Last Updated on November 30, 2020 by Travels with Kids
There are so many things to do in Pemberton WA we wished we had of allowed more time. We had a lovely midwinter escape to Pemberton. Pemberton WA is a cute timber town with an active mill and lots of fun things to do with kids. This charming town is truly located in a tall timber country and there are nature-based activities galore to fill your lungs with that fresh country air.
One of the major things to do in Pemberton is enjoying the forests. Pemberton is surrounded by three national parks, The Gloucester, Warren, and Beedelup. You will be wowed by the towering Karri forests. These are the tallest trees in Western Australia of which many are over 400 years old. Here is our top list of what to do in Pemberton.
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Things To Do In Pemberton WA
The Pemberton Tramway runs twice a day and is a really fun way to experience the Karri forest. Traveling at a slow pace through the forest allowed time for smelling the fresh air and admiring the dappled light of the karri trees and it’s understorey. Both children had a fun time. They especially enjoyed the first half of the journey, as it’s fun to watch the movement of the train. There are plenty of train toots, waving at cars as you cross the main highway and a great little bushwalk as the train stops at the Cascades. An interesting commentary from the tram driver about the bridges spanning the rivers stimulated lots of conversation with Miss 5.5
For up to date timetables and prices check out the Pemberton Tramway website.
Tips & Hints
The carriages are open-sided so make sure you pack a beanie and warm jacket. Even in summer, we can imagine the return trip being cold. We took the 10:45 service and packed a lot of snacks that were devoured while looking at the scenery.
Lavender And Berry Farm & Cafe, Pemberton
By the number of families that poured in the gates while we were there, the Lavender And Berry Farm is top on the things to do in Pemberton for kids list. With good reason – this place is awesome, especially on a sunny day.
The first stop for us was feeding the alpacas. It is $2 for a bag of feed in the shop. This activity was a winner with the kids. We also petted the ponies, which you cannot feed due to their diets. There are lovely gardens to run in. The gardens are filled with plenty of lavender and berry plants, as to be expected.
Great picnic tables are set up overlooking a picturesque lake and playground. We were close enough to supervise the children while also being able to enjoy our meals. With hot cheese chicken toasties, hot chips, and the famous blueberry pancake, this could only be described as tasty, hearty country fare, and perfect for kids.
An attractive shop sells delicious jams, conserves, and soaps. A win for everyone. The Lavender And Berry Farm & Cafe is one of the top things to do in Pemberton WA.
Tips & Hints
Order your food and then go play with the alpacas. While it would be best to visit while it’s not raining, there is also a cozy dining room.
Understory (Southern Forest Sculpture Walk)
Located in Northcliffe, a short 25-minute drive from Pemberton, this Understory sculpture walk was everyone’s favorite for the day. Sure we like walking, but this is an exceptionally well put together art walk.
From the moment that Master 2 was able to see the blackened faces in the trees (and nanna couldn’t), we were all captivated as we enthusiastically discovered different artworks. Even for the children, the pieces were so beautifully created they stimulated intellectual and whimsical engagement with the forest. Gorgeous!
Tips & Hints
Arrive before 3 pm. We arrived too late in the day to hire the audio which has adult sections and also children’s recordings to listen to in the animal story nooks. We suspect Master 2 wouldn’t have sat still long enough to enjoy them, but for children 5 plus this would be an asset.
For the adults, it was joyous to be part of a walk of discovery with the kids, and their enthusiasm was contagious. We may have liked to know more about the artworks themselves but maybe this would have occurred on lap 2.
We took about 30 minutes to do the 1.2km loop. You could spend an hour with the audio recording and at a slower pace.
There is a playground across from the sculpture walk – this might be a good option to allow adults to enjoy the commentary and thoughtful reflection.
There is a fun playground opposite the main group of shops in Pemberton. Ideal while someone is over in the IGA (only grocery store in town). The children’s playground has shelter and shade for hot days.
While it isn’t one of the best playgrounds in all of Western Australia, it was sufficient for the kids.
Located in the heart of the forest, Beedelup Falls is an easy 2km drive from the main road. From there it’s a short 300m walk to the falls, which is perfect for little legs. The Beedelup Falls are just beautiful in winter, though they can be a little dry in the hot Aussie summer. There is a beautiful misty feel in the Karri forest in the winter, and birdlife all year round.
We did the loop around the falls which was a nice break during a car drive.
Tips & Hints
If you are staying at the highly recommended Karri Valley Resort (see below) then it is a 2km round trip. This is a beautiful way to explore the forest while also stretching the legs.
Other Things To Do In Pemberton WA
These are the things to do in Pemberton that we have on our list for our next visit. These were all Pemberton things to do that we wanted to get to initially but simply ran out of time. If you are spending more than a day, then perhaps you can add them to your itinerary.
World-Famous Gloucester Tree Pemberton
Once used as fire lookouts, these climbing trees are thrilling places to visit for those that love heights. In the days before airplane surveillance for fires, these fire towers made a network of across the forest. In addition to the Gloucester Tree Pemberton, you can also climb the Bicentennial Tree. The Diamond Tree near Manjimup has now closed.
Gloucester tree is the most famous climbing tree in the Pemberton area. It is only a short 5-minute drive from the center of Pemberton. There are also three short walking trails of 400m and 800m that begin from the Gloucester Tree picnic area. So even if you don’t climb the tree (like this mumma!), there is still something to do. There are some covered picnic tables in the area close to the base of the tree and carpark, and this makes a great place for a picnic.
Be warned, these climbing trees are not for the faint of heart. There are metal rods into the tree for rungs, and chicken wire for protection and support if you slip! This 53 meters high giant tree is very tall. There are no safety ropes so this is climbing at your own risk! Be sure you are not very fear of heights or you might have trouble climbing down. Everyone who does make it up the tree raves about the view from the top. We estimate that the Gloucester Tree Pemberton would be an activity for children 10 and up. It’s worthwhile if you can do it.
Forest Drives – Pemberton Western Australia
When you travel with kids, you know that drives to put the kids to sleep are always on the cards. The good news is that Pemberton has some absolutely spectacular drives where you can be wowed while the kids sleep. I just had to do the Heartbreak trail, which is a 12 km drive trail winds through the magnificent karri forest and along the Warren River. It takes you to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree and the Marianne North tree.
Bushwalk – Pemberton WA
There are lots of wonderful opportunities and hikes of varying distances in and around Pemberton. Depending on the age of your children, and the weather when you visit, we recommend doing some bushwalks around Pemberton. The tall old-growth forests are so magnificent and peaceful, and most trails are well marked.
When in town visit the Pemberton Visitor Centre, located in the main street, for maps and suggestions tailored to your family’s abilities.
The Big Brook Dam has a 3.5 km sealed track around the dam with wheelchair access the whole way, which would work well if you are pushing a pram. Alternatively, the 100-year-old forest sounds so romantic and offers an easy 1.5 km walk trail through regenerated karri forest. Bushwalks are one of the top things to do in Pemberton WA.
Hidden River Estate – Food, Wine And Even A Playground
A visit to the Hidden River Estate is a fantastic thing to do around Pemberton. The restaurant is a perfect spot for a family lunch. We recommend sitting out on the terrace to enjoy the view and conversation (the main dining area can get quite loud). Many people rave about the wonderful food, especially the options on the kid’s menu.
In fact, besides the great kid’s menu options, there are things to keep kids entertained at Hidden River Estate. They have a grassy area for kids to burn off energy, swings, slides, and a sandpit area.
Besides the restaurant, winery, and play area, several farm animals can be seen wandering about. This is truly a great place to stop for a bite to eat, sample the wines, and enjoy your time in Pemberton.
Trout Fishing – Pemberton Western Australia
Keen to try your hand at some of the best fishing in Pemberton Western Australia? If so, Old Vasse Trout And Marron Farm is just the place. They have a fully stocked trout pound among the karri trees at the edge of Warren National Park.
Old Vasse caters to novices as well as experienced anglers. Don’t have a fishing pole? No problem, they can provide you with one for a small fee of $5. Keep in mind there is a $15 entrance fee for adults, $10 per child. Also, you pay for the trout you catch. They do not practice catch and release. Any trout caught is packed up for you to take home with you. The cost of the trout is dependant on the length and weight of the fish.
This attraction is located south of Pemberton. Even if fishing isn’t on the agenda, you can still purchase whole trout and marron directly from them. Trout fishing tops our what to do in Pemberton list.
Pemberton WA Accommodation Options
RAC Karri Valley Resort
This hotel is situated beside a Lake Beedelup, which makes for a wonderful location. Karri Valley Resort is a modest lakeside bush resort. Keep in mind it is located approximately 22km south of Pemberton.
There are two types of accommodations offered here. Choose from self-contained chalets that are nestled into the karri trees or more hotel-like rooms literally overlooking Lake Beedelup. Don’t expect a 5-star hotel, but more of a stunning bush getaway.
The balcony view overlooking the lake from the cabin was to die for and we also had this view from our bedroom. The birds that come to visit are a delight. Given the resort is so far from town having self-contained accommodation is useful – especially if you caught trout as we did.
The location is spectacular. Thre are many birds, kangaroos, and emus that can be spotted from your room or chalet. Plus, there are so many activities to choose from. For a small fee, you can rent a SUP, rowboat, canoe, or kayak. There is also an animal farm and archery. Remember too, this lake is filled with trout. So bring your fishing pole. This is a great Pemberton accommodation.
Treenbrook Cottages are a lovely Pemberton WA accommodation choice. The self-contained mudbrick cottages are nestled in 12-acres that borders the Treenbrook State Forest.
Each cottage has a full kitchen, private verandah, and bbq. They are also spacious with enough room for the entire family. There are also games, videos for the kids, and other activities which include feeding the resident alpacas.
Behind the lovely cottages are several forest walking trails. Treenbook Cottages is only a five-minute drive into Pemberton, which makes it an ideal location.
Pemberton Farm Stay Options
Diamond Forest Farm Stay
If you are looking for a Pemberton Farm Stay option, consider Diamond Forest Farm Stay. With so much to do for the entire family, you are sure to keep busy.
The cottages are cozy with private verandahs to enjoy your morning coffee or a quick snack on. The chalets are self-contained and can accommodate up to 5-guests. They are also dog-friendly which is a big plus! This is a great dog-friendly accommodation Pemberton Western Australia option.
Farm activities include daily animal feedings, petting pens, a playground, game room, fishing pond, and firepit to relax around. Not to mention this is a gorgeous country setting with breathtaking scenery.
Pump Hill Farm Cottages
Pump Hill Farm Cottages offer a unique Pemberton WA accomodation farm stay option. The self-contained cottages sleep 4-9 people, great if you have a larger group. Fully equipped kitchens, a private bbq, and a gas stove all come standard in each cottage.
Pump Hill offers all the typical farm stay experiences like animal feedings, bird watching, and bush walks. Perhaps a bit more rustic than other similar farm stay options, Pump Hill should not be overlooked.
Which Pemberton Are You Looking For
Have you heard of a tourist town called Pemberton before? You might be confused with Pemberton British Columbia, Canada, which is a small village located in the coastal mountains, 100 miles (159 km) north of Vancouver.
Pemberton British Columbia was first settled as part of the Canadian gold rush, between 1858 and 1860. It was named for Joseph Pemberton the surveyor-general for the Vancouver Island colony who was responsible for laying out the city of Victoria’s townsite. The village’s look is rustic and has the appearance of being from an old west movie. As such it has been used as a movie set and for car commercials.
There are some uncanny similarities with Pemberton Western Australia. For example, it seems it was settled by the Europeans more or less at the same time as its Canadian counterpart. Following an expedition to the Pemberton Australia area in 1861 by Edward Brockman, and his uncle Pemberton Walcott, the Brockman family established the Warren homestead on the Warren River and Walcott for whom the town would be named established Karri Dale Farm. Pemberton Western Australia also has a rustic appearance. However, it is significantly smaller in population with only 720 residents in comparison with 2,500 people in Pemberton British Columbia.
How To Get To Pemberton From Perth
The best way to travel from Perth to Pemberton is directly down the South West Highway, through Bunbury, Donnybrook, and then Manjimup. 16km south of Manjimup, on the road to Walpole Western Australia, you will see the turnoff to Pemberton. All up it takes about 3 hours 45 minutes without stopping to travel from Perth to Pemberton.
In total it is 30km from Manjimup to Pemberton or 30 minutes drive. If you are travelling with kids, we highly recommend following these stops in our Great Stops For Kids On A South West Australia Road Trip recommendations.
Conclusion – Things To Do In Pemberton WA
There are many things to do in Pemberton WA that you could very easily spend several days exploring. Pemberton is a nature-lovers playground with plenty to offer each member of the family. Whether it is a great bushwalk, having an amazing Pemberton farm stay experience, trout fishing, or even wine tasting the choice is yours. Plus, with so many great Pemberton WA accommodations, you could easily make it a weekend getaway for the family.
These are our top Pemberton things to do. Do you have any what to do in Pemberton ideas? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please leave it in our comments below.
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