Nestled between stunning old growth forests, winding rivers, rolling hills, vineyards and lush orchards, Donnybrook is a classic rural hideaway. Named after a town in Dublin, Ireland, Donnybrook was once the focus of a very brief gold rush when gold was discovered in 1897, however mining ceased abruptly in 1903 after just six years.
Considered the apple capital of the west, Donnybrook has many apple and stone fruit orchards, with the first Granny Smith apple tree planted in Donnybrook in 1900. Apples are harvested between March and May, and visitors can go fruit picking throughout the year.
Donnybrook also produces excellent wine, cider and fruit wine, making it an important part of the Geographe Wine Region. You can sample the local’s wines at Oakway Estate, Barton Jones Wines or Barrecas Winery. Oakway offer a delicious lunch, while Barton Jones is in a beautiful straw bale cellar door, which is run by solar.
Perhaps one of Donnybrook’s biggest drawcards (for families at least) is the Apple Fun Park children’s playground. This immense playground is Australia’s largest free-entry fun park. There’s equipment for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers (read: adults). There’s six barbecues on site, plus water, power and picnic tables.
Top things to do in Donnybrook
- Go fruit picking at Spring Valley Orchard. You can take away what you pick, or purchase other fruits. Varieties vary depending on the time of year you visit. PS, the orchards are very Instagram-worthy!
- Go for a dip in Glen Mervyn Dam to the east of Donnybrook. It’s a popular for water-skiing and swimming from September to January, depending on rainfall.
- Take a day trip in any direction. Donnybrook’s central location and multiple access roads means day trips to nearby Bunbury, Busselton, the Ferguson Valley and Balingup are all an enjoyable distance.
- Head out hunting antiques along the Harvest Highway. The inland areas of the south west have some incredible antique and vintage stores. You can start right on the main street of Donnybrook at Gingerhold’s Vintage.
- Schedule brunch at Lady Marmalade in nearby Kirup for the best coffee shop around. The cakes are drool-worthy and the breakfast menu is top notch. Make sure you ask about ‘Kirup Syrup’ while you’re there.
- Visit Policeman’s Way – a dedicated museum to police memorabilia including thousands of pins, patches, badges and hats from all over the world. Best of all, it’s free to visit.