15 Feb 2018
Before we kick off why this region is your next must-see holiday destination, we need to start by showing you this:
Image: Swimmers in Geographe Bay, near Meelup; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
Pretty easy on the eyes, eh? That's Bunbury and surrounds for you. Extaordinary landscapes, award-winning wineries, friendly dolphins, and an entire village of gnomes (you'll find out soon enough).
Here are our ten top-rated activities in Western Australia's South West.
1. Dolphin Discovery Centre
WHERE: Lot 830 Koombana Drive, Bunbury, WA 6230
Close encounters of the finned kind. With up to 100 dolphins that call Koombana Bay their home, see these wild creatures living and thriving in their natural habitat. The Dolphin Discovery Centre has been operating as a non-profit organisation - dedicated to dolphin research and conservation - and educating the wider community on these majestic mammals. There's an Interaction Zone, where visitors can submerge into knee-deep water to look at the dolphins only a stone's throw away!
Image: Swimming with Dolphins Dolphin Discovery Centre; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
2. Bunbury Wildlife Park
WHERE: Prince Philip Drive, South Bunbury, WA 6230
Do a happy dance with cockatoos! What makes the Bunbury Wildlife Park so awesome? Up-close encounters with furry and feathered animals. The kangaroo enclosure is a crowd-favourite, letting you make new friends with the Aussie icon! Have a picnic or BBQ on the site, or check out the Wildlife Cafe. The Big Swamp Playground nextdoor is a huge hit with kids, housing a range of interactive equipment suitable for all ages.
Image: Sherman the wombat; Credit: Bunbury Wildlife Park.
3. Rose Hotel Pub
WHERE: 27 Wellington Street, Bunbury, WA 6230
A piece of history and a loved Bunbury establishment, the Rose Hotel has been serving beautiful meals and tasty froths since 1865. Not just your standard pub, the Rose has a wide range of meals from your classic schnitzel through to a Thai beef noodle salad. Generous servings and friendly service, have your lunch at this famous Bunbury landmark.
Image: Rose Hotel in Bunbury; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
4. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
WHERE: 1267 Cape Naturaliste Road, Naturaliste, WA 6281
What this may lack in height, it makes up for with jaw-dropping, panaromanic views of the Indian Ocean. If you want to see inside the lighthouse, join one of the tours throughout the day that starts every half hour between 9:30AM and 4PM. There's a short walk next to the lighthouse, that takes you to a whale watching lookout over the cliffs and out to the shining sea.
Image: Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
5. Eagle Bay Brewing Company
WHERE: 236 Eagle Bay Rd, Naturaliste, WA 6281
Restaurant, microbrewery, and vineyard, the Eagle Bay Brewing Company is the ultimate combination to ignite your taste buds. Just around the corner from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, Eagle Bay looks out over wild bushland and peaceful farmland towards the Indian Ocean. Have yourself a pizza party with your friends and drink their finest pale ale in the sunshine.
Image: Eagle Bay Brewing Company, Dunsborough; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
6. Bunbury Regional Art Galleries
WHERE: 64 Wittenoom Street, Bunbury, WA 6230
Bunbury has the proud badge of being the South West's cultural hub. The Bunbury Regional Art Galleries showcases contemporary work from local and national artists. They have five exhibition spaces, spanning over two floors, with rotating exhibitions every six weeks. Keep up to date with their latest activities, workshops, and events on their Facebook to see what's on when you're in town: click here.
Image & Credit: Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.
7. Bunbury Farmers Market
WHERE: 2 Vittoria Rd, Glen Iris, WA 6230
Not just your average grocer, the Bunbury Farmers Market is where you go for the finest produce of the region. You'll love stopping at all of the sampling stations and chatting with the friendly and knowledgeable staff along the trail. Their market-made food must be tried. They have their own pastry chef at the market who makes some of the best pies and pastries you'll ever have the chance to bite into. Beware: once you walk past the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread, you'll find yourself buying a whole loaf.
Image & Credit: Bunbury Farmers Market.
8. Geographe Wine Region
WHERE: Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook, Capel, Harvey and Busselton, WA
Western Australian wine goes beyond the reaches of the Swan Valley. The South West's Geographe Region is a geographically diverse area, with a number of microclimates that lend themselves well to producing a range of major and unique varieties. Bonking Frogs is worth a visit (if not for the wine, then for the name), as well as Capel Vale Winery and St Aidan Wines. Taste it all at the Donnybrook Food and Wine Festival, held each November. It showcases the very best locally-sourced wine and produce.
Image: Capel Vale Winery; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
WHERE: LOT 4059 Wellington Mill Rd, Wellington Mill, WA 6236
Happiness can be found in this quirky villge. Gnomesville is a vibrant community of gnomes that live together in harmony. No one really knows how it started, but we're glad it exists. Want to guess how many gnomes are here? A remarkable number: 7,000. They're gardening, climbing, driving, dancing, or any other activities that gnomes busy themselves with. Gnomesville is a quaint and essential stop when you're in the Ferguson Valley.
10. Ngilgi Cave
WHERE: 76 Yallingup Caves Rd, Yallingup, WA 6282
One fine day in 1899, settler Edward Dawson discovered a cave system by absolute chance while looking for horses that wandered off. The cave is a youthful 500,000 years old and holds spectacular stalagmite and stalactite formations. Bookings required for tours. If you're not the claustrophobic type, then head forty meteres underground for the cave adventure tour. You'll strap on your helmet and crawl through cramped spaces like old mate Indiana Jones.
Image: Ngilgi Cave; Credit: Tourism Western Australia.
Discover Western Australia's south west and stay at Discovery Holiday Parks.