Majestic forests, exemplary wines and scrumptious farm gate produce make this a must-see stopover on a Western Australian culinary odyssey. Pemberton’s timber heritage is evident through the quaint streetscapes that remain intact from the town’s settlement days and the myriad timber artisan products for sale throughout the shops. The town is considered so well preserved that it was chosen as the setting for the recent Australian film adaption of Jasper Jones, set in a fictional regional WA town in the 1960s.
Recreational activities in the national parks that surround the town site are popular with guests and locals. Canoeing, fishing, swimming, bushwalking and mountain biking are popular pastimes. The Pemberton Mountain Bike Park offers trails for beginners to experts, while the Bibbulmun Track winds past the town and through some of the most enchanting stretches of karri forest.
Forests and wildflowers
Some of the region’s oldest karri forests are located around Pemberton, with some trees believed to be over 80 metres tall, and more than 300 years old. The town of Pemberton adjoins the Gloucester National Park, home to one of the region’s climbing trees. These giant karris were used as fire lookouts in the 1930s, as a way of spotting fires in the karri forests.
Nearby, the undulating one way trails of Heartbreak and Maidenbush follow the Warren River, sometimes meandering at water level or high above it. Several pullovers, lookouts and campgrounds offer scenic picnic spots along the trail.
Each year, the district bursts into dazzling colour with the onset of the wildflower season in spring, lending a magical charm to the area.
Wine and produce
The Pemberton area produces excellent quality wines. Growing conditions are ideal for pinot noir and chardonnay grapes and suit the production of refined Bordeaux-style wines. Other grape varieties grown in the Pemberton Wine Region are sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Semillon and shiraz. It’s been noted that Pemberton is one of the few regions within Australia that offers fantastic potential for merlot.
Top things to do around Pemberton
- Climb one of the three remaining fire lookout trees that surround Pemberton. Take on the 61 metre Gloucester Tree or the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree; a dizzying 75 metres high. The last is the Diamond Tree in Manjimup, no longer available for climbing but a great photo op.
- Visit ‘The Cascades’, where the Lefroy Brook tumbles over a series of rocky shelves, which vary from a gentle flow in mid-summer, to a raging torrent in winter. The rocky rapids provide a place for an outdoor lunch, a leisurely stroll, or a few peaceful hours of fly fishing.
- Tackle the Yeagerup Dunes - offering adventurers the chance to witness vast mobile sand dunes which are steadily moving inland, swallowing up forest, lakes and woodlands as they go. Local tours will take you on an adventure amongst the dunes, or experienced four wheel drivers can go unguided.
- For the four wheel drive enthusiast, the D’Entrecasteaux National Park covers 118,000 hectares with some rugged and secluded four wheel drive tracks.
- Hit the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park, with their Cross Country (XC) Skills Loop, the Relentless Blue XC track and Cool Running XC track as well as jump tracks.
- Take the Beedelup Falls walk trail in Beedelup National Park. A suspension bridge hangs over the falls, which are in full flow during winter and spring. The Beedelup National Park includes dense karri forest, mixed with jarrah and several beautiful stands of pure marri.
- Experience the national park from the water with a cruise along the pristine Donnelly River. The river is flanked by magnificent karri trees, river banksias and peppermints.