South West Australia – where to stay
South West Australia is very attractive part of this surprising country. Much greener than you might imagine, there are wineries, wildlife, picturesque valleys and a National Park here, plus excellent walking and cycling trails. The Collie river brings fresh water to the area all kinds of fruit like apples, lemons and cherries grow here in abundance.
We headed down to stay at the Rural retreat in the small settlement of Noggerup. With no town centre to speak up, post is left in a row of old microwave ovens. There are probably as many kangaroos as people, and it really is a peaceful spot out in the bush.
Staying at the Rural Retreat, South West Australia
This charming Air BnB house is 30 minutes drive from the Collie River Valley, Wellington National Park, Ferguson Valley and the Blackwood River Valley. No 37 Macquarie Street is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Situated on the edge of the National Park, the rural retreat it is surrounded by fruit trees and a forest full of birds, who create their own Australian birdsong orchestra, especially in the morning!
The house has been developed over time and features a variety of eclectic furniture and artistic features. There are a lot of recycled items too creating a colourful, funky feel to this very original home. It’s very comfortable with two large double bedrooms as well as a simple attic room. There’s even a fab log burning stove if things get chilly in the evenings.
There’s the usual TV and Wifi and I was very taken with the local lemons which were left for us. These were Chinese Meyer lemons which have some Mandarin DNA in them. This makes them a darker colour, and sweeter than the usual sort. There are cool wide balconies fringing the property, and there is a small garden with vegetables and herbs, which you are welcome to make use of during your stay.
South West Australia – the Bibbulmun Track
Close to Noggerup runs the famous Bibbulmun Track. It is is just under 1000km long and stretches from Perth to Albany. It is accessible in many places by road, and so is suitable for day walks as well as long distance ones. We joined the track for a 12 k stretch through the bush to one of the huts which punctuate the track for walkers to stay in as they take on this walking challenge E2E (End to end.) These huts are open but are sheltered from the weather with sleeping platforms raised from the floor and a clean ‘dunny’ in a small hut close by. These dunnys are even sponsored by sympathetic walking supporters and their money makes sure that they are clean and even have fresh toilet paper!
At each hut there is a book where walkers can record their journey and their thoughts. I found these tales quite fascinating. One person loved trees and found the endless forest uplifting, another declared that they were’sick of trees.’ Some had hit bad weather and described the agony of putting a cold wet boot back on in order to carry on.
A number of walkers spoke of their terrible disappointment, after having looked forward to a hot meal at the Mumby pub, and arriving on a Tuesday, when the pub is closed. The Forrest Tavern is the only refreshment stop for many mile. One walker had admitted that a Mumby burger and chips is so much more satisfying than a muesli bar.
The Munda Biddi Trail
The Munda Biddi Trail also stretches from Perth to Albany; this one follows a different route and is for mountain bikes. It crosses the Preston Valley just north of Donnybrook, and like the Bibbulmun Track, is easily accessible for day use.
South West Australia – the Wellington Dam
The next day we visited The Wellington Dam area which boats a spectacular location set in the Collie River Valley. It is a beautiful spot, with the huge dam leading down to the river. The crystal water tumbles through rocks and rapids down to deep pools for swimming. This park provides lots of pretty picnic areas, camp sites, and bush walking trails.
There are a number of other small towns around Noggerup. They have coffee shops and supermarkets if you need them, but the main attraction of this area is its beautiful countryside. Lots of the places have ‘up’ after their names around here, it means ‘place of.’ So there’s Noggerup, Yabberup, Mumballup and Boyanup. Obviously I was on the look out for Stickemup, Pickmeup and Buggerup, but we didn’t seem to get to those.
South West Australia is ideal for enjoying the great outdoors and country pursuits. In an increasingly crowded world, its unspoilt isolation, agricultural landscape and forest scenery are a definite antidote to modern life. If you are in WA I can definitely recommend a visit to this part of the sunniest state.