Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

The weekend before Christmas we headed down to Bunbury, a couple of hours south of Perth, for a mini getaway. We’ve visited the wineries of the Margaret River region in South Western WA on many occasions (see here, here and here for previous posts) but with time being of the essence we decided to stay closer to home and on the Saturday explored the lesser known but equally picturesque Ferguson Valley.

Just 20 minutes or so from Bunbury you reach the town of Dardanup, which marks the start of the Ferguson Valley. There are a number of scenic drives, which take you through rolling countryside, forests and river valleys dotted with pretty rock pools and streams (extending into the Wellington National Park and Collie River basin). The valley is part of the Geographe Wine Region and is home to several boutique wineries and a range of cafes and gourmet restaurants.

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The Wellington Dam, part of the Wellington National Park, is one of the best known landmarks and we found our way there by the back route occasionally taking a wrong turn down an unsealed road! There is a look out point and kiosk at the top of the dam but we wanted to find a winery for lunch and they were back in the other direction.

 

 

We ended up taking a one way road, Lennard Drive, part of the national park, which took us on an enchanting drive alongside the Collie River. We came to a pretty scenic look out spot off the road called Little Rock. At this point we realised that we had no mobile coverage and apart from a couple of intrepid kayakers were the only people around. It was such a beautiful little place and so serene and tranquil. I opted not to follow Monsieur, however, Β when he decided to take a short cut back to the car via an overgrown bush path – open toed sandals and bush walks are not a good mix!

 

 

Fortunately we navigated our way back to the “main” road and found our intended destination, HackersleyΒ  – a small winery blessed with an idyllic setting on a hillside overlooking a dam.

 

By this stage it was getting late for lunch (nearly 2pm) but we had a warm greeting from the manager who explained the set up. The menu, should we wish to eat, was degustation style – several fixed courses of seasonal produce (changed every 7 weeks). We were able to order one degustation menu between the two of us (having had a large meal the night before plus a healthy breakfast!). We did make an exception for dessert, however, as that was apparently difficult to divide into two!

 

 

It was a wonderfully relaxed way to eat made all the more pleasurable by the stunning setting on the veranda. The food, the wines, the service were all excellent and well worth the drive! Ferguson is an undiscovered gem – if you find yourself in South West WA it is a charming place to get away and only a couple of hours drive south from Perth!

 

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Lunch on the Veranda – Hackersley Winery

 

I’ll be returning to my Berlin series of posts very soon – just wanted to finish off the holiday season with a couple of posts about recent outings in the Perth and South Western WA region!

 

Copyright Β© 2017 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

22 thoughts on “Exploring the Ferguson Valley

  1. Isabel von Prollius says:

    Thank you for writing about the Ferguson Valley. I have been wanting to go there for quite a while but the rest of the family were not keen. Now I can show them your post and maybe we can even head down there during the holidays. Looks lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Isabel! I can thoroughly recommend it – a bit like the Margaret River area but not as busy with tourists (as yet!). We stayed in Bunbury, which is a good base though am sure there are options in the valley itself. The drive is very easy and you could almost go there for the day though I’d recommend at least 1 night to give you the chance to explore! Hope you make it down there soon! πŸ™‚

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  2. What a great idea for a trip just before Christmas Rosemary!! The scenery looks stunning but I’m with you on that bush walk… Food looks great too and the setting for lunch was gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a lovely mini break Joy – my cousin lives in Bunbury and we have been planning to go down for a weekend for ages! It was a good idea to take a time out from all the Christmas rush too. Yes I’m not a huge fan of bush walks – never know what might be lurking!! It was lovely though and the winery was wonderful! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heyjude says:

    It looks delightful and even getting lost adds to the fun of exploring a new place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had no idea where the road was taking us Jude but fortunately we worked our way back to the main road! It’s stunning place if you are ever down that way!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heyjude says:

        I wonder if my brood have ever explored down there? Must mention it to them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s definitely worth visiting Jude and not sure too many Perth people go there. We got the impression from the winery owners that they get a lot of locals visiting but most of the tourists head down to Busselton and Margaret River. My cousin lives in Bunbury so have been to the Ferguson Valley before with her a few years ago. It was during winter and not a lot was open but I’d day a few more wineries and restaurants have opened up since then. We liked the feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle but yet not too far from Perth – it was very relaxing! πŸ™‚

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          1. Heyjude says:

            I shall pass on your comment to them. Not sure they go anywhere much these days with the two young boys!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It’s certainly hectic with young children!

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  4. I’m so envious seeing you in tshirt !! The food looks amazing ! It’s very nice of them to let you split the menu, usually they are a bit annoying about it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we’re lucky to be enjoying summer weather Gin! Actually we’ve had a cooler than normal summer, apart from a few really hot days, but it’s way hotter than the UK even on the less nice days! Yes they were great at Hackerley’s – they were happy to let us split the degustation (obviously we have to divide it up when it got to the table but that was no problem). The food was amazing!!

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      1. Would you say that the cuisine in Australia is as good or even better than in France and Italy ? It looks so refined

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think it depends where you go Gin. There are some wonderful places especially in the country and wine producing areas that use local and organic produce which are excellent. Seafood and fish are always popular here too. However you’d be hard to go past the food in France or Italy – we had some superb dishes last year in the Como area!

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          1. France and Italy are quite famous for their gastronomy and are difficult to beat I agree. But all the food pictures you share from Australia always look so awesome !!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hopefully you can test it out for yourself some day and compare!!

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  5. RuthsArc says:

    What a lovely a day out, Rosemary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a beautiful place Ruth – an unspoilt gem! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. restlessjo says:

    Pretty countryside and a winery! I think you’re onto a winner there, Rosemay πŸ™‚ The sky is just turning pink so I need to get a move on this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were impressed Jo – such a pretty area not overrun with tourists and the food and wine … well that was amazing! Hope you enjoy your walk! πŸ˜ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

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