We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Singapore
Level Contributor
234 posts
23 reviews
Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Hi, we had a lovely time touring the Southwest and the Great Southern from Nov 17-29. Thank you all for your help (especially Melnq8, perfectlyperth and ajk58 who took the time to answer most of my questions) regarding the itineraries, rainwater and leavers' week.

We prebooked most of our accommodation at websites of the various visitor centres listed below -

www.albanytourist.com.au

www.walpole.com.au

www.margaretriver.com

www.visitesperance.com,

www.stayz.com.au, www.aspenparks.com.au and www.wotif.com.au.

At the last minute, I realised that I got the flight dates mixed up and managed to reschedule most affected accommodation within an hour via e-mail on Sunday and the last one on Monday morning when the Esperance visitor centre opened. That's very quick and excellent help by the teams at Perth Vineyards Holiday Park, Margaret River visitor centre, Discovery Park Kalgoorlie and Esperance visitor centre. We found all the accommodation we stayed at good, clean and quiet.

My worries about rainwater was unfounded. We had a lovely warm welcome from Gary of Tinglewood Cabins at Walpole. He assured us that the rainwater was sterilised by ultraviolet rays and took the time to show us around the cabin and demostrated how the potbelly fireplace worked. The boys had a wonderful time climbing the log and playing with the swings.

Our ambitious 13D/12N itinerary - 2 nights at Albany, 1 night at Walpole, 2 nights at Margaret River, 1 night at Perth, 1 night at Hyden, 3 nights at Esperance, 1 night at Kalgoorlie, 1 night at Perth - was very tight. We survived :) and saw the highlights of each place but honestly, it was very much like a taster menu, a bit of everything but not enough time to savour it fully.

The gorgeous scenery, wonderful wines and foods, and beautiful beaches of Albany/Denmark/Walpole, Margaret River and Esperance have touted at length by the experts here and they certainly did not disappoint.

We had delicious pies at the Denmark Bakery, Augusta Bakery and Miami Bakery, scrumptious ice-cream at Bartholomews Bakery and Simmos, interesting tours at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse and Nigiri cave, great wine-tasting at Adinfern and Madfish wineries and saw the Diamond tree and many magnificient coasts. It would be good to add 2 or 3 days each at Albany/Denmark/Walpole, Margaret River and Esperance. I wouldn't mind going back and spending a week at any of these places. :)

Hyden was a surprising hit with my boys, though. Enroute, we stopped at York (pretty, historic town) and climbed the Kokerbin Rock (3rd largest monolithic rock in Australia). It was easy to climb up to the top and the boys had great fun doing that. We were rewarded with the marvellous view of the wheat belt surrounding the rock, although we did get a bit lost coming down. At Hyden, they liked the story of Mulka's Cave and enjoyed climbing the Wave Rock and the Hippo's Yawn immensely. These rocks are really a piece of cake, compared to the Frenchman's Peak at Esperance.

The trial at Frenchman's Peak was well marked. The initial walk was very pleasant, with little wooden bridges and scrubby bushes. I'm afraid I chickened out when we reached the actual rock because it was so steep, sloping (it seems to me) at 45 degree or more incline. The boys and their father ventured a little further, giving up midway to the top because it was steep and windy. Still, going further than Mummy gave the little one (just 5) something to crow about.

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Western Australia
Level Contributor
3,559 posts
296 reviews
1. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

I'm enjoying your report SteppingStones. I appreciate the feedback on Frenchman's Peak...I was temped to give it a go when we were there, but a knee problem convinced me otherwise.

<I wouldn't mind going back and spending a week at any of these places. :)

There's so much to see and do here, isn't there? There never seems to be enough time.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
Level Contributor
2,955 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Its always a worry with tight itineraries that you'll miss some of the better locations. Like Mel says...so much down there it can take a lifetime of visits to experience it all. Hopefully your "taster" has whetted your appetite to come back for the rest of the meal :-)

Glad to hear you had a wonderful and safe trip.

Singapore
Level Contributor
234 posts
23 reviews
3. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Yes, it would be good to go back to spend more time at each place. It's a bit of a relief also that we made it back safely considering how very tight the itinerary was. The distance between each place was enormous. Relying mainly on google map directions, we were at first worried about missing the turn-offs (as directed on the map), and then we realised that many times, we were simply not there yet. After a while, we learnt that if we hadn't seen the road signs, it just means we haven't reached there yet. The roads are all very well sign-posted. We liked that overtaking lanes, road-houses, parking and tourist stops are all highlighted at least 200m in advance.

Just a word about booster seats for those travelling with kids, we had very prompt quotations from the three companies we enquired at:

Go Baby hire and sales, www.gobabyhire.com.au

Baby allsorts, www.babyallsorts.com.au

Hire for Baby, www.hireforbaby.com

They all rent out booster seats that comply with the new regulations. You can collect the seat yourself or get them delivered to the car rental companies/airport for a fee. We rented and collected ours (Safe and Sound booster) from Go Baby hire (Guildford, next to the Padbury store) and are very happy with their price, seat and friendly service.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
Level Contributor
2,955 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

<The distance between each place was enormous>

How did you cope with the run between Hyden and Esperance ? Thats a pretty long desolate haul.

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Western Australia
Level Contributor
3,559 posts
296 reviews
5. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

<The distance between each place was enormous>

Please share this info with anyone who might ask you about WA. No one seems to believe us when we tell them!

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Western Australia
Level Contributor
3,559 posts
296 reviews
6. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Forgot to ask, how were the flies?

Singapore
Level Contributor
234 posts
23 reviews
7. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

<How did you cope with the run between Hyden and Esperance ?>

I'm so glad you asked this because because I forgot to mention that my partner had the best burger at Lake King Tavern, freshly prepared, nice and juicy. My elder son and I had fish and chips, which came with a really yummy salad. It was a nice traditional tavern, with good service, friendly locals popping in, waving hi and passing you the latest newspapers when they notice you're reading an old issue. Like most town pubs, they had a big television screen, a pool table, juke, a soccer table with balls ready (so the boys had a go at it), a pacman machine, and a playground outside (although it was too hot). We were there when the news of the second blast at the NZ mine broke. The lady at the bar turned up the volume and the few at the tavern gathered, watched quietly, concerned. Their solidarity with the miners was palpable. I was only there for 2 hours so I may be wrong, but I'd imagine that such a people-oriented, family friendly place to be the heart of the town and we liked it very much.

From Lake King, we travelled straight to Esperance, with only a brief stop at the Munglinup roadhouse. Enroute, we saw golden wheat fields (straight to the horizon, some with large rocks sitting in the middle), enormous silos and salt lakes. Nearer Esperance, there were bales of hay, cattle and sheep.

<How were the flies?>

We met them a few times at various places. At Glenoran Pool (along Graphite Road), we swatted at them and gulped down our food very quickly. At Cape Leeuwin, they gathered on our backs. The boys were more preoccupied with slapping our backs than seeing the Southern and Indian oceans meeting. At Cape Naturaliste, we were fortunate to meet a friendly local who recommended eucalyptus leaves (from the bottom of eucalyptus trees) as natural fly swats. We were all waving eucalyptus leaves at the whale lookout. It worked quite well with the flies but didn't attract the whales who remained pretty much at the horizon. At Busselton, we retreated and enjoyed our fly-free Equinox takeaway lunch in the car. Apparently, they don't like dark places. At Le Grand Beach at Cape Le Grand, the little one generously shared his tuna (bless his little fumbling fingers) and we had a generally fly-free lunch as the flies crowded on their share of tuna. So, you see...we got better at handling flies. ;)

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
Level Contributor
2,955 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

LOL

Travel tip for shoo-ing flies:-

Have a can of Tuna on hand if Eucalyptus leaves are not available.

We might need to add that one to the "Top Questions" list ;-)

Singapore
Level Contributor
234 posts
23 reviews
9. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

:) We adapted. For those keen on flynets, they are available in Singapore at a hypermart for only S$4.50. ;)

I didn't start out this trip report with a day to day report because I honestly don't recommend this itinerary to those unused to driving long distances. While the sights, foods and places were wonderful, it was tiring. But, on second thoughts, perhaps elaborating on what we actually covered (compared to our plans) may help someone plan their trip better.

For the first part of the trip (Albany/Walpole/Margaret River), we had 2 adults, 2 grandparents and 2 children and the second (Hyden/Esperance/Kalgoorlie), we had 2 adults and 2 children. I would imagine that couples without children can probably pack a lot more in their trip than what we did, though.

Day 1

Checked out at 10 a.m., collected booster seat and left Perth very late at 11.15 a.m. Had pies for lunch at Williams Woolshed. Thanks to the wonderful ladies at ANZ counter and souvenier shop, I also managed to print out key collection instructions to the Albany accommodation (Silly me printed the wrong one before we left home). Realising rather belatedly that we had to reach Albany by 5 p.m. before the Visitor Centre closes, we skipped Kojonup Place and Porongurup, arriving at Albany Visitor Centre in the nick of time (5 min to 5 p.m.) to collect the keys, thankful that we did not have to sleep in the car or the streets that night.

Maps used: Google maps, RAC free map (Perth to Albany), Albany map (from Albany Visitor Centre)

Singapore
Level Contributor
234 posts
23 reviews
10. Re: Southwest and Great southern, Nov 17-29

Day 2

House at Emu point was wonderful. There's a playground just opposite and it was so refreshing to step out into the cool, crisp morning and see the clear, blue waters of the channel and King George Sound.

Our first stop was Torndirrup National Park. At the Gap lookout, the boys were thrilled to see the waves thundering against the mighty Gneiss rocks and waited eagerly for each crash. The Natural Bridge was a sight to behold, absolutely stunning. I stood at the lookout stunned, chilled to the bone. Not only was it a magnificient coastal landform but minutes earlier, we - children and all had unwittingly walked across the Bridge (thought it was just some flat rock) for some phototaking, bantering and laughing and completely oblivious to the risk and danger we were in. I'd advise visitors that it's really important to keep to the trails to the lookouts.

The next stop was the Blowhole. The walk to the blowhole was very nice with plenty of wildflowers at the sides of the path, although the blowhole was a shadow of itself, giving out little mists.

We had lunch at Whalers Gallery cafe. Whale World brought parts of the Moby Dick to life, so it was very interesting for the children. The guided tour bringing you to different parts of the whaling station was informative. The children were impressed by the huge whale skeleton exhibits and enjoyed the three different shows in the renovated oil storage tanks (you can still smell the oil), the playground and most of all, exploring the whalechaser, Cheynes IV. After polishing off the yummy scones at Whalers Gallery cafe, it was back to the Woolsworth supermarket at Dog Rock Shopping Centre for grocery shopping and a home cooked dinner at the Emu Point house.

Get answers to your questions about Margaret River