Introducing the Fabulous Ferguson Valley (to Fabulous yTravelBlog)

If you’re flying into Perth and time is limited, but you want to see something a little different and off the beaten track, then a visit to The Ferguson Valley two hours south could just be the ticket.

Things to do near Perth

From Ferguson Farmstay the view stretches all the way to the ocean and Bunbury.

Living in Bunbury means that The Valley is our backyard stomping ground given that we can reach Dardanup in around twenty minutes and explore the hills, dales, wineries, farmstays and galleries from there.

Things to do near Perth

But if you’re coming from Perth expect to drive for around two hours until you hit beautiful Ferguson Road and Pile Road, along which you’ll find wineries, micro breweries and one or two attractions before heading deeper into the area to experience the forests and river pools.

When I knew Caz and Craig Makepeace from yTravelBlog (considered Australia’s most successful travel blog) would be in the area I called to ask if they’d like to spend some time exploring, and was delighted when they said “Yes”. The tour guide in me sprung into action and quickly concocted an itinerary that I hoped would suit them as a family with limited time.

We drove first to Ferguson Farmstay where the very lovely owner Rosa had organised for Kalyra and Savannah to join in the early morning animal feeding, followed by a pony ride.

Things to do near PerthIt was such fun watching the girls engage with the animals, and listening to their squeals of delight made me nostalgic for the times when our own children were little.

things to do near perthThere were goats and pigs, kangaroos, chicken, fish, an emu and ponies all hungry for their breakfast, and afterwards the girls had a pony ride around the beautiful Farmstay grounds.

“We’ve designed our hosted farm activities especially for children and their parents to get a taste of country life. At 8.30am we begin with feeding the goats, emus, our kangaroo Matilda and our pigs. Then the kids take turns collecting the eggs from the chickens and putting out food for ducks, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Then if they like, the kids can have a ride on our very friendly and safe pony Fred,”  Rosa told me previously on the phone.

things to do near Perth

What’s on offer at Ferguson Farmstay?

  • Expect family accommodation, a function centre, wedding location and restaurant with fabulous views of the Ferguson Valley.
  • It’s a 45 hectare property sitting on top of the hill designed to take full advantage of the Ferguson Valley views of farmland and vineyards – a view all the way to Bunbury and the coast.
  • There are 10 self contained rammed earth chalets, great for family holidays romantic get-aways all with views.
  • The restaurant is open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm providing lunches and light meals using local produce.

things to do near Perth

Then it was off to Peppermint Lane Lodge where we rang the big bronze bell at the doorway to be greeted by owner Kim who ushered us into her beautiful home with private pool, and out onto the shady verandah where Lodge guests are served their breakfasts.

things to do near perth

At Peppermint Lane Lodge you’ll find stylish accommodation in 4 cottages situated privately away from the main house. Each cottage is styled with contemporary furnishings and has its own verandah and bush outlook.

Kim and her husband Simon do all the cooking at the lodge. They offer breakfast and evening meals if requested too. With a French connection you can expect lovely touches in the gastronomic stakes which were evident in the way Kim presented our delicious morning tea – with sweet treats in long stemmed goblets and tea served  in a vintage service.

things to do near Perth

Feeding the chooks and collecting eggs at Peppermint Lane Lodge. Owner Kim collects interesting vintage china-ware. Kalyra and Savannah petting the kangaroo at Ferguson Farmstay.

Kalyra and Savannah helped Kim feed the chicken and collect the eggs, which were put into a small bucket (filled with leaves) to be taken to the kitchen for the next day’s breakfast.

What to expect year round in the Valley

In summertime The Ferguson Valley is a sea of golden brown, as the grass dries and the land begs for rain.

During Autumn you can expect a myriad of exotic colours as the trees begin to change colour and the grass begins to revive.

things to do near perth

As soon as the first Spring rains arrive then the Valley responds with swathes of green painted across rolling grasslands which could make you feel as if you’ve just landed in Ireland – except for those eucalypt trees.

things to do near perth

Kim explained to us how each year residents in this area long for the tinkle of the dried up Ferguson River as it starts running again in springtime bringing new life to the valley.

“It’s quite a talking point in the community and all of us living along the river are eager for news as to how far it’s progressed along the valley after the first rains.”

A visit to Gnomesville

Refreshed and with the children eager to be done with grown-up chatter we drove to Gnomesville. This is the most curious of places because you can’t quite believe the extent of things until you see for yourself.

“Gnomesville is the magical home to over 3000 Gnomes who have migrated here from all over Australia and around the world.  Plan to spend a few hours wandering through the villages and glades full of playful, naughty and sentimental Gnomes climbing logs, hanging out in trees, playing cricket, even flying planes!”Ferguson Valley Visitor Centre

things to do near perth
You’ll enjoy the clever Gnomish puns and, who knows, you may decide to return to contribute a Gnome of your own but Gnomish legend states that bad luck will follow if you decide to take home a souvenir.

For the history of Gnomesville and more quaint facts you might like to visit the Gnomesville website 

things to do near perth
What I didn’t know was that you can buy Gnomes at the Ferguson Valley Visitor Centre located on Ferguson Road in the Dardanup Townsite.  So you could choose one to make your mark at Gnomesville or take home a unique souvenir of your visit. Gnomish history and fact sheets are also available.

Gnomesville is located by the roundabout at the junction of Wellington Mill and Ferguson Roads, Wellington Mill, approximately 30 minutes drive from Bunbury.

Lunch beckons

We stopped off at Aidan Winery, not for a wine tasting but for a quick snack where we had soup and salad, and Kalyra enjoyed a kiddies box which I thought was a great touch for a winery to add to its lunch menu.

Then it was a short drive to Ferguson Falls farm and winery which has just added a sleek new cellar door cum cafe to the estate.

Peter Giumelli warmly welcomed us  to his three hectare vineyard that today produces quality award-winning wines. He told us stories about the Italian heritage of the valley, and how the Ferguson Valley hall and its events have ensured that old landowners and new lifestyle buyers have come together successfully to create a strong vibrant community in this beautiful part of the world.

“When we moved here, we moved to Paradise – yes, there really was a place in the valley with that name, Peter said. Today though I’ve been putting nets on all the vines which are just three weeks from harvesting to protect them from the parrots – it’s a big job.”

things to do near perth

With lovely Caz Makepeace wine tasting at Ferguson Falls. Pic by Craig Makepeace

What’s on Offer at Ferguson Falls?

Wine, cheese and preserves tasting.

Share a selected cheese platter and bottle of wine in the gazebo enjoying the natural beauty of the tranquil  vineyard and farm.

Open: Fri, Sat, Sun, & long weekends from 11.00am to 5.00pm – or call Peter and Margaret to arrange a suitable time for your visit.

things to do in Perth

Enjoying wine and cheese at Ferguson Falls’ new cafe and cellar door

Ferguson Falls wines

I particularly enjoyed the 2014 Semillon Sauvignong Blanc, a refreshing crisp white wine with  a frangipani-like bouquet – “With additional tropical fruit mingling with some lively citrus characters on the palate. A delightfully fresh, crisp finish,” say the wine notes.

But top came the 2013 Primavera Rosso, a chilled wine ideal for spring and summer drinking. From the wine notes: “It exhibits soft, ripe, raspberry characters with a touch of mint on the back palate. Containing a slight effervescence, the wine is refreshing when chilled.”

There are so many things to do in Ferguson Valley. Due to lack of time I didn’t manage to take Caz, Craig and the girls to The Lyndendale Gallery, or to visit artist Jenni Doherty’s studio, nor did we get to a favourite winery of mine, Angelicus nor to The Moody Cow brewery or Ferguson Hart winery or Hackersley – and don’t even start on the lovely walks in Crooked Brook forest or the lovely Honeymoon Pools for a cooling dip in the Wellington Forest.

In fact if you travel from Perth, make it a weekend – there’s so much to do – and much relaxing to be enjoyed.

You might also like:  Wine Women and Song in the Ferguson Valley

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Comments

  1. Thanks Jo for this great rundown of a region I’ve been largely unfamiliar with until now. I have heard of the Ferguson Farmstay before and you’ve just convinced me to take my three year old for a visit.

  2. Hi Nina, I think you’ll love it and your three year old will definitely enjoy the animals at Ferguson Farmstay. Thanks for popping by 🙂

  3. Awesome trip you all had xx

  4. Kalyra & Savannah are both adorable. I love the photo of one of them on the pony – just beautiful! The Ferguson Valley does look like it has a lot to offer and Gnomesville – how hilarious! I’ve never seen so many gnomes in the one place. Great stuff Jo.

  5. It was a great day out Rae. One that we’ll have to do together one of these days. Maybe a bloggers day out?

  6. Hi Kathy, they are a beautiful family all round 🙂 Thank you, I also love that pic, the way the sunlight is playing behind the pony’s mane and Savannah’s hair. Gnomesville is the most incredible place. It’s hard to adequately describe until you’ve actually seen it!

  7. Since we have not make it to Perth, this will have to go on the list of things to do when we finally get there! Thanks for a great post.
    BonVoyageurs recently posted “Halong Bay: A Nature Lover’s Paradise:
    http://www.bonvoyageurs.com/2014/12/30/halong-bay/

  8. I love reading about Australia and your posts always introduce me to a new and beautiful area. Ferguson Valley does indeed sound fabulous and your photos are gorgeous. Someday…

  9. It looks like you had a lovely visit with blogging friends Jo. Ferguson is certainly a fabulous place to visit that I think rivals our wine regions further south and is perfectly located right on our doorstep. I am starting to take visitors there now instead of heading further down the highway. Another lovely place to visit is Lyndendale Gallery on Crooked Brook Rd for that special gift or decorating feature.
    Thanks for showcasing Ferguson Jo and for stopping by my blog.

  10. Hi Jill, yes it’s becoming a good alternative to trekking south, hey 🙂 Love love love the Lyndendale Gallery too. Thanks for popping by 🙂

  11. Thanks Anita … and who knows … someday 🙂 At least you’ll have an idea of where to come!

  12. My pleasure Denis 🙂

  13. Fabulous Jo! There’s so much to see and do in the Ferguson Valley. I loved that you provided a peek into what Peppermint Lane Lodge is all about. We have passed that turnoff so many times on our bicycles, and have always wondered – when not huffing and puffing too hard – what might it be like! Lovely post packed with great ideas.

  14. Hope you get to Peppermint Lane Lodge for a night retreat one of these days Wanda 🙂

  15. Would love to make it to Perth one day. If I do, I’ll be calling upon you!

  16. Hi Jo! That sounds like a wonderful day out. I love driving through the Ferguson Valley, it’s very pretty and a little way off the “tourist trail”, but with so many interesting places to stop. I think my favourite season there is winter when it’s nice and green and cosy.

  17. I agree Bonny. Winter is really really beautiful in the Ferguson Valley.

  18. Hope you do Irene!

  19. Aw! so great to see all these beautiful photos and relive the day with you Jo. We loved the Ferguson Valley and are so glad you took us otherwise we would never have gone. It’s great to see it emerging as a destination with lots to offer. I’d love to go back in the winter when it’s all green and lush – it would be so pretty! Thank you for sharing it with us xx

  20. Here’s hoping that you do get back over this way to see the lovely valley in all it’s emerald green finery, Caz 🙂 It was such a lovely day and I’m so glad I got to spend time with you and share it with you guys.

  21. Interesting…

  22. This looks like an excellent place to visit, Jo! I’d never heard of it – but it’s EXACTLY the kind of spot we like! Now all I have to do is fit in a trip to WA 😀

    PS I registered for an email subscription a while back, but haven’t got emails about the last 3 or 4 posts. Has something changed?? I’ll try signing up again!

  23. Glad that I could introduce such a well travelled bod as you Red, to a new spot. Hope you get to visit soon 🙂 Hmm, will check out the email subscription. Thankx for signing up x

  24. We hope you can make many more trips to the Ferguson valley, Jo. look forward to seeing you here at Lyndendale Gallery any time.

  25. Thanks Denise – and yes, we shall be back 🙂

  26. I have followed both your blog and Ytravelblog for a while and seeing them intersect like this is great, it feels like watching a guest star on a tv show or something. Ferguson Valley looks great offering a real chance to get back to nature and especially in the autumn, those colors are divine!

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