There are not many things in the world that can beat hopping in the car and hitting the road in search of adventure! In the “Wheatbelt Roadtrip” series, we will bring to you mini Wheatbelt road trips that we have completed and loved! You can use these road trips as inspiration for your own journeys around our beautiful region…
The first road trip is a Southern Wheatbelt road trip, in a loop starting and finishing in Narrogin and passing through the shires and towns of Wickepin, Kulin, Kondinin, Hyden, Lake King, Newdegate, Lake Grace, Dumbleyung and Wagin. We completed this road trip during the recent July holidays, but it would be perfect for any time of the year! You do not need a 4WD car or any special equipment. This road trip is designed as a 3 day, 2 night road trip, making it perfect for a long weekend. You can easily modify it to suit your timing and preferences, since you could easily stretch it out for a couple more nights or even condense it into a one night trip (we did that).
Time: 3 days / 2 nights
Day 1 // Narrogin – Wickepin – Kulin
Start off your adventure by leaving Narrogin in an easterly direction. Wickepin is just under 40km away, and is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. A visit to the Albert Facey Homestead and Museum is a must. There, you can discover the homestead in which the author of “A Fortunate Life” lived during the early 1900’s. If the museum is unattended when you arrive, you can simply pop into the newsagency across the road and ask for it to be opened. It will cost you about $2.50 per adult.
If you’re feeling up to a stroll before lunch, an easy walk trail links the Wickepin Heritage Precinct on the north side of the railway line with the main town centre. The Old Railway Station, Stationmaster’s House, Old Police Station and former Road Board Building were all constructed prior to 1915 and can be seen from the walk trail.
The Wickepin Hotel and Harvest Cafe was recently awarded with making the best steak sandwich in Western Australia. Whilst I have yet to taste the famous culinary delight, be sure not to leave Wickepin until you try it yourself!
Kulin is a further 70km east from Wickepin, and should take you less than an hour.
If you’re visiting Kulin during summer (which we weren’t), the Kulin Waterslide, the largest waterslide in regional Australia, is a must for kids and grownups alike. You can easily spend the whole afternoon there! Before the sun goes down, be sure to take a drive along the Tin Horse Highway. The highway will lead you to Jilakin rock, a stunning natural rock formation, and the perfect location to watch the sunset. If you have the time, there’s also the new Kulin discovery zone to discover, plenty of wildflower walks and a range of heritage buildings to see.
The Kulin Hotel has all that a country pub has to offer. Good food, good drinks and good atmosphere. I can personally recommend the steak but the menu is extensive so you’ll be sure to find something you like 🙂
If you have a caravan, feel like putting up a tent, or even sleeping in the back of your car (like us!), the Kulin Caravan Park is the ideal location. The park is located a short walking distance from town centre and close to other facilities (Freebairn Rec Centre, playground and water slide). And… to make it even better, the Kulin Caravan Park has just introduced a “You Set the Price” initiative meaning that you can pay what you feel is appropriate or can afford! Otherwise, there is motel accommodation available near the pub or for $130 a night, you can rent out Villa Kulin, which looks lovely!
Day 2 // Kulin – Kondinin – Hyden – Lake King
You can find delicious fresh food and great coffee at the Kulin Hardware and Rural Cafe. Open from 8am, it is the perfect spot to have a yummy breakfast before setting off on another day of adventuring!
On your way through to Hyden, stop for a while in Kondinin. It’s only 24km out of Kulin and a quaint little country town. The Kondinin Centenary walk is located on the edge of the Kondinin Caravan Park and was established in 2010 to commemorate Kondinin’s Centenary. It’s a gorgeous walk, and there are some lovely sculptures nearby too. CC’s Coffee and Cakes looks like a beautiful place for morning tea. Unfortunately we had just eaten a not-so-decent meal at the roadhouse before we discovered it but it is on our list for next time!
It’s 60km from Kondinin to Hyden. You can take a little detour via Yeerakine Rock if you wish. There’s a picnic area, lovely views and two walk trails for you to explore.
The Wildflower Shoppe, out of Hyden near Wave Rock, is a gorgeous cafe and the perfect spot to have lunch. You will be absolutely blown away by the wildflower arrangements hanging from the walls and ceilings. We can highly recommend the homemade sausage rolls and vanilla slice.
Wave Rock is obviously the main attraction so be sure to head over and have a look! The views from the top are incredible and of course, you should not forget the obligatory surfing snap! It will cost you $10 per vehicle, which you can pay at a meter or kiosk.
Wave Rock is not all though! There is the awesome Hippo’s Yawn, which is not only another great photo opportunity, but heaps of fun to explore. A short fifteen minutes drive north of Wave Rock, you will find The Humps and Mulka’s Cave, which have great Aboriginal significance. There are also some nice walk trails nearby. Back near the Wildflower Shoppe, for $5 you can check out the Lace Place, which houses the Blackburn Collection, which is a large variety of different types of lace, including lace from Princess Diana’s wedding dress. Next door is the Miniature Soldier Museum, which is an amazing collection of over 10,000 handmade pieces,displayed in series of the great wars. Entry will cost you $5. Last but not least, there is a Wildlife Park, if you feel like exploring the beautiful haven of native and exotic animals and birds. To enter it will cost you $8 per adult and $5 per child. If you want to save (which we all do!), a Gold pass ($15 per adult and $7.50 per child) will entitle you to entry into the Pioneer Museum (located at the Kiosk at the Wave Rock Caravan Park), the Lace Place, the Miniature Soldier Museum and the Wildlife Park. The Gold Pass is valid for two days and can be purchased from the Wildflower Shoppe.
If you don’t mind driving in the dark, Lake Magic is just 1km north of Wave Rock and a stunning place to watch the sun set.
Lake King however is still another 120km from Hyden so it would be smart to hit the road as soon as possible. If you are driving at night, watch out for kangaroos.
The Lake King Tavern Motel is the place to be for dinner! For a small town, the Tavern only exceeds expectations. It’s self-claimed as one of Australia’s best kept secrets and definitely lives up to that! The night we happened to be there, the tavern was absolutely packed because there was a large go-kart racing event on in town. With the fire cranked up, a crowd gathered at the pool table and good service even though the town was at about 10x it’s normal population, the tavern had a lovely homely feel to it.
You can choose to sleep at the Lake King Tavern Motel, which has comfortable rooms for a great night’s sleep. Otherwise, stay at the Caravan Park, like us. If you arrange in advance, there are some onsite vans available. There’s also powered sites and a powered tent area, which is what we chose. We simply booked and paid at the Tavern when we were having dinner. The caravan park is only a short walk from the tavern.
Day 3 // Lake King – Newdegate – Lake Grace – Dumbleyung – Wagin – Narrogin
Being such a small town, there is not much choice for breakfast. The Lake King Agencies is the town’s general store where you should be able to grab something to eat although we recommend packing some food in an esky (we did), especially if you’re travelling on the weekend. The Lake King Motel units are semi-self catering and have things like a toaster and kettle if you need.
Wake up early to the sounds of birds chirping in the trees and begin a final day of adventuring! The town of Lake King is quite spread out, so if you are up for walk you can hike from one end, with the caravan park and tavern, to the other, with the school, library, general store and sports grounds.
There’s also a Kart Club, and if there is an event on whilst you’re in Lake King, which there was when we were there, be sure to head down and have a look.
Then it’s time to hit the road, en route to Lake Grace via Newdegate! It’s a 63km drive to Newdegate. And the drive is amazing (but potentially boring) since the road is pretty much entirely straight the whole way! You will also cross Lake King, and the longest road over a salt lake in WA. Check the Ongerup Football Association Fixture’s to see if there’s a footy game in Lake King, Lake Grace or Newdegate that will fit your schedule.
The Newdegate Hainsworth Building, which is unfortunately only open on Thursdays from 11am to 4.30pm, houses the Newdegate Heritage Museum, which, from peeking through the windows, looks like a great place to learn about the history of the region!
Have lunch in Lake Grace, which is a further 52km west of Newdegate, along another very straight road. If you’re up for another pub meal, the Lake Grace Hotel can definitely accommodate that. Otherwise, Caffe Arjo is a modern coffee shop with free WIFI.
Lake Grace is all about the arts and culture. There are plenty of community art installations that you will want to check out, namely the Pioneering Women Mural, featuring 48 remarkable women from rural Western Australia, the Mosaic Garden Gallery, which features 365 colourful mosaics that reflect the lives of past and present community members, AIM Penny Pathway, a short pathway (50m) of commemorative plaques from Apex Park to the AIM Museum, and the Lake Grace Story trail, in which you are able to follow a rich collection of stories to discover the heritage of the local community. If you’re in Lake Grace during an exhibition at the Lake Grace Regional Artspace, it is open daily from 10am – 4pm during exhibitions.
Visit the Australian Inland Mission Hospital Museum, one of three remaining Australian InLand Mission hospitals – and the only one in WA. Walk through the old-style wards, duty room, kitchen and laundry to experience the atmosphere of an early 20th century rural hospital. You will need to book at appointment, but even if you haven’t it’s still fun to walk around the verandah and grounds, discovering stories of what when it was operating as a hospital.
Before hitting the road for the home stretch, 8km north of Lake Grace, situated in the Eastern Wheatbelt amongst the rolling farm land, Walkers Hill Vineyard is the ideal spot to stop & refresh. Offering wine tastings & sales, tea/coffee & homemade cakes it’s a place you don’t want to miss.
It’s 80km from Lake Grace to Dumbleyung. If you get there before dark, you can have a look at a replica of the Bluebird, which was used by Donald Campbell to break the world speed record on Lake Dumbleyung in 1964. Just out of Dumbleyung you can find Lake Dumbleyung itself, which is the largest open lake in the south west of WA. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and find out more about the breaking of the world speed record.
And finally head back to Narrogin via Wagin (which will have to be included in another road trip since there just isn’t enough hours in a day!)
Please let us know if you take this road trip and what you think of our new feature! We are considering condensing the info provided into a printable PDF version… if you are interested leave a comment below!