Walpole Western Australia is a tiny village on the South Coast surrounded by forest and ocean, truly in the middle of wilderness. Walpole is the ideal destination for a nature based holiday and we thoroughly love it for its clean air and isolation.
Surrounding the town, the Walpole Wilderness Area is a vast, pristine region of karri, jarrah and tingle forests, rivers and inlets, and a deserted rugged coastline. We’re lucky to have friends in the area, and have been coming to this isolated spot for over 30 years of holidays. Without doubt this is a place for people who are into nature – there really is not much else to do!
This started out as a list of 15 awesome things to do around Walpole, but we divided them into categories… this is a really comprehensive list of things to do around Walpole, with kids, for families and even for travellers.
Walpole Wilderness Discovery Centre
Three places make up the Walpole Wilderness Discovery Centre – Swarbrick art in the forest, Mount Frankland and the famous Tree Top Walk. When the Walpole Wilderness was created back in 2004, money was invested to teach people about this unique eco system and environment and these sites are the result! These sites also make easy visits with Kids.
1. The Valley of the Giants Tree ToP Walk
One of Western Australia’s iconic places – and with good reason – an exceptional walk through massive trees on an upside down suspension bridge that moves! Our top tips to visit the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk are covered in a separate post. Might we add, this is the only “touristy site” on this whole list!
2.Swarbrick Art Loop
Once a site of a forest protest camp, Swarbrick Forest was ultimately logged – but the battle for the forest is recognised here with a collection of random art exhibits. Like many artistic things it is sometimes difficult to relate to the pieces … that said, the kids loved the 500m easy loop walk, wheelchair accessible so perfect for prams and little legs. While it may not have been the intention of the artist, this place is seriously fun for kids!
3. Mt Frankland Granite Peak
Keep heading out on the same road from Swarbrick Art Loop and you will see the granite peak of Mount Frankland (411 metres) through the trees. There are two walks at Mt Frankland. The easier is the Wilderness View lookout where you can look out onto forest as far as the eye can see. Just 600m from the carpark, take your prams and feel totally insignificant in the middle of the forest. The much more difficult walk is the Summit Trail – which is mostly straight up!! But the climb is worth it – on a clear day you can see the Porongurup and Stirling ranges in the east and the Southern Ocean to the south. Its 1.2 kilometres and over 300 steps!!! Our legs definitely felt it the next day!!!
Walpole is a mecca for forest walks, bushwalks and short hikes. Also the famous Bibbulmum Track, a long distance walking track that extends from Perth to Albany runs through this area. For older kids, ask at the local tourist bureau for some excellent local walks, for example, Mt Clare to Walpole, Hilltop Lookout back to Walpole or the longer Conspicuous Cliff to Peaceful Bay. For hiking with smaller kids, our favourite three bushwalks are:
Giant Tingle Tree
This is a great way to see the Red Tingle Trees without the entry fee and touristy atmosphere at the Tree Top Walk. An easy 800m walk leads you to a large, old tingle tree that has been hollowed out by fire over many years. There are toilets and picnic tables amongst the trees and we enjoyed a most pleasurable morning tea after our walk.
Another short easy walk of less than 500m! We continued onto this site from the Giant Tingle Tree and were rewarded with roaring river views. Keep an eye on little kids as they can access the river if they don’t stay on the path.
Mt Clare Walk
This 2.4 km gentle uphill walk through massive Giant Tingle Trees was a perfect bush escape during our last visit, with plenty of brightly coloured wildflowers.
Beaches & Swimming
as the name sounds, is an extremely beautiful, sheltered bay which is popular for swimming – kids love jumping from the rocks and the white sand is to die for. Be prepared for the chilling Antarctic waters when you first get in though!
Nornalup Inlet is an enclosed area of water, is generally a few degrees warmer than the ocean. It is also very shallow – perfect for young children. Two sites near to Walpole town are Coalmine Beach and Sandy Beach (near Rest Point Caravan Park). Nornalup Inlet is also the focus point of the Walpole Nornalup Inlets Marine Park, and a place of stunning scenery.
- For Beachcombing and Whale watching – but definitely not for swimming – we have enjoyed both Conspicuous Cliffs & Mandalay Beach. Both have really stunning scenery and Mandalay Beach was listed at one of the top 101 beaches in Australia in 2016. http://www.101bestbeaches.com/listing/mandalay-beach/
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Markets, Places to eat, and places to treat yourself around Walpole Western Australia
Walpole certainly doesn’t have the wide variety of attractions in nearby trendy Denmark, but it’s a lot more low key and relaxed.
- Monthly summer market – There is a monthly Saturday market in summer with lots of interesting (and not too expensive) things to buy including fabulous beanies upcycled kids shirts.
- Thurlby Herb Farm – located on the road to Mt. Frankland and has a cute restaurant set amongst herb gardens… The ‘factory’ for this environmentally sustainable local business that sells botanically based products without the synthetic additives is also on site. These soaps are really amazing, and they come in a range of recycled packaging. We ended up buying a lot of gifts at this shop – they quite literally have something for everyone, from the blokes (Blokes Soap), Pets, and also newborn babies.
- NornaBar in Nornalup – If you think Walpole is small, Nornalup is smaller – but they have an amazing little restaurant called the NornaBar (formerly the Nornalup Teahouse) with great atmosphere and delicious food. The kids ended up down the road at a modest kids Playground.
Where to Stay in Walpole, Western Australia with Kids?
Walpole is a very small town, with a supermarket, pharmacy or fuel station (and a couple of restaurants) Check out this list of Walpole Accommodation
other favorites include
Tree Elle Retreat, Bow Bridge – Set in stunning gardens, and with big comfortable houses that are well equipped Tree Elle is considered the premier luxury accommodation in the area. For kids, there are farm animals that are fed daily. Also a popular wedding venue and we have been lucky enough to attend a wedding there. For complete property information check out Tree Elle Retreat, Bow Bridge
Nutkin Lodge, Peaceful Bay – well known locally for being a great, friendly stay and excellent for kids. Farm animals, an abundance of kangaroos and playing with the owner’s kids make this a great family retreat. Plus, its very close to Peaceful Bay should you want to visit a wonderful kids beach. For complete property information check out Nutkin Lodge, Peaceful Bay.
What else is there to see around Walpole, Western Australia with Kids?
For trips in the future we have our eyes on the following around Walpole.
- Tingles Bake House – fresh homemade pies.
- Canoeing to Monastery Landing
- WoW Wilderness Cruise.