We hope you enjoy these things to do in Mt. Barker WA! Mt. Barker is a small country town that has a few interesting attractions that’s worth a day’s visit. In addition, it is the closest town to the iconic Western Australia Castle Rock Granite Skywalk, so a great jumping-off point for a visit to the Porongurup National Park. The other most important of the Mt Barker attractions are the wineries. There are some excellent wineries in the area and they can make a great place to stop during the road trip to either Denmark or Albany.
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History Of Mt. Barker Western Australia
When I was a kid we’d drive through the “Shire of Plantagenet” and I honestly never knew why the area around Mt. Barker was called that. Apparently, way back in the settler days, someone wanted to recognize one of the powerful and wealthy families of England and named the Shire after the Plantagenet Kings. Just to get you oriented the first Plantagenet King was Henry the 2nd.
Things To Do In Mt. Barker WA
Old Mount Barker Police Station
The old police station in Mt. Barker WA is the old fashioned building located on the right-hand side as you arrive in Mt Barker from the north on the Albany Highway.
It is interesting for kids of all ages to see the old equipment, kitchen, the bedrooms, tools, and basically how people lived in the olden days. Older children will have an appreciation of how a prison used to be.
The old Mount Barker police station is manned by volunteers who will give a very insightful guided tour. Though you can do the tour by yourself if you don’t have time or the kids are in a rush.
The price is $5 per person
Mt. Barker WA Lookout
If you want to get oriented to Mount Barker it is worth going up to the Mt Barker lookout as the views going on forever. If you have binoculars you can see the Albany Wind Farm, the Stirling Ranges, the Porongorups, the farms, and much more.
There are lots of interesting panels and historical information at the Mt Barker Lookout. For example, the first European climbing of the mound by Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson and party in 1829 during an expedition from Albany – the same expedition that “discovered” nearby Denmark.
Another plaque erected by the Plantagenet Historical Society commemorates the pioneer women of the Plantagenet District.
A fun fact: Nearby is the telecommunications tower standing 184m high. Once the tallest unsupported structure in the southern hemisphere and opened in 1966 to so that the rural folk could receive ABC Television Broadcasts.
Mt. Barker Country Bakery
When I mentioned to a friend that we were heading to Mt. Barker WA they were clear, “You have to stop at the bakery, and it’s the BEST”! Apparently, the Mt. Barker WA Country Bakery has got quite a reputation in country areas for having some delicious pies and cakes.
Mt. Barker Playground
My son absolutely loves the big red tractor at the Mt Barker playground. In addition, there is a fun fairy garden and a slide and tunnels. This is not one of Perth’s mega playgrounds, but that doesn’t matter. The kids have had a lot of fun here during numerous visits.
St. Werbergh’s Church
If you like historical places, then St Werbergh’s church might be a lovely detour for you. The road is very near to West Cape Howe and we had a coffee after our visit to St Werbugh’s. The winding gravel road to St.Werburgh’s Church is very scenic and also off the beaten track. One of the most beautiful things about Mt Barker WA is the wide-open spaces and you certainly feel it during this scenic drive.
St. Werburgh’s Church is located on a farm, so remember to close the door and gates as you leave. Donations are gratefully received to assist in financing ongoing upkeep and restoration.
Stirling Range National Park
While the Stirling Range National Park is just under an hour’s drive from Mt. Barker and therefore isn’t exactly “IN” Mt. Barker WA. I decided to include it in this list of things do in Mt Barker WA as there aren’t really any other towns nearby.
The Stirling Range National Park features the only major mountain range in the southern part of Western Australia. It has peaks which exceed 1000 meters above sea leave. There are magnificent views and some incredible flora. Many of the wildflowers seen in the Stirling Ranges are seen nowhere else in the world!
Within Western Australia, the Stirling Ranges, or more specifically is the highest peak, Bluff Knoll is also famous as it’s one of the few places in Western Australia where snow sometimes falls. As a Western Australian you know that if there is snow on Bluff Knoll, it is COLD.
The Aboriginal name for the Stirling, Koi Kyenunu-ruff, means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’. A frequently seen occurrence, and if you are lucky you will see these unusual cloud formations.
The Stirling Range National Park is famous as being one of Western Australia’s premier – challenging – hiking destinations. We cover them below. However, if you are not physically able, then you should definitely do the Stirling Range drive which goes through the center of the park offering stunning views of the different peaks. While the drive is on gravel (unsealed) roads, they are often graded to be suitable for 2 wheel drive. If you have a hire car check your conditions of hire carefully as often you are not allowed on gravel roads.
Bluff Knoll Hike
Famous throughout Western Australia, the Bluff Knoll hike to 1099m is famous as being quite challenging. However, when you see that it is only 3.1km to the summit you might think that it would be easy. Well, let’s just say – it is not.
It takes between 3- 5 hours to do the round trip hike depending on your fitness, how long you linger at the top, and also weather conditions at the time. This mumma did a snow seeking hike about 20 years ago and quite literally stayed at the top for about 1 minute. Needless to say, conditions were very windy and freezing cold, but unfortunately no snow!
If you are thinking of taking your kids hiking up Bluff Knoll, we suggest you read our helpful guide to Hiking With Kids. I hadn’t thought to do the hike up Bluff Knoll with my cherubs until my friend recently successfully went with her 5 and 7-year-olds! I guess you need to know your kids – can they manage a 3-5 hour walk that features a lot of uphill climbing? Also, if you are traveling with a baby or toddler, make sure you can carry their weight up the hill. This is not an easy hike and again, you don’t want them to be getting fractious!
Our opinion is you should attempt something easier/flatter for about half a day as a first attempt, rather than doing Bluff Knoll straight away. Or, even consider the hike up the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk which is much easier than Bluff Knoll. It is also one of the best things to do in Mt Barker WA.
If you have older kids, and they are experienced hikers (or at least fit), then you might consider a hike up to the get the amazing views from the summit of Mt Toolbrunup. Mt Toolbrunup is the second-highest peak in the Stirling Range. This is considered harder than Bluff Knoll, as you climb non-stop to the summit as you ascend over 500 vertical meters. Also, the trail is not a series of steps leading all the way up. Instead, you tackle a fun scree field where you have to scramble up piles of rocks that have been deposited on the side of the mountain over the years.
Bluff Knoll Camping Options
There a range of good quality accommodation Mt Barker WA options that you can read about further down the post. However, if you would like to camp locally, then the Moingup Spring which is a basic bush camp amongst the trees, and in a central location in the Stirling Range National park. You need to pay National Park camping fees.
Alternatively, there are two caravan park style Bluff Knoll Camping Options, just outside the park. Look out for Stirling Range Retreat which has swimming pools and a range of amenities, or alternatively the Mt Trio Bush Camping and Caravan Park which has a range of Caravan Style camping facilities.
Visit The Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia
The Granite Skywalk is by far the most visited place in Mt. Barker WA and with good reason. It is breathtaking. Not only are the views insanely good but it’s also a decent hike up the Castle Rock! There is a lot to know when you are climbing up to Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk, so we have written a whole post about Hike To Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia. Some of the many topics we cover are:
- What Will I See At The Top Of The Granite Skywalk
- Tips For visiting the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia
- Is The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Suitable For Kids
I should add that we have hiked the Granite Skywalk not once, but twice with kids, and so have different experiences each time. The Granite Skywalk is one of the top things to do in Mt Barker WA
Porongurup National Park
Immense granite outcrops, the Porongorups, are visible for many kilometers and are a physical landmark of both size and beauty. The Porongurup subregion’s cooler climate ensures that Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir have an excellent reputation.
It is true that that Porongurup National Park is most well known as the home to the Granite Skywalk – but there is actually more to do around than just that walk! For example:
Mt. Barker WA Wineries
The Great Southern Wine Region is considered a very large wine region, even by Australian standards. It touches the southwest Coast and then heads north for almost 100 kilometers (60 miles). Within that area, there are five wine-producing sub-regions within the Great Southern: Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, and the Porongorups.
Most visitors to Western Australia associate either Margaret River or the Swan Valley with wine production. They are usually surprised to learn that the Great Southern produces around 37% of wine grapes grown in WA.
Due to the unique and varied climates for grape growing from the coast in Denmark and Albany to the drier hinterland in Frankland and Mt. Barker, the area is becoming well known for its Riesling, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon, amongst other wines.
We’ve explored things to do in Albany, Denmark, and the Porongorups in these posts:
The Porongorups are covered in this post: Hike to Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia
Not only are Plantagenet Wines one of the oldest vineyards in the great southern Wine Region– they might actually be the oldest! Their marketing slogan describes the Plantagenet Wines as “wines of provenance and distinction that truly reflect the outstanding Great Southern Wine Region”.
They have a cellar door and restaurant, including a pizza and wine deal for only $20. That is a great filler if you are on your way back to Perth! I’ve also heard that if you are into history, the royal lineage charts alone are worth the time to browse and their wines are very good quality and value for money.
West Cape Howe Wines
We visited West Cape Howe Wines en route from Denmark to Perth, as the quickest route goes right past their door! If not, it’s a short detour from Mt. Barker WA town itself. While the big metallic vats that you see as you approach West Cape Howe strikes you as rather industrial, this is a wonderful winery and good for families. A few couples with young children came during our visit, and the kids enjoyed playing on the expansive lawns. Very family-friendly with reasonable wine prices.
While we have heard that the West Cape Howe platters are delicious we have only had a coffee. It was very tasty, and the coffee is roasted on-site.
On our list for our next trip to Mt. Barker WA is Windrush Wines which gets absolutely rave reviews for its interesting, seasonal menu described as fine cuisine.
The family-owned and run restaurant also specialize in Gluten-Free options. We are excited to visit Windrush Wines ourselves and evaluate if it is as good as the reviews indicate!
Accommodation Mt. Barker WA
There are not a lot of options for accommodation Mount Barker Western Australia. Many people prefer to travel a little further and either stay in the little known Porongorups or even head to the coast and stay in Denmark or Albany.
In Mt Barker itself, there is Valley Views Motel, with 20 modern units, including family accommodation, chalets, and disabled facilities.
Mt Barker Caravan Park & Cabin Accommodation have caravan & camping sites, single rooms to fully self-contained family cabins.
We love the fact that the Big Bird and Wolf Chalets have fully fenced yards so your dogs can run around.
This Frankland Winery has three self-contained chalets with vineyard views.
Things To Do In Mt. Barker WA – The Verdict
So you may never have heard of Mt. Barker WA, and that’s cool. Most people drive right on through as they head to either Denmark WA or Albany, both on the coast. However, we hope that we’ve given you enough reasons to consider why spending a day – or even a night. Mt.Barker gives you a look into a small rural town, with some famous connections, and some fabulous wines! If you have any other top Mount Barker WA things to do suggestions, leave us a comment below!
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