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For fishermen and women keen to explore the waters of the southwest, rainbow
and brown trout, and redfin perch can be found in the Blackwood River, upstream
of Alexandra Bridge, Bridgetown, Balingup, Nannup and Norilup Dam. Bag limits
apply to trout, but redfin perch – which threaten other species – can be caught with
happy abandon: it’s actually illegal to return them to the river. Good spots for cobbler
fishing can be located at Boyup Brook at Willinarrup, Asplin Siding and Jayes Bridge
(16km from Boyup Brook). Make sure you have a freshwater fishing licence, which can
be obtained from an Australia Post Office, the Department of Fisheries, or online at
www.fish.wa.gov.au. The season is open from September 1 to April 30 each year. The
Blackwood River is also home to WA freshwater marron, sought after by chefs and
diners all around the world. The short marron season starts on the second Friday in
January and ends midday on the first Sunday in February. Strict size and bag limits
apply, fishing within 50m of the waterline of marron waters and using only legal marron
gear as specified by the Department of Fisheries. Check details at www.fish.wa.gov.au.
BLACKWOOD RIVER VALLEY
NANNUP GARDEN FESTIVAL
The locals go nuts for flowers, as seen at this annual festival with its floral displays,
floral art and plenty of tips on gardening; there’s a quilt and craft display, too.
Activities are well priced (many are free!) and are held in sheltered marquees or
buildings around town. Aug.
This epic annual event in Balingup, held on the last weekend in August, is
adored by both adults and kids. Step back in time a few centuries, with the
street parade, jousting, jesters, music and plenty of entertainment. You can
even get into the spirit of the day yourself and dress up in your finest medieval
NANNUP FESTIVAL OF ART
Immerse yourself in the arts during the three-day festival. For art enthusiasts
there are photography and sculpture exhibitions, workshops and an art prize.
Those more keen to observe the festivities rather than partake will enjoy the
street entertainment and artisans’ fair. Sep.
HARVEY DICKSON’S RODEO
The atmosphere in Boyup Brook will be electric as cowboys roll into town
to test their skills. An adult pass will set you back $30, with $25 for pensioners
and $5 for kids (children aged four and under are free). If you’re booking online,
bear in mind there is a $3 booking fee. Oct.
SOUTHWEST FOOD BOWL
The two-day festival in Nannup celebrates the produce and producers
of the South West region. There are expos, Meet the Farmer guided tours,
Farmers’ Big Breakfast, and plenty of drawcards to encourage school groups
to visit the region. Oct.
THE FESTIVAL OF COUNTRY GARDENS
The fair gives visitors the opportunity to visit around 30 local gardens,
as well as providing a host of stalls that feature garden-related products
including new tools, artefacts with a garden theme, and powered garden
equipment. Roses, succulents, fuchsias and many other types of plants will
also be available to buy. Nov.
BOYUP BROOK COUNTRY
This five-day event makes up the biggest country music festival in Western
Australia, and features a wide range of both national and local artists. Along
with the variety of live country music perfomances, the event also includes
dancing, a street parade, awards and Western Australia’s biggest bush-poets
NANNUP MUSIC FESTIVAL
The festival is held in various locations, with several ticketed venues
featuring the main artists and lots of free entertainment at other venues.
Check out nannupmusicfestival.org. Mar.
The trip along South Western Highway from Perth to Bridgetown will take almost three
hours; the route also passes through Balingup. To venture onwards to Nannup, take the
Balingup-Nannup Road, which is also a scenic route. The best (and newest) way to get
to Margaret River from Nannup is via Mowen Road, which has recently been sealed. If
your tastebuds are tingling, be sure to allow extra drive time to sample fresh goods.
If you haven’t experienced the smooth,
creamy goodness of sheep cheese
you’re missing out. You can get your
fix just outside Nannup (12km to
be exact). As well as cheese, at the
local producers you’ll find fresh fruit
from the vintage orchard, handmade
preserves, local olive oil and honey,
Best of all, you might stumble across
a cooking class or a cheesemaking
course. Pink Lady apples are used to
make the lip-smacking cider in Bridgetown,
and are well worth a taste during your visit.
You’ll also find plenty of hearty, country-inspired food
at the local cidery, where history buffs should also check out the photographic display
and plantation tools, which recognise Bridgetown’s pioneering past. If you’re a fan
of live music, plan your visit for a Friday evening when local musicians entertain the
crowd. The Blackwood River Valley is also home to more than fifty vineyards and more
than 450ha of vines, which produce wine varieties from full-bodied shiraz through to
riesling and semillon. Check the Blackwood Valley Wine Association website for a wine
map and complete list of vineyards, www.blackwoodvalleywine.asn.au.
Relaxing near Bridgetown
(photography Tourism WA).
A Bridgetown orchard
(photography Dan Paris).
Details & online booking at WA’s largest
online events guide SCOOP.COM.AU
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