There are a number of charming and friendly towns along the Wheatbelt Way that provide a range of useful facilities for travellers.
In 1906 the government extended the railway from Goomalling to the developing Dowerin Agricultural Area and decided to develop a townsite at the terminus. The Aboriginal name of the site chosen was “Wuguni”, but “Dowerin”, also an Aboriginal name, was already in local use for the place and was gazetted in 1907.
The Shire of Dowerin is located 160 kilometres, or 2 hours, northeast of Perth. The Shire has around 700 residents who enjoy the appealing country environment which is complemented by a vibrant community lifestyle as well as the development of state of the art new facilities, such as the Dowerin Community Club recreation facility.
Dowerin offers a variety of accommodation options including the centrally located Dowerin Commercial Hotel offering traditional country hotel style accommodation, perfect for groups, tradies and those travelling through or working in the region. There is also the Dowerin Caravan Park and Motel located opposite the roadhouse and the newly established Dowerin Short Stay Accommodation located near the Dowerin Community Club for those looking to be closer to nature head out to the nearby Minnivale townsite where there is free camping facilities. The Minnivale Camping area is unserviced however an RV Dump Point and picnic amenities are available for your convenience.
Attractions and Events
Dowerin offers a range of natural and built attractions to suit the whole family. Whilst in town, pay a visit to the bakery for a sweet treat or have a counter lunch at the local hotel. Wander past the Dowerin Pop Up Shop Country Collections and see what may be operating out of it – a home based business, visiting services, or someone just starting out. The popup shop is called Country Collections after the historic shop originally located in Dowerin. Have a photo with Rusty the Tin Dog or take a walk down the Tin Dog Creek Walk Trail for an insight into the flora and fauna in the area.
Or take a stroll around the town on the Heritage Trail to gain knowledge on the history of the town. If it’s sport you are after, Dowerin’s state of the art Community Club has you covered for a wide variety of sports.
Dowerin is home to the Dowerin Field Days, an annual event showcasing the very latest in agriculture, machinery, associated equipment, precision technology and rural services. The town’s population can increase up to 15,000 people during this event.
Dowerin CRC & Visitor Centre
Address: 13 Stewart Street, Dowerin WA 6461
Wyalkatchem has a population of 523 residents. The district was explored in 1864 and the first settlers took up land in 1904. However, it wasn’t until 4 years later that the town site was officially declared. The town’s economy focuses heavily on sheep and wheat, producing around 895,500kg of wool and 115,000 tons of wheat annually. The town boasts many fine historical buildings from the early 1900’s, including the Railway Station, Wyalkatchem Town Hall and the School Master’s House.
Today the town is well serviced with a district high school, medical centre, golf course, and many active community and sporting clubs. It is well known for its state of the art all weather airfield which is home to local recreational aviation and microlight enthusiasts.
For travellers to Wyalkatchem accommodation options include a hotel, self-contained house and a caravan park with powered and unpowered sites. The Wyalkatchem Hotel offers serviced motel rooms and the Wyalkatchem Travellers Park is also an option for those preferring to camp or bring a caravan and have an ensuite site. The restored Railway Barracks is an ideal place for backpackers, groups and individuals. All accommodation options offer old fashioned country service and a good night’s rest.
Anyone interested in history will love Wyalkatchem. The CBH Museum which is one of the first bulk handling wheat bins built in the 1930’s and Old School House Museum display a large and varied collection of agricultural, transport and railway equipment, including a rare Waterloo Boy Tractor which was fully restored by museum members. Nature lovers are also well catered for, with the Walk-A-Wyal track sprouting a number of enjoyable walking tracks or head out to Korrelocking Nature Reserve to explore, bird watch or enjoy the wildflowers. Come and spend some time in Wylie “Strange Name, Beaut Place”.
Due to its central location, Koorda came into being as a siding when the railway north and east from Wyalkatchem was gazetted in 1917. The township sprang up around the railway worker’s camp and saw the establishment of a general store, post office, blacksmith, greengrocer and hostel to accommodate seasonal workers, mainly baggers of wheat. Koorda continues its tradition of productive wheat cultivation today, although coarse grains and sheep also feature prominently. The town is now a prosperous and vibrant Wheatbelt locale of around 450 local residents who enjoy some of the best facilities in the region.
Accommodation options for visitors range from the ideally situated Koorda Hotel in the centre of town, caravan park and self-contained units. All accommodation in the town is surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the area, or head out to Mollerin Rock, Newcarlbeon Rock or the Koorda Native Flora Reserve to camp under the stars.
Koorda is home to a number of attractions to keep any visitor well occupied during their stay. Koorda Museum is well worth a visit and, as it was formerly the town’s hospital, houses an interesting collection of antique medical and surgical equipment. Additionally, a visit to the town would not be complete without a visit to the granite outcrops of Mollerin or Newcarlbeon in the surrounding area. Anybody who enjoys the outdoors will be impressed by the picturesque formations, each with their own peculiar mini-environment of wildflowers and small animals. They have picnic and barbeque facilities and make the ideal rest stop. After enjoying the surrounding natural beauty of the area, head into town to the drive-in movie theatre. One of only three currently operating Drive In Theatre’s left Western Australia the Koorda Drive-In has gained a broad following of patrons due to the installation of digital equipment screening of newly released movies is now possible. Please check out the events page on the Wheatbelt Way website or visit www.koorda.wa.gov.au for details of screening dates.
Along with Beacon, Bencubbin is one of the two main centres servicing the Shire of Mt Marshall, an area of 10,134 square kilometres and which is approximately 273 kilometres northeast of Perth. The area is primarily a wheat, coarse grain, and sheep farming district with a proud agricultural history. The town’s name is derived from “Gnylbencubbing” the Aboriginal name for nearby Mt Marshall and it was suggested by the Chief Draftsman J.Hope in 1913 for the station at the terminus of the Wyalkatchem-Mt Marshall railway. Bencubbin is located at the southern end of the Mt Marshall Shire and is home to approximately 300 people.
The Bencubbin Caravan Park offers the choice of camping areas for tents or caravans. Well-presented and maintained, it has new ablutions and BBQ area, as well as a range of small and large cabins to cater for any size of group. Otherwise head out to Marshall Rock and set up camp under the shady trees between the two granite outcrops.
In town you have the Sandalwood Interpretation Centre located at the Bencubbin Community Resource Centre. Also check out the Heritage trail and botanical gardens. Just a short drive out of town a climb up Marshall Rock offers 360 degree views of surrounding farmland, Lake McDermott, Bencubbin Wheatbins, Welbungin and Wiacubbing Hill. From here, head onto Pergande Sheep Yards and be amazed at the craftsmanship and skill required to build the yards and imagine how families started out farming in the district. For those visiting the area between July and October will be in for a treat as the abundance wildflowers will be in full bloom following the winter rains.
The town of Beacon is a vibrant and well established town boasting a good range of facilities and services. Formerly known as Beacon Rock, the name was changed to Beacon in 1931 to avoid confusion with another railway siding and like many of the towns in the area Beacon has a rich agricultural history. The town was established in the 1920’s as blocks of land were divided and sold and the railway extended to service the area. With this established, soon a store and post office were constructed, followed by a bakery, butcher and other infrastructures. Sport also played a significant role in the community with many clubs formed in the 1930’s.
Nowadays Beacon town is home to 100 residents and also supports up to another 100 on surrounding farm lands.
Those visiting Beacon can opt either to stay in the Beacon Caravan Park or at the Beacon Barracks. The latter is budget style accommodation a short walk to the town’s main facilities. The caravan park offers self-contained units as well as powered and unpowered sites, set in pleasant surroundings with campers, kitchen and laundry facilities and a barbeque area. For those who are self-sufficient head out to Billiburning Reserve and set up camp at the designated camp sites within the pristine reserve.
Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love Beacon. An abundance of flora and fauna can be found around the town, although there’s no better place to see it all in one place than at the Beacon Botanical Park. Other attractions worth a visit include Billiburning Reserve and Datjoin Rock; these are great places to see collections of beautiful wildflowers and native birdlife. Returning to town call into the Beacon Museum located at Beacon Central to discover some local history then relax with a drink with the locals at the Beacon Country Club or call into the Beacon’s Men’s Shed to view restored vintage machinery. The Beacon Co-Op also have an interesting display of antique signs and memorabilia and serve a range of lunch meals and take-away coffee.
Beacon Central Community Resource Centre
Address:11 Rowlands Street, Beacon WA 6472
Phone: (08) 9686 1014
The town of Westonia owes its beginnings to the discovery of gold by a prospector known as Alfred David Weston. He spent several years on the eastern goldfields and was finally rewarded in 1910 when he discovered a reef carrying good values. The town now boasts a proud gold mining history that continues to this day with the Edna May gold mine still in operation. Named after the founders Aunt, the Edna May mine was first mined in 1911. Located 1km north of the Westonia townsite it has now seen four separate mining phases including the current phase operated by Evolution Mining. During this time, the mine has produced more than 1.1 million ounces of gold. The Shire in conjunction with Evolution constructed a Lookout with viewing platform in which visitors can view the entire mining operations from extraction, crushing through to milling. This small town of around 280 people also offers visitors a unique and charming experience, with colourful and interesting streetscapes and vast areas of natural bushland to enjoy.
Westonia has a range of options that are appealing for the budget conscious but also have quality lodgings that will surprise any visitor. Choices are the classic Westonia Tavern or the convenient and well maintained Westonia Caravan Park. 48hr Free Camping for self contained RV’s is located in the townsite at St Luke’s Church. For those who enjoy experiencing the great outdoors and want to camp head 100 km north to Elachbutting Rock, which has great facilities and is very accessible.
The most striking thing about Westonia is its unique charm and natural surroundings, nestled amongst 5,600ha of salmon gum, morrell and gimlet woodland interspersed with granite outcrops and remnants of the town’s gold mining history. The town is also unique in that all new buildings in the town’s centre have been constructed in a 1920’s historic style. All existing heritage buildings have been continuously restored and the Westonia Hood-Penn Museum showcases early life in the shire.
On the edge of town, a 4km Woodlands and Wildﬂowers Heritage Walk Trail walk will take you through the Westonia Common Woodland and back to town past its historic points of interest. Elachbutting Rock is spectacular and has a granite wave formation that is said to be more spectacular than Hyden’s Wave Rock so pack a picnic for a day trip or camp a night or two!
The Shire of Mukinbudin was settled by pastoralists who in the 1870’s took up large leases in excess of 20,000 acres to run sheep, as well as by Sandalwood cutters and miners en-route to the goldfields. Since then Mukinbudin has grown into an enthusiastic, progressive and proud community of around 500 residents, although it still maintains its unique agricultural feel. The town is still growing, with 17 newly subdivided residential blocks developed in recent years and new businesses investing in the district.
Mukinbudin offers a range of accommodation options to cater for any visitor. The award winning Mukinbudin Caravan Park offers shady sites, new industry standard ablutions, a shearing shed themed camper’s kitchen and barbeque facilities. Also available are four renovated railway cabins (twin share), three fully self-contained air conditioned units and one three-bedroom air conditioned house. Hotel and motel accommodation on the other hand can be found at the Mukinbudin Hotel in the centre of town. For those looking for something extra, located in the Mukinbudin townsite is Rose Cottage Country Retreat and then Watson’s Way Self Contained Accommodation is located 70kms north of Mukinbudin (out near Beringbooding Rock) offers a more intimate experience. For those keen campers there are great campsites also at Beringbooding Rock and Weira Reserve.
Mukinbudin is undoubtedly a place for those who have an interest in the outdoors. There are no better places to experience this than at Beringbooding Rock and Weira Reserve. Anything from four-wheel driving, barbequing, camping, bushwalking and spectacular views can be experienced amongst these attractions. Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of the area should visit the Wattoning Historical Site, Goodchild’s Gateway and the unique Bulk Grain Storage Silo or the 1950’s Men’s Shed.
Mukinbudin Community Resource Center
Phone: (08) 9047 2150
One of the smallest shires in the country with around 240 people, but what we lack in size we make up for in just about everything else. Nungarin is located 300 kilometres east of Perth. The meaning of the name is uncertain in the language of the local Aborigines, though one plausible explanation is that it is derived from the word ‘nungoo’, meaning ‘to see’ and which could be referring to the Nungarin rock. Since then Nungarin has had a busy history, including serving as an important stopping place during the 1880’s Eastern Goldfields rush. It also served as an important WWII strategic army depot and workshop with almost 12,000 troops stationed in the town at one stage. Nungarin is now a progressive and community focused shire boasting an appealing lifestyle for residents.
Nungarin offers a range of accommodation options to suit all travellers. The historic McCorry’s Old Hotel was opened in 1912, and offers comfortable and affordable accommodation thanks to its restoration to original condition. There are also powered sites available for caravans. Another option in Nungarin town, the Woolshed Hotel was opened in 1929 and offers visitors a decent bed and the chance to relax by the fire with a cold beer. The Nungarin Caravan Park up at the Nungarin Recreation ground has driven through power sites and access to great amenities. Danberrin Rock, Eaglestone Rock and Talgomine Reserve all have excellent camp sites and facilities for those who wish to camp under our bright skies and big horizons.
No trip to Nungarin should occur without a visit to the extensive Heritage Machinery and Army Museum. Items are housed in an enormous 2,500 square metres building and map Australia’s rich pioneering and army history. Historic Mangowine homestead is unique in depicting an era of past life gone by in the region. For those wanting to get out and explore the area, visits to Danberrin Rock, Eaglestone Rock and Talgomine Reserve are highly recommended. They offer stunning views, and an opportunity to explore the vast Wheatbelt landscape. Before you leave the town, make sure to pick up a souvenir at the charming Nungarin Wheatbelt Markets, held on the first Sunday of the month.
Nungarin Community Resource Centre
Address: 28 Railway Avenue, Numgarin WA 6490
Phone: (08) 9046 5400
Website: www.nungarin.wa.gov.au and www.nungarin.com.au
Located 235 kilometres from Perth, the Trayning Shire has the towns of Kununoppin, Trayning and Yelbeni, home to around 400 people with a focus on agriculture. The area is named after Trayning Well, the Aboriginal name of a nearby water source located on the old road from Goomalling to the Eastern Goldfields. It was first recorded by a surveyor in 1892 and allegedly derives from the Aboriginal word “during”, meaning “snake in the grass by the campfire”.
Trayning offers two reasonably priced accommodation options for visitors to the region. Trayning Hotel/Motel offers comfortable beds and good amenities. The Shire of Trayning similarly offers good amenities for those wanting to camp or enjoy the luxury of their own camper or caravan at the Trayning Caravan Park, with drive through powered sites, BBQ’s, grassed area, playground, amenities and a RV dump point.
Visitors to Trayning will be treated to the beautiful natural surroundings of the region and are recommended to visit Billyacatting Hill, Yarragin Rock and the Gnammas to experience them. A variety of amazing flora and fauna can be found at these locations and highlight the natural diversity of the area. The Wheatbelt has a mosaic of habitats to see, from open woodland, granite outcrops, sand plain country and extensive salt lake systems; you can understand why there is a great variety of flora and fauna species.