The small town of Walpole is not as well known as Broome or Margaret River but it might just have WA's — or even Australia's — best tour guide.
Walpole is quiet with only a few hundred people but it's a gem that offers a boat trip across twin inlets where you are surrounded by an unspoilt wilderness of awesome, giant karri and tingle trees that the region is famous for.
Barefoot and as energetic as a teenager is middle-aged and good humoured Gary Muir, who bounds on to the boat to take us on one of his WOW Wilderness Ecocruises.
"Walpole is the belly button of the world," is his catchphrase.
"You've got the North Pole and South Pole, what is in the middle? (hint: 'WalPOLE')"
Gary could be called Mr Walpole. He says his family have been in the town more than 160 years.
People love Gary, an award winning tour guide and "eco warrior" with a long career in the Department of Environment and Conservation: if you do nothing else on WA's south west tip take Gary's Wilderness boat cruise, they say.
He talks passionately non-stop on the two hour-plus cruise but never stops being interesting with his encyclopedic knowledge or entertaining to children and their parents and grandparents.
The Walpole Nornalup Inlets Marine Park is a great example why the south west was named one of the world's "biodiversity hot spots" and is a beautiful cruise but Gary brings it further to life.
There are stories about its human history, from the early European settlers to Aboriginal people, with whom Gary has lived with on the land.
Gary wrote a book that involved research in Russia after a lucky discovery in a Walpole boat shed of a large collection of papers including letters from literary giant Leo Tolstoy to his friend, Englishman Frank Skinner Thompson who lived in Walpole a century ago.
The cruise culminates with a short bush walk to the edge of the Southern Ocean.
Gary sits in the sand at a secluded beach and draws a circle explaining the geological and scientific history of Australia.
Beaches with their surrounding rocks and cliffs are places that feel like they have ancient histories, making it a perfect setting to hear about billions of years of continental drift, the massive karri trees that are unique to WA and how quokkas can be found down here too and not just on Rottnest Island.
We walk back to the boat to enjoy tea and cakes feeling lucky to have enjoyed such a good trip.
IF YOU GO
See WOW Wilderness Tours for more details.
The writer travelled as a guest of Australia's South West.