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.
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, 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, Hackersley – 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!
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!
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