If you’ve journeyed to Pemberton for pinot or hunted for truffles in Manjimup, you’ve been to a little patch of Western Australian paradise known as the southern forests. However, there’s no need to reserve the southern forests for a cold weather escape; it’s perfect for a summer trip and there are heaps of new openings and experiences to try out.
From mountain bike trails to whiskey bars, adult sized playgrounds to foodie heaven, you’ll find your dream break down south. Read on for our top picks to visit, including the best new spots and some of the most unexpected experiences.
The Best Places For Wine Tasting In Pemberton And Manjimup
Pinot lovers rejoice—this is just for you. Manjimup and Pemberton produce some of WA’s best Pinot…along with Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, and a good ol’ quaffable SBS. A visit to the wineries here requires a little more planning than Margs or the Swan Valley, with many only open on weekends or by appointment. Those with a serious hankering to top up their cellar door will want to call ahead to book an appointment for the family run, single estate, Picardy with winemaker Dan Pannell—you’ll also want space in your boot to bring home at least one case of the good stuff. Book for a Sunday 60-minute wine appreciation at Lost Lake winery, and you’ll leave with a head full of wine know-how. Hidden River Estate is one of the top spots for lunch in the region, hitting all three pillars: great wine, picturesque views and wholesome, delicious food (don’t miss the pulled beef cheek). There are several award-winning producers that don’t have cellar doors to visit, but you can sample on one of the wine-lists at some of the restaurants below. Be sure to sip a glass from Below and Above and Silkwood Estate.
Where To Eat In Pemberton And Manjimup
After all that daytime action, you’ll be in need of a good feed. Head to the newest kid on the block and the hostess with the mostest: at Jaspers in Pemberton, you’ll find a whiskey bar, a restaurant and boutique accommodation in the heart of town. Treehouse Tapas and Winebar is worth booking for as it gets packed with locals and out of towners looking for a glass of local vino and some tasty nibbles such as pinchos, deep-fried cauliflower and chorizo and a hearty Spanish stew. Tall Timbers in Manjimup is always a favourite for a good feed and a vast selection of local wines both to taste and to purchase. If you can’t get out to many of the region’s cellar doors, this is your best option for a one-stop-shop.
With a waterfront dining room and ample accommodation, RAC Karri Valley Resort is the perfect spot to cosy up with a local vino and a bite to eat before toddling next door when bedtime hits. For a German-inspired feast for lunch or dinner, stop by Forest Lodge Resort. Owner and chef Ingo Maas will be sure to look after your tastebuds; we’d suggest staying at the lodge and enjoying breakfast the next morning too.
Track Down A Good Coffee And Power Up
Fill up the energy bank with a cracking cup of coffee from the shiny new café by Southern Roasting Co. next to the recently opened PowerUp Electricity Museum in Manjimup. After you’ve replenished caffeine stores, pop next door to explore the museum. It’s full of the fascinating evolution of electricity in WA and housed within the Manjimup Heritage Park. Did someone say 17-metre high slide and a 40-metre flying fox?
Another great new spot for a cup of joe and breakfast feed is Pemberton’s Wild at Heart café. A cute little shop with some of the best home-made cakes around, it’s open for breakfast through to lunch.
Must-Try Outdoor Activities In Pemberton, Nannup And Manjimup
If you’ve not climbed a tree 75 metres high with nothing but a few metal pegs to stand on, then now is your chance. Head to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree or the Gloucester Tree and scale the heights for a real birds-eye view. There are plenty of lush hikes around the region to lace up your boots for, pick up a trail map at one of the local tourism offices or jump onto Australia’s South West website for some online resources.
Alternatively, work up an appetite in the beauty of nature on two wheels, with one of the many incredible mountain biking trails. Nannup and Pemberton are two of the next big hotspots for bike trails, and you can head out with Time Travel Tours and Transport for the day; they provide both a bike and a lift out to the best trails in Nannup for you to make your way back via peddle power. While you’ll be best bringing your own bike to Pemberton’s trails, you can find full details of the routes online or at the Pemberton Visitors centre. With so many scenic hills and viewpoints in the area, just remember what goes down must go up, so you’ll be sure to get those glutes burning with the hill climbs here! Pemberton Discovery Tours is your go-to for four-wheel drive action, with an epic beach and forest eco-adventure taking you out to the best-kept secrets in the wilderness of the region. Be sure to bring your camera for some insta-worthy shots of the landlocked Yeagarup Dunes.
Loving the peace and tranquillity of the forest? It might come as a surprise that many of the forests in our beautiful state are earmarked to be chopped for wood chips. Learn more and help protect our forests over at WA Forest Alliance.
After you’ve taken in the tree-top views and the food and wine adventures in the Southern Forests, head out to explore the South West Edge.
Looking for an escape closer to home? Try one of Perth's best day trips.
Image credit: Shell Runs