Bridgetown takes your breath away, whether tackling tall trees, climbing rolling hills, traversing valleys or ducking daringly into the Blackwood River.
Early in the morning, on cool and misty days, this Southern Forests and Valleys region will certainly take your breath away.
Bridgetown is dubbed the winter capital of Western Australia. So why would us coast-crazy city slickers want to venture into this cooler place? Because it is different, vastly different and, bringing us up close with nature. Good for body and spirit.
Even a couple of days ducking about the Southern Forests brightens the brain and excites the youngsters. Seniors with limited mobility can catch magnificent vistas through the car windows, day-after-day in all directions.
In early days, folks from this region helped build the foundations of a new land, much of it by supplying some of the world’s best timber. Times have changed, priorities are different and we want to protect and be proud of our trees.
Bridgetown folk love their trees and want to keep them. So do tourists. The forests’ focus has moved. This is the place to hug a tree.
With Bridgetown 300kms south of Perth and on a direct inland road from Margaret River, the region is easily visited even for weekends.
Do not bring food supplies for your Southern Forests getaway. That’s coals-to-Newcastle mentality. The region is a food bowl, flourishing in some of Australia’s best soils.
With its biodiverse climate, fruit and vegetables literally spring from the ground. Taste the local produce and you’ll appreciate why the locals look so fit and healthy – and happy!
With so many rivers, streams and inlets, the region’s waterways are populated by marron, perch and trout.
Hiking here has been huge for years and mountain biking gets bigger every year. The less active can do worse than drive through the winding roads and hop out for bush strolling, picnics and wildlife and wildflower spotting.
The forest atmosphere is so precious that it makes this veteran traveller wonder why he’s left a return visit so long and why he’s failed to allow more time on this trip.
A couple of weeks in these woods would be a wonderful respite or productive setting for the author, hobbyist or student. And with local produce so handy it’s a decent getaway for city home-bodies.
Tourist bodies in this region have plenty to spruik.
“All the small towns have their own personalities, featuring quaint main streets complete with heritage-rich buildings, quirky boutiques, galleries and tearooms serving scones, a classic country pub and antique stores,” declares one tourist blurb.
Tulips and daffodils are out on proud display in season. Judging by the region’s high-quality produce, plants and parks, these are a proud people.
Regulars to Margaret River would find a rewarding break in their coastal travel routines if they duck directly inland to visit Bridgetown and surrounds before enjoying a different route back to Perth.
All these rural roads are part of a magnificent, world-class country escape, even in the depths of winter.
Some big city holidaymakers who have had the place largely to themselves in winters past, come for the rain, bush walks in raincoats, birdsong and cosy nights around fires. Economic accommodation abounds off-season.
The Bridgetown Hotel can’t be ignored for its traditional touch of country pub and tasteful extensions. Nor can the town’s eateries – one of the reasons to stay more than a couple of days. After all, how many country meals, coffee breaks and local pastries can you eat in a couple of days?
“Blowing the trumpet” for Bridgetown is not hard. And, with just a leisurely drive from Perth, is definitely not a “bridge too far.”