Immerse yourself in natural surroundings with Pemberton's old-growth forests, mountain bike trails, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and sand dunes. Test your fear of heights at the 58m-tall Gloucester Tree, once a fire-lookout, and climb the makeshift ladder to the top. Stretch your legs on one of the nearby mountain bike trails or spend some time sampling the region’s wines and local produce. Sit above the Beedelup Falls on a suspension bridge, watching the fall in full flow during winter and spring or walk the trail around Big Brook Dam. Overnight in Pemberton before taking a tour of the world’s largest moving sand dune system, Yeagarup Dunes.
Feeling brave? You’ll need all the courage you can muster to climb to the top of the Gloucester tree, so tall it was once a fire lookout. While no longer in use today, the giant pegs nailed into its trunk – which function as a makeshift ladder – remain the only equipment you’ve got to climb to the 58-metre-tall top. The same height as a 16-storey skyscraper, that’s a nerve-racking climb: but views from the enclosed balcony at its summit are a worthy reward. Cast your eye over the sea of green, which stretches all the way to the sea, and let your heartbeat return to normal before commencing the return journey.
The aptly named Valley Of The Giants is home to a forest of gigantic old native trees – some more than 400 years old. The trees here are so big that historically, people would drive cars through gaps in their trunks. Explore the beauty of their treetops on a lightweight cabled walkway, which leads you high above the leafy canopy across a series of aerial platforms that gently sway back and forth with the breeze. Then, back on the ground, follow a twisting pathway through the forest floor to see their size and grandeur up close. As well as the famous karri trees native to the region, the valley is home to red tingle trees which, fittingly, often impart a sense of tingling wonder in those who come to see them.
On the way to Denmark visit Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks. Visit Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks - framed by huge boulders which act as a protective shore break for the peppermint tinged waters, this sanctuary is perfect for snorkelling. Sample the gourmet producers and cellar doors along Scotsdale Tourist Drive and Mount Shadforth Scenic Drive before overnighting in Denmark. Stop for breakfast and coffee and to sample some of the local gourmet artisans, and stroll through local galleries meeting makers of furniture, pottery, glass, sculptures and paintings.
Caster-sugar sands and water like liquid mint: the warm, flat expanse of Greens Pool should belong on a dazzling tropical postcard. Find this sanctuary in William Bay National Park, just twenty minutes from Denmark. A hop, a skip and a jump down the short walking track and you’ll reach your reward: postcard-perfect views that are even prettier in three dimensions. Thanks to a shore-break of smooth boulders, this shallow-bottomed body of water is protected by the ocean’s normal current, creating a giant natural pool of water in hues of pastel peppermint. Join the locals and kick out a few morning laps across its top, or make do with a splash in the shallows and relax on the flat, sun-warmed rocks. Local tip: small multi-coloured coral communities have sprung up underwater around the base of the boulders; pack your snorkel for a close-up look.
Arrive in Albany. You’ll find farmers markets, fresh oysters, and some of the most pristine beaches this side of the equator. Arrive in Albany, where you’ll find farmers markets, fresh oysters and bespoke spirits, as well some of the most pristine beaches this side of the equator. Visit the striking coast at The Gap and Natural Bridge or step back in time at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station and National ANZAC Centre. Discover native Australian plants and animals at Discovery Bay, keeping an eye out for migrating humpback and southern right whales playing close to shore (June to September). Spend the afternoon sampling delicious seasonal produce, before enjoying dinner at one of the historic town’s restaurants. Overnight in Albany.
Whooosh… BANG! What was that? As you ease nearer the edge of The Gap, in Torndirrup National Park, the booming oceanic rumblings will intensify until – CRASH! – suddenly the spectacle reveals itself. A slice between rock-hewed sea cliffs, The Gap is embroiled in an endless dance with the ocean: watch as it sucks in giant pockets of air with each receding wave, then brace as the water returns with a head-first slam into the walls. The viewing platform overhead – high enough to make you dizzy – is the ultimate spot to watch the show; the scale of the cliffs and the force of the ocean put things in humbling perspective. Admire the surrounding coastline, aflame with native wildflowers, and check out The Gap’s equally beautiful counterpart, the rock formation known as Natural Bridge. Afterwards, head into nearby Albany for a meal, or check out the curious sight of Albany Wind Farm – its 12 turbines line the coast in a silent, eerily beautiful ever-moving formation.