This is a Guest Post by travel writer Nina Burakowski, a Western Australian with a love of outdoor adventure.
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The Beautiful Bickley Valley.
It may only be a thirty-minute trip from Perth’s CBD, but once you’ve arrived in the picturesque Bickley Valley it feels like you’ve travelled a lot further.
As the locals like to say: “There really is a valley in the Bickley Valley” a cheeky snipe at the better known albeit flat Swan Valley located at the foot of the Darling Ranges.
Set 350 metres above sea level, the Bickley Valley is full of winding roads, sweeping vistas of orchards, vineyards and state forest. Amongst the green rolling hills, you’ll find boutique wineries, a fabulous cidery, scenic walking trails and quite literally – wild nightlife.
Bickley Valley Wine Trail
Once you’ve hit the end of Welshpool Road East, marking the beginning of the Bickley Valley, one of the first things you’ll notice are the sign posts advertising the Wine Trail. While the Swan Valley may get all the good rap and the tourists, the wines of the Bickley Valley are just as good, if not better. The unique topography and colder climate, including plenty of frosty nights in winter, means that many grape varieties, especially Italian and Spanish grapes flourish here.
The real charm of visiting these cellar doors is that in most cases you get to meet and chat with the winegrowers themselves. For many of the winemakers in the area, their vineyards are a labour of love that they juggle with regular day jobs, which explains why most are only open on weekends and public holidays.
There are ten boutique wineries along the wine trail and time permitting they’re all worth the stop. For some of the best bubblies in the state head to Myatts Field Estate where winemaker Rachel will gladly run you through their whole range of family made wines.
Slightly further down the road, new kid on the block, Plume Estate has some of the best valley views. Originally, from Holland, owners, Jim and Audrey have an assortment of richly flavoured wines produced by neighbouring wineries, Fairbossen and MyattsField.
Most of the wineries also have restaurants and you won’t find a better spot for a long lunch anywhere in Perth. Don’t miss out on the delicious platters at Fairbossen, where you’ll also find excellent coffee and cafe. Personal favourite, the quaint Vineyard Kitchen, at Brookside Winery serves delicious rustic fare using home grown and locally sourced produce.
Core Cider House
The only problem with the Core Cider House is that one visit is never going to be enough. Set amidst glorious views of apple orchards, the Core Cider House is the perfect location for any occasion – think long lunches with girlfriends, a romantic date, family get-togethers, even a wedding.
For a more formal dining experience, head upstairs and sit on the balcony or make it casual and grab a picnic rug and settle down on the grass. There’s a playground for the kids, petanque, tours of the orchard and plenty of other reasons to hang around for a lazy afternoon.
Like everywhere else in the Bickley Valley, the service at the Core Cider House is super friendly and attentive.
With so much food, wine and cider a bushwalk is the perfect antidote. There are plenty of walking trails suitable for long or short walks. The Bibbulmun track passes through the northern boundary of the Bickley Valley and has several easily accessible points along the way.
Another option is the 27 km Kattamorda Trail, which starts at Mundaring Weir Road and runs through forests, farmland and orchards along the top of the Darling Range all the way to the Bickley Reservoir.
For an after dark activity with a difference head to the Perth Observatory on Walnut Road. This is West Australia’s oldest observatory and after being forced to close due to lack of government funding, it has only just been reopened.
Volunteer astronomers now run the show and do a great job of hosting stargazing tours and other educational activities. The night viewing tours are a great way to find out more about the mysteries of the universe. Peek through some of the observatories amazing array of telescopes and view distant galaxies, nebulae, planets and clusters that are thousands of light years away.
Kanyana Wildlife Sanctuary
Also worth a visit is the Kanyana Wildlife Centre, which offers an interactive way to find out more about our native animals. The centre cares for sick, injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife, as well as being a breeding centre for threatened species.
The centre is open to the public most days and visitors can view the hospital for the injured and the sick animals. For another night time activity with a difference the centre has a great nocturnal tour where you can get up close and personal with some of our lesser known wildlife species.
Stay the Night
While the Bickley Valley is a great day trip, it’s even better as a weekend getaway. There are plenty of accommodation options including B&B’s, luxury retreats and self-catering alternatives.
Nina Burakowski is a Perth local with a penchant for outdoor adventures. After travelling around the rest of the world, Nina is now happily exploring her backyard. For more West Australian travel inspiration, visit her blog at West Australian Explorer or follow on Instagram @waexplorer, Twitter @waexplorer and on Facebook
Love the views from Plume Estate – I can so see myself sitting at that outdoor setting. Everything seems so lovely and green too!
Hi Jan, thanks for popping by 🙂 Yes Plume looks diving. I love this time of year because the countryside is still so green. It will change in a few weeks.
That sounds like a lovely spot and looks far more picturesque than the Swan Valley. Wine AND cider, double points for that ☺
There appears to be more wine regions near Perth than just Margaret River. This looks like a particularly scenic area and would be ideal for a weekend escape.
Hi Kathy, I know and Nina has really whetted my appetite to explore them some more 🙂
I agree Jan. I’m going to take Nina’s advice and do some more trips of discovery in our ‘hood’!
Thanks for the inspiration to explore our own beautiful part of the world! We had a delicious lunch at Brookside Winery a while back. This is a timely reminder to head back to the Bickley Valley soon!
Sure hope we can make it over to the western side of Australia next time we visit. So much more for us to see and do “down under.”
Sounds like a great trail. My husband’s dream destination is Australia and his favorite activity us wine tasting. This valley would be a winner for him!
Then I think he would be in heaven Carol!
Hello Gypsy Nesters, yes so much to do. It’s like another country and needs as much time as you can give it 😉
Great, hope you get back to visit really soon 🙂
Hi Everyone, thanks for all the comments. i grew up in Perth and only just discovered the Bickley Valley. Now I want to go every weekend. Rachel from MyattsField says that November is the prettiest time of the year to visit. Make sure you go on the weekend as most things are shut during the week.
I really need to holiday in Perth (its only 2 hours away) and visit some of these fabulous places.
The Bickley Valley sounds like it’s got everything I love – wine, fantastic scenery, great food and even the opportunity to go bushwalking ( which sounds so much more adventurous than our good old Canadian hikes). Well worth a visit if one’s in Perth for sure.
What a terrific post Nina. I’ve never heard of the Bickley Valley, but now I’m in the loop. I love the idea of visiting this now-open observatory!
My husband loves wine trails and my daughter will be migrating to Australia next year. We will definitely be spending time at places like this!
That’s great Carol! If you’re husband loves wine trails he’s coming to a good place for it. I wonder where your daughter is migrating to?
I also love the idea of visiting the observatory, which I’d never heard about, Wanda 🙂
Hi Michele, oh your Canadian hikes look pretty amazing too 😉 but the Bickley Valley is diverse and scenic.
Yes Jill, you need to do a ‘busman’s’ holiday to Perth I reckon!
Thanks for a great Guest Post Nina. You’ve definitely piqued my interest in the area. And thanks for the tip about when best to visit.
It’s always the way that you often don’t explore your own backyard as much as you should. I really nust get our more and visit the Bickley Valley!
I know how you feel Jenny – so close but yet so far 😉
Great choice for wine lovers will definitely visit when we are over again and yet anther informative and well written article from the ever eloquent Nina of WA explorer.
Thank you Adi – yes isn’t she great 🙂
Nina’s SO good at finding the cool stuff to do!! I had no idea there was such competition for the Swan Valley – but competition like that makes it REALLY good for us consumers, right?!?! Have a great weekend 😀
Hi Red! I know, The Bickley Valley has not been on my radar but it is after Nina’s wonderful post.
The more I read about WA the more I think it is time we went back there for another holiday.
Hi Lyn, and you won’t be disappointed 🙂
We have a WA trip planned for 2017. I’m saving all your posts.
That’s great Lyn!
Beautiful forests, extraordinary wildflowers, tranquil bush walking trails, bird and animal life, peaceful waterfalls and creeks, are just some of the scenic attractions of the Bickley Valley & Carmel Wine Route.
Have you ever been to BD an undiscovered land of beauty? Peep it – http://bit.ly/1QdnTuq
we like your blog on the Bickley Valley but can you please make a correction on the Plume Estate wines. The wines at Plume Estate are produced from the grapes at Plume Estate vineyard and the wines are made by great winemakers in the area. The wines are not from Myatssfield or Fairbrossen.
Jim and Audrey
Thanks Jim and Audrey for pointing this out. I’m sure Nina made a most genuine mistake.
Thanks Jim and Audrey for making the corrections about the wine at Plumes. I visited Plume in October 2015 and sincerely apologise for the error.