Head to one of these country WA towns to immerse yourself in all things autumn.
With summer well and truly behind us, so too are the days of road-tripping to our favourite coastal towns. It’s time to embrace the crisp, dewy mornings and orange foliage, and consider taking an autumn day trip to one of these beautiful country towns.
Cheese factories, rolling hills, bullnose verandas shading heritage weatherboard shopfronts; there’s just so much to love about the cute little town of Nannup. On the banks of the Blackwood River, this character-filled timber town – famous for being the set of the movie Drift – is a 3-hour drive southeast of Perth, and a 45-minute drive from the Bussleton town centre.
Visitors to Nannup come for the serenity of the river and rolling hills but stay for the town’s quirky stores and famous emu family. Make the trip down during Autumn and you’ll be greeted by a blaze of orange as the town’s many established deciduous trees start preparing for the winter months. It might be too cold to go for a dip at the nearby Barrabup Pool, but water lovers can get their fix by hiring a canoe for a gentle paddle down the river. If you’d prefer non-water based activities, the Bibbulman Track and Munda Biddi mountain biking trail both run through Nannup.
Post-activity, warm up with a cup of herbal tea from the Tiny Tea Shop‘s huge selection of loose leaf teas, or a glass of red from Nannup’s only winery, Whimwood Estate. There’s one last stop to make before heading back to Perth: Cambray Cheese. Pop in for a cheese tasting and grab some take-home treats, or take your time over a cheese board on the veranda.
Another Blackwood River valley beauty, Balingup is arguably the best place in WA to really get those Autumn feels, and it’s all thanks to Golden Valley Tree Park. This 60 hectare, heritage-listed park is full of orange-leaved deciduous trees that form a full canopy of colour come Autumn. It’s WA’s largest arboretum, and well worth the 2-hour and 45-minute drive down south to see. Start your road trip from Perth early enough, and you might even catch one of those beautiful misty mornings the valley is so well known for.
On the other side of town to the arboretum, you’ll find Blackwood Daily Grind, a ‘must-visit’ for coffee lovers. But, don’t cross through Balingup without first stopping at Tinderbox, an unmistakable purple building selling a fabulous range of handmade essential oils and wellness products. While you’re in the region, check out the Balingup Fruit Winery. It’s a quirky little place making ports and liqueurs out of local fruits; think plum port, nectarine liqueur, and cherry port.
Bridgetown is the self-proclaimed ‘winter capital of WA’. But, just like its neighbouring towns in the Blackwood Valley region, it’s also one of the best autumn day trips from Perth. If you’re a fan of seeing big oak and birch trees dropping their orange and brown leaves all over the countryside, this is your town.
Of course, there’s more to see in Bridgetown than just glorious autumnal colours. A 3-hour drive southeast of Perth, Bridgetown is a historic town that was (like Nannup) built around the timber logging industry. Today, many of those first buildings still stand, including the two heritage pubs. For a slightly more left-of-field dose of history, get yourself to the Jigsaw Gallery behind the information centre. It’s the only public puzzle gallery in the southern hemisphere, made up of puzzles collected over the past 70 years.
Discover more of Bridgetown’s quirk at Wag Walters Emporium, where you’ll find hundreds of knick-knacks for sale from all over the world. If you’re bringing the kids along for the ride, you can’t miss a stop at Ooh La Lollipop
Autumn is apple season, and apple season is prime Donnybrook day trip time. A 2-hour and 15-minute drive from Perth, this little town on the Preston River was built around the apple industry and, boy, are they proud of it! There’s a ‘big apple’ stationed out the front of Donnybrook’s ‘Apple Fun Park’ – the largest free entry playground in WA – and even the streetlights are shaped like the fruit that put them on the map. But, that’s not the end of the apple-themed fun to be had in the town.
Try your hand at picking your own fruit at one of the orchards before taking them home for a wholesome day of baking (apple pie, anyone?); or, skip the manual labour altogether and grab a homemade apple crumble from the Donnybrook Family Bakery. Swap the apples for grapes and pay Oakway Estate a visit, sampling some of their delicious wines while you’re there, of course. Or, you can steer clear of fruits altogether and go fossick in the town’s antique and second-hand stores for a bargain.
Feature image: Supplied
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