Just an hour north-east of Perth, the beautiful Chittering Valley is a wonderful place for grey nomads to stop and explore before or after their adventures further north.
The area is famed for its spectacular wildflowers, gorgeous scenery, and its rich variety of vineyards and orchards … a classic grey nomad playground. With a total population of some 5,000, it is home to the townships of Bindoon, Muchea and Wannamal which are most commonly described as ‘quaint’, and the localities of Mooliabeenee, Upper Chittering and Lower Chittering.
There are a number of free and low-cost camping opportunities in the shire including at the Bindoon Visitor Centre and at the Robert Hindmarsh Rest area in Wannamal. Once you’ve settled in, it’s time for the fun to begin.
There are some great walking tracks such as the Blackboy Ridge Walk Trail offering superb views across the Brockman River flats, and tourist drives that meander through the valley past the wineries, orchards, olive tree plantations and roadside produce stalls.
The Chittering Valley Wine Trail is a 76-kilometre loop through forest-cloaked hills and deep valleys, past familyowned vineyards offering Verdelho, Chenin Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz at cellar doors.
The region’s temperate climate and rich soils are also perfect for citrus, and the aroma of orange blossom is the backdrop of of Bindoon for several months a year, and mandarins, oranges and lemons are sold from roadside stalls. At other times, avocadoes, mangoes and pumpkins are available.
With so much beautiful produce it is no surprise that the Taste of Chittering event in August is one of the highlights of the events calendar. Another one not to miss is the Wildflower Festival in September. Another top attraction is Bindoon’s Brockman Centre and the local heritage museum where visitors can find arts and crafts, a collection of machinery, tools and household memorabilia … and a great bakery.
The valley is a picturesque gateway into Western Australia’s wheatbelt region and offers easy access to fascinating neighbouring towns such as Gingin, Toodyay, Julimar, York, Northam, and New Norcia. Julimar is the home of the Space Place, where visitors can experience the wonders of space through telescopes, and New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town, where monks live, work and pray just as they have done for hundreds of years.
Interestingly, there is also now a Buddhist monastery back in the Chittering Valley. Apparently, the Buddha Mandala Monastery was founded after the Venerable Shi Yuan Fan visiting from Singapore found Chittering to be ‘beautiful and deeply filled with spiritual energy that is beneficial for the cultivation of body and mind’.
A sentiment no doubt shared by the growing number of grey nomads who are discovering the area’s magic for themselves.