Youngs Siding is a small hamlet with a general store, a volunteer fire brigade shed, automatic telephone exchange, district hall, sports oval and 12 houses. The immediate surrounding countryside is flat, generally farmland cleared of native vegetation, with a tendency to be swampy in winter. Between Youngs Siding and the ocean there are some low hills on which more of the original flora has been retained.
Local attractions and places to go within a few kilometres of Youngs Siding include Lowlands Beach and Anvil Beach, the Meelia strawberry and Eden Gate blueberry farms. Crafts can be purchased at Dean Malcolm's woodturning studio, and just about everything else is available at the Youngs Siding store. Accomodation is available at Kate's Cottage (a two bedroom cottage in rural surroundings), Cape Howe Cottages (3 1/2 star self-contained accomodation within walking distance of Lowlands Beach) and many other places.
The region has been named the Rainbow Coast, making a virtue of the fact that it has a reputation for wet weather; in fact Youngs Siding's annual rainfall is a reasonably modest 900 millimetres, most of which falls in the winter. The temperatures are mild; we rarely get frosts and the summers are cooler than almost everywhere else in Western Australia. The main towns are Albany (population about 35000) to the east of Youngs Siding, Denmark (3000) to the west and Mount Barker (2000) to the north. Albany is the site of the first European settlement in Western Australia, and is located on King George Sound, a beautiful natural harbour surrounded by granite hills. Denmark (named after a British explorer, not the European country) is situated on the Denmark River just before it flows into Wilsons Inlet, a large shallow body of water which is only connected to the ocean at the end of winter when the sand bar is breached by the local council.
Farms around here are generally on a small scale, less than 100 hectares, usually running sheep or beef cattle. Properties of this size are insufficient to provide a living for a family in Australia, so most people have an additional source of income - a separate business, a job, a government pension of some sort or a private income. The exceptions are the more intensive farming enterprises such as fruit growing and vineyards; the latter are experiencing a real boom at the moment.
Tourism is a major industry on the south coast, with many visitors touring the region in the summer school holidays at Christmas time and later. They come to escape the heat in Perth, to visit the wineries and tourist attractions, go fishing in the inlets and rivers and along the coast, and enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, the forests, flowers and birds. There are also things to do and see in winter, including whale-watching in Albany, once the home of a whaling station which is now a museum.
West Cape Howe National Park is a relatively small reserve to the east of Youngs Siding, protecting a small area of karri forest, swamps containing the carnivorous Albany Pitcher Plant, and low windswept coastal vegetation. The coastline is spectacular, with high cliffs stabilised by granite and limestone. The cliff behind Shelley Beach is a popular site for hang-gliding in summer and the park has several walking trails. The cape has the distinction of being the southernmost point of mainland Western Australia.