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Pingelly, Western Australia

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Pingelly reveals rich architectural heritage dating back to its humble beginnings as a sheep farming and sandalwood cutting community. It's also the north-east gateway to one of the world's flora and fauna hotspots - Dryandra, the largest remnant of original woodland in Australia's Western Wheatbelt. Taking the Tonkin and Brookton highways, heading south-east of Perth, you'll reach Pingelly in just over two hours - a popular springtime day trip for wildflower seekers. After good winter rains, the wandoo wonderland of Dryandra is ablaze with the blooms of more than 850 floral species. Just north of Pingelly, Boyagin Rock and Tutanning nature reserves are also renowned for their wildflower displays. Year-round, at dawn or dusk, you may also encounter some 25 species of mammals that inhabit the Dryandra Woodland, including grey kangaroos, echidnas, Tammar wallabies and the endangered bilby, woylie and numbat. If you're on the hunt for history, hit the Mourambine Heritage Trail, starting in the year 1871 at St Patrick's Church and passing many fine relics of the region's pioneering years. In Pingelly, the old Courthouse now houses a museum displaying memorabilia, photographs and a swinging weather rock. Surrounded by the beautiful gardens and lawns of the Memorial Park, this is also a good spot for a family picnic. For uninterrupted views of the Milky Way, wander up to Pingelly Heights Observatory. Here, far away from the glare of city lights, you can take a tour of the clear night sky with the Observatory's astronomers. To stay a night or three, take your pick from Pingelly's farm stay, caravan park, hotel and motel accommodation.

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