If you’re looking for the best things to do in Bridgetown Western Australia, this local’s guide also provides tips on the when to visit, how to get there, and where to stay.
Bridgetown is the only heritage listed town in the South West region of Western Australia. It’s a quaint country town with forests, steep rolling hills, and the longest flowing river in WA. This historic town is on the banks of the Blackwood River.
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How To Get Bridgetown & Distance from Perth
Bridgetown is in the South West region of Western Australia, about 270 km south of Perth.
International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety on our Australia page.
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Car Hire – There are several car hire companies available at the airport but I usually find that Europcar has the best deals for us.
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Bridgetown is a 3-hour drive along State Route 2, then National Route 1. Once off of the main highway, it’s a beautiful drive through the countryside and farms.
TransWA runs buses to Pemberton that stop in Bridgetown. However, it’s hard to get around this region without a car. SouthWest Coachlines also have a service from Elizabeth Quay in Perth to Manjimup that stops in Bridgetown.
Bridgetown Forecast & Weather
The hottest months are January & February, where the average highs are 29 degrees, and still a lot cooler than Perth.
The coldest months are from June to August. During this time, the temperature will be around 15 with a minimum of 5, although it can get down to -1. Being so cold has earnt it the nickname Fridgetown, with its winter festival being called Fridgetown Fest. If you like cozying up by a log fire and being surrounded by lush green hills, then winter would be an ideal time to visit Bridgetown.
The most rain falls between May and August, with December to February being the driest months.
My favourite time of year is September/October when it’s cool enough to hike, but not too cold, and the wildflowers are out, and the grass is green. There may be some rainy days, though.
See the detailed 7-day forecast at the Bureau of Meteorology.
Brief History & Settlement of Bridgetown
First, I’d like to respectfully acknowledge the Nyungar People, the Traditional Owners, and First People of these lands. I would like to pay my respect to the Elders past, present, and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture, and hopes of the Nyungar People.
The first European explorer to discover Bridgetown was Augustus Gregory in the 1840s. The area wasn’t settled until 1857 when Edward Godfrey Hester and John Blechynden bought and leased land.
The land was developed into farms and orchards. However, the town was hit by a series of problems from the 1960s through to the 80s. This included the codling moth, which forced orchardists to uproot all their apples and pears.
This made the town rethink and turned it into today’s tourist destination, with many annual events.
According to the 2016 Australian Census, Bridgetown had a population of 2,812.
The Best Things To Do in Bridgetown
Bridgetown is a small picturesque country town with some interesting and quirky places to visit. This map will help plan your itinerary for your trip.
Bridgetown Walks and Trails around town
Bridgetown Jarrah Park is about 20 km from Bridgetown, by the Brookman Highway. There are four walks to choose from, varying from 20 minutes to 2 hours. There are wisteria, yellow flags, wattles, hovea, coral vine and, orchids during wildflower season. The trails take in forest trees of Jarrah, Marri, and WA Blackbutt.
Some wildlife you may come across, if you are lucky, are kangaroos, western brush wallabies, honey possums, and western pygmy possums. Be aware of venomous dugite and tiger snakes, especially in the warmer months, when they are most active. For birdwatchers, keep a look out for honeyeaters, white, yellow, and scarlet robins, fantails, wrens, striated and spotted pardalotes, wattlebirds, ravens, kookaburras, red and white-tailed black cockatoos, golden and rufous whistlers, shrike thrushes, and purple crowned lorikeets.
The Town Heritage Walk is a 2 km easy walk through the historic town of Bridgetown. Pick up an information booklet at the Visitor’s Centre for details or download the map at the bottom. As it was raining, we only did the part along the High Street, stopping at the historic buildings.
The Blackwood River Walk starts in Bridgetown in the Blackwood River Park. It’s an easy to moderate 5.7 km to 8 km walk, including a boardwalk detour through bush and wetlands. An 8-metre suspension bridge crosses the river. Wildflowers found here are native buttercups, peas, snowdrops, and orchids. It’s a lovely walk with plenty of wildflowers in spring. The kids enjoyed the suspension bridge, although it was stable, unlike the bridge at Beedelup Falls!
A moderate to easy 1.7 km walk by the Bridgetown timber bridge is the Old Rectory Walk. The trail takes you under the railway bridge and the timber bridge following the river. It’s amazing to stand under the bridge and see the construction and huge timber posts. The quaint 100-year-old church, St Paul’s, is located in the town.
Walks are one of the most popular free things to do in Bridgetown and are very scenic. For more information, trail maps, and other walks, download the booklet.
Bridgetown High Street
Bridgetown High Street has a few historic buildings, seen on the Bridgetown Heritage Walk (above).
There are also shops, a bakery, The Bridgetown Hotel, The Rabbit Hole, and a Jigsaw Gallery. It would have been nice to amble along, looking in the arty shops, but the weather was against us.
The Rabbit Hole consists of artist studios, where art is created and for sale. Get lost down the rabbit hole and be amazed at the talented, creative artists.
Brierley Jigsaw Gallery holds the title for being the only public jigsaw gallery in the Southern Hemisphere. Jessie Brierley started the collection over forty years ago and it has been continually added to. The gallery is open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm, Saturday 10 am – 3 pm, Sun & Public Holidays 10 am – 1 pm. There is a small fee to enter but it didn’t appeal to us though.
Bridgetown Art Trail
Bridgetown is full of creative and accomplished artists, many who have day jobs here. The Bridgetown Art Trail was started with the idea of showcasing some of these artists around the town. A trail of artworks stretches along four kilometres of Bridgetown’s streets. The hope is for new pieces to be added and the trail to continue to grow.
Download a map of the art trail along with detailed information on each piece here.
Bridgetown Police Station 1880 Museum
Bridgetown Police Station 1880 Museum (previously known as the Old Gaol) is open Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. If you are visiting Bridgetown at this time, visit this musuem for an insight into what it was like as a prisoner in the 1880s.
This site was the town’s police station and lock-up from 1880 to 1973, with remains of the first courthouse to the left and police housing to the right.
It can be seen on the historic walk along the town’s main street.
The Cidery Bridgetown
The Cidery specialises in producing premium boutique ciders and beers.
If you’re looking what to do in Bridgetown when it’s raining, head here for some lunch. In winter, sit by the roaring fire to enjoy one of their multi-award-winning beers. They are really outstanding.
The interior is crafted from local wood, including Jarrah, Marri, Blackbutt, and pine timbers. Partner Peter Vowles handcrafted the Jarrah tasting bar and the dresser.
Their ciders are made using Pink Lady apples to produce 100% natural ciders and apple juice.
Award-Winning Ales and Stouts are produced by Mark Hollett, winning over 25 International and State awards since 2007. We decided to try the Tasting Paddle, which included five 350ml drinks for $17-50. I chose the Special Bitter, Irish Red Ale, Blackwood Nut Brown, Blackwood Stout Porter, and Bitter Sweet cider. I loved all the beers, they reminded me of the great bitters and stouts we have back home in the UK, but I wasn’t that keen on the cider (although I’m not a huge fan of cider anyway).
Lunch is available from 12 – 2 pm on weekdays and 12 – 3 pm on weekends. Bookings are recommended as numbers are limited (telephone 9761 2204).
We had the Burgers, which were delicious and great value for $20. The service was excellent and friendly. I highly recommend lunch here; the food, beer, and service were all spot on.
Ford House & Wag Walters Emporium
Ford House is a luxurious retreat set on 5 acres of gardens on the Blackwood River’s edge. The history of the house can be found on the Ford House webpage.
Don’t despair if you can’t stay here, though, as visitors are welcome to their shop.
Wag Walters Emporium is a homeware and gift store, full of beautiful and unique treasures. It’s the perfect place to find a unique gift.
Events in Bridgetown
Blues at Bridgetown is one of Australia’s longest running music festivals, which is held in spring. The town comes alive over three days of acoustic and electric blues.
For information on when the next festival is being held, and the artists playing, check the Blues at Bridgetown site.
Festival of Country Gardens is another spring festival, showcasing the local gardens. It costs $8 per garden you visit, which is payable at the gate of each property. A list of gardens can be found on the Festival of Country Garden site.
Accommodation in Bridgetown
We have only visited Bridgetown en route to Pemberton or on a day trip from Ballingup. Therefore, I can’t recommend any accommodation that we have stayed in. However, being a planner, I have researched where we would stay when we revisit Bridgetown.
Bridgetown Caravan Park is a family-owned park on the banks of the Blackwood River. As of September 2020, powered sites start at $35 a night for two people and unpowered $30. Cabins are also available.
Thistle Do Bed and Breakfast has a private ensuite, views over the valley and includes a complimentary continental breakfast. It has an exceptional rating of 9.9 out of 10.
Rickaty on Blackwood is also a Bed & Breakfast overlooking the Blackwood River. The large double bedroom has a private bathroom and a balcony with views of the garden and river. A cooked or continental breakfast is included.
Private Holiday Rentals & Family Accommodation
Stayz has a lot of private accommodation in or near Bridgetown. They offer a variety including places to stay for couples, families, and people travelling with their dogs.
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First I visit matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site.
Next I compare the cost of flights with Trip.com and try different routes.
I mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Rentalcars.com. They are world’s biggest car rental site, comparing all main brands including Europcar, Budget, Ace, Hertz, Avis, and Alamo.
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Travel Information & Guides
This Australia Travel Guide, which includes all essential information and tips, will help with the planning of your holiday to this beautiful country.
If you are looking for more things to do in Western Australia, check out this Western Australia Travel Guide.
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