Duration: 4 days
Distance: 981km / 609miles
Day 1: Perth to Albany - 416km / 258miles
Day 2: Albany
Day 3: Albany to Pemberton - 237km / 147miles
Day 4: Pemberton to Perth - 328km / 204miles
The southwest corner of Western Australia has a reputation for being one of Australia's most exciting emerging wine regions. The mild weather and abundant sunshine is not only good for grapes, but provides the perfect setting for a relaxing nature-based getaway.
The region is renowned for its gourmet food and wineries as well as its spectacular forests and woodlands.
Day 1: Perth to Albany
A pleasant 4 hour and 45 minute drive heading south from Perth along Albany Highway will find you in the picturesque town of Albany - Western Australia's original capital and now most famous for its whaling heritage.
Along the way, make a point of stopping in Mount Barker. It's an agricultural town, which is rapidly building a reputable wine industry, and now boasts some of Western Australia's most established international wine labels.
The industry is still small enough to provide visitors with that personal touch, so take the time to visit the wineries or enjoy lunch in one of the historic hotels in the township, before heading another 40 minutes south along the highway to Albany.
Once in Albany, settle into one of the town's friendly Bed & Breakfasts or a boutique hotel, before sampling some local wines over dinner at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants.
Also worth a visit on the drive from Perth to Albany is Frankland and Porongurup - home to more delicious up-and-coming south western wineries. Tomorrow's line-up of leading labels!
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Day 2: Albany
Get an early start and begin your exploration of Albany - the regional centre for Western Australia's Great Southern.
Visit the old whaling station - now transformed into a fascinating museum - for an interesting lesson on the town's history and this incredible industry of past eras.
Ironically, whales now often breach and frolic only a few hundred metres from the museum. Venture a little further to the lookout platforms along the coast to continue your whale-watching experience.
The purposed-sinking of HMAS Perth as a dive wreck in 2001 provides a unique opportunity for marine enthusiasts exploring Albany's waters. The wreck is easily accessed by divers and can also be viewed from the water's surface by snorkellers.
After an active morning, you'll want to slow the pace with a lunchtime feast and visit some more of Albany's delectable wineries and original art galleries.
This is a magnificent part of Western Australia - its blue skies, white sands, green hills and sea green waters will be embossed in your memory.
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Day 3: Albany to Pemberton via Denmark and Walpole
There's nothing like a hearty country breakfast to start the day. Today, we suggest heading 40 minutes west of Albany to the postcard-perfect township of Denmark, where the forest meets the sea.
Nestled on a pretty meandering river, Denmark is renowned for its artistic community, world-class wineries and scenic coastline. Stroll through town for a look at local arts and crafts, or take a dip at one of the spectacular beaches.
Walpole is a 45 minute drive from here, and is characterised by its lofty native forests. Located on the inlet, it also offers a fabulous choice of restaurants and cafes so it's a good spot to pause for lunch.
A visit to the award-winning Tree Top Walk is a must for awesome views over a grove of 400 year old red tingle trees known as the Valley of the Giants. Back on the ground breathe in the cool forest air under a towering canopy - a humbling experience.
Visit the interpretive centre and learn how these enormous trees form their cavernous trunks, some of which are large enough to accommodate a car!
Spend the afternoon visiting the local herb farm, or take an eco-cruise on the inlet, before driving just over an hour north to Pemberton , located at the edge of world-famous Margaret River Wine Region.
There are some gorgeous accommodation options here, from rustic chalets, to lakeside resorts and farmstay experiences, making for an overnight stay with all the creature comforts.
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Day 4: Pemberton to Perth
Deep in the heart of Western Australia's south-western forests is Pemberton, where you'll wake up to the tranquil sounds of nature.
Make the Gloucester Tree lookout the first stop. Climb the pegs to the top of the impossibly tall tree for a commanding view of the forest canopy - a truly 'top of the world' experience.
If you're feeling peckish, refuel at your choice of the many cottage-style restaurants in the area, all offering excellent gourmet meals or simple, country fare.
Then spend the afternoon exploring some of the trails and tracks leading into the forest, remembering to keep a sharp lookout for native wildlife that inhabits the area.
Alternatively, browse the galleries, woodcraft studios and shops of Pemberton and visit some of the local wineries.
While not as famous as its neighbour, the southern forests share the same weather and soil composition as Margaret River , and produce some sensational wines.
Many of the wineries are family owned and operated, so you'll find the service personal and friendly. It's not uncommon to be greeted by the owner, who will be happy to provide samples of their wines and show you around - there's something special about sharing a glass of good wine with the person who made it.
Take a few bottles away to enjoy back in Perth, about a four and a half hour drive away, or continue travelling through Western Australia's serene south west if you can't bear to leave this luscious part of Western Australia.
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