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Great Southern Wine Trail Road Trip

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Stretching for more than 200 km along the southern coast of Western Australia and up to 100 km inland, The Great Southern Wine Region is a must-visit in Australia. Thanks to the considerable variation in climate, soil and topography, the regions of Mount Barker, Albany, Porongurup, Frankland River and Denmark produce a veritable feast of incredible food and wine. The more than 50 wineries in the area are renowned for their riesling, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, shiraz and malbec. A campervan road trip is the best way to explore the area, tripping between wine regions and stocking up on a bottle or two for enjoyment in the glorious surroundings.

On this 916 km round road trip from Perth, you’ll savour the superb cool-climate wines from family-owned vineyards with distinctive styles and chat with the passionate, hard-working vineyard owners and winemakers. You’ll experience breathtakingly rugged coastal landscapes, see immense eucalypts, striking round boulders, towering granite peaks, rolling hills and hectares of uniquely Australian wildflowers. You’ll also be able to explore farmers’ markets and indulge in delicious local produce such as oysters, marron (freshwater crayfish), beef and lamb, heirloom vegetables and more. Savour stunning cheeses, fudge, ice cream and cool craft beers as you revel in this great Australian eating and drinking adventure.

Travel

6 days


Route

Perth to Perth

916km


Best Time of the Year

All year round

Highlights

  • Castle Rock Estate
  • Albany
  • Greens Pool
  • Laratinga Wetlands

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6

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Day 1
Perth to Mount Barker

Distance 368km - Driving Time 4 hours and 5 minutes

Pack your bags and your appetite and pick your motorhome up from maui’s Perth branch and then head down the Kwinana Freeway and onto the Albany Highway. You'll then enter the township of Mount Barker, the gateway to the amazing South Coast. Ensure you sample the riesling and shiraz as the climate here ensures these wines are of the highest quality.

Wineries to visit: This region is far enough inland to have an almost continental climate, perfect for producing lime-fresh riesling and spicy, mid-weight shiraz. Enjoy these stunning wines with a delicious lunch while overlooking the vineyards and rolling hills against the backdrop of the ranges at Plantagenet Wine. Next, move on to visit West Cape Howe Wines in the heart of the Mt Barker wine district. They have a huge range of wines available for tasting plus great coffee from beans they roast on-site. Take time to browse their wonderful sculptures and art.

Other things to do: Visit Mount Barker Lookout for a bird’s eye view of the Stirling Ranges and Porongurup National Park (where you will be going tomorrow). If you visit Mount Barker in spring, take a walk through the hectares of wildflowers. It’s a beautiful landscape of over 500 varieties of blooms, with around 40 found nowhere else in the world.

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Day 2
Mount Barker to Porongurup National Park

Distance 28km - Driving Time 25 minutes

On day 2, you’ll make the short drive to Porongurup Range, home to some ancient granite rocks that are over one billion years old. Stretching for 12 kilometres and rising to 670 meters above sea level, the granite outcrops are visible from miles around. The national park is home to majestic Karri forests and a rich diversity of fauna and flora, including 55 species of orchids.

Due to the cool climate of the range, this region is renowned for its intense fruit-flavoured wines and there are plenty of family-owned wineries to visit. Porongurup is a town of only a few hundred colourful residents and the annual wine festival is held here every March.

Wineries to visit: Reward yourself by trying the riesling, chardonnay, and pinot noir the area is renowned for. Pop into Castle Rock Estate or Duke’s Vineyard. Both of these family-owned and operated vineyards offer beautiful wines, stunning views and big-hearted, warm welcomes.

Other things to do: Break up all the wine drinking with a day at the national park. The Porongurups have numerous walks and climbs of various grades, all with breathtaking views. Check out the easy Tree in the Rock walk, the fabulous Granite Skywalk, or Castle Rock where you’ll see the Balancing Boulder en route. If you are after a little more adventure, there are more rugged, challenging walks a short drive away in the Stirling Ranges.

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Day 3
Porongurup National Park to Albany

Distance 47km - Driving Time 45 minutes

If award-winning wineries, picturesque, unspoilt landscapes, and dramatic coastlines with secluded beaches sound like your idea of a good road trip, then head south on the Chester Pass Road until you hit Albany. Built around the historic whaling station and naval base, Albany and its surroundings are home to 26 cellar doors. While famous for its wines, the pleasant harbour city also plays host to Albany Farmers’ Markets. Here you can sample some of the region’s local produce, including fruit and vegetables, seafood, organic meats, bread and handmade cheeses and yoghurts. This area is now recognised as Australia's best for riesling, however, the climate and terroir also produce a high-quality pinot noir.

Wineries to visit: Alkoomi Wines have its tasting room in Albany. Alkoomi means “a place we chose” in the local Aboriginal language and if you can’t make it out to the farm just outside the small town of Frankland River, you can still enjoy a guided tasting. Monty’s Leap cellar door and restaurant are just 20 minutes from Albany on the banks of the Kalgan River. They proudly serve modern Australian cuisine using seasonal, locally sourced produce. Set on a hill and surrounded by lofty gums, Forest Hill Vineyard is the oldest vineyard in the region and consistently produces acclaimed wines.

Other things to do: Visit the National Anzac Centre that overlooks King George Sound where on November 1st, 1914, the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand troops departed for WWI. Why not go beach hopping? Turquoise waters, white sand and large waves make Little Beach a must-see.

The main beach for Albany city is Middleton Beach. Its pristine white sand is sheltered by the islands and headlands of King George Sound, making it ideal for swimming, windsurfing, picnicking and snorkelling. From the Middleton Beach Lookouts on Marine Drive, you can see Southern Right and Humpback whales during their annual migration between June and October. If you’re there in season, take a whale-watching tour.

Drive 8 km out of town to Torndirrup National Park to The Gap and Natural Bridge Lookouts for outstanding views of the Southern Ocean and the coast from Bald Head to West Cape Howe. Venture onto the viewing platform 40m above the surging seas. (Take wet wipes with you to clean the salt off your face.)

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Day 4
Albany to Denmark

Distance 54km - Driving Time 55 minutes

The jewel of southwest Western Australia’s Rainbow Coast, the picturesque town of Denmark offers year-round delights for everyone.

Known for its biodiversity, the area has some of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth. The Denmark River region is known for its ancient forests, towering trees, rolling green hills, soft white sand beaches, clear blue waters, sweeping sea cliffs, and ancient boulders. On top of all this natural beauty, Denmark is also famous for its beautiful wineries and cellar doors. This town has over 25 wineries producing champion cool climate wines, including riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and shiraz.

Wineries to visit: Ducketts Mill Winery & Denmark Farmhouse is an on-site cellar door, café and cheese factory. All the cheeses, fudge, ice cream and preserves are handmade on the farm. Enjoy world-class platters of cheese on the deck overlooking the valley. Just five minutes from town, The Lake House Denmark offers wine, food, coffee, botanicals, condiments and gorgeous views. Pre-order a picnic hamper to take with you on your adventures or enjoy it on the deck by the lake, between the vines or under the willow trees while sampling award-winning red and white wines that capture the character and richness of the region. Rickety Gate Wines has become somewhat of an icon. This family winery produces superior quality cool climate wines and has a huge range of wines to choose from. The acclaimed Kirby's at Rickety Gate restaurant offers cooking classes as well as wonderful wine and food matches. You can even stay there in your campervan.

Other things to do: Explore Greens Pool, a beautiful, white sandy beach sheltered from the waves by rounded rock boulders and then venture to Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove. Drive 40 minutes west of Denmark to The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. The walk soars some 40 metres above some of the world’s biggest timber giants, WA’s tingle trees, and meanders through the foliage for 600 metres. At the Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud, you can pat, cuddle and feed koalas, alpacas, rabbits, chickens, joeys, Scottish Highland cattle and a camel.

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Day 5
Denmark to Mount Barker

Distance 54km - Driving Time 55 minutes

If you didn’t get to visit all the wineries on your list at Mt Barker during day one, now is a good time to do so.

Wineries to visit: Spend some time at Galafrey Wines. A family-run vineyard slightly off the beaten track, it offers some of the best views of the Porongurups, Stirling Ranges and Mount Barker Hill. The wine at this legendary vineyard makes it well worth the trip.

Other things to do: Try some beer at the Prancing Pony Brewery if you feel like mixing it up a bit. A family-friendly stop, you can see the brewery in operation while enjoying seasonal menus. wood-oven pizzas, burgers and snack foods in the dining room or beer garden. If you think you might need a walk after all that indulgence, explore the Laratinga Wetlands. Over 150 bird species have been recorded here. Walk the three marked tracks, watch birds from one of the ‘hides’ or enjoy a barbecue or picnic.

Tourism Western Australia Image Gallery

Day 6
Mount Barker to Perth

Distance 368km - Driving Time 4 hours 5 minutes

This is the final leg of your great southern wine trail road trip. But before you get to Perth, consider making a small detour to Millbrook Winery in Jarrahdale, on the edge of the Serpentine National Park. Set amongst the soaring jarrah forests, this boutique winery and chestnut farm have an active orchard, an heirloom vegetable garden, an olive grove and scenic lakes. Why not buy one of their picnic baskets and enjoy a leisurely al fresco feast on the lawns? Make sure you leave time to peruse the art on display. Once you arrive in Perth, drop your motorhome off at the Maui branch.

Ready to go on your wine trail road trip?

One of the joys of this amazing and diverse region is its slower pace. Vineyards are spread across the 300km region and visitor numbers are relatively modest when compared to the better-known Margaret River region. That means that as you explore Australia and taste your way through the incredible food and wine, the friendly, passionate people at many of these family-owned wineries and cellar doors have time for a chat about life and, of course, their wines. It’s one of the best things to do in Western Australia in a campervan, and you’ll love it.

Now it’s time to plan your own Great Southern Wine Trail. The first steps are to sort your road trip itinerary planner to ensure you have enough time to eat, drink and stay safely.

Next, check out our blog for Essential Tips For Motorhome Holidays in Australia. Then to organise your motorhome hire, simply book your Maui camper online and then pick it up from your nearest maui branch. Not sure which one would suit you? We can help with choosing the right motorhome for you.