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Road trip feature
CHITTERING VALLEY Just an hour north
east of Perth, the Chittering Valley is the epitome
of what you imagine rolling countryside looks like.
Orchards jostle for position next to vineyards, with
picturesque bridges over gushing brooks. It's all very
green and pleasant. Follow the wine and sculpture
trail which starts at Bullsbrook and ends at Jylland
Vineyard near Gingin.
FERGUSON VALLEY Just a short hop from
Bunbury, the very picturesque Ferguson Valley
has the eccentric claim of being the home to a
considerable collection of gnomes at Gnomesville.
If small porcelain men with fishing rods aren't your
thing, then take a picnic and discover the wonders
of the Wellington forest and the historic dam.
There is more than 1000 hectares of magnificent
trees, making the perfect canopy for you to enjoy a
WALPOLE Walpole is the perfect starting
point for a tour of some pretty impressive arborial
landmarks. There's the Walpole Inlet, the only
place in Australia where the karri forest is lapped
by the water's edge. Then there's the 18,000ha
Walpole-Nornalup National Park, home to the
wildly impressive Valley of the Giants Tree Top
Walk while the red tingle trees live up to their
name, especially the 450-year-old giant near
Hilltop Road. Then there's the Knoll, with its one-
way sealed Knoll Scenic Drive, offering tantalising
views of the many beautiful little coves, colourful
swamp bottlebrush heathland and those ocean
loving karris tumbling down to the sea.
BEVERLEY Take a spin through the jarrah
forests of the Darling Range from Beverley, before
running on to County Peak, a wildly scenic drive
that takes you almost to the top of this local
extinct volcano. Walk off lunch and finish the easy
climb to the lookout where you'll be able to see
nine shires and the stunning Yenyenning lakes.
Travel home past Edwards Crossing and another
hilltop drive to York Pass, passing quaint colonial
homesteads along the way.
FITZGERALD RIVER NATIONAL PARK
The Fitzgerald River National Park, about two
and a half hours north east of Albany, is a special
place. It's got rocks made of fossilised sea sponges,
and there are some seriously big panoramic coastal
views at lookouts along the way. During the season
you are almost guaranteed a whale sighting from
Point Anne. Twitchers will be keen to hitch a ride
too -- there are more than 200 species of birds
making the national park their home. You can
also get into the park from Hopetoun on the east.
Remote wilderness at its scenic best.
LEONORA If you find yourself in the heart
of the Goldfields, stop in at the charming mining
town of Leonora, and pay a visit to the nearby
ghost town of Gwalia. Restored and rescued by
residents of Leonora, the museum to mining has a
fascinating history, including a mining headframe
designed by the-then mining manager, Herbert
Hoover (yes, the one who went on to be president
of the USA). You'll see the original horse drawn
hearse, still used for funerals today as well as
an original electric tram and fascinating cultural
historical artefacts from the Afghans, Italians and
Aboriginals who lived and worked in the area.
CARNARVON Famous for its many
plantations and beautiful Gascoyne River scenery,
a drive out of Carnarvon along South River Road,
over the Gascoyne Bridge and back along North
River Road is winningly known as the Fruit Loop.
Stop at any one of the many plantations and stock
up on fresh fruit and veg, as well as preserves,
eggs, asparagus, jojoba oil and even seafood. If
you've still got time, visit the longest jetty in the
world, built in 1897, in Carnarvon.
BLACKWOOD RIVER Three hours south
of Perth finds Balingup and the entrance to the
Blackwood River Valley, a truly beautiful corner
of the state. You'll know you're in the right
place because a collection of friendly (or spooky)
scarecrows welcome visitors to their patch.
Cling to the banks of the Blackwood, to gorgeous
Nannup before taking the Brockman Highway
through stunning forest scenery to Bridgetown and
on to Boyup Brook.
TE X T: Gabi Woolgar
You don't have to leave the black stuff to soak up
some magnificent scenery in your car. Here are some of the
state's best scenic drives to take in more civilised fashion.
ECHO OF THE PAST: The ghost town of
Gwalia on the road to Leonora, image courtesy
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