The coastal region from Albany westwards to Margaret River is also a rich region of forests and pastures, vineyards and craft outlets, coastal scenery, and appealing accommodation options, but without the crowds and sophistication of its more famous neighbor -- and there's more wilderness.

Albany is WA's oldest settlement, set alongside a superb natural harbor. West from here are the two adjacent but very different towns of Denmark and Walpole. Denmark is a bustling town, part seaside resort, part retirement/lifestyle retreat, and part tourist center, while Walpole is much smaller and more basic. They are "tied" together by the magnificent forest that sits between the two, and the magical Treetop Walk that soars through the upper reaches of giant tingle and karri trees. The karri is one of the world's tallest trees, growing up to 90m (295 ft.) high; it's also one of the most graceful, growing true and straight with no branches in its lower half, and with a beautiful smooth bark that shades from pale grey to creamy-gold.

Another 120km (75 miles) northwest of Walpole is the timber town of Pemberton. The timber industry is slowly fading, with most "old growth" forests now preserved for posterity, but vineyards and truffle farms are taking over. You'll have the chance to climb towering old fire-lookout trees.

Sweeping through the region is Australia's greatest bushwalk, the Bibbulmun Track, which takes in the best of the wilderness areas.