Why Make Your Next Trip a Self-Drive Holiday to the Wheatbelt Way
1. There is so much to explore!
I love exploring the Wheatbelt Way because you never know what you are going to find!
Mukinbudin Secondhand Book Shop
When I visited Mukinbudin I was delighted to find a wonderful second hand book shop selling books for as little as $3, right next door to the town’s fantastic café on the main street. The bookshop is open in the mornings and is run exclusively by volunteers who donate all income from the shop to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and supporting local community projects.
Westonia Gallery Cafe
I discovered the amazing Westonia Gallery Café in Westonia’s gorgeous leafy town centre, where I browsed gifts, cards, homewares and art, delicious coffee in hand. The Westonia Gallery Café as shown in the photograph above spans two different rooms and also serves lunches and morning teas.
Mal’s Balls at the Beacon Sculpture Garden
Weeping Willow Tree, Beacon Sculpture Garden
There are plenty of other unexpected delights to discover as you travel the Wheatbelt Way.
2. There is an abundance of natural beauty and peace and quiet.
A Wheatbelt Way Moonrise at Sunset – amazing!
I love not being surrounded by people all the time. I also enjoy being served as soon as I go into a shop, rather than having to wait in a long queue every time I need to buy something. The Wheatbelt Way offers all this, plus beautiful scenery across open horizons.
For me, having nature all around me is quite simply incredibly good for my soul. I love the blissful peace and quiet of eucalypt woodland nature reserves and watching the moon rise above quietly grazing sheep. I love picking out the myriad colours of the various eucalypt trees as I drive, their shimmering skin in so many shades of silver, grey, pink, bronze and red.
Nothing beats a campfire under the clear night skies.
At the end of the day I can find nothing better than relaxing by a campfire at night, a sky positively bursting with stars above.
In addition, while in other areas of Western Australia entry and/or camping passes have to be purchased to explore nature reserves, entry is free to all Wheatbelt Way Trails sites and nature reserves and there are plenty of beautiful and secluded camping spots to choose from.
3. People are friendly and laid back.
Clare from the Mukinbudin Cafe is always happy to share her local knowledge.
People I meet along the Wheatbelt Way are friendly and relaxed. Clare at the famous Mukinbudin Café shown above is always happy to point a wayward visitor in the right direction and her amazing café is open every day of the year from 7 am to 8 pm (except Christmas Day). I find country hospitality and friendliness a real pleasure after the tiresome isolation of urban crowds.
Wherever I travel across the Wheatbelt Way the people I meet are always happy to share local knowledge and to pass on a tip or two on great places to visit.
The Bush Salute!
I also absolutely can’t resist getting a bush salute or a wave from a passing vehicle as I drive!
4. The Wheatbelt Way is easy on my wallet!
Real coffee and cake from KC’s Cafe in Bencubbin
I called into KC’s Café in Bencubbin and got myself a delicious Fiori regular coffee for only $4.50. I love calling in to cafes along the Wheatbelt Way because my coffee is not delivered in a tiny egg cup (like it often is in the city), and it is both reasonably priced and promptly served. KC’s Café also has a beautiful shaded seating area right next door and the café is right in the heart of Bencubbin’s main street.
Outdoor seating at KCs Cafe in Bencubbin
Great Meals from the Carrabin Hotel
I also love enjoying a large and tasty meal at a friendly country hotel along the Wheatbelt Way. If I eat out in the city I often have to pay $40 for a tiny piece of steak and a couple of straggly rocket leaves on the side. I purchased the above large T-bone steak with salad and chips at the Carrabin Hotel on Great Eastern Highway for only $27.50, and I paid only $4.50 for my middy of beer. I’ve always loved country pubs for their friendly atmosphere, where people of any age can enjoy a drink and a meal and kids play happily amongst the crowd.
Food is not the only thing that is less expensive in the wheatbelt. Everything is well priced, including accommodation, caravan parks, museums, exhibitions, sporting facilities and entertainment.
5. The Wheatbelt Way is far enough from Perth to be worlds away, but it’s only a 2- 4 hour drive on good quality roads.
Good sealed country bitumen roads in the Wheatbelt Way
The Wheatbelt Way is a great place to escape to because after only an hour or two of leaving the metropolitan area, one is in a completely different world, away from traffic, busy shopping centres, and the claustrophobia of suburbia.
Great Eastern Highway near Westonia – why not just turn off and head into the Wheatbelt Way?
The Wheatbelt Way is also what most of us pass through on our way to or from everywhere else, including Kalgoorlie, the eastern states, or a longer trip up north. Even better, the wheatbelt climate is characterised by plenty of sunshine and mild winters.
6. The Wheatbelt Way boasts fantastic services for a self-drive holiday.
Beacon Caravan Park has great amenities.
I stayed at the leafy Beacon Caravan Park pictured in the first photograph above where I paid only $26 per night for a powered caravan site. The park has a lovely camp kitchen with an adjoining outside fire pit as well as a shaded gazebo, top notch amenities and self-contained cabins.
The shearing scene at the Mukinbudin Caravan Park Camp Kitchen.
Mukinbudin Caravan Park Camp Kitchen Dining area.
The Mukinbudin Caravan Park was also a highlight, with a spacious and well-equipped Camp Kitchen built on a shearing shed theme as shown in the photographs above.
There are plenty of free camping areas throughout the Wheatbelt Way for those who are completely self-contained, with Dowerin, Koorda, Bencubbin, Beacon, Mukinbudin, Nungarin and Westonia all featuring free camping areas close to town. Self-contained travellers are also again well served by RV dump points at Dowerin, Wyalkatchem, Trayning, Nungarin, Beacon, Koorda, Mukinbudin and Westonia.
If you prefer not to bother with towing a caravan, there are plenty of accommodation options across the Wheatbelt Way. One can choose the novelty of staying in historic railway barracks, book a room in a heritage hotel or select a fully self-contained cabin or chalet.
When you need to fill up there are convenient 24 hour fuel services at Mukinbudin, Trayning, Wyalkatchem, Koorda, Beacon, Bencubbin and Nungarin. Heading out to explore nature reserves along the Wheatbelt Way is also easy, with either gravel or bitumen well maintained roads.
Not only are there great facilities, but towns are close, so there is plenty to see in a few days or a weekend. The kids (and the adults) don’t get bored being cooped up in a vehicle for long periods of time.
By Annemaree Jensen who writes at www.extramilewriting.com.au.