On our first morning at Misty Valley, after a good night’s sleep, we enjoyed a fry up cooked by Chef. We were in for a BIG day of sightseeing, I had a lot on my itinerary! We were set up for the morning with Chef’s tasty sausage sandwiches. He used tasty free range eggs from the Misty Valley hens and the yolks were oozing out everywhere – delicious!
After, we had a quick stroll through the bush in the fresh country air, over to the farm. We were greeted by farmer Warren and Lucy the dog. Little Chef had lots of fun feeding the chooks and collecting their freshly laid eggs. Warren showed LC how to feed the horses and ponies with the hay bales and groom them too. LC was also very excited to have his very first pony ride on Zantiki.
Before we set off for the day, we grabbed a couple of flat whites (and a hot chocolate for LC) from Warren, who makes a brilliant coffee. We enjoyed these on our cottage’s balcony. Denmark is a great spot to base yourself in the Great Southern. It’s slap bang in between Albany, Mount Barker and Walpole. On our first full day, we decided to head west, towards Walpole and the region’s main attraction – the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk.
The Great Southern region of WA is renowned for their excellent wineries, though on our first boozy stop we visited somewhere a little different, Bartholomew’s Meadery. The family run meadery specialises in the ancient craft of making mead (or honey wine) which is made from their locally sourced natural honey.
Their pure honey is not processed, it comes straight from the hive. There are also many bee and honey products available to purchase, including bee pollen, beeswax and royal jelly products. At the cellar door you can see the bees at work in a glass bee hive, as well as taste the various types of meads on offer, including their spiced hot toddy.
Sweet tooths can enjoy some of the house made honey ice creams. There are lots of delicious flavour combinations, all including honey – of course! There’s honey and vanilla, honey and passionfruit, honey and ginger, honey and banana and many more. The Meadery is well worth a visit.
After a 30 minute drive west through the country side, we came to the awe inspiring Valley Of The Giants, a unique area of ancient trees. Since I was a kid (back when Elle McPherson famously visited!) I’d wanted to visit this special part of WA. It took a little longer than I’d hoped, but finally we got there, some 20 years later.
The Tree Top Walk is found in the heart of the Valley of the Giants. Here you can experience walking through the canopy of the rare tingle forest and enjoy the majestic views from a very different perspective – 40 meters in the air! There are no steps on the tree top walk, just a gentle, sloping climb up a lightweight, architecturally-designed bridge. The walkways do move a little, I felt a bit like I was on a boat, softly bobbing on the ocean. We all enjoyed the tranquil walk amongst the branches and birds.
As well as the Tree Top Walk there is another walk trail – the Ancient Empire boardwalk. While walking this path you can get up close and personal to the beautiful old giants of the forest, as well as the lush growth of the forest floor. The walk winds in and out of the tingle forest and you can even walk through the hollow trunks of some giant trees, which make a brilliant photo opportunity.
An entrance fee is payable for the tree top walk, but it is free to visit the Ancient Empire Walk, Discovery Centre and gift shop. I was surprised such a major tourist attraction didn’t have many food and drink options, but we found a fantastic little bakery just down the road. We suggest you check out Tingles Bakehouse!
All the food at Tingles Bakehouse is made from scratch. There’s lots of choice, which changes seasonally, depending on what produce is available locally. I was fascinated by their huge greenhouse which looks like a giant igloo. In here they grow a lot of their produce, including random things like pineapples! For lunch, Chef picked a tender ox tail and thyme pie with carrots, celery and onion. Little Chef scoffed his massive sausage roll. I loved the beef, mushroom and bacon pie, which was brining with chunky pieces of meat. The pastry was flaky and light.
Tingles Bakehouse also offers good coffee and many freshly made sweet treats – cakes, slices, tarts, biscuits and raw wholefoods too. There’s lots of seating on the shady veranda and in the lush gardens. It is a very pretty spot! Also on site is a bead gallery, selling some exquisite handmade jewellery.
Our next stop, Dino World, is worth checking out for those who are into lizards, dinosaurs, snakes and birds. It is a small attraction and won’t take long to look around. You’ll be greeted by the very funny Sid, a cockatoo, saying “Hello Darling”.
Inside there’s exhibits of snakes, lizards and replica dinosaur skeletons. Outside there’s aviaries full of many species of native birds and some kangaroos too.
Little Chef was lucky to hold a lizard as we visited during a quiet time. The great photos I got of the lizard on his head were worth the admission fee alone!
We had a “ball” playing Denmark Soccer Golf, which is found at the Denmark Toffee Company. It’s also home to the Elephant Rocks Cider Co and A Bit On The Side Sauces, so there are lots of yummy tastings available. There’s also a small playground and a few farm animals too.
The unique game of Soccer Golf is lots of fun. It’s basically the same premise as golf, each kick is equivalent to one stroke, there’s no dribbling – though the boys had to be reminded of that!
We all had a different coloured football to identify our own ball and we’d start each hole off with a massive kick down the fairway. It got very competitive. Chef thought he was rather good and took the opportunity to remind us that if he hadn’t broken his leg when he was a kid, he could have been playing in the EPL…
There’s lots of obstacles – tunnels, water hazards, sand bunkers and more. Most of the holes are massive, to fit the oversized balls.
On a few of the holes, you need to do something different to finish, like kick the ball into a net – that was hard! It’s more active than mini golf and we all loved it – even if I lost!
By the time we’d finished it was late afternoon. We grabbed some fish n chips from town and took them down to the riverside park in Denmark. After, we retired back to our Misty Valley cottage for the evening. I hoped I could win back a bit of pride with a game of Monopoly around the kitchen table! It was a fun and busy day, but we barely scratched the surface of what Denmark has to offer.
More on our Great Southern adventures soon!