The town of Pemberton is located 320km south of Perth and makes for a perfect long weekend break from the city.
The first European settlement here was in 1862 as a homestead and station. Pemberton is best known as a logging town however, as this has been the major industry since sawmills were constructed here in 1913.
Luckily old-growth logging has been greatly reduced, leaving the amazing old-growth forests to be enjoyed by visitors.
In Pemberton you will find towering trees, picturesque valleys covered in a patchwork of vineyards and plenty of unique activities/sights. This combination of natural beauty and unique experiences makes Pemberton one of the best destinations to visit in Western Australia.
See below to find the 10 best things to do in Pemberton W.A.
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Getting to Pemberton W.A
We recommend driving as most attractions require a car to reach. However if you wish to simply relax and maybe take a local tour then there is the option of a bus.
Perth to Pemberton by Car – Pemberton is 320km south of Perth and will take about 4 hours to reach by car. Besides being an awesome weekend escape, it’s also an excellent place to stop on your Perth to Esperance road trip.
Perth to Pemberton by Bus – TransWA operates a bus service with one to two departures per day from Monday to Saturday. The busses depart and return to the East Perth terminal and will drop you right on the main street in Pemberton.
Accommodation in Pemberton W.A
There are some beautiful accommodation options nestled in the forest around Pemberton, see below for some top picks in and around town.
Amazing forest and lake views – RAC Karri Valley Resort is a really unique and beautiful place to stay, situated right on a river bank in the midst of the Karri forest. Whilst not technically in Pemberton, the accommodation is perfectly positioned to access some of the top attractions on this list.
Luxurious forest retreat – Mudstone Suites is where you want to stay if you are seeking to recharge your soul and treat yourself for a couple of days. Beautifully appointed rooms, hot tubs, sauna, dense forest, glass of amazing local wine in hand…. the stuff dreams are made of!
Classic country hotel – Situated right on the main street is the historical Pemberton Hotel. They have comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving country classics and of course a pub. A great spot for those on a budget or who want the convenience of being right in town. The TransWA bus stops just across the road from here.
Recommended Tours in Pemberton W.A
You can see all of the sites on this list on your own, but if you really want to explore the huge sand dunes and see the best spots known only to locals, then you might consider one of the below tours.
Half-day beach, national parks and forest adventure
This tour will take you over the amazing Yeagarup Dunes and to some of the best spots in the surrounding national parks and forests. It includes lunch and national park fees.
This is ideal if you want to see the dunes but don’t have a 4WD. It’s also a great way to quickly see some of the top highlights on this list so you can spend more time relaxing! Check tour prices and availability here.
2-day guided 4WD camping tour
(Must have own 4WD and camping gear)
Something different in the tours department, this is a self-drive tour where you will join other keen 4 wheel drivers to explore some amazing terrain around Pemberton.
You will need your own camping equipment however they will provide cooking gear and all 4WD recovery gear. A great idea to build some confidence and 4WD skills that you can take with you once the tour is done. Check tour prices and availability here.
10 Best Things To Do In Pemberton W.A
Imagine driving through a forest then coming face to face with a giant wall of sand rising up above the treetops. This unique site is a giant mobile dune system, which is the largest such system in the southern hemisphere.
Indeed the dunes travel inland at a rate of about 4m every year, the sand being blown by the strong winds coming off the ocean.
Yeagarup Lake sits alongside a day use area which is accessible via unsealed road to all vehicles. There is an information sign, picnic area, toilet and camp ground. It is a 3km (return) walk from here to reach the dune.
Those with a 4wd vehicle can follow an off-road track to reach the base of the dune, this track is not difficult and any 4wd vehicle can tackle it. The road continues over the dune itself and all the way to the beach, however you need a serious 4wd to tackle the top of the dune.
For those without their own 4wd, the best way to explore the dune is with an off-road tour, see our recommended tour near the top of this page.
Climb the Bicentennial and Gloucester trees
This super unique attraction is one of the top reasons to visit Pemberton and I have personally returned many times just to do it again.
Originally built as fire lookout points, these huge trees have been fitted with metal bars driven into the wood, enabling you to climb all the way to the top!
The climb snakes its way around the tree up to a series of platforms near the top and culminating in a small hut.
The surrounding forest is simply beautiful and the view over the canopy at the top is breath-taking, looking like an endless churning sea of green. If you climb at sunset the view becomes even more unforgettable.
The Gloucester Tree is right on the edge of town and super easy to access. The Bicentennial Tree is a 13 minute drive from town however is the taller of the two. Both are surrounded by pristine forest and have picnic areas at the base.
Standard W.A. National Park Entry Fees – Covered by W.A. Parks Pass
Vehicle with up to 12 occupants – $15.00, Concession – $8.00
Motorcycle – $8.00
Channybearup Rd and Wineries
The Pemberton sub-region produces some amazing wines and the beautiful vineyards are set amongst a backdrop of towering forests and mist filled valleys.
Channybearup Rd forms a scenic route which passes over the rolling hills and between areas of forest, with vineyards sprawling on either side along much of the route.
Driving the route from north-east to south-west will deposit you near a number of other attractions on this list to make for a nice flowing tour of the area. You can join the road at a number of points.
Pemberton is a smaller and less visited region so the cellar doors may be by booking only or have restricted hours. See below for some of the top recommendations and links to their opening hours.
Mountford Estate – This winery produces certified organic wines and has lovely grounds in which you can picnic. There is also a craft cidery on site and they sometimes host events in summer.
Hidden River Estate – If you’re looking to have a delicious meal with local, seasonal ingredients then this is the place. The restaurant is located in a quaint restored tram carriage and has great views and ambiance.
Pemberley of Pemberton – One of the most well known brands out of Pemberton, Pemberley have a reputation for consistently producing excellent wines. Their grounds are beautiful and they host events which can be viewed via the link. Tastings must be booked via their ‘wine experience’, however it is a great price for the inclusions that go beyond a regular tasting.
Check out this link for a list of all the other wineries in the area.
This waterfall is located within a national park of the same name and has been well developed with viewpoints and walking paths. The viewing platform is easily accessible from the carpark with a short 300m walk.
If you venture down the walking path you will cross a suspension bridge over the steep, rocky creek bed, with the best view back onto the main part of the falls.
From the viewing platform you can see the beautiful Karri Valley Resort across the river, which is a great place to stay and offers a 4.5km hiking trail up to the falls.
You have to visit in winter or early spring to see a proper flow of water over the falls however it is a beautiful and worthy spot to visit at any time of year.
This is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable way to explore the forest around Pemberton, as well as learning about the history of logging.
The approximately 75 minute tram trip leaves from town and passes through some beautiful forest and farm landscape, with a commentary about some of the region’s history.
You’ll pass over some beautiful rivers and streams and will stop at the cascades for a short period to explore this area. In spring the wildflowers add another dimension to the beauty of the forest.
(Check website for current hours and book to avoid disappointment)
Ticket Office: Monday to Friday – 9am to 4:30pm, Saturday – 9am to 4pm
Departures: Monday to Saturday – 10:30am and 2pm
Adult – $28.00, Child (2 to 15) – $14.00, Child (under 2) – $4.00
Pemberton Swimming Pool
A section of the Lefroy Brook was transformed into a natural swimming pool for local residents and logging families sometime in the 1920s.
Situated right in town, the pool is surrounded by beautiful big trees on one side and dense forest on the other. The water is a little chilly but is great in summer, with BBQ facilities to cook up a storm while the kids burn off excess energy.
With the right light in the morning or evening, the sun shines through the trees, playing in beams upon the pool and making for some beautiful photos.
Pemberton Mountain Bike Park
With one of the best backdrops in the south-west, the Pemberton mountain bike park offers several trails running through the towering Karri forest.
The trails start at the swimming pool where there are toilets and fresh water. You also have the benefit of cooling off with a quick dip after your ride.
There are a decent number of tracks of varying difficulty and you will also find a skills loop and an area of dirt jumps.
See here for details of the available runs.
Big Brook Dam
Big Brook Dam is another forest ringed, picturesque swimming spot near town. There is a small sandy beach here as well as toilets and picnic tables.
It is much larger than the swimming pool and so is suitable for kayaking and paddle boarding. There is also a 4km hiking trail which circles the shores of the lake.
Fishing is also allowed here and the lake has been stocked with trout so you can try your luck at hooking something for lunch!
Camping is allowed at the nearby Big Brook Dam Arboretum. Here you can also walk through the plantations of various species of trees that were trialled for possible plantation in the area.
Cost: Adult – $11.00/night, Concession – $7.00/night, Child – Child (over 5 and under 16 years) – $3.00/night
Fine Woodcraft Gallery
The forests around Pemberton produce a variety of beautiful hardwood, especially the red tinged Jarrah that it is famous for.
Working with reclaimed and salvaged timber from the surrounding forests, the artists here craft some beautiful pieces, both functional and ornamental.
Stop by and have a browse, simple to admire the beauty of both the materials and workmanship, or to perhaps pick up a unique and meaningful souvenir.
The gallery is located right in town so makes a good stop on your way to or from some of the outlying attractions on this list.
This area of the Lefroy Brook is filled with rough granite creating a series of rapids and drop offs. There are some nice walking trails in the area and viewing points/bridges where you can enjoy the view of the tumbling water.
In summer the flow is usually not particularly impressive however the area is still really nice for a walk or picnic. In winter and spring the site is at its best and can make for some great slow exposure photography.
The Cascades are located just outside of town and are only about a 10 minute drive so are worth a look as you pass by. If you take the tram ride above you will stop here for about 25 minutes.
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