04/08/2020 - 10:39

To the hills and far away

04/08/2020 - 10:39

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Bickley Valley is a destination many Perth people would struggle to find on a map but judging by the numbers at its wineries and restaurants last weekend, word is spreading.

Bickley Valley lies just beyond Kalamunda and is home to more than a dozen wineries and restaurants, Photo: Mark Beyer

Bickley Valley is a destination many Perth people would struggle to find on a map but judging by the numbers at its wineries and restaurants last weekend, word is spreading.

It's ideal for a day trip but also provides an option for a long weekend getaway – after all, travel to Bali is no longer allowed and there’s a limit on how often many of us want to visit Margaret River.

Bickley Valley lies just beyond Kalamunda and is only 35 minutes from central Perth in good traffic.

It may be a short drive but feels a million miles away.

At this time of year especially, the hills are lush and green.

I recently spent two nights in the valley with a group of friends, staying in a stylish and comfortable AirBnB house.

The area is home to more than a dozen wineries and restaurants so we had no shortage of options.

Don’t expect anything as upmarket as Vasse Felix or Voyager Estate nor should you expect venues as large as Sandalford or Mandoon Estate in the Swan Valley.

The focus is on family-run venues, where rustic defines their charm.

The kind of places where dogs freely wander through the restaurants – we saw that twice.

We enjoyed lunch at Plume Estate, where the restaurant is located inside what is little more than a tin shed but nobody cared because the expansive views over the valley were sensational and the food matched any tapas restaurant in Perth.

Another popular destination was La Fattoria, located a little further down the valley at Pickering Brook.

On your way in, you walk past the original house and packing shed, built in the 1930’s when the family orchard was established.

The entry to the trattoria is through the new packing shed, where owners Eric and Lucy tell us that three generations of family of Sicilian and British heritage still live and work on the property.

Just down the road is Core Cider House, where the packing sheds have been blended with a large purpose-built venue.

With multiple bars and eating areas, a wide lawn and balconies overlooking the orchard, it is a big step up from most of its neighbours.  

But like its neighbours, it has strong family ties, with the Della Franca family planting their first apple trees in the 1930’s and their first vines in the 1960’s.

A quick look at other venues like Mistelle at Hainault Vineyard, The Packing Shed at Lawnbrook Estate and The Vineyard Kitchen at Brookside left us with plenty of eating options for a future visit.

Then there are the wineries, including Myattsfield and Tonon that are well worth a visit.

Not to mention surprises – we visited Myattsfield just after one of the locals proposed to his partner in the scenic gardens outside the tasting room.

The area has only a few attractions suitable for children, including the Perth Observatory and Museum and Lesmurdie Falls.

And if anybody misses the crowds, you can visit the artisan markets or farmers’ markets at Kalamunda (check the dates).

But for the most part, a visit to Bickley Valley is about escaping the crowds. It’s well worth a look.

Have you got a great WA travel story from the past few weeks to share? We'd love to hear about it! Email us at editorial@businessnews.com.au.

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