Diary of a Weeks Stay at Boronia Farm
Arrived at 3:00 p.m. after a relaxing 2.5 hr drive from Perth with lunch at Harvey on the Harvest Highway . Settled into the cottage which is set up with all we require for a weeks stay. It is cosy, comfortably furnished and has all the utensils required, including wine glasses & corkscrew and even an ice-cream scoop! I hope we don’t need the automatic washing machine but it’s there if we do.
Went for a walk around the farm, saw the farm animals and the orchard, which is certified as organic by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture of Australia (NASAA). We also saw the original Lady Williams apple tree, which grew from a seedling here in 1935. It’s fascinating to think that not only the Lady Williams but all the Pink Lady and Sundowner apples (which were cross bred with the Lady Williams) owe their existence to this tree. You can hear Bob Williams telling the story about this tree on Western Tourist Radio Bunbury, 87.6 FM in Bunbury or click her to listen on Sound Cloud .
We were also introduced to our own chickens who’s job it is to supply us eggs which we can collect while we are here. 4 eggs today.
Woke to the sound of Red Tail Black Cockatoos in the trees by the cottage. What a magnificent sight they make with the flash of red as they fan their tail feathers to land. After breakfast of egg and bacon cooked on the gas BBQ we went to the Boyanyp Farmers Market is on the Fourth Sunday of each month. For lunch we visited Oakway Estate Winery which is just a few km further down Farley Rd than Boronoia Farm, and had a great cheese platter and a glass of wine before returning to the Farm for a siesta. Then a leisurely walk in the bush and back to pick some fruit for breakfast. Saw dozens of ‘28’ Parrots. They are lovely to look at, but what a lot of damage they do to the fruit. Fortunately most of the orchard is now netted so there is plenty of fruit for us to eat.
Cooked dinner ourselves in the well-equipped and spacious country kitchen. 4 eggs today.
Boiled eggs for breakfast. Headed down the Capel River Valley towards Capel, called in at Iron Stone Gully Falls, gas BBQs available here but a bit early for us today. Continued on to Peppermint Grove Beach just 10 minutes further down the road from Capel, a beautiful beach that we almost had to ourselves. Then on to Busselton just a further 25 min through the Tuart Forest for some shopping and to walk out on the famous Jetty. While in Busselton we listened to Western Tourist Radio, Busselton on 87.6FM and learnt about some of the history and attractions of the Busselton and Dunsborough area. Next onto Margaret River just 25 min further on so we could say we’d done the Margaret River thing. While around Cowaramup, just north of Margaret River, we listened to Western Tourist Radio, Margaret River again on 87.6 FM but here the program was specific to the area between Margaret River and Augusta. Nice day. Bought several bottles of wine and bumped into several neighbours from home. For tea we had Boronia Farm marron a la natural (we paid for the marron by weight). Simply boiled for 5 min and eaten with salad and nice glass of wine. What a taste sensation, move over crayfish, marron are on the march! While eating our marron on the veranda we were entertained by a pair of Splendid Blue Wrens. What a show! 3 eggs today
Spent the morning relaxing and exploring around the farm. After lunch we headed off to Boyanup, visited several furniture and art and craft galleries, especially interesting was the Donnybrook Artisans shop in the main street of Donnybrook. The popular Boyanup Farmers Market is held on the 4th Sunday of each month. You can find the real fresh food people at the Farmers Markets that are springing up all over the South West, allowing you to buy direct from farmers. People are rediscovering the true flavours of fresh food that is not stored a trucked all around the country! Next we continued to Bunbury , just another 20 min up the road. Bunbury is a city of 28,000 with all the facilities you’d expect of a city that size. After visiting the attractions, including the Dolphin Discovery Centre, we enjoyed our evening meal on the Cappuccino strip with a huge range of styles and places to eat. Took in a new release film at the Grand Theatre before heading home. Only 2 eggs today, Barry suggested we leave the axe by the chicken house door.
After helping with the morning chores of feeding the animals, we played a round of Golf on the Donnybrook 18 Hole course. Paid $10.00 into the honour box. A most enjoyable morning, followed by a delightful lunch at the Orchard Cafe at the northern end of town.
Next we walked up the main street visiting the Visitor Information Centre located in the old Railway Station building. The old building has scrubbed up really well and is now a showcase for things to see and do as well as products of the Donnybrook area. The kids had a ball at the Donnybrook Apple Fun Park , it is an amazing free park, initially funded by a local business. Then, we had a swim at the Donnybrook Recreation Centre heated indoor pool. Could also have had a game of squash or workout in the gym but decided to pass on that!
Decided we needed a local wine for dinner so visited Barrecas Vineyard . then up Brookhampton Rd to Solar Fruit where we were able to sample local solar dried fruit and see where it is produced. Next on to Thomson Brook Wines all within a pleasant 20 minute drive.
Home in time to be waiting in the bush when the kangaroos come in for their evening feed in the open paddocks. Any fear we had for the future survival of the species was soon put to rest! Went to the Donnybrook Riverside Restaurant for Dinner. 6 eggs today, the Axe worked!
After breakfast headed south down the South West Highway, to Balingup where we visited the Tinder Box Herb shop and the Old Cheese Factory Craft Centre, had a great lunch at The Mushroom Cafe, with mostly locally produced farm fresh food. The Golden Valley Tree Park is just out of town so we paid a visit. It was lovely to walk among all the local and exotic trees of this park. Luckily we brought our thermos so we were able to have afternoon tea in the covered picnic area.
Returned along the SW Highway to Kirup where we had a drink in the old Kirup pub. Left the Highway here and took the upper Capel Rd for a change of scenery just out of Kirup we turned to the Right into Ryalls Rd (a gravel Rd). Not far down Ryalls Rd we came across Smallwater Estate which is a winery with cellar door. Back to Ryalls Rd took us through the bush for a while before coming out into farm land and along a ridge where we could see for miles, a spectacular view of the local area. From Ryalls Rd we came back to the Upper Capel Rd and scenic drive back to Boronia Farm.
Most enjoyable day but didn’t feel like cooking the evening meal so we ate at the Village Harvest Restaurant in Donnybrook- had a great meal. 4 eggs today.
Exploring more Local Wineries today. From Donnybrook took the Boyup Brook Rd towards the old store at Lowden where we turned left towards the Ferguson Valley. Spent some time at Gnomesville and met gnomes form all over planet earth!
Continued down the Ferguson Valley visiting the many wineries that are all part of the new Geographe Wine Region. Eventually ended up at Dardanup from there we returned via Boyanup.
On the way through Donnybrook we called in at the Snapper and Spud in Collins St (runs along the railway on the opposite site to the main street) Had great pizzas while the kids had fish and chips. 3 eggs today.
Packed up, bought some fruit from the farm to take home then said our farewells. Being the third Saturday of the month we were able to visit the Donnybrook Station Markets, to buy various local products. The market had a great atmosphere. Also stopped of at the famous Fruit Barn in Donnybrook to stock up with other local fruit at very reasonable prices before heading home. Only two and a half hours later we were back.
Who said there is nothing to do at Donnybrook? There are just less people doing it, and it is so central to all the attractions of the South West. We had a great holiday, plenty to do when we wanted it but equally we could simply relax, read a book and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Or else we could walk the bush tracks on and around the farm and enjoy the natural environment.
I’m sure that the kids learnt more than they would have done in a week at school so it was well worth going in term time and taking advantage of the discount rates. Another bonus is that there were fewer people at the places we visited.
Next trip we’ll come all the ways down the South West Highway or Harvest Highway as it is becoming known. There is lots to see and do on the way down this road. We will also visit Collie, Wellington Dam and Bridgetown as ran out of time this trip.