A Long Weekend Escape to Pemberton, WA


Jun 4th, 2014, 08:39 PM
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A Long Weekend Escape to Pemberton, WA

Unable to pass up a long holiday weekend plus a Friday off, the other half and I packed up the car and headed south to Pemberton.

We took the Kwinana south, cutting over on Greenlands Road just north of Mandurah for a scone fix at Edenvale Tearooms in Pinjarra (great scones, disappointing coffee, very slow service, $12.50). Pinjarra was hopping.

We continued south via the SW Highway, surrounded by incredibly green pastures and rolling hills. We drove through the seemingly angry little town of Waroona, home of the Odd Angry Sock Laundromat, the Angry Snappa takeaway and the Bite Me Bakery. Traffic was heavy.

We eventually arrived in Donnybrook and sought out the Lions Wildflower Trail just outside of town. The trail was well marked at first, but things went awry when we discovered two knocked over trail markers at a four way junction. We walked a bit in two directions, but finding no more trail markers, we gave up and returned the way we’d come. Neither of us cared for the trail, too sandy, not particularly interesting, a bust overall.

We continued south to Balingup, now half-starved and hoping we could find a place to eat at 3:30 pm. As luck would have it, Cultivate (formerly the Bronze) was open and serving up hot soup and sourdough ($20, very good).

Some eight hours later we arrived in Pemberton and checked into our favorite Pemby accommodation, Rainbow Trail Chalets.

I’d managed to score a last minute booking at Foragers, which offers Wood Fired Dinners on Friday nights during school holidays and long weekends. It was nothing short of incredible. I’d drive down to Pemberton just to eat there ($55 each, BYO). Brilliant.

We spent the cool Saturday morning (9c) working of the previous night’s dinner walking the 10.5 km Heartbreak Trail in Warren National Park. We’d walked it before, but I’d forgotten how hilly it was. It took us just under three hours, lovely walk. While in the area we visited the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. Having climbed all three fire lookouts on previous trips we weren’t even slightly tempted.

We rested up over an excellent lunch at Hidden River Estate, which is under new ownership, but still putting out some mighty good food ($78 with wine). The Tiramisu was outstanding.

We wiled away the afternoon, tasting wine at Salitage, ogling the beautiful furniture at the Fine Woodcraft Gallery, and picking up some provisions at Holy Smoke and IGA for that night’s DYI platter (after a much needed soak in the spa tub of course).

Sunday greeted us with a beautiful rainbow and a balmy 13c. We began the day by walking around Big Brook Dam and through the arboretum (just under two hours). The kookaburras were abundant and talkative, the weather indecisive.

We then drove to Gloucester National Park to watch some folks climb the tree, then walked the Dukes Walk and Karri Views trails and took many snaps of a Western Rosella who was kind enough to pose.

Lunch found us at Silkwood, where we imbibed and indulged in yet more good eats, soaked up the glorious incredibly green views and loaded up on wine to bring home.

An afternoon visit to Mountford Winery/Tangletoe Ciderly led to the purchase of a bottle of cider liqueur, yum.

Monday morning we packed up and left, hoping to beat the traffic back to Perth. We took the Vasse Hwy to Nannup, and then followed Tourist Drive 251 to Balingup, then joined the SW Hwy. The countryside was so green it made our eyes hurt, and naturally I had to stop multiple times for photos. Our route home was a bit convoluted as we decided to detour to the Swan Valley for yet another leisurely lunch at Lamont’s and to pick up some coffee at Yahava.

Needless to say, it took us eight hours to make the four hour drive home, but so it goes.

A beautiful weekend all around.

Photos here:
Melnq8 is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2014, 02:36 AM
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Sounds like a lovely long weekend. I visited the Pemberton region a long time ago and don't recall much tourist infrastructure. The forests were of course awesome.

Useful details for future trips, thanks for posting.
sartoric is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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Pemberton still isn't known for its tourist infrastructure (but that's the whole idea as far as I'm concerned).

Even so sartoric, you might not recognize the Pemberton of yore. We've seen a lot of changes in our 5-6 visits, although they're not changes the casual observer might pick up on. It's a place we'll hold near and dear to our hearts long after we leave WA.

I remember laughing my head off after reading somewhere that Pemberton was once coined Australia's Ugliest Town. The writer obviously didn't look beyond the main street.

Pemberton is the type of place people tend to breeze through and not think much about. They overlook the fact that it's literally surrounded by gorgeous national parks. I could spend weeks there and never run out of things to do.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 02:23 AM
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Pemberton was one of my favourite places in the south west - I loved that place. The photos are beautiful Mel - so glad you had a lovely mini trip and thank you for sharing.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 02:57 AM
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Looks great, Mel,
Thanks for another insightful glimpse of our beautiful West.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 03:52 AM
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Thank you ladies. Glad you loved Pemby stormbird, we certainly do.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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Great Pics! Pemberton really a beautiful place, thank you for sharing some nice pictures.
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Jul 14th, 2014, 03:12 PM
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Just catching up on fodors (been at our new house in Havelock North where we don't have the internet connected yet) and saw your post and photos, Mel. Pemberton is now on the list for our WA trip in the near future. I am about to print the report off and add to the other WA reports you have shared. Photos are fabulous. I must look at using flickr to share my photos with friends and family. Thanks for your always-interesting-and-useful reports.

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Jul 14th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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Hi Dot -

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos, Pemberton is definitely worth some time when you're next in WA.
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