A great family weekend for the young at heart, just two hours south of Perth.
With rolling green hills, misty woodlands, emerald lakes and gnomes galore – you would think that you have found yourself in some kind of storybook land. The Ferguson Valley is the place where this fantasy becomes a reality and more with the presence of boutique wineries, craft breweries, restaurants and outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy.
Time to unleash your childlike curiosity and allow your inner child to run amok with this fun weekend itinerary exploring the Ferguson Valley.
Pretend that its recess time with a playtime session at Donnybrook’s Apple Fun Park. This is Australia’s biggest free public playground and is a fun park for both kids and adults. We won’t blame you for muttering the words “Why didn’t we have something like this growing up?” as you watch the kids ride the slide from the sidelines at the adult gym circuit!
Feel like a giant strolling through the valley of the gnomes, Gnomesville. What initially started with one lone gnome at a roundabout has morphed into WA’s greatest grassroots tourist attraction with over 10,000 red-hatted residents calling Ferguson Road home sweet gnome. Make sure to leave your mark, er gnome, when you visit this remarkable display of garden gnomes in the Ferguson Valley woods.
Top tip: visit a hardware store or garden centre prior to purchase your gnome.
Time to feel teeny-tiny standing next to the King Jarrah Tree, one of the tallest trees in Wellington National Park estimated to be between 300 – 500 years old.
Have a feast in the forest with a visit to Bush Shack Brewery. You could be forgiven for having eyes bigger than your stomach as the menu is jam-packed with unique pub bites. Over-indulge with veggie favourites’ mushroom and cabernet arancini balls with truffle mayonnaise or treat yourself to tempura cauliflower florets with cinnamon yoghurt and coriander salt.
This place is big on beer, of course, naturally being a brewery. We recommend having a liquid dessert by trying its chocolate beer or having a go with its fire-cracker chilli beer. Be warned, it may leave you with a tingly tongue!
Afternoon – early evening
Change up your drinking glass with a wine tasting session at the family-owned estate, St Aiden Wines. Savour the decadent drops while admiring the views of the Ferguson River.
Continue to try the best of the region by heading to Green Door Wines. A visit here will take your taste buds further afield with the boutique vineyard specialising in Italian and Spanish-style wine varieties, served in carafes. The cellar door café’s Moorish-inspired grazing platters matches the vineyards mood. Want to try something different? Enquire about the vineyard’s sunset Spanish cooking classes. Moy bien!
Time to spring out of bed to get active with a self-guided enchanting walk through Wellington Discovery Forest and educate yourself on the forest ecology.
Get your creative cap on and reimagine the Wellington Dam, the soon-to-be canvas of what will become the world’s largest art mural. The Water Corporation’s Dam Lookout also provides fantastic views so make sure to make the climb up see vistas of the valley and Collie River Gorge.
Linger on to bask in nature with a relaxed lunch at Kiosk at the Dam. The licensed café serves wallet-friendly bites, local beer and wine, ice cream, coffee and cake. It is also possible to rent out mountain bikes from this café.
Afternoon – early evening
Time to bounce on foot hiking the scenic dual-use Sika Trail to arrive at Potters Gorge (roughly one hour each way).
Located along the shore of the Wellington Dam, Potters Gorge is a popular campground and great picnic-bench pitstop to catch one’s breath with a light snack or refreshment from all that leg work!
If you would like to complete the trail in record time, hire a mountain bike for cheap-thrills.
Drive to Dardanup Tavern to put the feet up, unwind and refuel the stomach with traditional pub grub. Affectionately known as the ‘Dardy’, this century-old pub oozes country charms of yesteryear and is a much-loved waterhole with locals. Serving up pasta, pizza and steaks alike, there is tasty fare for the young and old.
Your trip to the Ferguson Valley can be as budget or luxurious as you want it to be with a range of accommodation options to suit your holiday mood.
Potters Gorge Campground – Be surrounded with jarrah and marri forest at the newly-upgraded campground along the shore of Wellington Dam. Honeymoon Pool Campground is also nearby.
Kiosk at the Dam’s Glamping – Treat yourself to some scenic glamping in the presence of Wellington National Park’s stunning forest surrounds.
Evedon Lakeside Retreat – Stay in an authentic private lakeside cabin surrounded by 320 hectares of natural Australian bushland.
Glen Mervyn Lodge – A spacious self-catering homestead (sleeps 12) situated in the Preston Valley. Also has cottages for couples and single guests.
Inspired to see more of the Ferguson Valley? There are six distinct Drive Trails of the Ferguson Valley and surrounds to explore. Read the e-magazine with maps, tips and themed itineraries to plan your trip for an extended break.
Discover more of the South West with our Margaret River guide.
All images featured courtesy Australia’s South West.
This is a sponsored post for Australia’s South West – endorsed by So Perth. We value your feedback so please contact us with any thoughts in regards to our sponsored post.