Geographe Region information
The Geographe region of Australia’s South West is the closest region to Perth, just one and a half hours south. With its proximity to the Capital, Geographe is ideal for short getaways. Bunbury is the central hub of the region and as Western Australia’s third largest city, it has plenty of options for dining out, shopping and accommodation. Bunbury is most well-known for the pods of wild bottlenose dolphins which frequent the shores of Koombana Bay regularly, allowing visitors the opportunity to wade, cruise or swim with them or learn about the Dolphin Dreaming story by local Aboriginal guide Troy Bennell.
The Geographe Wine Region is fast developing into one of the country’s most exciting new viticultural areas, with new wineries and boutique breweries opening frequently.
Top 10 things to do
- Wade, cruise or swim with the wild bottlenose dolphins in Koombana Bay.
- Pack a picnic and head for the hills. Harvey Dam & Wellington Dam offer great picnic spots.
- Hire a kayak and explore the Leschenault Inlet in Australind. Teeming with bird life and native animals, it is a nature lover’s ideal outing.
- Visit one of the Australia’s ‘big things’ at The Big Orange in Harvey.
- Take the little people to visit a village of ‘little people’ at Gnomesville in Dardanup.
- Discover the growing line up of galleries, wineries and breweries in the Ferguson Valley.
- Try your hand at some water sports. Choose from water skiing at Lake Stockton, stand up paddle boarding on Koombana Bay, kite surfing, white water
rafting, beach or river fishing, or swimming in rivers, pools or the ocean.
- Dive the purposely-sunk Lena wreck.
- Visit the replica home of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’s author, May Gibbs, in Harvey.
- Enjoy a few hours of fun at the Donnybrook Apple Fun Park – Australia’s largest free entry playground.
Harvey is in the heart of dairy country and has developed a fine reputation for its high quality orange juice, beef, milk and increasingly, its wine. Get a great view of the farmlands from the ‘Big Orange’, one of Australia’s iconic ‘big’ things. The Harvey Dam makes for a scenic picnic spot and trout and perch fishing is popular here between September and May (license required). Harvey was home to well-known children’s author May Gibbs, creator of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and the town features a replica of her 1880’s home called Stirling’s Cottage.
Bunbury is a cosmopolitan regional city that is full of life. Situated on a peninsula, it is known as the City of Three Waters with the rumbling surf of the Indian Ocean, the calm waters of Koombana Bay and the tranquil Leschenault Inlet providing a range of water-based activities. Visiting the friendly dolphins of Koombana Bay is a must while you’re in town, as is catching a show at the newly refurbished Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, which offers a huge event line-up of dancers, plays, musical acts and comedians.
THE FERGUSON VALLEY
The historic town of Dardanup marks the beginning of the wine-producing Ferguson Valley, just 15 minutes from Bunbury. Fifteen heritage sites can be found in the township, including the church, post office and the Dardanup Heritage Park. The Ferguson Valley is making a name for itself as a wine region in addition to its pretty countryside. The views are beautiful through the valley, with an impressive backdrop of lush green hills dotted with cows and ribbons of vines. Be sure to stop at ‘Gnomesville’ – a huge collection of gnomes from all over the world.
Collie has a rich coal mining connection as the only coalfield in Western Australia, and its history can be explored through a tour of the replica underground coal mine or a visit to the Coalfields Museum. Collie’s Australian-style pubs reflect the optimism and prosperity of the early mining days. Mountain bike enthusiasts will enjoy rides through the Collie River Valley. The Collie River is a popular spot for rafting and swimming. For canoeing or picnicking, try the picturesque Minninup Pool, Potters Gorge or Honeymoon Pool. Water skiers flock to Stockton Lake on sunny days.
Best known for its apple and stone fruit orchards and olive groves, Donnybrook also produces award-winning wine, local cider and fruit wine. It’s also home to Australia’s largest free entry playground, the Apple Fun Park. Glen Mervyn Dam to the east of Donnybrook is popular for water-skiing and swimming from September to January, depending on rainfall. Donnybrook was once the focus of a short-lived gold rush when gold was discovered in 1897. The area is also the source of Donnybrook Sandstone, used in many of Perth's historic civic buildings.
VISITOR CENTRES IN GEOGRAPHE
Bunbury Visitor Centre
Old Railway Station,
Toll Free: 1800 286 287 (WA)
Tel: (08) 9792 7205
Collie Visitor Centre
156 Throssell Street,
Tel: (08) 9734 2051
Donnybrook Visitors Centre
Old Railway Station South Western Highway,
Tel: (08) 9731 1720
Harvey Visitor Centre
Cnr James Stirling Place
& South Western Hwy,
Tel: (08) 9729 1122