Dardanup, the centre of the Ferguson Valley, is located two and a half hours' drive south of Perth, or just 15 minutes from Bunbury. The name Dardanup is a derivative of the Indigenous name 'Dudingup'. Set in traditionally dairy country, Dardanup is becoming known for its burgeoning wine industry.
A drive through the rolling hills of this picturesque area will reveal row upon row of grapes. Several wineries are open for tastings, and many sell bags of fresh, succulent grapes at very reasonable prices during the season.
The strong Irish Catholic background of the early settlers still lingers in the Thomas Little Hall, commemorating Dardanup's earliest settler and beneficiary. This hall was originally the church of Immaculate Conception, which was built in the early 1850s and functioned as a church until 1938. It was the first Catholic Church in Western Australia, outside the metropolitan area.
Dardanup also has a connection with the Irish Fenian convict, John Boyle O'Reilly. Convicted of high treason and assigned to a road building party in Bunbury, O'Reilly was able to escape and hide in Dardanup, with the assistance of connections in the strong Irish Catholic community. He eventually made his way to America, where he became a writer, lecturer, editor and part-owner of the Boston 'Pilot'.
Bed and breakfast and farm stay accommodation is available in Dardanup with a wider range available in nearby Bunbury.