I visited most of the Southern Area 5 (south east area) yesterday, before getting my third gym badge (I wanted to check if there was ground pokémon there since I'm doing the electric badge next).
The area is completely optional (and the pokémon center of that area is at the end of the road), but you can get interesting pokémon there, like :larvitar:​, :goomy:​ and :axew:​.

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