is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from green forests and fertile farmlands to stunning coastlines. Some of the highlights are:

  • Walpole-Nornalup National Park
  • Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
  • Wine Tours
  • Surfing
  • Whale Watching
  • Beaches

What are some hidden places in South West WA?

The South West region of Western Australia has plenty of well-known attractions, but it also has some lesser-known spots like these:

  • Cosy Corner Beach (near Hamelin Bay)
  • Redgate Beach, Margaret River
  • Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
  • Blackwood River
  • Yallingup Maze

Flights ✈️

We usually fly Virgin Australia domestically due to their competitive prices and fantastic customer service and fly with Qatar Airways to Europe.

virgin australia cabin crew

Accommodation 🏩

We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.

Car Rental 🚘

To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.

Campervan/RV Rental 🚐

Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.

DiscoverCars.com20 Must Do Things To Do in South West WA: Locals Guide 2024

Tours & Attractions 🎢

We book direct and use a mixture of third-party sites ViatorGet Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing.

Accessing Money 💵

We recently started using Wise to access funds internationally, including trips to Bali and Malaysia. They offer a debit card in 50 currencies and transfers are fast and free from hidden fees and exchange rate markups. Funds can be accessed through ATMs too. Wise has saved us a lot of money compared to our usual credit card and debit card.

Find out more from Wise here.

Travel Insurance 🌏

Cover-More and Travel Insurance Direct are our preferred travel insurance companies for domestic and international travel.

See this Travel Insurance for Australia guide for more information.