Less than two hours from Perth, the picturesque Ferguson Valley provides the perfect weekend getaway for both young and old alike… and kids, couples, families… well everyone. We enjoyed a long weekend in the Ferguson Valley and enjoyed a leisurely time among charming farm landscapes and the gorgeous fresh air of the forest. With so much to do – and a lot to eat – we highly recommend spending a couple of days in the Ferguson Valley. Yes, that’s right, the Ferguson Valley wineries are gorgeous and the Ferguson Valley breweries a fun place to spend a few hours.
Join us, for our top things to do in – and top Ferguson Valley accommodation options.
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Why Visit The Ferguson Valley
I guess the question is – why not visit the Ferguson Valley WA? Of all the areas around Perth, I can’t think of a more gorgeous weekend escape. Escape is the operative word here. Once you are in the rolling green hills, or camping in the National Parks, or sipping wine at one of the Ferguson Valley wineries you will feel like you are a million miles away from the city! For us, that constitutes a “true escape”!
For other weekend getaway ideas from Perth read Best Perth Weekend Getaways.
If you are interested in the Ferguson Valley food scene go directly to Ferguson Valley Wineries and Ferguson Valley Breweries at the bottom of the post.
For Instagrammers – well, there is so much to do and see in the Ferguson Valley we don’t even know where to begin!
The most well-known site in the Ferguson Valley is the ‘gnome home’ at Gnomesville. Yes, that’s right, 3000 Garden gnomes have gathered on a roundabout in the middle of the countryside. Now, a trip to Gnomesville has evolved into a quasi-pilgrimage site as people from around the world have arrived, and left their gnome, with a personalized message.
The kids will love the fairy-tale feel, and the funny gnome faces all around. We bought a $5 garden gnome from a Red Dot Store, and the kids loved making their contribution.
If you want to know ‘everything’ about Gnomesville, take a look at our A Guide To Visiting Gnomesville WA.
Gnomesville Details: Located 26km from Donnybrook. Apart from 20 minutes driving one way, allow 30 minutes for a fun wander.
Wellington National Park
A massive 17,000 hectares, Wellington National Park is filled with Jarrah, Marri, and Yarri forests. With the highlight being the Collie River Valley and the Wellington Dam. Some of the best spots for a picnic, gorgeous swims, or a spot of fishing are a number of spots around Honeymoon Pool like Little Rock and Long Pool.
Wellington Dam Camping is also a great experience with new facilities found at Potters Gorge.
Honeymoon Pool & Scenic Drive
Who can go past a visit to the romantically named Honeymoon pool? And, better still, Honeymoon Pool is not just one place to visit but a whole scenic drive in the Wellington National Park.
We recommend spending a couple of hours to stop at a few places along the scenic drive. The locals recommended a swim at Long Pool and it was very refreshing, and we were the only people there!
We also enjoyed the short walks at Big Rock, Little Rock, and the Rapids. We suggest packing a picnic lunch for a stop along the way, or we chose the very well-equipped Honeymoon Pool for a BBQ lunch. You can also swim at Honeymoon Pool but be warned – the water is veryyyyyyy cold!
From Honeymoon Pool we did a hike up to a lookout across the valley and bushland, it was a bit ambitious for the kids and turned out to be about 4km. However, when I reflect, it was an amazing escape right into the forest and a good forest experience.
Did you know?
Honeymoon Pool is an extremely popular camping area and on some days you will be surprised at just how many people there are in the middle of the bush! If you are thinking of pitching a tent, this will cover everything you need to know about Weekend Away: Potters Gorge and Honeymoon Pool Camping.
Wellington Dam Lookout
Another place we recommend making a stop is the Wellington Dam lookout! The kids were pretty tired so we made a stop at the Kiosk at the Dam a small café right in the middle of the forest with a surprisingly large range of yummy home-baked cakes and a tasty coffee. From here it was a short walk down to the Wellington Dam lookout to look out over the structure and learn its impact on the environment. You can read more information here at the Wellington Dam Lookouts website.
Other Places To Visit In The Wellington Forest
There are three spots to stop in the magnificent Jarrah forest of the Wellington National Park.
We stopped for a coffee at the Wellington Forest Cottages and enjoyed the chance to walk in the forest and see some tame kangaroos. Chances are you will be able to snap a selfie with one of these fabulous Australian icons! At Wellington Forest Cottages you can stay in these rustic old timber cottages for a full forest immersion and unique experience. This is a great Ferguson Valley accommodation, for more ideas about where to stay see below.
Almost across the road from the Wellington Forest Cottages is the Wellington Forest Discovery Centre, National parks run education centre. On the day we visited they were closed, but they offer great short bush-walk among the Jarrah trees to experience their majesty. For more info check out their website here.
King Jarrah Tree
Do you want to get some of that feeling of forest Zen? Then go and hug the King Jarrah tree, which is thought to be between 300 and 500 years old. While not as tall as some of the trees down south, this majestic giant is impressive.
For another look at this spectacular forest, the King Jarrah tree is located between the Wellington Forest Discovery Centre and the Gnomes at Gnomesville.
Have A Hands-On Farm Experience
One of our favorite things about the Ferguson Valley is the farm-feel that you experience as you travel along the winding roads through the countryside. We highly recommend getting your hands, and the kid’s hands, dirty at the Ferguson Farmstay farm activities each morning. You can feed a range of animals, ride a pony, and have a fantastic tractor ride. All these options are available for guests and non-guests, so if you weren’t lucky enough to make a booking at the Ferguson Farmstay you can still get the farm experience.
For inspiration, read our full review of the Ferguson Farmstay.
Taste Fresh Food At The Wineries And Eateries
Ferguson Valley has long been synonymous with hearty fresh food – the Dardanup Butchering Company and the heart of gorgeous dairy farm country. Even as kids we would sometimes have a special trip when traveling down south with a pie or sausage roll from the Dardanup Bakery. If you are looking for something simpler and cheaper – the Dardanup Bakery gets rave reviews and it is a super cute village to stop and stretch your legs.
While the pies are quite expensive ($8 when we stopped) they are large and filled with real meat. They taste like a homemade pie! Well worth the stop!
All of the Ferguson Valley wineries listed in this section are part of the Geographe Wine Region.
Ferguson Falls Wines Café
While Ferguson Falls Wines are famous for their world-class Shiraz, lots of people also like to stop by for their very tasty stone-baked pizzas! This Ferguson Valley winery has even been awarded prizes for their pizza, it is that good! Other specialties (apart from their wines) include coffees and desserts
This is a relaxed family-friendly place for lunch – and only 20 minutes from Bunbury, making it easy to get to!
St. Aidan Wines
Named for the historic St Aidan’s church nearby, this cellar door restaurant has a church inspired design and this makes it one of the more picturesque Ferguson Valley Wineries. This lovely setting makes it a wonderful place for lunch or afternoon tea.
St. Aidan’s is a family-run vineyard that produces a wide range of wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Muscat, and Cabernet. The tasting paddles that include five portions are a great way to try a range of wines tailored to your own selections. Meals are also generally recommended.
If you are going on a vineyard hopping experience in the Ferguson Valley, this is a great Insta-opportunity! The restaurant deck overlooks a dam and rolling pastures and the food here is simply outstanding. It is modern, innovative, beautifully presented, and combines flavors deliciously.
As such, Hackersley Estate is considered a real foodies restaurant. Not particularly suitable for children! This restaurant can cater to vegetarians and a gluten-free diet.
Among the wine varieties available at this Ferguson Valley winery are Shiraz Cabernet, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, and Merlot.
Green Door Wines
Green Door Wines initially operated as a vineyard only. Just recently, they opened a cellar door restaurant. This is defiantly a place to go if you are interested in winemaking as they have a unique approach to vineyard practices, eg minimal intervention in growing wines, and wanted to focus on improving and preserving soil health.
All grapes use handpicked harvesting methods and are basket pressed. All of the wines are produced on-site using a variety of European wine-making methods including cold-soaking on the skin and the use of Amphora pots.
Make sure you ask to compare traditional amphora wine alongside current winemaking methods.
Not a restaurant (eg, cellar door only) but includes an onsite art gallery.
Ferguson Hart Estate
While Ferguson Hart Estate doesn’t have a restaurant or café, it does have an art gallery alongside its cellar door. This is a great place to taste these reputable wines or pick up a gorgeous souvenir of your weekend away from the city!
One of the larger vineyards in the Geographe Wine region, this vineyard was first planted in 1995. They have won prizes for the best wine in the Geographe Wine Region in the past.
Ferguson Valley Breweries
Your kids will be immediately fired up by the idea of having lunch at either the Moody Cow or Wild Bull! Honestly, the Ferguson Valley definitely takes the prize for the breweries with the best names!
Moody Cow Brewery
The very popular Moody Cow Brewery has a convivial family vibe and the day we visited was filled to the brim with families enjoying a day out. Relaxed and rustic, it had hearty country food and we had a delicious and filling meal. There are five or six beers on tap available as a sampler tray as well as normal pints or middies. There is a big grassed area where kids can run. For more information on Moody Cow Brewery, you can check out their website here. They are literally located just down the road from St.Aidans.
Tip: Take a ball to play, or there is a bouncy castle though not a lot of other play equipment.
The Wild Bull Brewery
The Wild Bull Brewery quite possibly has the best views of the Ferguson Valley – they are situated at the top of Pile Road. In other terms, ‘on the high side of the Ferguson Valley’.
Their menu is ample, with lots of family favorites like wood-fired pizzas, nachos, and premium Dardanup Beef to amazing burgers. As expected for a place with play equipment. They also have a great kids menu.
The Wild Bull has play equipment and great views across the Ferguson Valley, more info can be found here at their website.
Check out their website because they often have live music on weekends. The Wild Bull is extremely popular – and why not? With a great vibe, awesome kids’ play areas, and their own line of beers including Pale Ale, Pilsner, Black Angus Creamy Porter, Lager, Summer Ale, Ginger Beer & Pear Cider.
Check Opening Times – Ferguson Valley Wineries And Breweries
On our first visit to the Ferguson Valley, we made a note “We would have reviewed a great deal more breweries/wineries if they were open”. They seemed to have a complex system of opening and most weren’t open on public holidays. This resulted in a comment from one of the marketing organizations that we hadn’t done our research. Well, I stand by my comment. After a subsequent visit, I still think that their opening times are strange for an area that is an awesome weekend getaway from Perth! Lots of the wineries are closed on a Monday! So our advice is to check the latest opening advice when planning your time in the Ferguson Valley.
Ferguson Valley Accommodation
With spectacular views across the Ferguson Valley, all the way to the lights of Bunbury which twinkle at night, we absolutely love this Ferguson Valley accommodation. We have written a huge review of the Ferguson Valley Farm Stay in our Ferguson Farmstay Review. I mean, what is there not to love about this Farm Stay? Featuring cute rammed earth cottages, stunning views, and lots of friendly animals. Keep in mind that guests who stay 2 nights or more can partake in farm activities as part of their stay.
For more information and current rates take a look at the Ferguson Farm Stay website.
Wellington Forest Cottages
The rustic Wellington Forest cottages were built in the 1920s for Forest Department employees and the little village of weatherboard cottages makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. There are 8 cottages in total, fully self-contained, and most have a fireplace. A bike path and creek run through this idyllic Ferguson Valley accommodation property.
There is also a café at the Wellington Forest Cottages as well as some very friendly local kangaroos. Rumour has it they are more than happy to pose for selfies!
Evedon Lakeside Retreat
We’ve chosen the Evedon Lakeside Retreat for our next Ferguson Valley getaway – with cozy cabins, and wood fires, they look absolutely gorgeous. There is a common area to iron & wash clothes, no individual irons or hairdryers that we saw.
Right outside your cabin are fantastic views of the lake and surrounding bushland. We can’t wait to go fishing in the lake and also to kayak around the lake. Evedon Lakeside retreat supply kayaks with oars & life jackets at no charge. There are several walking trails too which are good to stretch the legs & enjoy the area.
Note, some of these cabins are two stories and have an attractive spiral staircase that could be an issue for those who are not so mobile – or those with small children like toddlers who have not yet mastered stairs!
Outside there are communal fire pits which are fun & social. There are several walking trails too which are good to stretch the legs & enjoy the area.
We didn’t eat at the restaurant but did get takeaway pizza. It was delicious! Check out the latest rates for Evedon Lakeside Retreat here.
Ferguson Valley Accommodation – Other Options
Henty Lodge B&B also gets good reviews and might be worth checking out, especially if you are traveling as a couple.
What About Camping In The Ferguson Valley
One of the best things to do in the Ferguson Valley is a good, old fashioned camping trip! That’s right; not being far from Perth you can head down south on a Friday night after work and still have time to set up your tent before dark. Some of the premier camping around Perth is found at Wellington Dam (the Potters Gorge campsite) or at Honeymoon Pool.
We actually went Glamping at Potters Gorge, in a great setup offered by Kiosk at the Dam. You can read about our Glamping experience and the other options for Camping at Potters Gorge and Wellington Dam.
Nearby the Ferguson Valley
You can visit the Ferguson Valley as a destination in its own right. However, if you are traveling further south don’t hesitate to make it a stop. We suggest the Ferguson Valley as a way of breaking up the trip from Perth to Margaret River.
Originally we had intended to visit the Dardanup Heritage Park, which is about 15 minutes from Bunbury and just outside the village of Dardanup. With acres of heritage machinery, this is like a huge outdoor museum.
However, after arriving and talking to the friendly lady at the ticket counter we decided we didn’t have the minimum 2 hours recommended. As we like to balance visits between our children’s interests we had thought that our 4-year-old machine mad lad would have got into the old machinery. However, on second thought, he was a tad young. Something to save for when he is older or we have Grandpa in tow! For more information check out their website here.
Ferguson Valley To The Black Diamond Lake Collie
You may have seen the Black Diamond Lake Collie on Instagram. It is a stunning opaque turquoise and seriously looks amazing on the ‘Gram! However, to get the best pics and to see it in all its glory it is best to visit on a sunny day with clear skies. The light reflects off the water best when there is tons of sun.
The Black Diamond Lake Collie WA is about five minutes from Collie. It is located on Ferguson road. Please be aware that there are no facilities at this spot. There are no picnic benches, no toilets, no showers, and absolutely no camping at Black Diamon Lake Collie WA.
Besides the lack of facilities, the other important thing to know is that swimming is not encouraged because of the presence of amoebas in the water. This really puts a damper on things. If you are also taking children it can be difficult to keep them out of the water. However, you can canoe, take photos, SUP, or have a picnic on the shores of the lake providing you bring your own equipment and food.
Looking To Visit Collie Western Australia
During this trip to the Ferguson Valley, we had intended to visit a couple of places in Collie Western Australia. Unfortunately, bad weather meant we didn’t see as much as we hoped! If you are interested to hear what we had planned, please write to us and ask.
The Verdict – Ferguson Valley Wineries, Accommodation & More
Honestly, if you are not tempted to book a weekend escape in the Ferguson Valley after reading all the fantastic things we have mentioned – there is nothing more we can say! From Wellington National Park to the Black Diamond Lake Collie, and the amazing Ferguson Valley wineries – there is so much to do and see just a couple of hours from Perth.
Whether you are planning a solo getaway, a couples vacation, or a family adventure Ferguson Valley WA has something for everyone. You should just do it – book now!
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