It wasn’t just rain drops falling on our heads, try plump soft mandarins. As bizarre as it may sound, that is exactly what happened at The Orchard Perth, but more of that later.
On a wet, winters day, we set out on a bus for a day trip along part of the Chittering Farm Flavour Trail, courtesy of the Shire of Chittering. The Chittering region is less than one hour’s drive north of Perth, amongst the rolling hills of Darling Ranges. Packed in a small scenic hub is a mix of orchards, vineyards and farms amongst bushland crammed with stunning springtime wildflowers.
With nature and scenic beauty in abundance, the Chittering region attracts people escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. Along with nature, visitors enjoy fresh food products, often from farmgate to plate.
With so much to see and do, Tourism WA and Trails WA got together with the Shire of Chittering to create the Chittering Farm Flavour Trail to make it easier for visitors to find their way around.
Our tour begins at the famous Bindoon Bakehaus and Cafe, made even more famous by Prince Harry dropping in while staying at the nearby military base. Besides the odd royal visit, the exceptionally busy bakery has long been a favourite stop off point for travellers heading north.
Next door to the bakery is the Northern Valleys Locavore Store, a great place to top up on a huge variety of fresh and local produce. A locavore is someone who prefers to eat food sold close to where it is produced.
Next off the cab was Wootra Asparagus Farm, where asparagus is ripe for the picking. There is nothing as tasty as freshly fried asparagus in butter as we found out, courtesy of Colleen and Peter as we stood outside their quirky asparagus van.
Little Eeden Farm Honey and Apiary is located in a beautiful garden complete with peacocks. The moment you step through the front door your senses are awakened by their honey tastings. The unprocessed bush honey comes in several varieties, including chilli, ginger, or garlic infusions. The smoked infused honey is to die for in our opinion.
After a taste of honey, we stretched our legs on the Djidi-Djidi Ridge Walk, a trail that climbs up to a beautiful lookout with plenty of wildflowers along the way. The Chittering Wildlife Carers organisation met us there and talked about their great work in rescuing sick and injured animals. Bringing along a few joeys added a real cute factor.
After a brief viewing of the just completed massive, no expenses spared Divine Mercy Church, we went into the Stringybark Winery and Restaurant. The log fire and warm ambience was instantly appreciated and so was wine tasting as well as lunch.
The Orchard Perth is where the mandarins literally fall off the trees onto your lap. The Orchard’s Ken Bantock took us on a covered trailer towed by a tractor down narrow, sodden paths between groves of mandarin trees heavy with dripping fruit. The orchard produces oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit, although mandarins are the star of the show in winter and spring. Laughter and fun filled the air as wet branches brushed past, showering us with raindrops and dislodged overhanging mandarins.
By booking a tractor tour you can pick your own fruit straight from the tree or buy fruit from the shed. After all that wet fun, we enjoyed beautifully tasty fruit juices.
Our last stop is Nesci Estate Wine Farm, established in 1948. As well as producing great wines, ports and liqueurs, the farm has over 100 beef cattle. It is about to host weddings and soon, provide cabin style accommodation. Like many other businesses in Chittering, Nesci is not afraid of trying new things and diversifying their range of services and products.
So much to see, so little time. We had only scratched the surface of what attractions and experiences are on offer in the stunningly beautiful Chittering region. At only an hour out of Perth, it will be not long before we are back finding new exciting things to see and do.
For more Chittering Tourism head to the Shire of Chittering website.