If a big, traditional wedding isn’t for you, you’re not alone! More and more couples are ditching the stress and expense of huge formal weddings in favour of something more intimate and personal.
Want to tie the knot in a remote beach, on an epic mountaintop, or just surrounded by nature? If that sounds right up your alley, consider an elopement. A modern elopement is whatever you want it to be – a small ceremony or reception with either just the two of you, or a gathering with a handful of your loved ones and besties.
An elopement is no longer considered clandestine or taboo – it’s now recognised as a fun, low-stress way to enjoy your wedding just as you’d imagined it.
Even better: the rugged beauty of South West Australia was seriously just made for elopements! It’s right in our backyard, and there are so many secluded places where you can enjoy our beautiful part of the world. If you want to say your vows in the awe-inspiring beauty of the outdoors, here are six of the best adventure elopement ideas in South West Australia.
OK, how about this – you set off on a pre-dawn hike through the Stirling Ranges, summiting Bluff Knoll just around sunrise. Then, you exchange your vows at the first morning light, looking down on the incredible beauty of the mountains. Sounds amazing, right?
If you love bushwalking and crave fresh air, one of the best places to elope in Western Australia has to be Bluff Knoll. It’s about 90 minutes from Albany to the Stirling Ranges and about a 3km hike to the top, then you can meet your friends and family within the Stirling Range National Park for a picnic celebration. It would be such a low-key and beautiful way to start your married life together!
I’ll be glad to accompany you as your photographer and can put together bespoke WA elopement packages to capture sweet, candid moments throughout your adventure.
Just a little disclaimer: These pics were taken in winter when Bluff Knoll’s weather is notoriously wild. Sometimes there will be snow!! My advice for this location in particular would be to go in the warmer months, elope and then enjoy the magnificent views at sunrise or sunset.
About 20km from Pemberton, you’ll find one of the most surreal and inspiring places in our state: the Yeagarup Dunes. As you emerge from the forest, the landscape opens up into rolling sand dunes, stunning enough to seriously take your breath away.
You could even say your vows in Pemberton and then head into the dunes for an adventure – it’s so cool to sandboard there! We can get such unique wedding, elopement or even engagement photos in the Yeagarup Dunes too.
Where can I elope in South West Australia? I always love Pemberton for couples looking for a charming country town with plenty of natural beauty. You’ll find towering karri forests here (a type of eucalyptus) – some more than 60m tall! This region is ideal for outdoor adventures, including hiking and canoeing. It’s about 3 ½ hours south of Perth, so makes for a really fun and convenient destination wedding.
You could hold a small ceremony within the spectacular Gloucester National Park then celebrate in a cute local restaurant, like Treehouse Tapas or Jaspers Pemberton. Then, retire to your luxury Airbnb!
Walpole–Nornalup National Park is only about an hour from Albany, but feels like a world away. This rugged wilderness is famous for its dramatic coastline and red tingle trees, an extremely tall type of eucalyptus.
The park is expansive, at over 20,000 hectares, so there are so many wonderful, private spaces where you can celebrate your love and marvel at the wonder of nature.
If you stay in nearby Walpole, you can find stunning beaches and plenty of food and dining options. I’m local to the South West and know the area really well, so I’m more than happy to help with planning all-inclusive elopement packages in Western Australia. (I just can’t get enough of the stirring beauty of this Walpole elopement shoot!)
Fancy a coastal elopement? While I love the mountains, sometimes you just crave a sea breeze and sand between your toes. In that case, I highly recommend Sugarloaf Rock. It’s an epic granite rock island at Cape Naturaliste, just a short drive from Dunsborough in Margaret River. The dramatic beauty of Sugarloaf Rock has even been on the cover of Australian Geographic magazine, so no surprise that it makes a perfect location for an elopement and wedding photos!
You could enjoy a casual, beachfront elopement, followed by gorgeous golden hour photos with Sugarloaf in the background. In Dunsborough, you and your guests will find amazing local cuisine and wine, and mile after mile of sparkling beaches. Because it’s so close to Margaret River, you could also enjoy an afternoon ceremony and then book a venue within one of the local wineries to toast your love!
If an elopement is sounding better and better, you’ll be glad to learn that the process in WA is fairly straightforward. To legally elope, you’ll need to file a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least one month before the date you want to wed.
You’ll also need at least two witnesses to attend the ceremony, and you’ll need to provide a copy of your passport or birth certificate. Of course, you could always elope first and ‘make it official’ later on – it’s completely up to you!
I honestly believe that elopements are such a heartfelt, genuine and romantic way to begin life as a married couple. Each elopement is authentic and personalised, just like your love. If you have any questions about planning your Nannup or South West wedding, I am so happy to help with elopement packages in South West WA, and can also recommend lots of beautiful secret spots where you can get married or plan your reception. Check out my Elopements page and also The Wild Elopement Co If you’re looking for an all-inclusive package or an EPIC off-road adventure on your elopement day.