The Great Southern Region – A Unique Experience
Take the time to relax and enjoy Western Australia’s unique heritage and beautiful landscape.
The best way to explore The Great Southern Region is to take a road trip. Before we look at planning our itinerary, there are few safety features to keep in mind.
- This is an area rich in native animals. Please take extra care on the road, especially at sunrise and sunset, when visibility may be limited.
- If you are tired, take a break.
- Book into comfortable accommodation so you are fresh to start the new day.
- Check for fire restrictions in the areas you are travelling in.
- Be aware of the increase in rural traffic on the roads – trucks, tractors, agricultural machinery and livestock.
- Petrol may not be available after hours in smaller townships, so keep this in mind when planning your itinerary.
- Some roads are gravel, take extra care when driving on unsealed roads.
For the first visit, a diverse itinerary which takes in a broad range of what is available in this region is a perfect way to begin. Ideally this will take approximately 3 to 4 days, depending on how much time is spent in each location. Planning a relaxed, flexible itinerary will allow for those times when you fall in love with a particular town along the way, and wish to linger just a little longer.
Here is a suggested itinerary to get you started:
Perth – Kojonup – Frankland – Ongerup – Home
The first leg from Perth to Kojonup will take approximately 3 hours to complete along the Albany Highway. Kojonup has a friendly feel and offers visitors a unique glimpse into Australia’s rural community. The town is surrounded by farmland and natural bushland which is home to many species of wildflowers and native fauna. Take in the beautiful, natural surroundings while relaxing into the local country lifestyle.
The Kodja Place:
The first stop on out Kojonup itinerary is to go to the Kodja place. This is the home of the local visitor Centre the Rose Maze, a gift shop and is the place to see the Noonga stone axe. The axe is a hunting implement used by the native Noonga people. The Kodja Place is also home to the Story Place which explores the experiences of both the Noongar and settler communities to give a uniquely Australian viewpoint.
The Kodja place is primarily a story of reconciliation bringing together the Indigenous Noongar and the Wadjelas (non indigenous) communities.
Kojonup War Memorial and War Memorial Hall
If you have an eye for military history you should take the time to visit these two locations.
Kojonup Memorial Hall:
The Kojonup Memorial Hall is an impressive building which was built in 1926 to honour the memory of those who died in service or fell on the battlefield in the Great War (World War I). The foyer of this building has a stained glass ceiling and a marble scroll bearing the names of those who gave their lives for their country.
Kojonup War Memorial Obelisk and RSL:
The Kojonup War Memorial Obelisk and RSL Hall were constructed in 1952 from natural stone found in the area. This is a memorial to all of the people who contributed to the war effort in both World War I and World War II. The foundation stone was put in place by Brigadier General AW Potts who is famous for his tactics against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track in World War II. There is a separate Monument in Kojonup dedicated to AW Potts and the men under his command. It consists of a statue and a covered memorial bridge.
As the first day of your road trip winds down, it is time to settle in to your evening accommodation. Cornwall House Accommodation is a new 10 room motel with a distinct feeling of country hospitality located in the town of Kojonup. All rooms have comfortable beds with air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, free WiFi, smart TV’s, refrigerators and tea and coffee making facilities, which is everything that the weary traveller needs.
After a good rest, it is on to day 2. This leg of our journey is from Kojonup to Frankland. At less than 85km from Kojonup, it will only take about an hour to arrive at your destination. The town is located in the Shire of Cranbrook and changed its name from Frankland River to Frankland in 1935. The river that the town originally took its name from is located just 6km from the township for those who wish to participate in picnics on the river bank or try out the watersports.
Frankland is the door to the Frankland River Wine Region of Western Australia. This area is one of Western Australia’s best kept secrets. It has an ideal climate for wine growing and produces the deep rich flavours favoured by the wine connoisseur.
Bobtail Ridge Wines:
Is located at Lot 50 Yarnup Road Frankland River. This Winery welcomes all wine lovers to be tempted at their cellar door. Bobtail Ridge Wines have a great variety of wines available including Semillon, Merlot, Shiraz, Riesling and some amazing blends. Along with the lovely wines, the cellar door offers light lunches so you can take your time and relax.
Lange Estate can be found at 663 Frankland-Cranbrook Road, Frankland River. The winery is owned by the Lange family, who have been farming and developing wines in Western Australia for five generations, This winery produces wines of considerable intensity for the discerning palate including Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and several varieties of Shiraz.
Alkoomi Wines is one of Western Australia’s oldest family run wineries. They have three distinct labels available with the Icon Range, Black Label and While Label wines. Included in these are some beautiful matured wines such as the 2012 Jarrah Shiraz, the 2014 Wandoo Semillion to compliment a range of younger wines. The fact that several grape varieties produce excellent fruit every year means that the wines can be enjoyed while young as well as being able to be cellared for several years.
Alkoomi Wines is located at 1141 Wingebellup Road Frankland River and will be well worth your visit.
Alkoomi wines has excellent Chalet style accommodation on the grounds for you to enjoy.
Once you have rested and refreshed, we start the new day. Today we continue on to the town of Ongerup which is located 2 hours from Frankland via the Frankland-Cranbrook Road.
Ongerup and Needilup District Museum:
The first stop on this leg of the trip is the Ongerup and Needilup District Museum. This is located on Eldridge Street in Ongerup. The museum began in 1978 the Old Railway Barracks Building which was originally constructed in 1918. The Historic Farmhouse on the site houses a native aboriginal and early settler medicine and food display plus a local wildlife display. The museum is instructive on the early settlers lifestyles and the crude or simple machinery they had available to farm the land.
Yongernow Malleefowl Centre:
The Yongernow Malleefowl Centre can be found at Lot 260 Jaekel Street in Ongerup. It is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. The centre takes you on an individual experience through the environment of this endangered species.
The Sanctuary area is host to Malleefowl aviaries and also to Malleefowl chick raising pens which are designed to support the growth in the Malleefowl population.
The Centre is home to a multi-media display which gives the viewer an introduction to the region’s natural history and also encompasses the history of farming and conservation in the area. The children’s play area engages children in the life cycle of the Malleefowl and they have the opportunity to see the dangers that are faced by the newly hatched Malleefowl chicks.
There is a retail section to purchase souvenirs, a wildlife walking trail, an art gallery and also a cafe which offers light homemade breakfasts and lunches.
At the end of the day you have a choice of accommodation within a kilometre of the centre at The Ongerup Hotel or the Ongerup Gardens Caravan Park.
If it is still early you may wish to say goodbye to the rural life and head back to the hustle and bustle of Perth. At under 5 hours you could be home before dinner. This itinerary is ideal for a long weekend away or can be extended to cover a week if you would like to take the time to fully explore each location.
Unlock the shackles of city life to visit the Great Southern Region of Western Australia. Here you can enjoy great rural hospitality, amazing wines, the unique flora and fauna and explore the history of this wonderful location.