Dryandra Woodland, near Narrogin, is a valuable nature conservation area featuring the largest remnant of original vegetation in the western Wheatbelt. More than 25 mammals, 100 birds and 50 reptiles call Dryandra home, including Western Australia’s state mammal emblem, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus).
After asking for suggestions for a camping weekend in the southern Wheatbelt on Facebook and Twitter, everyone who responded mentioned Dryandra! It was already on our list, so we decided we’d have to check it out ourselves…
We had a lovely weekend exploring Narrogin (we went to Narrogin Nursery & Cafe, the pool and explored the shops), Cuballing (we enjoyed a lovely BBQ at the park and visited the Chedoona Native Garden & Gallery), Dryandra Woodland (camping at Congelin and taking a tour at Barna Mia) and Wandering.
We can definitely recommend a weekend away in Dryandra! Here’s our top tips for a great trip…
Allow plenty of time
The roads in Dryandra are all gravel and in many instances, can only accomodate one vehicle at a time, meaning you will have to keep an eye on the road and for vehicles coming the other way. There is also a lot of wildlife in the park, including kangaroos, so it is recommended that you drive slow and enjoy the ride. You will need to take caution on the roads in Dryandra, so allow plenty of time to get from one place to another.
Set up camp before it gets dark
We stayed at the Congelin campground and were adamant that we would set up camp before it got dark! Well… we weren’t prepared and didn’t leave plenty of time, which meant setting up in the dark. With torches it was manageable and everyone was so friendly, stopping by to see if we needed a hand BUT it wasn’t until the morning that we realised we were camping totally in the wrong place! Thankfully, I don’t think anyone minded! The signs in Dryandra are only wooden, so won’t reflect with your headlights, so keep a good eye out for where to turn off etc. I can really recommend getting there in the daylight to work out where you need to be, where the facilities are…
Do a tour at Barna Mia
If you’re tossing up whether or not to do the tour at Barna Mia, I would say DO IT! I went on the tour 5 years ago and enjoyed it just as much this second time around. The presentation at the beginning is really interesting, and I believe it made me appreciate the woodland so much more. Seeing the wildlife is amazing as well! The tours are popular, so be sure to book in advance (they run every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday just after sunset).
This means come prepared with things like enough water to last your stay in Dryandra, toilet paper etc. but also MAPS! Know where you have to go, because there is no phone reception throughout much of Dryandra (even with Telstra). We knew that before coming, but didn’t realise that there was basically no phone reception in Cuballing either! Our plan of looking up where we had to go whilst we were in Cuballing went out the window, and we had to head back to Narrogin to get reception to work out which route to take. It was definitely a rookie mistake, and cost us some precious daylight. So… come prepared!
Don’t plan every second of the day
Sure, have a list of things that you definitely want to do and see (like Barna Mia and walking trails), but allow for flexibility as well. A few hours of free exploring will lead you to wonderful places and on wonderful adventures that you just couldn’t have planned. We had a few spare hours in the morning and came upon a crossroad “Williams or Wandering?” We decided to head up to Wandering to have a look around, as I had never been there before! It turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the trip… just walking around, admiring the beautiful little town of Wandering. We didn’t do anything necessarily exciting, but sitting on the grass reading our books whilst listening to the birds was just right.
Have a BBQ tea (or lunch or breakfast!)
Every where you go, from parks in Cuballing, Wandering and Narrogin to campsites at Congelin and Gnaala Mia, there are BBQs. What better way to enjoying camping in the Australian bush than with a traditional Aussie BBQ? We bought some chops and veggies in Narrogin and enjoyed a lovely BBQ at the amazing facilities in the Cuballing park. Don’t forget to pack the BBQ essentials like oil, tongs and plates…
In the Dryandra Woodland, you can camp at either Congelin or Gnaala Mia campground, or stay at the Lions Dryandra Woodland Village. There is also accommodation available in surrounding towns. There are a number of walk trails and self-drive trails available, as well as regular tours at Barna Mia.
For more information to help you plan your trip to Dryandra, check out the Dryandra Tourism website.
A perfect time to visit will be over the Mother’s Day weekend for the Dryandra Country Art, Food and Wine Trail happening across the region, where you will be able to visit up to 25 venues throughout the Dryandra Country. All venues, galleries, studios, cafes and wineries will be open from 10am til 4pm on both Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May.
Venues are located in the towns of Cuballing, Narrogin, Pingelly, Popanyinning, Wickepin and Williams. Entry to all venues is FREE! Visitors will be able to enjoy a selection of the art, craft, music, food and wine available in this area of the southern wheatbelt.
Over 100 artists and artisans will have items on display, much of which will be offered for sale. Special Mother’s Day lunches and other events, such as gallery openings, will add to the enjoyment.
Have you ever been to Dryandra?