The Wheatbelt is a region of Western Australia
Many visitors can choose to drive hastily through the Wheatbelt region from Perth to the Goldfields and the Nullarbor or vice versa, but this region has a range of highlights of its own.
The region covers almost 155,000 square kilometres and is bordered in the west by the Indian Ocean and Perth, in the Southwest by — unsurprisingly — the South West region in the South and in the east by the Goldfields-Esperance region and in the north by the Mid West.
It is common in the Western Australian media and online to find the wheatbelt divided into internal regions. Eastern, northern and southern wheatbelt are often heard or seen. The coastal part of the wheatbelt is often called other names.
- Cervantes - A coastal town with the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert as its backyard, and Lesueur National Park full of wildflowers.
- 1 Clackline
- 2 Jurien Bay - A relaxed coastal town with some good beach fishing
- Lancelin - The sheltered bay lined with pristine sand dunes draws many windsurfers, divers and sand boarders
- 3 Merredin is on the road and the railway to Kalgoorlie.
- 4 New Norcia is Australia's only monastic town
- 5 Northam - The regions largest town on the banks of the Avon River
- 6 Toodyay - Filled with historical buildings and surrounded by forest and granite outcrops
- 7 York - The first established inland town boasting many well preserved buildings
- 8 Hyden is the usual base for visiting Wave Rock.
- 1 Nambung National Park contains Pinnacles Desert, with thousands of limestone formations.
The wheatbelt region is a vast tract of south western Western Australia where large spaces of land were converted to wheat and sheep agriculture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. With the advance across the landscape, railway lines, and small communities on the side of the railway developed. With the rise of the technology, bulk wheat silos were built, and the railway system stayed more or less intact until the 1960s (in 1965 305 wheat silos or depots were in action). With the demise of steam locomotive power in 1971, and the railways new focus on bulk transport in the 1980s, a lot of the wheatbelt has changed.
By the 2010s the wheatbelt has a vast range of small one shop towns, and in some places there are museums to explain what had happened in the region. The remnants of the former prosperous region are a fascinating collection of towns along the old railway routes. There are many ways to venture into the wheatbelt and get glimpses of what is happening now.
There are scattered throughout the wheatbelt small nature reserves where remnant vegetation has been spared. And a large range of small lakes, and also granite rock outcrops.
Wildflowers are in full bloom during August to September
With a good network of sealed roads and gravel tracks, many drive routes are suitable for a conventional vehicle. For the more adventurous types there are several sand and dirt trails that are perfect for a self guided 4WD tour. Many self-drive tours include guide books to help you plan your itinerary and offer detailed information about the areas in Wheatbelt you are looking to visit.
Driving holidays are one of the best ways to experience the wide open spaces and unique landscapes. If you are looking for a car or 4WD hire to get you around Wheatbelt, there are several locations in the neighboring city of Perth.
While driving it is important to uphold and follow all laws, restriction and regulations including the illegal use of your mobile phone if you are driving, unless you are making or receiving calls hands free.
- Great Eastern Highway connects Perth and Northam.
Coast - NorthEdit
- Brand Highway 1 takes you to the turn off for Coastal Highway 60, which leads north via Lancelin, Jurien Bay and Cervantes. Brand Highway continues inland and the two routes meet up some 30 km south of Dongara.
South - EastEdit
- Brookton Hwy will take you part of the way to Hyden but from Brookton you will have to navigate a series of country roads only found on a fairly detailed map.
TransWA coaches run on Monday and Friday between Perth and Mukinbudin, via Northam. Services between Perth and Esperance pass through York and Hyden.
TransWA Avonlink services run each weekday between Perth and Northam, via Toodyay. MerridinLink services run M, W and F between Perth and Merredin.
- Much of the terrain is cultivated and monotonous, but inland are contorted granite outcrops, dazzling salt lakes and fleeting carpets of wild flowers.
- Lake Campion northeast of Nungarin is a great salt-encrusted lake. Its fringes come to life with a ring of pink everlastings during the wildflower season.
- New Norcia has a 19th century Benedictine abbey, still active. You can vist the abbey church.
- The Pinnacles are eerie limestone pillars in the dunes of Nambung National Park, near Cervantes.
- Wave Rock is a remarkable 15 m smooth breaker wind-carved into the rock, and striped by mineral run off.
Most cafes and restaurants in the Wheatbelt region mostly serve Australian cuisine, but mostly a mix of European-Australian cuisines. Asian cuisines are not found here.
Almost all towns here have at least around two restaurants, but that's not always the case.
North - coastalEdit
Along the coast, on the Brand Highway and then the NW Coast Highway:
- Kalbarri National Park
- Denham, for Monkey Mia and Shark Bay
- Coral Bay and Exmouth for Ningaloo Reef
and ever on east towards Port Hedland, Broome and eventually Darwin.
North - inlandEdit
Beyond the wheatbelt, along the Great Northern Highway and into the interior:-
Along the Great Eastern Highway to:-