Guide to Western Australia’s Public Silo Trail
Are you ready for a trip that is completely out of the ordinary that will take you to places you would have never otherwise even thought about? Perhaps you have already heard of the FORM Public Silo Trail that runs its way through remote wheatbelt towns showcasing world class murals in an effort to transform forgotten industrial spaces. So if you are tired of the annual pilgrimage to Esperance or Exmouth and you are looking for a trip that will spice things up this trail might do just that.
Since the launching of this trail the wheat belt region of Western Australia has become a new tourist hotspot and as you follow along this amazing road trip you will fall in love with the quaint countryside unfolding before you. The trail runs through 7 towns and is a whopping 1574 kilometers from start to finish. Now do not fear there are heaps of places to stop along the way and we highly recommend staying for a few days in the town of Albany which is the halfway point.
The first mural is located in the town of Northam and it actually features the first ever silo that was painted in Australia back in 2015. Now the silo painting trend is something that has spread from these humble country roots to an Australia wide phenomenon. One of the most amazing things you can do in the area after visiting the silo is to soar high above the region in a hot air balloon. The region is actually famous for its hot air ballooning and the sights from above are absolutely spectacular. Afterwards you can celebrate a glorious day with a glass of red at Laura’s Wine Bar.
Next stop is just a quick 165 kilometer east in the wheat farming town of Merredin. True to its wheat farming culture this silo features a mural depicting an abstract representation of this grain centered life. While in the area there are a few other unique locations to check out. If you are into wildflowers then a trip to Tamma Parkland or Merredin Peak. For the history buffs the Merredin Railway Museum and the Cummins Theater are where you want to be. And lastly there is one other bit of history here. A portion of the famous rabbit proof fence can be found here. This famous fence was built in the early 1900s to keep rabbits out but was immortalized by the story of the aboriginal girl who walked along this fence for 9 weeks to return to the home she had been taken from.
This is actually the only stop along the way where you won't find a painted silo. In its place you will be sent on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the town to find the 6 murals that decorate this cultural hub. Katanning is actually home to a large population of Malay, Afgan, and Chinese making is a cultural hotspot. Be sure to stop in for a famous Curry Puff and other Malay dishes at The Daily Grind. Also consider splurging to stay one night in the famous Premier Mill Hotel. A flour mill that has been transformed into a 5 star hotel combines old with new and is a true masterpiece, Even if you don’t stay the night here be sure to at least stop in for a cheeky drink in the basement at the famous Cordial Bar.
This mural is one of the most stunning with a truly heartfelt story. The 150 residents of this small town took this project to heart and were a huge part of the planning process for this mural. The local school even incorporated the silo planning into their curriculum. As a result the mural is a perfect depiction of life in this small rural town full of heart. While here you must stop in at The Store Café 6343. Run by 4 local ladies the food here will have you drooling in no time. From pulled pork burritos to the best sausage roll in WA you will not be disappointed. Also be sure to explore some of the pink lakes in the area. There are not heaps but a few lay scattered between the road from Katanning to Pingrup and on the right day they are stunning.
The 4 murals found here depict some of the region's famous animals such as the mallee fowl and the red-tailed phascogale. The painting of this mural came at a hard time for the community. Stricken by drought the framers and their families would visit the mural daily and chat with the artist, Brenton See, who provided them not only with an amazing piece of art but a very timely and welcome distraction from the hardships they were facing. While in the area try your best to track down the Happy Little Caravan to get your coffee fix. This little black caravan travels from spot to spot and serves up a great coffee along the way. Afterwards be sure to check out Walkers Hill Vineyard just 40 minutes out of town. One of the largest inland wine producers this winery stands out from the rest as completely unexpected and a bit quirky.
If you have ever driven from Perth to Esperance then chances are you have actually driven right past this mural. Depicting a Banksia flower which is native to the area between Albany and Esperance, this mural shows the different stages of the flower. If you are lucky you can check out the Ravensthorpe WildFlower Show and spring festival held once each year and celebrate the rich wildflowers found in the area. Also pop in at Fitzgerald River National Park for some whale watching. If you are lucky you might even catch a southern right whale with a calf.
The final silo on the trail and one that will leave you on the coast in one of the most gorgeous pieces of coastline in the great southern region. On this silo you will find a seadragon that calls this area of WA home. This mythical looking creature is incredibly hard to spot but if you are ever lucky enough to see one you won’t soon forget it. While in the area there is no shortage of things to do, there is a booming foodie scene as well as some amazing accommodation options in the surrounding countryside. Stop in at the local microbrewery Wilson Brewing Company to taste some of their nautically themed brews. For a bit of nature you can check out The Gap and Natural Bridge and if you are keen for a bit of exercise then we highly recommend the Bald Head Walk. Last but not least be sure to stop in at The Alkaline Café, one of the newest foodie hotspots in the area this café dishes up vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free fare that will have even the most devout meat eater coming back for more. Paired with one of their smoothies or fresh squeezed juices you will be in foodie heaven.