By: Tatum Stafford
Dubbed the ‘apple capital of WA’, the quaint town of Donnybrook is a must-visit for lovers of bushwalking, fresh produce and farm stays.
Originally a timber mill settlement, Donnybrook is praised for its beautiful local sandstone, warm climate that is advantageous for producing wine grapes, and its background of stunning jarrah and marri bushland. Start the car, we’re heading for Donnybrook.
At a glance
|Distance from Perth||200 kilometres, two and a half hours’ drive|
|Why go?||To go apple picking at one of the South West’s most popular orchards, let the kids run amok at Australia’s largest free entry playground, spend the night at a charming farm stay, explore local flora and fauna on a walking trail, and spot wildflowers beside a tranquil waterfall.|
|When to go||
Mar - May: Harvest season for Donnybrook’s famous apples. The annual Donnybrook Apple Festival is a highlight in April.
|How long to stay||One to two days, or pop in for a day trip if travelling through the South West region.|
|Need to know||The Donnybrook Visitor Centre is located within the old railway station building on the main street, and is a great place to stock up on local maps and attraction guides. There’s plenty of free parking around the town centre. If venturing into surrounding bushland, be prepared to lose phone signal in remote spots.|
|Fast facts||Town population: 2,800
Indigenous people: Kaneang.
|Insider tip||Tune into Western Tourist Radio on 98.4FM for helpful information, as well as a few local stories about both Donnybrook and the wider South West region.|
|Related road trips|
Top things to see and do
Go fruit picking at Spring Valley Orchard
Donnybrook is the ‘apple capital’ of WA, and the Spring Valley Orchard is a must-visit for those keen on apple picking. Growing Pink Lady and Sundowner apples (as well as a variety of plums), the orchard welcomes visitors for apple-picking during harvest season (generally, between March and May). To reserve your place, join the mailing list on the Spring Valley Orchard website.
Spend the night at a local farm stay
Donnybrook’s Boronia Farm is located within the idyllic Capel River Valley, and is the perfect spot for a nature getaway amongst a few playful farm animals. Guests at the farm are welcome to help owners Barry and Dayle collect eggs, stroll through the organic orchard, or feed the farm’s chickens, alpacas or goat named Milko.
here’s also plenty to keep you busy around the farm, with canoeing, bike-riding trails and barbeque facilities just a short walk from the accommodation. And on most nights, you’ll be able to spot kangaroos as they wander into the paddocks from the surrounding bushland.
13 of WA's best farm stays »
Explore local walking trails
Hitting one of Donnybrook’s three walk trails is a great way to explore the area’s native flora and fauna and rich history. The longest option is the 5-kilometre Preston River Walk Trail; a gentle walk which traverses a weir crossing, a suspension bridge and winds through a lush river ecosystem. This trail is ideal for avid bird-watchers, as a large variety of birdlife can be spotted at several points along the trail.
If you’d prefer a shorter walk, opt for the Lions Forest Walk Trial. This 3.7-kilometre walk showcases a fantastic array of wildflowers in spring, and passes through the Ryall’s Nature Reserve. There are a few steep and loose sections on the trail, but the sweeping views of Donnybrook’s landscapes are worth it.
Visit the Apple Fun Park
In Donnybrook, apples aren’t just for eating – they're for playing on, too. The Apple Fun Park is Australia’s largest free entry playground, and is packed with slides, rope bridges, flying foxes, rock climbing walls, swings and more equipment that the kids are sure to love. There are also plenty of amenities, sheltered areas and barbeque facilities available, so it’s a great spot to set up a picnic and enjoy an afternoon in the tranquil grounds.
Visit local wineries
There are a small handful of wineries within the quaint Donnybrook Wine Region. Once you’ve selected your designated driver, it’s possible to wind your way through all of them for a spot of wine tasting, gourmet food and the chance to meet local winemakers. The cellar door at Barton Jones is an ambient spot to enjoy a seafood or cheese tasting platter, or the café at Oakway Estate is famous for its gourmet pizzas.
See the Ironstone Gully Falls
A 15-minute drive out of the Donnybrook town centre, the picturesque Ironstone Gully Falls are nine metres tall, and best visited between August and October when its surrounding countryside is abundant with wildflowers. The picnic area beside the falls is particularly beautiful, so it’s a great spot to bring a rug and some food to enjoy.
10 of WA's best waterfalls »
Though various attractions within the town are within walking distance of each other, you’ll need a car to venture into surrounding national parks or forest areas.
If you’d prefer to explore the town and surrounding region on two wheels, the closest available bike hire is from the Wellington Dam Kiosk in Collie. The kiosk rents out mountain bikes, and is also a reliable spot to pick up free hiking and trail maps for the nearby Wellington National Park.
What to pack
Donnybrook experiences warm temperatures in summer, but can be extremely cool in winter months. Pack plenty of layers if visiting in winter, and bring solid walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat and mosquito repellent all year-round. Also bring any gear you’ll need, including mountain bikes, camping gear and trail equipment.
The drive from Perth to Donnybrook is well-maintained, and the roads in and around the town are paved and smooth to drive on. If travelling through forest or dirt tracks, take extra caution and slow down to avoid potholes. Slow down near walk trail entry points, and keep an eye out for cyclists or pedestrians. Read more long distance driving tips.
Need a place to stay?
Donnybrook is a short drive from RAC Busselton Holiday Park, where RAC members can save up to 20%* on accommodation.
Last updated November 2020