Take a scenic drive through the wineries, restaurants and farmlands of Mt Barker and the Porongurups.
Mt Barker is the perfect holiday destination for those seeking great restaurants, wineries and galleries. Framed by the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges, there are some excellent scenic drives that pass through the area's best attractions.
Starting from the Tourist Bureau in Mt Barker, the Werburgh's Way Tourist Drive runs for 30km passing interesting historical sites both in town and in the Shire of Plantagenet.
If you love your Australian native flowers, the Banksia Farm at the start of the drive is the only one in the world where you can see every existing banksia species and sub-species. With views out to the Porongurup Ranges, you could literally spend hours walking though the gardens. There is also a small cafe and The Banksia Room, which boasts a large selection of banksia inspired arts and crafts including bunches of banksia for sale.
Those getting a little thirsty can wet their whistle at a couple of wineries along the drive. At the start of the circuit, Garlands Wines operate their vineyard, winery and cellar door, and visitors can view the winemaking process through the cellar door windows. Further down the road are shady picnic areas and native animals at Pattersons Wines. Heading west Goundry runs popular tours of its winery twice a day and has a large range of wines for tasting. Galafrey Wines also has a large cellar door with impressive views of the vineyard and beyond.
For more information head to the Tourist Bureau and pick up a folder with a complete list of tasting notes for the styles made at all the wineries in Mt Barker and the Porongurups.
Perhaps the most unique and interesting attraction along the Werburgh's Way Tourist Drive is St Werburgh's Chapel. Built in 1872-73 to serve the district's pioneers, the chapel is still free of electricity and is used regularly for weddings, christenings and other functions, which are all held by candlelight. Most of the wrought iron interiors were hand beaten by the original property owners, the Egerton-Warburton's (now buried in the adjoining graveyard). Visitors are welcome to pop in at their leisure for a look.
Just 25km from Mt Barker is the Porongurup Scenic Drive where the large granite peaks create a majestic and surreal backdrop. The rock formations have been moulded over time to represent easily definable shapes such as Castle Rock, Balancing Rock, Sheep's Head Rock and others, giving the range a Picnic at Hanging Rock feel. These unusual rocks, combined with slopes covered in thick jarrah, red gum and karri forest, makes travel along the Porongurup Scenic Drive unique.
The main road through the ranges is the Mt Barker Porongurup Drive, which passes by some great attractions. There are a number of wineries with cellar doors including Castle Rock, Mount Trio, Ironwood Estate, Abbey Creek, Jingalla, Springview, Millinup Estate and Dukes Winery. There are also some great places to eat out including Maleeya's Thai Restaurant, The Old Lodge Restaurant, and the Porongurup Shop and Tea Rooms.