Reasons to be parkin’ at Darkan

Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
People are encourage to visit the “hidden gem” Darkan for a relaxing holiday.
Camera IconPeople are encourage to visit the “hidden gem” Darkan for a relaxing holiday. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

With West Australians encouraged to “wander out yonder” and travel throughout the State, Darkan is calling on people to explore what the area has to offer.

The town was shut off from the South West during the original intrastate border restrictions as it was classified as the Wheatbelt, meaning residents were locked out of neighbouring towns like Collie.

This seemed daunting for the community at first, but West Arthur shire projects officer Kerryn Chia said worries were eased once everyone realised they were still allowed to travel to Collie for food shopping and medical needs.

“The COVID situation has been fairly low-key for us here. We’ve been very lucky,” Ms Chia said.

“There’s been a few businesses affected, but none affected at this stage to the point that they will not reopen.”

Now with restrictions easing further, people from around WA have been encouraged to visit Darkan and enjoy the attractions of the surrounding area.

Ms Chia said Darkan was a “hidden gem” and the perfect location to enjoy a relaxing trip.

“We’ve got a rail trail out here people can visit that runs from Darkan through Buckingham, out to Collie,” Ms Chia said.

It’s a beautiful time of year, everything is green. In a few weeks we’ll start to see some of the wildflowers come out.

The Collie Darkan Rail Trail is about 47km and passes through the bush and picturesque farmlands, which becomes carpeted in wildflowers in the springtime.

The new Betty Brown Historical Centre opened in Darkan prior to lockdown and celebrates the contribution of women to rural communities.

Ms Chia said the centre’s opening ceremony took place in March but then COVID-19 restrictions hit and it was forced to close.

“The centre was only open for a week before we had to shut, but it’s open again now,” Ms Chia said.

The shire boasts a variety of historical buildings and nature reserves to explore, with the additional option of online travel guides to follow.

“We have a few West Arthur guides on the izi.Travel app,” Ms Chia said.

We have an astrotour that we’re still developing and we’ve also got an audio tour of the Betty Brown Historical Centre.

“In the next week or so we should have a heritage tour going on the app as well.”

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