Pemberton, Manjimup, Northcliffe and Walpole are the four main towns of the Southern Forests region. All offer a wealth of tourism opportunities.
The township of Pemberton, 6km north of Foragers, lies in a valley surrounded by the Karri forests of the of the Gloucester, Brockman, Beedelup and Warren National Parks. Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) is one of the world’s tallest hardwood species, growing to nearly 90 metres high, and native to the areas of south-western Australia with higher rainfall. Pemberton’s timber heritage is reflected through its forestry history, as well as several galleries that produce unique handcrafted works. Beautiful art and craft pieces can also be seen and purchased in the local shops.
With a cool Mediterranean climate, undulating landscapes and crystal clear streams, Pemberton has an awe inspiring beauty. The wildflower season in Spring dresses the town in bright colour, attracting visitors from afar.
Pemberton is a great destination for nature lovers and active holidaymakers. Recreational activities include canoeing, fly fishing, swimming and bushwalking, with town lying on part of the Bibbulmun Track. Many brave visitors also seek out Pemberton’s two magnificent climbing trees; the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, a dizzying 75 metres high, and the Gloucester Tree. At 61 metres high, the Gloucester Tree is Western Australia’s most famous karri tree, towering above the forest and offering sensational views from its cabin. Beedelup Falls, dropping 100 metres over granite rocks in the Beedelup National Park is another scenic spot, featuring a suspension bridge that crosses the Falls.
With around 300 kilometres of freshwater streams, fishing enthusiasts love to try their luck for trout in the Pemberton area. There are also several private fisheries and hatcheries to make it a little easier to make a catch. Marron, a freshwater crayfish, is one of the region’s delicacies, delicious with a glass of fine local wine. Cellar door sales and tastings can be enjoyed at many of the region’s vineyards, where you may have the chance to chat directly with the winemaker about their approach.
23km from Foragers, Northcliffe is perfectly positioned for exploring the D’Entrecasteaux and Shannon National Parks. Shannon National Park is a 53,500 hectare natural space covering the entire basin of the Shannon River, from its headwaters to the Southern Ocean. Camping and walking opportunities in the park allow visitors to enjoy the old and new growth forest, heath and wetlands. Information shelters and park broadcasts to your car radio tell the story of the Shannon.
Four wheel drive enthusiasts will love the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, which covers 118,000ha with some rugged and secluded four wheel drive tracks. If you don’t have a suitable vehicle, several local tours are available to take visitors on an adventure among the vast Yeagerup Dunes.
Salmon fishing, mountain biking, climbing and bushwalking along the many pleasant tracks that follow the coastline or wind through the forests are some favourite activities. For visitors who enjoy culture with their exercise, the 1.2km Understory is the first purpose built walk trail within Australia to permanently feature specially commissioned artworks from a range of different art forms. The walk commences from the Northcliffe Information and Visitor Centre and the entry fee includes a range of audio tours and a comprehensive Trail Guide.
Scenic drives through the parks offer outstanding photographic opportunities of the captivating coastline and the National Parks. In season, you may be lucky enough to spot Humpback and Southern Right whales and seals from cliff tops and lookout points such as Point D’Entrecasteaux. The holiday settlement of Windy Harbour is also worth a visit for its seclusion and beachcombing.
Manjimup embodies all the charm of a Western Australian county town. The centre of a thriving fruit and vegetable industry, it is the proud birthplace of the delicious Pink Lady apple. Farm gate produce around Manjimup includes apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, nectarines, kiwi fruit, chestnuts, hazelnuts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions and corn. Avocado farming, green tea cultivation, and the rare gourmet black truffle are some of the newer crops to be introduced to Manjimup and surrounds.
To work up an appetite for all the fresh produce, Manjimup visitors can spend time bushwalking, taking forest and ecology tours, or learning about the history of the area. The Manjimup Timber Park gives a fascinating insight into the local industry and logging heritage with a museum, historical hamlet, vintage machinery and a blacksmith’s forge. Dingup Church and the Pioneer Cairn are other historic sites to visit in the town.
Seven kilometres from Manjimup, the popular Fonty’s Pool is a favourite picnic spot summertime swimming spot.
Manjimup is increasingly becoming known for its annual culinary tourism events, including the Cherry Harmony Festival in early December and the Truffle Kerfuffle in late June. Both events celebrate local produce and attract food lovers from far away.
Visitors with a need for speed will enjoy the Manjimup 15,000 International Motocross Spectacular, Australia’s richest motocross race with top national and international motocross riders presenting action packed racing on a world class circuit.
Set on the Walpole Inlet, a small estuary where the Karri forest laps the water’s edge, the township of Walpole offers swimming, boating, sailing, inlet cruises and fishing on its tranquil waters.
Red Tingle trees as well as the Karri trees are a feature of the Walpole area. The most famous is the Giant Tingle Tree. At over 450 years old, and measuring 24 metres in diameter at its base, forest fires have created enormous cave-like hollow in the base of this tree. The Giant Tingle Tree can be found in the Valley of Giants, within the 18,000 hectare Walpole-Nornalup National Park. Also within the park, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is an unmissable 600 metre walkway rising 40 metres above the forest floor. Visitors enjoy a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the forest from the walk, which is built on lightweight steel trusses, allowing even wheelchair users to participate in this stunning experience. A meandering boardwalk at the base of the trees takes visitors through the Ancient Empire, a grove of tingle trees.