It’s the kind of place that’s so ‘right under your nose’ that you’ve probably overlooked it, but this little micro-region 90mins SE of Perth is the stuff weekend dreams are made of. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about Marradong Country and why you need to get down there, stat.
Where is it?
Marradong Country encompasses Williams, Wandering and Boddington about 90 mins SE of Perth along Albany Hwy. It’s also home to the Dryandra Woodlands (think spectacular bushwalks and numbat sightings) and the ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ town of Quindanning, best known for its iconic historic pub and the annual Quindanning bush races.
7 reasons to pack your bags:
Apart from the adorable farm animals you’re guaranteed to see at every turn, Marradong is home to some truly unique native wildlife. Dryandra is one of only two remaining natural habitats for the Numbat and an evening at Barna Mia’s nocturnal sanctuary will get you up close with a raft of native critters you’ve probably never heard of. Throughout the rest of the region, keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, emus, echidnas and possums.
Photo by @huntingforparadise
The dark clear skies and low light pollution put Marradong on the international astrology radar many years ago. The southern hemisphere is blessed with some of the best Milky Way viewing on the planet and Marradong is no exception. If you’re trying your hand at astrophotography, check out some of the beautiful foregrounds you have to play with below.
Photos by @doyle.snaps
3. Mt Cooke
At the entrance to Marradong Country lies Mt Cooke, the highest summit in the Darling Ranges and home to some of the most breathtaking views in WA. This 16km hike is approximately grade 4 in difficulty and hikers should allow 4-6 hours for the return journey.
The starting point begins at Sullivan Rock, just off Albany Hwy, and will take you to almost 600m above sea level. Marradong also has a variety of more accessible walks you can check out here.
4. Country Pubs
There’s really nothing like a country pub and Marradong is home to a few icons. The Quindanning Pub is one of the most recognisable historic buildings in the region, built in 1900 in the quaint satellite town of Quindanning, the sprawling beer gardens, great food and regular live music and events make it the watering hole of choice for many. The Williams Hotel dishes up some glorious pub meals and good times on the banks of the Williams River, with plenty of accommodation to settle in for a night or two. If you’re heading to Dryandra, stop in for one off the wood at the Wandering Tavern. Think open wood fireplaces, corrugated tin bar, amazing food and ice-cold beer.
The Dryandra Woodlands is a wildlife wonderland. Home to 24 mammal species, 98 bird varieties and 41 reptile species. While the Numbat is Dryandra’s best-known inhabitant, other residents of note include woylies, tammar wallabies, brushtail possums, tawny frogmouths, kangaroos and wallabies all being regularly spotted. With various hiking trails, a nocturnal sanctuary to get you up close with some of WA’s most unique wildlife, 2 campgrounds, caravan and chalet amenities, and a raft of spectacular scenery, the Dryandra Woodlands should be a bucket lister for all West Aussies.
6. Spectacular Scenery
Whether you’re cruising the backroads, hiking to the Mt Cooke summit or meandering around the towns, the spectacular backdrop is what keeps people coming back year after year. In spring, the rolling hills are electric yellow with canola crops in bloom and the bush is peppered with native wildflowers, some of which are only found in the region. The seasonal shifts are especially visible in Marradong in the ever-changing colours that make it unique throughout the year.
Throughout the year, Marradong is home to some truly iconic events that are packed with authentic country atmosphere and more than a few characters.
The Boddington Rodeo is the largest rodeo in WA, drawing big crowds eager to watch the main events. Spread across the weekend, the Rodeo includes street parades, food trucks, market stalls, live music and plenty of family friendly fun.
Steeped in history and legend, the Quinny Races were originally founded in 1919 and continue to run every Easter Saturday thanks to a bunch of charismatic Quinny locals. Today, the event is a celebration of community spirit, filled with many weird and wonderful events throughout the day and night. Horse races, live music, a gymkhana for all ages, donkey races and many more novelty events… the Quindanning Races is an event unlike any other.
Come and watch the action of one of Australia’s fastest growing equine sports. Campdrafting is a unique Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. The riding style is Australian stock, not unlike American Western riding, and is a test of horsemanship and cattle handling. Generally held in March/April each year.
The Wandering Autumn Graze is the regions epicurean calendar highlight. You can expect a delicious, locally sourced food prepared by WA’s top chefs in a picturesque backdrop to laze away the afternoon. Next year’s guest chef; Iron Chef winner, Herb Faust. March 27th 2021. Tickets on sale December 1st.
Anna Gare at the Wandering Autumn Graze, 2019
Boddington Sculpture Competition – Year round
The sculptures dotted around Boddington bring the town close to an outdoor art exhibition. From helicopters, to bulls made from chains, the annual sculpture competition means there is always something new to stop and admire, on a yearly basis.
Where to next? If you’re planning a longer trip, Marradong sits at the intersection of some of WA’s most sought-after destinations, making it the perfect first stop to break up a long trip.
Albany / Esperance
Margaret River via Donnybrook
Australia’s Golden Outback
Cover photo by @huntingforparadise