15 February 2018
15 Must Dos Harvey Region
Get ready for endless beaches, fertile coastal flats, gently rolling meadows, and lakes and dams that are made for play! This is produce country – a WA food bowl for you to explore.
As you drive through Harvey, keep an eye out for roadside stalls selling oranges, mandarins and other local produce (in season). Stretch your legs with a climb up the famous ten metre high Big Orange, nestled in the grounds of the Harvey River Estate winery on the banks of the Harvey River. Owned by the Sorgiovanni family (of Harvey Fresh fame), the estate was established in 1999 and features a great cellar door for tastings and last minute gifts. Winemaker Stuart Pierce has been with the winery since 2005 and draws his knowledge from vintages in France and South Africa as well as his time at Grosset in the Clare Valley (he also has a prestigious Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy to his name).
This 14km long serene waterway in Australind is the best place to scoop up a delectable feed of crustaceans. (Note: fishing regulations apply). While you’re there, take a walk along the Leschenault Waterways Discovery Centre & Jetty Walk or grab a kayak and find the peace you seek, gliding on the Estuary’s quiet waters. Further around the Estuary is the Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park - just minutes from Australind and Bunbury yet feels like you are miles from civilisation. The Park is located on a thin peninsula, bounded on one side by the Indian Ocean and the Leschenault Estuary on the other. Locals love this place, especially for walk trails, fishing, 4W beach driving and snorkelling. Stay the night at the Belvidere camping area.
Harvey’s Internment Camp Memorial Shrine: the only roadside shrine of its type in the world, was built by prisoners of war in the 1940s. Afterwards, continue on the Harvey Heritage Trail Walk. History buffs – want more? Venture to Australind, one of the first settled areas in the region, founded by the British India Company to breed horses. A visit to Featured Wood Gallery & Museum is a must too.
Boast the octane levels by taking a tandem skydive with West Oz Skydiving. After witnessing the breathtaking views from Bunbury to Mandurah and beyond, land in the beer garden of the Old Coast Road Brewery & Geographe Distillery near Myalup. As a reward for their feat, successful tandem skydivers will receive a pint of his or her choice. Those who love a beverage will have choice galore with 20 taps of beer and cider all made on site, plus exceptional whisky and gin. BG favourite - Bellwether Single Malt Whisky.
Be amazed at the Harvey region's huge Mosaic and Mural collection created by local artist, Anthea Ward. You will find these unique mosaics at the entrances to Harvey, Binningup, Clifton Park, Cookernup, Myalup and Yarloop. View other mosaics at the Harvey Visitor Centre and the Australind Shopping Centre.
Sleep under the stars (hire a glamping tent from Nomadika like this one!) surrounded by Jarrah forest and next to a freshwater dam at Logue Brook/Lake Brockman. The lake with crystal-clear water is a water-activity haven – think water skiing, swimming, fishing, marroning, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. The Munda Biddi MTB Trail also passed through the site. You can’t camp at nearby Harvey or Stirling Dams, but they are well worth a visit too. Take a picnic bbq and spend the dam in their beautiful landscaped surroundings.
Wander through the buildings, and beautiful gardens and mini orchard of the Harvey Tourist Precinct. View the replica Stirling Cottage, owned by Governor Stirling and the childhood home of May Gibbs, the creator of Australia’s most iconic characters Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie. It is believed that May Gibbs drew much of her inspiration for her stories and illustrations from her experiences in Harvey. Enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea on the balcony overlooking the peaceful Harvey River, or in winter sit by the cosy log fire and enjoy hearty homemade soup. Next door is the Harvey Visitor Centre with a May Gibbs Gumnut Baby display.
This is one of the oldest agricultural districts in WA, and the site of many impressive farming properties like White Rocks Museum and Dairy, founded in 1887. The producer of world-famous White Rock Veal’s progressive dairy juxtaposes with its esteemed history on display in an old cottage museum. A blacksmith work area and tools are in an adjacent shed, together with a washhouse. In a school room, transported from the old Brunswick school, is a collection of butter churns and cheese making paraphernalia. Open daily from 2pm-4pm (by appointment only).
8. Holidays in coastal locations that are busier than a shopping mall are so yesterday! The small coastal communities of Binningup and Myalup Beach are the ultimate destinations for chilled-out hammock lovers or those keen to provide their children with a holiday they had as a child. Expect endless kilometres of pristine beach (which you can 4WD on too), great beach fishing, snorkelling and...not much more.
Meet the Cow on the Corner and her friends in the streets of Brunswick. Created by artist, Elsie Manning, Daisy is a life-size replica of a Friesian cow and a fitting tribute to the local dairy industry. Don’t forget your camera for a selfie!
Tree-changer enthusiasm and the Italian spirit combine to create the Geographe’s Harvey wine sub-region. Along the coastal plains Geographe wine producers are excelling with full-bodied table wines, from the traditional French varietals such as Chardonnay (5th Estate produces the Geographe’s best) and Shiraz, to Mediterranean styles with Italian and Spanish varietals – Arneis, Vermentino and Tempranillo to name a few. Have wine; now it’s time for cheese and great larder provisions from HaVe Cheese. Indulge in one of the Cheese Cellar tastings to help you decide. They have milkshakes for the kids to sip and slurp too.
Brunswick Pool is a picturesque section of the Brunswick River enjoyed by locals and visitors for an invigorating dip on hot summer days. The Brunswick Pool and BBQ Area shady grassed areas provide an ideal spot for a picnic and your mini-thespians will be kept amused by the play equipment.
The Beela Valley Scenic Drive will take you through steep hills with beautiful flora and lush farming country and open paddocks. To get the best of the drive, start from Beela Road opposite the Tavern. Closer to the coast, Cathedral Avenue, just north of Australind is a beautiful drive through paperbarks along Leschenault Estuary.
Find Australia’s largest Jarrah tree hidden deep in the Mornington State Forest near Brunswick Junction. Only accessible by 4WD, the Jarrah Hadfield is more than 10 metres in circumference – try wrapping your arms around that – and more than 260 years old. It’s the region’s best-kept secret.
The Harvey region is home to some Western Australia’s most unique wedding venues that will warm your heart. For out-of-this-world views, say I do at Edith Valley in the Roeland Hills. The oldest farm in the district, Alverstoke circa 1841 offers the ultimate barn wedding experience. Get creative at Mornington Springs, a very private property nestled on 160 acres with the panorama of the forest. They are renowned for ultra-cool country weddings. It’s also the perfect place to go wedding glamping, with Soul Camping regularly used for guests. For a small, intimate gathering of up to 60, try to super talented and creative team at Happy Days Country Retreat. One of the owners is a chef, so the food is top notch too. Or for a wedding among the vines, wed at Vineyard 28.