The towns of Donnybrook and Balingup, in the Bunbury-Geographe region, are nestled amongst lush rolling hills and the picturesque Preston and Blackwood River valleys. They make the ideal weekend getaway from Perth or as a stop on the way to the southern forests or Great Southern region. Find out what we rate as the best free things to do in Donnybrook & Balingup.

I would like to respectfully acknowledge 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 their people.

Disclosure: Some of my links are affiliates (of which I use), which means that I may receive a small amount of commission if you buy something through them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not cost you a cent, nor do you pay more; I get a little towards the cost of running this blog, so I can keep it going. If you are thinking of booking through any of these companies, I would be very grateful if you could use my links. I am appreciative of all your support.

rolling green hills in the country one of the things to do in donnybrook balingup

Free Things to do in Donnybrook & Balingup Western Australia

Donnybrook, a small town 30 km from Balingup, is known for its orchards and for being the apple capital of Western Australia. Irish settlers moved to the area around 1842 and named it after the place they came from in Ireland.

The first granny smith apple tree was planted in 1900, and the town is now popular with backpackers gaining seasonal work picking fruit from the many orchards. You can stop at farmgate stalls during summer to purchase fresh peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries.

Apple Park Donnybrook

Apple Park in Donnybrook can be found along the South Western Highway, making it the perfect stop to break up any road trip. The park was created by the Donnybrook Community and designed for the whole family in mind. There are BBQ facilities, toilets, parking, shaded picnic tables, and floodlit at night.

Older children aren’t left out either with four-level towers with slides, rope bridges, flying foxes, low rock climbing walls, swings, a space net, and two 9.5 m towers.

Reputed to be Australia’s biggest free entry fun park, it will keep the kids entertained while you enjoy a coffee.

Our girls love it, and the facilities are kept clean – one of the best parks we have been to.

The car park is accessed from Collins Street, Donnybrook.

huge adventure playground with space net
The fun Apple Park in Donnybrook

Apple Blossom in Donnybrook

Head to Donnybrook in October, when the apple blossom is in full bloom. The surrounding fields are illuminated with the pretty pink and white apple blossom, giving it a European atmosphere.

apple blossom in orchard

Donnybrook Indigenous Sculpture Park

The Donnybrook Indigenous Sculpture Park (also known as the Waugyl Sculpture Park) is on the Preston River Foreshore in the Gnangangarich Park. Here you can learn about the history and customs of the local of the Noongar people through informative signage and images.

98 South Western Hwy, Donnybrook.

photo of an interpretive sign about the indigenous sculpture park in donnybrook

Old Donnybrook Railway Station

The old railway station, constructed in 1893, is now the Visitor Information Centre. Located on the South Western Highway, you can find local information about attractions and a wide range of brochures, maps, and souvenirs.

English Oak Tree Donnybrook

Allegedly the largest English Oak tree in Australia, probably planted around 1893, can be found near the town’s railway station on South Western Highway.

Walk Trails Around Donnybrook & Balingup

There are many walking trails around Donnybrook and Balingup, including the Bibblumen Track which passes through Balingup. This is one of the world’s greatest long-distance trails, stretching almost 1,000 km from Kalamunda in Perth to Albany. 

Preston River Walk Trail Donnybrook – 5km loop

Starting at the Sculpture Park, the Preston River Walk Trail follows a peaceful path alongside the river. The walk includes the suspension bridge, crossing the weir (when the river is low), and encompasses the Preston River Indigenous Walk Trail and the Waugyl Sculpture Park. It’s an easy, tranquil walk and kids will love the suspension bridge and crossing the weir.

a weir with a path across the river
The weir along the Preston River Walk Trail in Donnybrook

Lions Sandhills Walk Trail Donnybrook – 4.7km loop

This picturesque trail starts at the corner of Frost and Montgomery Road and passes through jarrah forest, featuring glowing yellow wattle and lots of wildflowers in spring. It’s a better walk than the Forest Walk Trail (below).

Lions Forest Walk Trail Donnybrook – 3.7km

Starting at the Donnybrook Cemetery, this 3.7 km bush trail takes around 90 minutes and offers excellent views over Donnybrook and the surrounding countryside.

Balingup Ghost Walk

Discover the Balingup Ghost Walk at the Balingup Heritage Museum. Locals tell stories of the township’s pioneers in an interactive presentation.

32 Bridgetown Rd, Balingup.

Cycle a section of the Mundi Biddi Track

The 1000 km Mundi Biddi trail is Western Australia’s premier long-distance off-road cycling experience, starting at Mundaring in the Perth hills.

Canoe or kayak along the Blackwood River

Enter at the end of the Balingup Avenue of Honour, where you will find a stretch of calm water. The closest direct entry points into the Blackwood River are at Wrights Bridge on Balingup-Nannup Road or under the bridge in Bridgetown.

river with a wooden bridge
The Blackwood River by the bridge in Bridgetown

Scenic drives

The area around Donnybrook, Bridgetown, Boyup Brook, and Nannup is perfect for a scenic drive through native forests, orchards, vineyards, and farmland.

The Balingup–Nannup Road is one of the region’s most scenic, and make sure you stop at the Balingup Heights Scenic Lookout along this road for stunning views of the town and orchards.

The Donnybrook-Goodwood Road to Capel is also scenic, and you can check out Ironstone Gully Falls, which flows after heavy rain.

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup
stop at the Krazy Kow Kafe on your scenic drive

Wineries

Visit one of the cellar doors to taste local wines from up-and-coming wineries of the Blackwood River Valley. Barrecas Wines is touted as one of the best in Donnybrook and was first established in 1994 by Fil Barreca after he worked on a Sicilian vineyard. Their reds are the most popular, with Barbera (aka ‘the monster’) consistently sold out. Wine tastings are free and the cellar door is open from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday to Monday.

Another fabulous vineyard is Coughlan Estate (Barton Jones Wines sold to Preeti and Brad Coughlan in 2018), a 4 Star James Halliday winery with stunning rural views. It’s also a great place for lunch – try one of the cheese boards while you sample their wine.

Not only does Oakway Estate produce premium wines, but it also houses Donnybrook’s first brewery, Ned’s Brews Club. Their pizzas are delicious too. Dogs are allowed on the verandah on-lead.

red wine being poured into a wine glass for wine tasting

Pick your own fruit at Spring Valley Orchard

Spring Valley Orchard currently grows Pink Lady and Sundowner apples and plums. You can visit the orchard and experience picking your own tree-ripened fruit. Contact Spring Valley Orchard directly to find out prices and times.

Not technically free, but the cost of buying local produce.

Golden Valley Tree Park

Western Australia’s largest arboretum, covering 60 ha, was named one of the top 5 locations in Australia to see autumn colours. You will find a unique collection of exotic and Australian trees on one of the many walk trails. This picturesque park is an excellent place for short walks amongst the stunning countryside.

You can stop for lunch as facilities include wood barbeques, picnic tables, gazebo shelter, and toilets.

Golden Valley Tree Park is dog-friendly but they must be kept on a lead at all times.

Entry is free, but a donation will help the work of the volunteers.

large arboretum with trees in winter and green rolling hills and some autumn colour
Golden Valley Tree Park in winter

Browse the shops in Balingup

Balingup is a laid-back, cute country community with a bit of added quirkiness. You will find art galleries and studios, antique shops, and charming cafes. One of the stores, Tinderbox, has developed a following due to its organic hand-made wares, including essential oils, skincare, soaps and perfumes, and teas, condiments, herbs, and spices. So it’s worth a stroll down the street of this bohemian place to find some different gift ideas.

a bright blue and purple exterior of a herbal products shop
Tinderbox in Balingup

Wildflowers

If you’re visiting Donnybrook & Balingup during spring, you’ll find the region ablaze with colour. The Racecourse Flora Reserve, between Mullalyup and Balingup, contains abundant flora and areas of conservation value. The loop trail is an easy 1.7 km walk and a good dog walk.

Racecourse reserve is on South West Highway, 2.5km north of Balingup.

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup

Greenbushes mine

Tin mining started in Greenbushes in 1888 and is now recognised as the longest continuously operated mining area in WA. The Greenbushes pegmatite is the largest and highest grade hard rock lithium minerals resource in the world. Lithium ore (spodumene) is mined from the fresh, unweathered zones in the pegmatite exposed in the open pits.

You can view the open cut mine from the lookout, overlooking the Cornwall Pit where tantalum ore was extracted until 2003.

5 Telluride St, Greenbushes (open 8 am to 5 pm daily).

There is also a great 3 km walk through jarrah bushland, where you will see old mining shafts, tunnel entrances, mining trenches, and the historic buildings of Greenbushes. The walk starts and ends opposite the Greenbushes Discovery Centre (pop in for a copy of the walk trail booklet) at the Heritage Park on Blackwood Road. 

How to get from Perth to Balingup

By Car

Balingup, 240 km south of Perth, is a scenic drive of around two and a half hours. It is also easily accessed from Busselton and Margaret River, both about a one-hour drive.

By Bus

You can get to Balingup by a daily bus service from Bunbury (travel by TransWA using the Australind Train or bus from Perth to Bunbury).

South West Coach Lines runs a weekday service.

Accommodation in Balingup

Balingup has a wide variety of accommodation and would be my choice of where to stay in the region. However, if you wish to stay in Donnybrook, the Donnybrook Motel is highly rated.

We stayed at Birdwood Park Estate Farm Stay, a 3-bedroom American-style barn house with a wood burner and fully equipped kitchen. The property is on a 17-acre hobby farm bound by Balingup Brook on three sides and the Avenue of Honour on the fourth. There are stunning views of the surrounding rolling hills, and the farm stay is a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding region. Our daughters loved the friendly goats, and the fresh bread, cereal, and fruit was a lovely bonus. The accommodation is pet friendly too.

We book through Stayz as they are often cheaper than Airbnb.

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup
Birdwood Park Estate Farm Stay,

Tegwan’s Nest Holiday Home

This spacious country holiday home features open, airy living areas, a cosy log fire for those cool nights, expansive decking with breathtaking views of the rolling hills. The 4-bedroom house can sleep up to 8 guests, making it perfect for friends and families.



Booking.com

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup

The Gypsy Rose Wagon

The Gypsy Rose Wagon provides couples a romantic and unique place to stay in comfortable surroundings. This cute wagon offers modern amenities such as a kitchen, magic bathroom, luxurious Queen bed and a cosy fire to curl up in front of during the winter months. 



Booking.com


Applegate Lane Chalet

Applegate Lane Chalet has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views. It is situated in the grounds of Rose Cottage, just a short stroll from town.

This property is perfect for a romantic getaway, a girls weekend, or two couples who love travelling together. 



Booking.com

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup

Top 15 Free Things To Do in Donnybrook & Balingup

Balingup Jalbrook Cottages Jalbrook Estate

The deluxe rammed-earth Jalbrook Cottages are located on 10 acres of beautiful gardens and each cottage feature a balcony, a log fireplace and a fully equipped kitchen. Most of the cottages have a private outdoor gazebo with a hot tub for that extra indulgence. In addition, each cottage has a deluxe bathroom with a shower, heated towel rails, and fluffy towels.



Booking.com

Pet Friendly Accommodation

As mentioned, Birdwood Park Estate Farm Stay is a pet friendly accommodation option in Balingup. If that is booked or you’d prefer somewhere else, try Lewana Cottages, a 100 acre property, close to the Blackwood River on the Balingup – Nannup Road, or The Pavilion Cottage Brookvale House.

Balingup & Donnybrook Weather, Forecast & When To Visit

January is the driest month, while July is the wettest. 

January is also the warmest month, with an average max temperature of around 30°C and a minimum of 12°C.

The coldest month in Balingup is July, with an average maximum of 15°C and a low of 4°C.  

Balingup and Donnybrook are year-round destinations with warm summers but cool nights. Autumn days are warm, and you may get some showers, but the landscape is transformed with autumn colours. Winter brings cool, misty mornings when it’s time to cozy up in front of a log fire and enjoy walks all rugged up. Spring still has cold mornings with clear skies and when the orchard trees dazzle with their pretty blossom.

See the Bureau of Met for an up to date 7-day forecast in Donnybrook.

a sculpture of a cow in aboriginal art
Cow sculpture by Aboriginal elder Sandra Hill outside Balingup Visitor Centre

What to pack

This free packing list is handy to ensure you don’t forget anything.




FAQ

How long should I stay in Balingup?

You should allow at least two days in Balingup to explore the forest, walk trails, river, wineries and orchards.

Can you get mobile reception in Balingup?

Yes, mobile reception is good in town, but coverage can drop out on the outskirts. You can find free Wi-Fi at the Balingup Visitor Centre.

What is the population of Balingup and Donnybrook?

According to the 2016 Census, 2,824 people lived in Donnybrook and 544 in Balingup.

If you found our article helpful, please consider booking through one of our links. It won’t cost you anything but will help towards the cost of running this site. Thank you 🙂

Subscribe

Signup for our latest news and special offers!

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.