Mount Barker is a place I have been visiting for 40 years. A place where my Grandfather farmed and generations before and after him still farm the land. It feels like home.
When you mention Mt Barker to Perth folk they usually say that is where the chickens live! Sorry to disappoint but you will not find free range chickens roaming the street or popping into the pub like the TV ad.
However if you are looking for an authentic country stay with spectacular scenery and delicious wine, then this is the place for you.
Mt Barker is located on the Albany Highway, 360 kilometers south of Perth and 51 kilometers north of Albany. The town is framed by the Stirling and Porongurup Rangers.
The town often hosts festivals, horse racing, markets and art shows. For a small town they sure do put on a good show.
When I take a trip back to Mt Barker you might find me at a winery sipping on a glass of red, out hiking or just enjoying the shops in this small town.
1. Mt Barker Look Out
Look at that view!
Mount Barker Hill is located just out of town, it has a large tower on the top so you can’t miss it! Step out onto a wooden lookout and soak in the view.
In the distance you will see the only rugged mountain range in the South West of Western Australia. The only place in Western Australia where snow occasionally falls. Locals will rush to the Stirling Ranges when that happens just to get a glimpse of snow.
Porongurup is a smaller mountain range but it is still provides a breath taking view.
2. Porongurup National Park
Now you have seen the Porongurup Range from a far why not climb to the top? The Porongurup Range is 12 kilometres long and is located 24kms from Mt Barker.
There are 4 different walks you can take in the park. The most popular would have to be Castle Rock which has a Granite Skywalk at the top.
It is a 2.2 kilometre walk to the top of castle rock. The first kilometre is a steady incline and the path is wide enough for two people. After that the path becomes narrower, rockier and steeper. During the walk you pass through jarrah and marri forest before reaching the intriguing Balancing Rock.
Once you make it to the top there is a skywalk where you can take in the view of the land down below and see Stirling Rangers in the distance.
3. Food and Wine
Who doesn’t like food or wine? If you are after a good old fashioned meat pie then you can’t go past the Mount Barker Country Bakery. The food is delish and you can always pick up something on the sweeter side.
Love a good coffee? Head to The Grocery Store in the main street. The perfect spot to chill out. Relax outside in the courtyard or pick up the paper and have a read inside the cute cafe. There is also a selection of board games and story books for the kids.
There are plenty of wineries in the region as the cooler climate suits, producing high quality fruit. This in turn makes for some fantastic wines. The wineries also offer food so you can enjoy lunch or just have a little snack.
If you don’t want to travel too far then Plantagenent Wines is locate right in town. Gilberts Wines is a small boutique winery with a very warm and cosy atmosphere. Windrush Wines has a nice outdoor area to explore with old farm equipment. West Cape Howe Wines is the larger and more popular winery. There is also some wonderful sculptures and art to browse.
There are plenty of other wineries in the area that I am yet to check out. Looks like I need to find myself a sober driver and take a wine tour of the region!
4. Wildflower Walks
I love walking in the bush and it is even more exciting when you spot an orchid. There are several walking trails close to town and if you pop into the information center they can tell you the best spots to find wildflowers.
5. The Old Police Station
Take a stroll around The Old Police Station and its gardens. The original Old Police Station was built in 1868 by convicts. In the 1880s the horse stables were divided off as a lockup and a Court House office was added in 1919.
The buildings are full of interesting artefacts of the time. It is a local gem and the tour guides are all volunteers. They will provide you with a detailed tour and their local knowledge is invaluable.