As you float in the crystal-clear water of Greens Pool, marvelling at fish skittering across the fine white sand and feeling the sun on your back, you can be forgiven for asking: why isn’t this place completely overrun with resorts?
For a start, WA’s Great Southern region is about a five-hour drive south-east of Perth – a fact that seems to have spooked developers but provides an untold bounty for those who make the pilgrimage.
There’s a tangible sense of the vastness and remote beauty of the country here, plus a pride of place and friendly openness among the people in the main town of Albany (nestled in a lovely harbour) and its little sister, Denmark (which is the very definition of small-town charm).
It’s about history and landscape. In the natural-wonder department, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, The Gap and the Granite Skywalk get the blood pumping and the superlatives flowing as you gain altitude on walkways, bridges and tracks that offer magnificent views of the area. The wonderfully designed National Anzac Centre, on the other hand, will enthral history buffs.
And step aside, Margaret River wines – the Great Southern is punching way above its weight at vineyards such as The Lake House Denmark, where you can quaff fine riesling and pinot noir while grazing on lunch platters of gourmet local produce by the edge of a picturesque lake.
The best news? While the land is largely untamed, you don’t have to rough it. Check in to Parry Beach Breaks, which has four upscale retreats with panoramic views, and dine on excellent French-influenced Vietnamese food at Liberté, inside Albany's historic London Hotel.