Peaceful, picturesque and a little left of centre, Balingup is one of WA’s most magical towns. Nestled at the northern mouth of the Blackwood River, it’s surrounded by granite-crowned hills, rolling pastures, vineyards and fruit orchards. Think misty-morning walks through the bush, cool nights spent next to roaring fireplaces, and a landscape that explodes with wildflowers and fruit blossom come spring.
Balingup first became a mecca for creative spirits back in the seventies, and its community remains dynamic and diverse. You don’t have to look far to see proof. Visit at the right time and a group of armoured knights might be making their way to the Medieval Carnivale. Or the town’s famous scarecrows may be lined up to welcome you. Then there’s the main street filled with art galleries and boutiques selling everything from locally made beauty products and knitted textiles to jewellery.
The creativity extends to culinary pursuits too, with many talented winemakers and food producers based in the region, and a number of lovely cafes to enjoy in town. Hit the road on the Blackwood Valley River Food and Beverage Trail to taste your way around the best the region has to offer.
Balingup is also where you’ll find one of Australia’s most renowned arboretums, the Golden Valley Tree Park. You might think you’ve wandered into European countryside as you explore trails studded with ancient gnarled oak trees, enjoy the golden light filtering through the Lombardy pines or admire views from a hillcrest surrounded by heirloom pear trees. It’s a magical place to spend a day, with every season offering its own special delights.
The ready access to pristine bushland and waterways have made it a popular destination for those who prefer more adventurous pursuits too. The world-famous Munda Biddi cycling trail passes through, as does one of the prettiest stretches of the Bibbulmun Track hiking trail. Canoeing on the Blackwood River and exploring the nearby flora reserve are also popular pursuits.