South West (Western Australia)
South West is a region of Western Australia.
Western Australia's South West region covers about 24,000 square kilometres. It comprises the area south of the Perth and Wheatbelt regions and southwest of Goldfields-Esperance. It includes the Peel and Great Southern areas. To the south and west the region is bordered by the Indian Ocean. This beautiful corner of the continent boasts a rugged coastline, caves, wineries, and very good surfing.
Temperatures are influenced by the proximity to the Southern Ocean, and the distance from the coast. Significant regional variations are possible, and it is quite possible at certain times of year to be swimming at Bunbury at lunchtime, and sitting by an open fire in Albany in the evening. Check local guides.
The main gateway to the region is the state capital of Perth. From here, just about everywhere within the region is within a day's drive.
Unless you are doing a long distance hike, or just hanging out on a beach somewhere, a car or an arranged tour is required to see all the highlights of the region. Bicycle touring, especially around the Margaret River region, is popular, but as always requires some preparation and route planning - the roads in the area often have no shoulder and have fast traffic.
A map can give you little indication of driving times, and even GPS and online mapping services can grossly misrepresent these times. Seek local advice.
A common loop around the Southwest is to start from Perth, and take the Albany Highway through Mount Barker to Albany, this is an reasonable half-day drive. You can then return via the coast, seeing the trees and wineries in Pemberton (Western Australia), before travelling back via the Margaret River, Busselton, Bunbury, and back up through Mandurah to Perth. If doing this loop, it is unusual to allow more than a day for the trip to Albany, as the road is featureless and the towns are small. Allow much more time in Albany, and for the return trip. The roads are slower, and there are many stopping opportunities, beaches, sights and diversions of the roads for parks and walks.