A big part of venturing down south is the journey itself, and there isn’t – arguably – a drive in West Australia’s Southwest more exciting than the route to Manjimup, with its stunning views of towering Karri Forest and serene agricultural landscapes. 

Naturally, a food pit top or two are on the cards, so we’ve rounded up some drinking and dining destinations along the way. Whether visiting for a quick weekend or heading to Manjimup’s annual Truffle Kerfuffle Festival, these stops will keep you fuelled along the journey.

Dardanup Bakery

Dardanup might be a small township inland from Bunbury, yet its bakery is always bustling as locals, travellers, and residents from neighbouring towns who pass through for quality baked goods and daily wood-fired loaves of bread from Kalamata Olive to Fruit Loaf Sourdough. The pies are the big draw here, not skimping on filling or flavour and vying for the best pie in the Southwest. And they get creative: Pork Belly & Apple Pie with Crackle to a pie of the day like a Reuben chock full of corned beef, sauerkraut, pickles and melted cheese. Classic sausage rolls come in new versions (including chicken, basil pesto, and parmesan) or stick with a Vegemite and Cheese Pastry Scroll; it is easy to see why this bakery is so popular. On the sweet side, croissants, cinnamon buns, and doughnuts are in various fillings with caramel mousse, a fan favourite. While daily homemade sandwiches and pastry specials ensure every visit beckons a new baked surprise.
13 Charlotte Street, Dardanup

Park DonnyBrook

There’s plenty of good coffee throughout WA’s Southwest, a necessity given all the driving that takes place. Park Donnybrook adds to the list of worthy venues to top up your caffeine needs inside the Goods Shed at Station Square. Southern Roasting Co. beans are at the heart of their coffee offering, and alongside a solid cup of joe, homemade cakes and pastries make this the perfect stop for a quick regroup on your way to Manjimup. Banana Bread, Toasties – their Epic Three Cheese and Ham can’t be beaten, or Cocao Pop Granola with poached seasonal fruit in coconut yoghurt as a gluten-free/vegan snack option, equally satisfies.
2 Collins Street, Donnybrook

© Park DonnyBrook

Stopping Place, Nannup

“Nannup” is a Noongar term meaning “meeting place” or “stopping place”, so it’s rather apt to do just that when passing through this quaint country town. Stopping Place Café is a new face to the Nannup food scene, a humble café with a fine-dining chef in owner, Ross Tyre (former Head Chef at Aravina and Bathers Beach House in Fremantle). From the kitchen, it’s a simple yet refined menu with friendly service and excellent coffee to boot. The refurbished house-turned-eatery has plenty of cosy nooks to settle into, including a vibrant outdoor garden that features an old pear tree laden with fruit, verdant lawn and native plants and shrubbery. Daily-made sourdough sandwiches and salads, pies and pastries, and homemade quiches make up the bulk of the food offering, with a few refined dishes like smoked duck breast with Nannup stonefruit and macadamia cream, and pickled octopus, cherry tomato, jalapeno with a lemon dressing, that emphasise the quality of local produce.
8 Warren Road, Nannup

Cambray Cheese, Cundinup

Much loved by chefs across Western Australia, Cambray has been making cheese in Cundinup – 10 minutes from Nannup – for almost 20 years. A family-operated business run by the Wilde Family, the team at Cambray Cheese milks their 150 sheep twice daily and sources the freshest and finest cow’s milk to craft dozens of hard and soft cheeses, both fresh and aged varieties, with sheep milk products being seasonal from September through to March. Their farm store stocks a range of local accoutrements and produce, all while the sights and sounds of cheesemaking play out in full view. From award-winning soft white-mould cheeses, a traditional Greek-style feta, and a variety of matured cheeses, including the famous Farmhouse Gold, all made under the guidance of a Dutch Head Cheesemaker, Eddie Bestbier.
4573 Vasse Highway, Cundinup

© Cambray Cheese

The Mushroom at No 61 Café

Balingup is another of WA’s small but beautiful towns, with plenty of food draws to justify a stop. One of those is The Mushroom at No 61 Café. Their menu leans towards wholesome, featuring a list of house-made pies—the creamy pork and mushroom and massaman beef curry are two favourites. Along with Devonshire tea, cakes, pastries, hearty steak sandwiches and toasties, and classic sausage rolls in a no-fuss, comforting setting, it’s perfect for a quick pit stop en route to Manjumup.
South Western Highway, Balingup

Bridgetown Hotel

The 1920s renovated Federation Bridgetown Hotel remains classically styled, retaining a rustic, old-world charm with respect to its historical origins. Yet this bustling local watering hole has a contemporary edge with the award-winning Full Circle Brewing Company in the hotel’s basement, one of the 16 beers on tap poured from the venue’s communal bar. Along with craft beers and Blackwood Valley Wines, the restaurant’s kitchen pumps out classic pub fare using locally sourced produce, which is generously portioned, from fish and chips to chicken parmigiana to an award-winning steak sandwich. Save some room for a slice of cake from an impressive range, all made in-house.
157 Hampton Street, Bridgetown

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