*IF SUFFICIENT INTEREST, A SECOND SEPTEMBER TOUR WILL BE ARRANGED.
This fantastic 2-week itinerary starts in Perth and is timed to not only see WA’s grain crops, the Margaret River, Esperance and the North West/Coral Coast regions in all their springtime glory, but also the state’s world-famed and dazzling wildflowers.
WA is home to more than 12,000 species of wildflowers – and 60 per cent of them are found nowhere else on the planet. Tour is limited to a maximum of 20 passengers.
Tour highlights include:
Because group members will be arriving from all parts of the country, the tour is priced out of Perth. Airfares (or other means of travel) to and from Perth are additional. We are happy to help arrange these.
Maximum of 20 passengers.
The day to day itinerary details are constantly being updated so please check this website regularly.
Own arrangements for travel to Perth. The group will meet up at our downtown hotel for a welcome dinner and an outline of the fantastic days ahead.
We take in a few of the Perth city sights before heading west to the port city of Fremantle. ‘Freo’ is known for its maritime history, Victorian architecture and remnants of its early days as a British penal colony. Return to Perth for a free evening.
We board our coach this morning and travel south to the Margaret River region. On the way we’ll call into the Dardanup Heritage Park near Bunbury. This is a world-class collection of working agricultural and industrial machinery from our pioneering past. Gary Brookes's passion for collecting old machinery led to the establishment of the Park. We'll enjoy morning tea and an introduction to the Park with time to explore some of the many exhibits.
Then it's back on our coach and onto nearby Busselton with its 150-year-old, 1.8 km long jetty – the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. We’ll board the jetty train with the chance of seeing whales on their migratory (Jun-Nov) path and dolphins before disembarking at the jetty’s Underwater Observatory. Here we go 8 metres below the surface to an observation chamber to view more than 300 individual marine species in their natural habitat through 11 viewing windows.
Back on board and onto the Margaret River region, famous for its beaches and surf breaks, wineries, craft breweries, boutiques and generally stunning scenery such as the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The region is known around the world for its top quality wines and food. While the region produces less than 3% of Australia’s wine, it accounts for more than 20% of its premium wine. We’ll make sure we get to sample some of the region’s wine and culinary gems.
The region is particularly beautiful in the springtime when wildflowers dot the landscape. The area boasts over 150 orchid species and some 2500 wildflower species alone! For those interested, there are a number of wildflower walking and/or 4WD guided tours we’ll have to choose from, depending on where the best display is at the time of our visit. Free evening.
This morning we travel eastwards and into the ‘Valley of the Giants’ an iconic region on the south coast of Western Australia between Denmark and Walpole. We visit the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, famous for its towering karri and tingle trees – some of the biggest trees on the planet.
We continue on to the Frankland River/Walpole are of the Great Southern region. Orchids such as the Leopard Sun can be found near the river and are a spectacular sight.
We call into the world famous Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk suspended 40 metres high in the canopy of the ancient tingle forest.
Continue on to Albany for dinner and overnight.
The breathtaking beauty of Albany’s rugged coastline creates a fitting backdrop to a dramatic whaling, convict and settler history.
In 1826 the Governor of New South Wales, Ralph Darling, was instructed to establish a settlement in the southwest corner of the continent in the King George's Sound area. The Sound, by this time, was a known safe anchorage on the shipping route between Britain and Sydney Cove. The French also had designs on this safe and strategic anchorage. In early November 1826 Major Edmund Lockyer, who was in command of the expedition to King George's Sound, set sail from Sydney Cove and
arrived at the Sound on Christmas Day. On January 21, 1827 the Union Jack was raised, formally annexing the territory, as a British possession over the whole continent of Australia. Present day Albany was the first site of European settlement in Western Australia.
Albany was officially named on January 1, 1832, after The Duke of York and Albany, second son of King George III.
In 1841 Albany was the final destination of explorer Edward John Eyre, the first European to reach Western Australia overland from the eastern colonies.
We visit sights in and around Albany today including the WWI National Anzac Centre. Ships carrying the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (later known collectively as ANZACs) set off from Albany bound for Egypt to join WWI. Two detachments departed in convoy in late 1914. Tragically, for too many ANZACs, Albany was the last of Australia they saw.
Free evening in Albany.
We leave Albany early this morning and travel northeast through the spectacular Stirling Ranges. We see wheat, barley, canola and other crops and all in their springtime glory (hopefully). We call into the small town of Ongerup and visit the Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre. This is a multipurpose facility, spread over 5 hectares of native bush and two vermin-proof aviaries, dedicated to the Malleefowl conservation and local community development.
After an early lunch at the Centre we continue eastwards and onto Ravensthorpe where we'll visit the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show. More than 650 fresh wildflower specimens will be on display and there will be a number of botanists on hand to answer any questions you have. In addition, there will be art and craft stalls and other wonderful exhibits and food outlets that only country shows can offer.
Then it's back on our coach and onto Esperance.
The main town on the WA South Coast, and with a population of more than 12,000, Esperance is a thriving port with its major industries being agriculture, tourism and fishing.
Esperance is a beautiful town with stunning views of the Recherche Archipelago (or Bay of Isles). The indigenous name for the area is Kepa Kurl – where the water lies like a boomerang. This accurately describes the shape of the Bay coastline.
Esperance was named by the French in 1792 after the name of their ship, Espérance, which means Hope. The area remained unsettled by Europeans until the arrival in 1863 of the Dempster brothers. The first European settlement of the Esperance townsite area was in the 1860s by the Dempster brothers, a pioneer family of Scottish descent. Charles, Edward, Andrew and James Dempster were granted 304,000 acres. They initially brought sheep, cattle and horses overland from Northam, but in 1866 they shipped stock to the Esperance area from South Australia. They also built Esperance's first landing. Once other settlers started taking up land a small settlement developed which served as an important link in the Overland Telegraph between Albany and Eucla. A telegraph station was opened in 1876, although the formal gazettal of the townsite did not occur until 1893.
The town jetty was also built through the 1890s, following the discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields region. At this point, Esperance became the "gateway to the Goldfields."
Large-scale agriculture was introduced to the Esperance sand plain by an American syndicate, in partnership with the state government, in the 1960s following the discovery that adding superphosphate containing trace elements to the local soils made them suitable for cropping. Despite early difficulties, the project eventually became a success and large areas of land were cleared during this time.
Today we will visit the Esperance port and other nearby attractions including the beach at Lucky Bay, located in Cape Le Grand National Park. Lucky Bay is probably the most famous of the Esperance beaches – it’s the one that the Lucky Bay kangaroos call home.
A visit to the Esperance Museum (2 minutes from our hotel) is recommended. Here you will find a wealth of historical memorabilia and videos as well as the famous Skylab fragments that dropped from the sky on July 12, 1979. The locals fined NASA $400 for littering!
Free evening in Esperance.
We turn our heads westwards today. We’ll enjoy a farm visit or two – and for a bit of adventure and nostalgia, weather permitting – we’ll travel along a dusty road for a while in the middle of nowhere. In the mid 1980s, driven to despair by successive governments not fulfilling commitments, and in true frontier spirit, a handful of local farmers took matters into their own hands and built a 70 km road from Cascades to Lake King – which happened to include a bit of an additional short cut through a National Park! Carting distances, time and costs were slashed.
We’ll call into the Lake King Bush Engineers Tractor Museum housing a collection of home made tractors, built by the region’s farmers in the 1970s and 80s. Continue on to the Corrigin area for overnight.
Another farm and wildflower visit today as we travel through to New Norcia. Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks, the town has had many purposes – a mission, a monastery and a provider of education and farm supplies to the locals.
This morning we travel south to Perth airport for our lunchtime flight to Exmouth in the state’s northwest. Over the next few days we will have plenty to do in the region with sights such as Cape Range National Park with its sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges and Ningaloo Reef (the world’s largest fringing reef). This place – and deservedly so – is regarded as one of the world’s last great ocean paradises. Care for a swim with a whale shark or a more sedate whale spotting cruise?
Various Exmouth/Ningaloo/Cape Range activities.
Various Exmouth/Ningaloo/Cape Range activities. Farewell dinner.
Flight back to Perth at lunchtime today with same day connections to eastern state capitals. Or you might like to continue your adventure north to Broome (via the Pilbara gorges, 80 Mile Beach etc) and the magnificent West Kimberley.
Please contact us for more details about the various add-on options.