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Agricultural relics stand proudly on show in Gnowangerup, sharing the wheat and sheep town's pioneering heritage with all who stop to soak up its country charms and to the south, Stirling Range National Park displays some of Australia's most unique flora and fauna. Four hours' drive south east of Perth, the journey to Gnowangerup will take you through picturesque farmlands of livestock, wheat, lupins, barley, canola, clover seed, peas, oats and fava beans. Another hour's drive to the south will transport you to the striking natural landscape of the Stirling Ranges - a haven to over 100 species of birds and more than 1,500 varieties of plants, including dazzling and delicate orchids. From here, you can join some spectacular bushwalks, pretty wildflower trails and challenging mountain hikes through the ranges. For a stroll through the region's pioneering history, head for the main street of Gnowangerup, where you'll find many fascinating buildings dating back to the town's early settlement in the early 1900s. In the gardens adjacent to the shire office, the original steam tractor imported in 1889 to clear much of the surrounding land stands as a tribute to the town's founders. Venture to the showground at the southern end of the main street and you'll see more of the early agricultural machinery that helped Gnowangerup grow and thrive. For Stirling Range hikers, the town makes for a comfy base camp, with hotel and motel accommodation available, as well as restaurant and café dining. For those still wondering where the name Gnowangerup originated, it's derived from the Indigenous Nyoongar word 'gnow', meaning mallee fowl - a native ground-dwelling bird that's now endangered.
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