Find BunGeo Again… with @DixonandSmith

Visit Bunbury Geographe are on a mission to find the best things about BunGeo, and we’ve enlisted some friends to help! Today we’re joined by Bunbury born and raised creative Elle Dixon.

Elle Dixon lives and works in Bunbury, WA and is the hands, heart and mind behind Dixon & Smith, a small creative firm that works for small creative businesses! After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from ECU, Elle went on to work in arts management and community development. Passionate about adding colour to the city she was born and raised in, a few years ago Elle went out on her own and has continued to add a touch of creative magic to cafes, boutiques, brands, events and more. She has a 12-year-old son named Oliver, who is her regular sidekick for adventuring around the glorious South West region they both love (and beyond!).

Here are Elle’s top 5 favourite things about BunGeo:

BunGeo art trails

​There are so many brilliant artists living and working in Bunbury Geographe, though they’re perhaps a bit more tucked away (with home studios and galleries) than what visitors are used to. ​One brilliant way to find them is to take part in an art trail – the Dardanup Art Trail and the Tree Street Art Safari are my absolute favourites! ​You’ll be welcomed into the magical homes of creatives like Linda Skrolys and Russell Sheridan, with Russ’s huge sculptural works dotted throughout the garden and walls lined with Linda’s beautiful paintings. Peppermint Lane Lodge is also wonderful, with a whole host of different artists exhibited.

Geographe beaches

Geographe beaches are seemingly our best kept secret – we have miles and miles of crystal water, but you can always find a lonely patch of sand even on the most perfect of summer days! We did swimming lessons in the ocean here as kids, went to Bunbury High on the hill overlooking Back Beach (in the days where you could and would duck down to the ocean for lunch breaks), and now my son and his dad surf when there’s a wave. We live at the beach for as long as the weather permits, from Bunbury all the way down to Peppy, which is the best spot to gather a big group for a day out.

Eating out

I love so many cafes and restaurants in the region, but everyone has their favourites (and it’s generally because you get to know the people running the show, love what they do, and want to support them in doing it!). My daily coffee spot is The Townhouse, my go-to dinner choice is Market Eating House, and my favourite for a sweet treat is Lady Marmalade in Kirup. I have always loved the drive out there, through Boyanup (where I’ll stop at Rustic French Living for antiques sourced in France) and Donnybrook (where I get my meat for the fortnight from Bryn and Georgia at Donnybrook Butchers, or maybe some wine at Barrecas Wines). Plus there are always spots to stop and get seasonal orchard fruits (cherries at Christmas time are a must) and farm veggies.

Lennard Road, Ferguson Valley

When Oliver needs time out to climb a tree, or when friends come down to visit and need a little country air, we head out to the Ferguson Valley, following Pile Road all the way out to Wellington Forest. As you’re heading to the Dam, you can turn off on a little one way road called Lennard Road – it follows the Collie River and will lead you past rapids and the prettiest of picnic spots. We drive slow, wind the windows down, play something calm and beautiful (I recommend Sigur Ros or something like it!) and just breathe. It’s so fresh and cold in wintertime, warm and hazy in summer. You can follow this road all the way through to Long Pool or Honeymoon Pool, both ideal swimming stops, but only in warmer months because it is bloody freezing even then! 

Bunbury Fringe

There are lots of great events in Bunbury Geographe, but none I love more than Bunbury Fringe! I’ll admit bias right now, as I’m on the Fringe committee, but I truly do love the vibe of the city when Fringe is on. Just like during the three years Andrew Frazer ran ReDiscover Bunbury, we’re seeing this awesome embracing of Fringe by the community and excitement for its return every year. I love that Fringe draws people into these unexpected little spaces for unexpected entertainment – movies on rooftops, drag queens in fishing clubs, speakeasies in a surf shop store room; it’s madcap and brilliantly fun! And I know for a fact that Bunbury Fringe will be back in 2021…

Geographe Wine

I’ve been so lucky to have been introduced to local wine (by some VERY good influences with exceptional taste, like @joartsevents and Megs from @morevino) and am now converted totally to Geographe producers. It’s actually quite special to have such an incredible wine region on our doorstep and be able to buy direct from the person who made it! I found that particularly during COVID shutdowns – I could buy bread direct from a small town baker, fruit and veggies from the grower, wine from the maker. I have a special affinity with Green Door Wines, who I work with regularly and love, but there’s honestly not one Geographe winery that doesn’t make a drop I love. We’re very spoilt.

Follow Elle at instagram.com/dixonandsmith/ or check out her website here.

Inspired? We hope Elle’s favourite BunGeo things, places and spaces have given you some ideas for your next BunGeo adventure! Stay tuned for more insider faves from BunGeo local creatives that you can add to your travel bucket-list!

Did you catch our chat with Cabin Creative’s Tessa Eckersley? She spills the beans on her favourite places in BunGeo here; or read about South West photographer Taj Kempe’s best regional picks here.

BunGeo x