February 16, 2023
3 mins Read
The 2000-kilometre South West Edge loop passes through forests and picturesque agricultural landscapes, with thrilling mountain bike runs through the thick forest out of Bunbury, peaceful hiking trails along the rugged coastline, and roaring natural blowholes to explore. Still, it’s the local produce you’re really going to want to sink your teeth into.
In Fremantle, bounce from cafe to cafe along the ‘Cappuccino Strip’, soaking up the portside city’s rich Italian culture. The rolling hills of Ferguson Valley in the heart of WA’s most diverse wine region, Geographe, bring a welcome change of pace. Take in the undulating farmland while sampling your way from Bastardo to Zinfandel before overnighting at a cosy farm stay nearby.
From there, the world-renowned Margaret River Region is just an hour and 15 minutes away. It’s where the ocean meets the vines and luxury meets laid-back, offering a choose-your-own-adventure of five-star cellar doors and restaurants, beachside cafes, and everything in between.
Each season brings something different on the South West Edge road trip , but the route’s most prized delicacies appear in winter, like Manjimup’s pungent black Perigord truffle and Albany’s rock and Akoya oysters. Try truffle straight from the gate post-hunt; then, when you hit the bottom of the loop, pay the Albany Markets a visit for shucked-to-order oysters.
High on Castle Rock, in the heart of the Porongurup National Park, is the Granite Skywalk. Climb to the top for 360-degree views over the park and to the peaks of the Stirling Range beyond; at 670 metres above sea level. It’s one of the best vantage points in the area. it’s a 1500-metre hike to the base, then a rock scramble and six-metre ladder climb to the peak.
Sit among hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites of Ngilgi Cave as Josh ‘Koomal’ Whiteland, a cultural custodian of the Wadandi people and guide at Koomal Dreaming, fills the cave with the sounds of his didgeridoo. It’s the final stop on two of his popular bush walk and bush tucker tours. Before descending into the cave’s depths, Koomal will guide a bush walk through Wadandi boodja (Margaret River), where he’ll forage for and cook bush foods and share Dreamtime stories.
There’s no inopportune time to drive The South West Edge. The hundreds of bays and beaches are at their finest over summer – but the towering marri and karri forests come into their own over winter and into early spring, when the canopies are full and the undergrowth erupts in a colourful display of wildflowers. Spring is the best time for whale watching, while late summer to early autumn is best for wine connoisseurs.
The loop begins and ends in Perth.
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