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HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN
For regular visitors to the South West that have
struggled with the Mandurah bottleneck, the new
highway bypass is heaven on a gear-stick. It takes
just 90 minutes of cruise control to hit Bunbury,
hardly touching the pedals, and the quality of the
new road is sure to put even the most nervous of
country drivers at ease.
However, if you have time to visit Harvey or
the Collie River Valley, the South West Highway
is still a scenic alternative that runs parallel to the
Make sure you stop off at the Harvey Visitor
Centre and right next door have tea or a light meal
on the balcony at Stirling Cottage. The building is
a replica of the original cottage built by Governor
Stirling in the mid-1800s that later deteriorated.
It was while living there that author May Gibbs
was inspired to pen her Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
stories -- now a thing of legend.
Less than 30 minutes from Bunbury and Balingup
is the largest free fun-park for kids in WA.
The Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook unfurls
with endless tunnels, slides and climbing things
in the centre of town. Securely fenced in, this is
heaven for mums and dads and a major drawcard
for the region.
While the kids run themselves ragged, parents can
enjoy take-away coffee from CU@58 or coffee and
icecream from Simmo's, located opposite the park.
You need travel only an hour from Perth to reach
this hidden coastal gem.
By the time you have hit the beach and the small
town of Preston, you will have driven 10km from
the highway and travelled back 60 years in time.
Reminiscent of the 1950s beachside
communities, the scenery around town is similar
to that of Rottnest Island. You have direct 4WD
access to about 60km of stunning, isolated beach;
a fishing, swimming and holiday paradise.
There are a few B&Bs on offer but the recently
developed Footprints Preston Beach is the obvious
choice with plenty of simple but clean and well-
appointed beach huts for couples, families and
small groups. It is inexpensive, fun and a short
Geographe Wine Region
Magical beaches, ideal camping and picnic spots, James Halliday-nominated 5-star wineries,
national award-winning restaurants, boutique accommodation and a revamped Marlston
Waterfront -- do you need any more reasons to visit? Starting just over one stress-free
driving hour from Perth, the Geographe is fast becoming one of Western Australia's best
travel destinations. Text: David Hogan
picture) Sunset at
Preston Beach; (below)
Stirling Cottage, once
home to children's
author May Gibbs.
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