9 Best Things To Do In Pemberton, Western Australia

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The town of towering timbers, otherwise known as Pemberton, is a small forest town in Western Australia that captured our hearts.

Despite being a small town, there are some exciting things to do in Pemberton, and it proved to be a destination full of family fun and adventure.

Driving through the Karri forest of Pemberton in Western Australia was like driving into a fairytale. It was completely unexpected to see such unrivalled natural beauty.

A dirt path in a forest

But if you’re not sure what to do in Pemberton or what attractions to add to your itinerary, then keep reading for a list of fun and exciting activities to do in Pemberton.

Where is Pemberton?

map of pemberton wa

Pemberton is a cute historic timber town in a valley surrounded by the karri trees of the Gloucester National Park.

After spending five months along the stunning West Australian coastline, it was awesome to head inland a bit

Pemberton is about 3.5 hours south of Perth and 2.5 hours southwest of Margaret River. From Walpole, it’s 120 km or 1 hour and 20 minutes drive.

It’s surrounded by national parks and forests, including the Warren National Park, Big Brook State Forest, and Cascades National Park.

There is a direct bus that goes from Perth to Pemberton from East Perth Terminal in Transwa Bay. The bus runs once a day Monday – Friday and Sunday (not Saturday) and departs from 1pm.

Things to Do in Pemberton WA

There is plenty to do in the area: scenic drives, 4WD adventures, gourmet food and wine, trout fishing, hikes and just enjoying the fresh forest air.

Now you know a little bit about where Pemberton is and how to get there, it’s time to show you the top attractions in the town. Here’s what we recommend you add to your itinerary.

1. Take a 4WD Tour of the Yeagarup Dunes

car driving on a dirt road

We were sitting in the back of a 4WD vehicle with Pemberton Discovery Tours.

Savannah and Kalyra giggled like mad beside me as we bumped along a rugged dirt road through the Warren National Park, bucking back and forth like a prized rodeo rider.

Giant karri, marri and jarrah trees towered over us on the side of the road.

Karri forests are found only in the South West corner of Western Australia and the Pemberton region is one of the best places to experience some of the tallest trees in the world.

We stopped for a while to walk along the road and feel a deeper connection to them. They definitely called me to hug them.

people walking on trail in Karri forest in Pemberton,

Graeme, the owner of Pemberton Discovery Tours, and our guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about the area and shared many stories about the history and flora, and fauna of the region.

After some time driving through this magnificent forest that was leading us to the ocean, it parted to reveal a giant area of shifting sand dunes.

They form a ten-kilometer-long body of sand being blown inland, swallowing the forest at a rate of about 4 metres each year.

people standing on the beach

The Yeagarup Sand Dunes are the largest land-locked mobile dune system in the southern hemisphere and a sight to stumble upon.

It is protected so there was no sandboarding fun, but we had plenty of fun running up and down the dunes with the kids.

people walking on sand dunes
woman climbing up a sand dune
girl playing on a sand dune

We then piled back into the 4wd and cruised across the sand dunes to the ocean.

The views as we hit the peak of the last dune over the ocean were wild and rugged.

A different ocean perspective to what we’d experienced on the West coast of the state in the Margaret River region.

car driving on a beach
waves rolling into beach D’Entrecasteaux National Park,

We jumped out of the car for a while on a wild deserted beach where the Warren River gently enters the sea.

This area is part of the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, a huge, wild, and largely inaccessible national park that protects almost the entire coastline between Augusta and Walpole and the hinterland dunes and forests 10 – 20km inland.

girl running in water D’Entrecasteaux National Park,
girl playing in the water D’Entrecasteaux National Park,

You can only get here with your own 4WD or on a tour with Pemberton Discovery tours. If you are doing it yourself, you need the confidence to drive through deep sand.

close up of a truck

Half-day Pemberton Discovery tour

Graeme has tag-along tours and had to help guide a crew drive up and over the sand dunes as the driver wasn’t skilled enough to do it. It just highlights how much you need skilled four wheel drivers to tackle these dunes.

This is a great family-owned tour company to see the forest, the sand dunes, and the ocean in these difficult parts to get to. Tours last four hours and include morning tea.

Thanks to Graeme for hosting us as a guest on his tour!

Check availability for this half day Pemberton tour below. Booking through Get your Guide gives you the ability to cancel up to 24 hours in advance.

2. Take a Karri Forest Explorer Drive

car driving down a dirt road in a forest

The Karri Forest Explorer Drive is an 85km circuit that starts just outside of Pemberton and winds through some of the south-west’s most magnificent karri forest.

Explore it at your own pace.

Stop for a picnic at Big Brook Dam, see Beedelup Falls from the suspension bridge, go bushwalking, or fishing, or just sit and take in nature. (We attempted to see the falls, but there was little water running!)

people walking across a bridge

3. Visit Pemberton Mountain Bike Park

Pemberton Mountain bike park is right near the Pemberton Pool in town. It’s a very short walk or bike ride from the Pemberton Caravan Park. There are 17 kilometres of single track, a jump and pump track.

We took on one of the beginner tracks with the girls. Kalyra loved it and begged for us to do it again and again.

girl bike riding through a forest

Although there were a couple of sharp turns, and bumps it was a pretty easy track to navigate. At the end of it, we went to the small jump park area to take on some of the bigger mounds of dirt.

4. Take a Canoe Out on The Big Brook Dam

Big Brook Dam, Pemberton, Western Australia

The locals favourite swimming hole to cool off in. The dam was built in 1986 to supplement the Pemberton town and Trout Hatchery water supply.

Craig took the kids there for a dip and a play on the sandy beach area, and there’s also a 4km walking and cycling trail that follows the shore.

You can also launch your own canoes or kayaks if you have them.

5. Go Wine Tasting at Hidden River Winery

people sitting at a restaurant table

On the way to the Big Brook Dam is the Hidden River Winery. There are plenty of vineyards in the Pemberton region, but this is the only one we visited. And we were impressed.

There’s a covered sitting area on an elevated deck with pretty views over a small dam and karri forest and farmland

The quinoa salad I had made my top 10 list of best meals in Australia (I’m still yet to write that post!) It was sensational and perfect with a bottle of unwooded chardonnay.

Hidden River’s varieties include Chardonnay, Shiraz and Merlot. There is a small cellar door for tasting.

  • Open Weds – Sun, 10am – 4pm

6. Climb the Giant Fire Trees

girl climbing a ladder on a tree

If you are fearless and have nerves of steel (unlike Craig) and really steady feet, climb one of the infamous fire lookout trees.

The Gloucester Tree, or Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, and Diamond Tree have reo-bars spiraling up their trunks, the tallest standing 75 metres off the ground.

I can’t believe in a country dominated by rules and regulations, that tree climbs are even allowed?!

There are no safety features in place at all and the gaps between each rung are huge.

I was tempted to climb to the top for incredible views over the canopy, but I only managed to reach a few rungs up before the realisation of what I was doing hit me and I chickened out.

girl climbing on a ladder up a tree

I knew if I kept going, I was likely going to freeze and then be completely screwed.

I totally loved watching the fearless ones climb up, but not when my own children attempted.

“Get down from there right now!”

Kalyra went further up than any of us. My heart races just thinking of it.

If you’re brave enough then do it, because it will make a pretty awesome story.

7. Go Fishing at Old Vasse Trout Farm & Marrom Farm

The Old Vasse Trout Farm & Marrom Farm is the perfect destination for any fishing enthusiast. The location is one of the few places in the region that offers year-round fishing opportunities, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and abundance of fish species such as rainbow trout and marron.

You can take a hatchery tour to learn more about fish farming and conservation efforts.

Aside from fishing, the farm also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, making it an ideal spot to unwind and relax in nature.

8. Take a Donnelly River Cruise

If you want a relaxing thing to do in Pemberton, then take a cruise from the Karri to the Coast

The cruise starts from the D’Entrecasteaux National Park where you will find the beautiful Donnelly River. The cruise sails for 12km through a diverse ecosystem that you can only see by boat.

It passes through the Jarrah and Karri forests that make this region famous, as well as into the wetlands before passing the limestone cliffs and out into the Southern Ocean.

It’s the ideal way to spend an afternoon or morning just taking in the scenery.

9. Enjoy the Lavender and Berry Farm

The Lavender and Berry Farm is a bed and breakfast and cafe with a gorgeous garden that overlooks a pond the surrounding kerri trees.

It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax with a cream tea or cake, or take the kids over to hand-feed an alpaca before picking up hand-made lavender and berry souvenirs from the gift shop.

Pemberton Accommodation

The Pemberton Caravan Park is right in the centre of town and is on the edge of the mountain and next door to the Mountain Bike Park.

It’s very serene with campsites right near the stream. We stayed in an ensuite cabin, which was a little too cramped. I think I would have preferred to camp.

a small cabin

There are plenty of bush camping sites within the area. Warren River Campsites are located via Heartbreak Trail off Old Vasse Rd and approximately 17km from the centre of Pemberton.

These campsites are relatively new and have pit toilets and fire pits in season. Camping fees do apply.

Pemberton Discovery tours also offer a glamping experience in the Warren National Park.

Tours of Pemberton

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Pemberton

Pemberton is all about getting away from the city and relaxing in nature. The forest is all around you and easily accessible, so make sure to head out and explore it.

Pemberton is a small place and doesn’t have much in the way of activities, but it does have a lot of charm and a laid-back lifestyle that is reason enough to visit.

I hope this guide gave you some ideas for what to do in Pemberton and inspired your trip to Western Australia.

Related Articles

Before you go, here are some other related articles about things you can do nearby that might be useful for your visit…

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Have you been to Pemberton? Share any of your tips in the comments.

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