Ringed by national forests filled with tumbling waterfalls, sculptural coastline and ancient forest, Northcliffe is a nature lover’s paradise. A visit is all about taking pleasure in this natural bounty. Hike up Mount Chudalup for 360-degree-views, swim and fish next to heritage shacks at Windy Harbour, or simply wander a bush trail, where the only sounds are the local birdlife and your own footsteps.
The quiet township of Northcliffe hosts a fascinating pioneer museum showing how the early settlers lived and an art trail exploring the cultural and environmental heritage of the Southern Forests. There’s the local cafes and pubs where you can rub shoulders with some down–to-earth locals while enjoying quality meals.
Be sure to earmark some time for the Forest Park, a pretty expanse of old-growth Karri, Marri and Jarrah trees just a stone’s throw from the centre of town. This nature sanctuary is also where you’ll find the celebrated Understory Art and Nature trail, plus a number of walking paths and a short scenic drive. Don’t miss the iconic Hollow Butt tree, a huge Karri that is still thriving despite the fact you can stand inside it.
In town you can visit the Painted Tree Gallery to browse the artworks created by Northcliffe’s new generation of painters, sculptors and artisans. Creative types have long been drawn here as famous local painter Howard Taylor drew inspiration from the landscape over his acclaimed fifty-year career.
Northcliffe also enjoys a rich farming tradition, with the countryside prime land for grazing beef and dairy cattle. You’ll even find Australia’s most highly awarded boutique dairy operation, Bannister Downs, based nearby. Avocados, olives, wine grapes, blueberries, green tea and black and white truffles are some of the other crops grown successfully. Keep an eye out for farm gate selling fresh-picked produce as you make your way around.
There’s no shortage of ways to get the blood pumping too, with the action playgrounds of the Warren, D’Entrecasteaux and Shannon National parks within a short drive. Cycle a pretty stretch of the Munda Biddi trail, test your nerves and whale watch on a clifftop walk to Point D’Entrecasteaux, hit up a 4WD coastal track, or simply commune with nature on a bushwalk. Those that prefer to be behind the wheel should try the famed Great Forest Trees Drive that wends along for more than fifty kilometres through spectacular tracts of old-growth forest. Choose your own adventure.