There is so much to do and see in the South West, the challenge is packing all the best bits into your holiday experience. Lizzy pepper rounds up some of the greatest ways to experience our beautiful outdoors.
These family-friendly tours are exhilarating, breathtaking and, best of all, showcase the spectacular Margaret River region. Buckle up and have a wonderful ride.
FLY THROUGH THE FOREST
Fancy flying through the forest on an exhilarating zipline, ‘snowboarding’ between trees or climbing a cargo net high off the ground, you’ll love Forest Adventures South West, set in the last remaining tuart forest in the world. It’s the only high-wire course in the south west, and it’s an awesome adventure for families with kids aged 7+, and adults alike. Climb to soaring heights and speed along flying foxes through the treetops. Sounds a little scary? Rest assured, you’ll love it even if you’re afraid of heights. There are six courses, so start with the gentlest to ease yourself into it. Experts are on hand to help you master the safety equipment and deal with any nerves. The equipment is superb – a double carabiner safety system ensures you’re 100% secure.
Great for kids aged seven and above, and taller than 110cm.
Forest Adventures South West, 12 Ludlow Park Road, Busselton.
Bookings recommended – visit forestadventures.com.au
PADDLE THE BLACKWOOD, ZOOM THROUGH THE DIRT
What better way to experience the tranquil Blackwood River National Park than a gentle paddle in a kayak with Surf n Dirt Adventure Tours? Paul and Mojo (the border collie) are fantastic tour guides, giving us some local history and information as we cruised past birdlife, people fishing in canoes and the occasional kangaroo. We were lucky with the weather, and despite visiting in winter, it was perfect – overcast, but not a breath of wind. With a maximum of seven people on the tour, it’s an intimate experience, and Paul’s happy to tailor the day to suit your interests. We had a picnic lunch on the riverbank after our 90-minute kayak trip. Fancy checking out the Boranup Forest?
Paul’s Living the Lifestyle Tour includes an exciting mountain bike ride through the towering karri trees of Boranup Forest, a visit to a boutique winery or microbrewery, and all equipment included. Kids are welcome and Paul will adapt the tour to suit your family – that might include a kayak ride, a trip to Hamelin Bay to see the stingrays, visiting Brides Cave, or wine tasting and a chocolate tasting at TemperTemper. He’s taken babies as young as three months kayaking – there are lifejackets for kids.
Great for kids of all ages.
Surf n Dirt Adventure Tours Bookings: 0458 191 469 and surfndirtadventuretours.com.au
SOAR ABOVE THE SURF
Hands-down the most exciting way to see the south west is by helicopter. Jackson from Scenic Helicopters is your affable guide, pointing out all the sights – lighthouses, Lake Cave doline, Surfers Point, Leeuwin Estate and Voyager Estate wineries, schools of salmon and much more. You can land celebrity-style at your favourite winery, picnic at a secluded beach or splash out and see the entire Leeuwin-Naturaliste Cape to Cape by air. His Robinson R44 has space for three passengers – and you can fly with the doors off to make it that much more exhilarating.
Children are welcome.
Bookings: 0428 058 157 and scenichelicopters.com.au
ABSEIL THE MIGHTY WILYABRUP CLIFFS
OK, so this one is still on my bucket list. Ever since I first spied the Wilyabrup Cliffs on a Cape to Cape hike, and saw those adventurous abseilers, I’ve been keen. Mick from Margaret River Climbing Co will have you abseiling two of the most beautiful places in the region that you wouldn’t usually get to see. You don’t need any experience – Mick’s a great teacher and can cater to almost any level of ability. You can abseil the Wilyabup Cliffs, break for morning tea then climb back up again. The ocean views are amazing and in spring you might even spot a humpback whale cruising past. Alternatively, abseil into Brides Cave, a doline in Boranup Forest. It’s only accessible by abseiling in, and you’ll be able to explore the crystal-studded cave and soaring chambers. Great for kids aged 10 and over.
Bookings: 0415 970 522 and VISIT margaretriverclimbingco.com.au
CRUISE THROUGH THE KARRI FOREST
The Boranup Forest is a remarkable place – thousands of karri trees on gently undulating terrain. It was logged completely and (fortunately) replanted in the late 1800s. Hence the trees are so uniform; they’re all the same age. EcoAdventures’ electric quad bike tours allow you to quietly explore this beautiful and peaceful place. Tour guide Gary modified 11 quad bikes so they run on electricity – about $1.80 worth per 100km. They are eco-friendly; very quiet, super safe and have no emissions or fumes, perfect for protecting the forest tracks, flora and fauna. The bikes reach a maximum speed of 25 km/h, and you’ll feel very safe as you cruise through the forest. You’ll learn about the history of the region, and the beautiful forest. You’ll cruise past Devil’s Lair, where the remains of a Tasmanian Tiger were found, see a 500-yearold karri tree and gaze in awe at magnificent coastal scenery.
Family-friendly: children aged four years+ can sit in front of the driver.