ABC Saturday Breakfast: Hidden Treasures in the streets, trails and hills of Armadale

A full studio, full of fun with Ro, Molly, Matilda and Tom all part of the action. How cool is the ABC? Participating in making great programs and having my kids watching it all come together is very special. For this edition of Hidden Treasures we recounted the recent experience of a trip to Armadale that included Tom and his mate Nick.

Armadale is tucked up against the south eastern corner of Perth.  This side of the hills but right on the edge of them.

With our Hidden Treasures we often talk about one of the characteristics of a Hidden Treasure being that they’re often bypassed or driven through at a great rate of knots.

Armadale is a great example of a suburb that gets driven through a lot that is worth slowing down for and having a look around.

It was always the first taste of the city for me when we’d make the drive up in the Toyota Crown.  You’d hit those first traffic lights and be in awe of the city traffic and annoyed that Mum hadn’t stopped at the Pioneer Village. I always wanted my picture on one of those ‘Wanted’ posters.

It’s become Perth’s version of Melbourne’s Daylesford. Lots of places with the words wellness, calming, spiritual, organic and retreat in their names.

Ro loves her sport and so let’s start at the Champion Lakes Regatta Centre.  If you’ve ever wondered when flying into Perth what that big rectangular area of water is, it’s the home of rowing and there’s even a beach and some good walking and cycling tracks around the lake.  Remember, rowers row early if you want to catch the action.

Armadale Visitor Centre – lots of information and free maps with walking trails for trekkers, families and dogs. There’s also local produce including chutneys, jams, pickles and …. lemon butter!

Bert Tyler Vintage Machinery Museum has really well restored and refurbished agricultural machinery and there’s even a Furphy water cart.

The History House Museum has some good recognition exhibits of Aboriginal history in the district and also some very cool old harpsichords, pianos and organs with musical links to many of the old churches in the area.

Urban Art Trail – big murals by local and international artists.  How cool are murals? This is a walking tour through the urban heart of Armadale that has identified tired old spaces and turned them into breathtaking, inspiring places.

Heritage Tree Trail – Lou from the Armadale Visitor Centre has written the Heritage Tree Trail Guide that takes you on an urban walk to 13 of the best-looking senior flora citizens in Armadale.  There’s a Sugar Gum planted in 1910, Moreton Bay Figs planted in 1890, a Jarrah tree more than 500 years old, a carob tree which is the sole survivor of an orchard back in 1900 and lots of others all waiting for you to give them a big hug.

30km’s of Bridal Trails in Darling Downs, which isn’t an old 1950’s radio serial, it’s a horse inspired residential area in the southern Armadale area. (properties connected by the bridal trails.

Brackenridge Village and Retro Rescue Antiques and Collectibles is one of those shops where you keep saying, “I used to have this!”  I looked at the Skippy melamine cup and plate and was thrown back to my childhood having a vegemite sandwich and apple juice.  From daleks to car badges, glow mesh purses to optic fibre lamps, this store has more than enough for anyone who loves the stuff we used to have.

Locke View Poultry Zoo requires a call before you visit.  Astrid was kind enough to allow myself, Tom and his mate Nick to visit unannounced … but only after I made Tom and Nick clean out the cages and move a load of firewood. 

Astrid showed the boys some quails as they were hatching and how she helps the little chickens who are born unable to walk.  She makes little braces with bandaids and is a lot easier than making little crutches out of toothpicks.  She had such an impact on Tom that he is no longer saving his allowance for Nintendo games, he wants chickens.

Canns Road and Soldiers Road are part of the Armadale Hills Scenic Drive.  On the map you think you’ll take about half an hour to get from one end to the other but you end up taking three hours as, along the roadside, are signs that say, ‘Honey Here’, ‘Fresh Persimmons’ and other local produce as well as kangaroos that are paid by the Armadale Visitor Centre to sit in the bushland of Wungong Regional Park and wait for you to stop and get out of your car for a photo before skipping away.

Armadale is a hidden treasure within a hidden treasure.  There’s a lot that’s easy to discover in the heart of Armadale but if you take the time to get up to the hills and onto some winding backroads you’ll find even more treasure.