Pack a hamper and grab the rug because the coming months are perfect for a picnic in the Ferguson Valley.
The Ferguson Valley is spectacular at this time of year. The gentle rolling hills and farmland are lush and green and the weather is often pleasant and sunny. Just two hours drive from Perth, this area is perfect for those looking to get away from the city for a relaxing picnic.
At Ferguson Falls Wines, you’re welcome to throw down a blanket on the well-kept lawns once you’ve finished your tasting. The vineyard is also part of a dairy farm, so kids often get a kick out of spotting the cows that lazily wander over the hills. From some parts of the property you can even see out to the ocean. If you’re up for some exploring, there are also some secluded natural spots adjacent to the winery that suitable for picnicking. Ferguson Falls Wines is open on weekends from 11am to 5pm.
At the top of the Darling Range is Henty Brook Estate winery, which has barbecues and picnic tables on the grounds. These facilities are only available to customers but as the winery’s shiraz is raking in the awards, it’s unlikely to be a wasted visit. The property is surrounded by state forest and has views towards Bunbury and to the ocean. Henty Brook’s cellar door is open from 10am to 4pm, weekends and public holidays.
Gnomesville is another good picnic spot in the area and is a huge hit with the kids. Located at Wellington Mill, Gnomesville offers picnic facilities and an abundance of those small garden folk. This is quite possibly one of the most bizarre attractions in the Ferguson Valley and worth a visit even if you’re not there to picnic. You can’t miss it, as there are gnomes by the verge to guide you in.
In the Wellington Dam area there are several other picnic options. Honeymoon Pool, on River Road in the Wellington National Park, is a beautiful place to visit. It has picnic facilities and a pool that’s open to the public. There’s also plenty of camping area available throughout the national park. Rangers will come around to collect fees from anyone wanting to stay overnight. Further around the corner at The Quarry are plenty of barbecue and picnic areas, or alternatively you can head over to the Park’s cafe. As this is still part of the national park, all the usual park rules apply. Be clean and use the rubbish bins provided, don’t bring dogs (as the forest has been baited with 1080 fox baits), follow the signs, and stay on the roads marked on the map. There are numerous walk trails throughout the Park, so take advantage of them to work up an appetite before lunch.
On your way out of the Wellington National Park, make a pit stop at Misty Vale Studio, where artist-in-residence Joyce Hatchett has her work on display. This is the only gallery in the valley that has an artist in residence.
Ferguson Falls Wines, Pile Rd, (08) 9728 1083.
Henty Brook Estate, Gardincourt Drive, (08) 9728 1459.
Misty Vale Studio, Wellington Mill Road, (08) 9728 3003.