Gnowangerup is a country town with surrounds of history, heritage and farmland. In winter there's plenty to be explored. Start your adventure today.
The Shire of Gnowangerup is situated in the Great Southern area, approximately 354 kilometres from Perth and 140 kilometres from Albany via the Chester Pass Road.
It covers an area of approximately 5,000 square kilometres and is a prosperous grain growing and sheep producing area. The area is noted Australia wide for its merino sheep and attracts large crowds to the annual Stud Field Days.
There are three towns that make up the Shire of Gnowangerup- Borden, Gnowangerup and Ongerup, which service the local community and a growing tourism node at the edge of the Stirling Range National Park.
In the 19th century Sandalwood cutting played an important role in the Shire's history, with a sandalwood cutters camp being established in the Borden area in the 1840's. Colonists named the camp 'Poilyenum' the Noongar word for sandalwood. This provided jobs and income during the depression of the 1870's.
Bluff Knoll, Bushwalking and Birdwatching
Bluff Knoll is the most popular trail in the Stirling Range with outstanding 360 degree views from the summit. The walk starts at the southern end of the Bluff Knoll car park and picnic area. Eucalypt woodland, banksia and grass trees blanket the lower slopes while exposed outcrops reveal layers in the rock. Visit in winter for a chance to see snow on the peak!
The national park is where nature lovers come to see an abundance of flora and fauna or to test themselves hiking, abseiling or rock climbing. Light snow sometimes falls on the higher peaks during winter but it rarely lasts more than a few hours. The walks on offer include Bluff Knoll (1096m), Toolbrunup (1052m), Ellen Peak (1012m), Mount Trio (856m), Mount Magog (856m), Mount Hassell (847m) and Talyuberlup Peak (783m).
For lovely easy walks, the Mabinup Creek Trail and the Mabinup Track are accessible from the Mount Trio Bush Camping and Caravan Park. There are also various other walk trails from 1.5 hours to 2 or 3 days throughout the Stirling Range.
Birdwatching & Wildflowers
National Heritage Listed Stirling Range National Park is renowned internationally for highly diverse and prolific bird life as well as over 1500 species of wildflowers.
9am daily Hidden Treasures Orchid and Wildflower Bus Tours depart from Stirling Range Retreat’s office from 15th August to 31st October.
8am & 3pm daily Dawn and Dusk Bird Walks, led by Birdlife Australia volunteers depart the Retreat’s office in September and October. 100% of all bird activity tariffs are donated to Birdlife for the conservation of threatened species habitat.
Unique Accommodation and Camping
The Shire of Gnowangerup has several unique camping and accommodation options which can be found here.
Experience Yardup Cottage, a homestead on a working farm, or The Lily Dutch Windmill that produces its own flour and stay in sixteenth Century replica Dutch houses, DC3 Dakota C47 Gooney Bird, or a true icon of aviation - an original 1944 Dakota used in the Second World War in Indonesia and Australia.
For an idyllic base from which to explore the Stirling Range, stay at Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park, situated in a peaceful natural bush enclave on a working farm bordering the Stirling Range National Park. Camping facilities can also be found in Gnowangerup and Ongerup townsites.Camping facilities can also be found in Gnowangerup and Ongerup townsites.
Stirling Range Retreat
Nestled against the majestic Stirling Range National Park with close access to Bluff Knoll, ridge walks, trails, native animals and abundant spring wildflowers and orchids, a retreat with all the facilities and accommodation/camping options to cater for every budget! Previous finalists: Western Australian Tourism Awards; Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
The Lily Dutch Windmill
The Lily Dutch Windmill is an authentic sixteenth Century design brick 'ground-sail' mill. The five-story full-size windmill, with its 22 Ton cap and a sail length of 24.6 metres, is one of the largest traditional windmills ever built in Australia. The mill is a fully-operational windmill producing wholemeal stone-ground Spelt flour for IGA stores, health shops, commercial bakers and home users around Australia.
Built in the early 1900s, Yardup Cottage is a small and charming, self-contained, two-bedroom homestead situated on our family farm. The cottage has been home to three generations of our family. After sitting idle since the 1970s, it was restored by Richard’s mother Sally Milne in 1993, and has been open for guests to enjoy as short stay accommodation ever since.
Yardup Shearers Quarters
Formerly a functioning and practical accommodation for travelling shearers, Yardup Shearers Quarters has more recently found a new lease on life while retaining its authentic appeal. You’ll feel light years away from the hustle and bustle of city life as you swap stories by the communal campfire looking over the Stirling Ranges (for use in non-restricted fire months only).
Stone's Throw Farmhouse
This mid-century styled, casual and comfy 1970's farmhouse is set amongst bushland, quite literally a 'stone's throw' from the farming town of Borden. Only a 25 minute drive to Bluff Knoll, this warm and cosy 4-bedroom house is the perfect base to retreat home to after a busy day exploring.
Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park
This is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Stirling Range. Situated in a peaceful natural bush enclave on a working farm bordering the Stirling Range National Park, this unique campsite has lots to offer. Here you will find great camping facilities and opportunities to join seasonal wildflower walks, where you can also see some of the stunning birdlife found in this area.
Borden Guesthouse and Lodge
Formerly the Borden Agricultural hall built in 1928, this piece of history has now been revitalized into a comfortable guesthouse and lodge. Stay and enjoy it's transformation inside fully rebuilt and refurbished into new bedrooms, bathrooms and large living areas.
Heritage Trails, Museums and Indigenous Culture
The Shire of Gnowangerup has a rich heritage and indigenous culture which is reflected in the museums, trails, and culturally significant sites in the area.
Aylmore Mineral Springs are located along Park Road. The high iron content in the water accounts for the unusual colour. The springs flow at over 2 litres per second .According to Aboriginal folklore two warriors fought to the death and where they died two springs, stained red with their blood appeared. The water is actually stained by the high iron content in the area.
The Gnowangerup Heritage Trail is a delightful 2km walk trail which explores some highlights of Gnowangerup’s history through its heritage buildings.
There are five storyboard signs which will provide you with information on what you will see on the next leg of the trail. As you walk keep an eye out for the brass markers with the iconic Mallee Fowl, these will be found on buildings that are a part of the Heritage Trail.
Gnowangerup Aboriginal Museum & Keeping place
This museum shows the history of the indigenous people associated with the local Mission and Stirling Range, who used the plains as hunting grounds for thousands of years.
The Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre has been created to support and contribute to the conservation and research of the endangered Malleefowl and its habitat. Located in Ongerup the Centre provides visitors with the rare opportunity to view the Malleefowl in its natural environment.
The Horsepower Highway
Follow this drive trail of quirky decorated tractors from the Broomehill turn off toward Gnowangerup, through to the beginning of the Stirling Range National Park and Mount Trio Bush Camp.
This winter, the tractors will be all dressed up in beanies and scarves, so make sure to snap your selfie with them!
Search for Snow
A visit to the Shire of Gnowangerup wouldn't be complete in winter without a trip to Bluff Knoll. The aforementioned Mount Trio Bush Camp is jokingly named 'Mount Trio Ski Club' with occasional snow fall on the peak of the Stirling Range National Park's tallest peak, Bluff Knoll during winter. Cosy up by the campfire and tackle a winter hike to the summit for a chance to see snow (though you can leave your skis at home!)