We’ve gotten awfully relaxed about finding places to camp near Perth these days, and a couple of weeks prior to the March long weekend we realised we didn’t have anywhere to stay.
A quick look online confirmed that we were probably dreaming to find anywhere, until we stumbled across a property in Pemberton on Hipcamp.
Fernbrook Farm Stay is new to the game, looked fantastic and most of all was reasonably priced, so we put an application in to camp for 3 nights, and had it confirmed not long after.
Where is Fernbrook Farm Stay?
This camp ground is roughly 15 minutes drive by bitumen, or about 25 minutes by gravel from Pemberton itself. It’s located not far from Manjimup, and close to a number of amazing attractions.
Fernbrook Farm Stay is one big fenced off area at the top of a gully, overlooking a great property and backing onto a lovely forest. It’s got a number of posts to mark out the sites (of which there are 6), a fire pit for each site and a swing set up one end. That’s it, and its absolutely awesome.
In winter, the hills are bright green and truly amazing, and in summer time (and heading back into winter) it dries off and the ground is covered in dried up grass.
The ground is nicely compacted, and even though you can be camping on mainly dirt in the drier months its not dusty, unpleasant or boggy like some sites can be.
The actual property is 320 acres, and you can see a huge amount of that from your camp site.
How much does it cost?
Camping is $20 per night here, plus the Hipcamp cost. We paid $67 for the 3 nights (for 2 adults, and 2 kids), and I reckon that is great value for money.
What’s worth seeing in Pemberton?
Honestly, what’s not worth seeing in Pemberton? If you haven’t been here before, know that Margaret River gets all of the hype, but there’s a lot of places inland that are just as well worth a visit.
Pemberton is one of those places, and we absolutely love visiting at any time of year. Here’s some of the more common attractions, and we’ll do a comprehensive post about the area soon.
Not far from the town centre lies a natural pool (with some man made intervention) that is absolutely stunning, and worth a swim. At the very least, kick back there for a bit and soak up the stunning views.
Pemberton Mountain Bike Trails
Downhill mountain biking has taken off in WA like nothing else, with a huge number of towns getting on board and putting tracks in. Pemberton is no exception to this, with a huge range of mountain bike tracks up and down the hills, and a dedicated jump track.
All of the tracks start near Pemberton Pool, and we spent half a day riding around and enjoying the area.
The tracks are certainly a lot less smooth than ones that we’ve done in Dwellingup and Margaret River, but they are a heap of fun nonetheless.
Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree
Keen on climbing the biggest tree you’ve ever done in your life? The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is 65 metres tall with a number of platforms on the way up, and you can climb up all the way.
It’s certainly not for the faint hearted, with metal reo bar and some very average looking fencing the only thing stopping you from a big fall.
At the top the views are incredible, but its worth doing just for the experience.
The Heartbreak Trail
If you want a great snapshot of the stunning Karri forest around Pemberton, head out to the Heartbreak trail. This is a one way gravel track that takes you through the forest in a loop, and back onto the highway.
It’s got a couple of great camp sites along the way and has some spectacular scenery.
For those wanting to experience huge sand dunes, the stunning Warren River and a great coastline, Yeagarup is hugely popular. Let your tyres down really low, and you’ll have a chance of getting up Calcup Hill; one of the biggest 4WD accessible dunes in the southern hemisphere!
Windy Harbour and Fish Creek
Despite a name that might put you off, Windy Harbour is beautiful. Walk around the D’Entrecasteaux Point, and check out the 4WD tracks to Gardiner River, Fish Creek Hut and beyond. We spent the better part of a day enjoying this area, and had an amazing time.
If you want to do something a bit different, Pemberton has a tram that runs from just near the town (and then right through the middle of it!), out to the Cascades. It meanders through the beautiful forest, and is a very picturesque drive. It’s not cheap, but its very popular and we thought it was probably worth it.
If you want a stunning place to have a dip, head out towards Big Brook; a beautiful dam where you can fish, kayak, stand up paddle board or just relax on the beach.
Fernbrook Farm Stay is the perfect Hipcamp
Fernbrook Farm Stay is the perfect example of what we like to see. Its set up to be almost completely maintenance free, on someone’s private property with stunning views, and you can stay there for a limited cost.
Some of the Hipcamps that we’ve seen are charging $60 – $70 per night for a family, and whilst some of them might be worth it, you are no longer going on a cheap break away.
There’s a lot of people who just want a safe, quiet and nice place to pull up for a night (or a few) and don’t want the fancy ensuite sites, or to be crammed so close to another person that you can’t back your van in.
Yes, this is further away from Perth and as a result will inherently be less popular, but I think the owners have done a truly spectacular job, and we’d stay at this over a caravan park any day of the week. No, its not just a financial decision; its a nicer place to stay for someone who’s fully contained.
We let our kids ride their bikes and run around all day long, knowing that we could always see them, there was hardly any traffic coming and going and the area was fenced off and safe.
I’ll be back in winter; I want to see the rolling hills when they are bright green, and kick back around a nice fire at night.
Well done to Fernbrook Farm Stay; we need more Hipcamps like this!