Shire Tourism

The Wongan Hills slogan is ‘Only a Picnic Away', chosen because it represents the close locality to Perth, the picturesque drive to the town and the ideal locations to stop and enjoy a picnic. Ballidu's slogan is ‘Where friendship is never out of date'. The Shire facilities and locations of interest provide an ideal chance to enjoy the Western Australian countryside and become a part of the rural lifestyle. Listed below are some locations that provide expansive views, secluded picnic spots and the opportunity to enjoy some recreational activities.

Places of Interest

The Hills

The town takes its name from the range of flat topped hills lying to the north-west. Discovered and named by Surveyor-General J S Roe in November 1836. These hills are the largest single area of natural vegetation remaining in the northern wheatbelt.

Wongan Hills' flora is extremely diverse with more than 250 species of flowering plants; an exceptionally high number of species for this area.

Of greater importance is that 16 of these species are unique to the Wongan Hills. Similar concentrations of locally endemic species have been recorded at on a few other places in Western Australia including Mount Lesueur National Park, Stirling Range National Park and Fitzgerald National Park.

There are five species of gazetted rare flora in the Wongan Hills Nature Reserve, and numerous species of priority flora.

In spring, a spectacular display of many and various wildflowers can be seen on the drive to the hills (12kms west of Wongan Hills town on the Piawaning Road).

There are still Mallee Fowl living in the natural scrub areas. These birds are relatively rare and are remarkable in that they build nest mounds filled with vegetation. The warmth of the decaying material and sun incubates the eggs. When the chicks hatch they must climb out of the sand to survive.

Wongan Hills Visitors Information Centre

Wongan Hills Visitor Information Centre Information
Open Hours Mon - Sat 9.00am - 5.00pm
Phone (08) 9671 1973

For further information on tourism and the Shire in general please contact the Wongan Hills Visitor Information Centre on (08) 9671 1973 or go to

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Mt Matilda Walk Trail

The Mt Matilda Walk Trail is a five kilometre return hike - allow a minimum of two hours for the walk

Follow the yellow triangular markers with Mallee fowl footprints. There are four lookouts along the trail. A disused Mallee fowl trail can be seen along the way.

Brief History

Mt Matilda is the highest point of the Wongan Hills (434 metres). Surveyor General J S Roe discovered Mt Matilda on November 3 1836 and the mountain after his wife.

The Advocate General of the Swan River Colony, the Hon G E Moore accompanied Roe on this expedition and discovered the Mallee Fowl nests on the slopes of the hills. Moore returned to the hills in September 1842 with naturalist John Gilbert and botanist James Drummond. This visit was to find observe the habits and obtain samples of the Gnow Bird (aboriginal name) Mallee Fowl which was new to science. These birds are relatively rare and are remarkable in that they build their nest mounds with vegetation. The Mallee Fowl are still to be found in the Wongan Hills.

The Wongan Hills Nature Reserve is home to a variety of vegetation with a huge selection of colourful wildflowers and Gimlet trees. The area has been a source of fascination to Naturalists since its discovery.

The Speakers Chair (Rock Spur) is named after the Hon T F Quinlan Speaker of the House of Assembly who visited on July 7th, 1908 searching for the proposed railway route north of Wongan Hills.

It was 93 years later, on the same day that the Hon T F Quinlan originally sat on 'Speakers Chair' that the Hon (Frederick) Fred Reibling, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly was invited to officially open the Mt Matilda Walk Trail. The opening was on 7 July 2001.

Christmas Rock Walk Trail

Walk the 2.5km trail through natural bushland, following the signs commencing in Wandoo Crescent just north of the Caravan Park. Wander along the rock wall used to divert water to a town dam.

In spring see the many colourful wildflowers and bushes and listen to the many birds.

Dingo Rock

Enjoy a picnic at this Fauna Reserve 26 kms east of Wongan Hills on the Manmanning Road. 

During the late winter and spring the reserve develops a picturesque covering of wildflowers.

An aboriginal 'Gnamma" hole can be seen on the rock face. This was a water collection site.

Mt O'Brien - Centenary Federation "Wheatbelt Lookout"

From Mt O'Brien you will have panoramic views of the countryside including Lake Hinds, Lake Ninan and the Agricultural Research Station. This fabulous lookout has wheelchair access.

Drive 10kms on the Waddington-Piawaning Road and turn left. Drive 2kms to the top.

A Brief History

After being approached by the APEX Club of Wongan Hills to build an observatory on Mt O'Brien, the Wongan Hills Promotion Centre, together with the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu put in a submission for a grant through 'Centenary of Federation' to fund a "Lookout", and in July 1999 the Hon. Wilson Tuckey announced that funding had been approved.

The area was marked for CALM to check for rare plants before being cleared and burned. The entrance road was upgraded and bitumised by the Shire in 2000 and during 2000/01, over 600 tonnes of graved was carted up for the lookout. A similar amount was also taken up for the sheeting, water binding and compaction for the road due to its loose and slippery surface.

Mid July 2001 saw the mound for the 'Lookout' formed and each weekend, until the official opening on 27 October 2001, working bees with APEX and other volunteers formed, patched up and put the rock facing in place. Local businesses made the railings, gazebos, picnic tables and concrete paths with the help of volunteers.

For the record there is 600 tonnes of gravel in the mound over 190 tonnes of placed rocks over 4 truck loads of premixed concrete and 200 metres of steel tube railings.

At 6.00pm on the 27th October 2001, as the sun set the Hon. Wilson Tuckey, Federal Member for O'Connor, and the President of the Wongan-Ballidu Shire, Duncan Holme, with 150 people who attended the official opening, unveiled the sign and officially named the observation platform ....
"Wheatbelt Lookout".

Since the official opening of the 'Lookout' the land has been donated to the Shire by the original landowner and his family, Duncan Holme.

Flat Rocks Nature Reserve

Flat Rocks Nature Reserve is approximately 12km north of Cadoux.

It is a water catchment area with the walls being built by interned POW's during WW2. They used the rocks from the area to make walls that channel the water into a tank.

This very large water tank holds approximately 2 million litres which is still used today by a local farmer and is accessible to the public.

A wonderful place to picnic with an abundance of wildflowers during winter and spring.

A gnamma hole can be found on the rock.

Reynoldson Reserve

Renowned for magnificent Verticordia which blooms around October and November, this reserve offers spectacular displays in season. Travel 15kms north of Wongan Hills on the Old Ballidu Road.

Pioneer Museum

Come and see the true life displays depicting pioneer days. Look at the many photographs including early machinery and the devastating Cadoux earthquake. Wander among the vintage farm implements in the shady yard or marvel at the reconstructed blacksmith's forge.

The museum is located at the first District Hospital Building in Camm Street.

Open Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. For admission at other times please contact the Tourist Centre.

Agricultural Research Station

Started in 1925 the station of part of the State Department of Agriculture. It is now the main crop breeding research station in Western Australia. Its influence has been evident in recent times in the diversification of farm crops and improvement in farm practice.

It is located 5kms north of Wongan Hills on the Ballidu Road. Guided Tours are available but require prior arrangement.

Lake Ninan

The lake is 10 kms west of Wongan Hills on the Calingiri Road. When the lake is full it is used for numerous water sports including sailing and water skiing. There is also an abundance of different water birds at this time. Picnic facilities are available for public use.

Aerial Views of the Shire

Various aerial photographs of the town of Wongan Hills and the surrounding countryside.

Aerial Views of the Shire

Various aerial photographs of the town of Ballidu and the surrounding countryside.

Aerial Views of the Shire

Various aerial photographs of the town of Cadoux and the surrounding countryside.

Waddington-Wongan Hills Road

Features: Elphin and Rogers Nature Reserves, 2-8km from Wongan Hills, a spectacular display of many and various wildflowers can be seen on the drive to the hills pass these reserves. Visit the Wongan Hills Tourist Promotion Centre for information on what is flowering and where to find them.

Flora: Eucalyptus, Grevillea, Isopogon, Petrophile, Conospermum, Verticordia’s, Stylidium, Daviesia, Orchids a plenty and many more.

Birds in Wongan-Ballidu

Wongan-Ballidu Bush Care

"To preserve and restore the natural assets of the Wongan Ballidu region through education and active management."

This survey of birds around Wongan Hills was carried out by Birds Australia Western Australia Inc on the long weekend 30th September to 2nd October 2006.
On the first day the group counted birds along the railway north of town, Gathercole Nature Reserve, Dingo Rock and Reynoldson Reserve. The count for the day was 56.
The next day the group visited Mt Matilda, Monk’s Well, Mt O'Brien Lookout and Elphin Reserve with the count 70 at bird count that evening.
On the last day the group visited Christmas Rock and Rogers Reserve.
A final tally of 78 bird species with a great weekend had by all.

  • Australian Shelduck
  • Australian Wood Duck
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Grey Teal
  • Australian Grebe
  • White-faced Heron
Birds of Prey
  • Brown Goshawk
  • Collared Sparrowhawk
  • Wedge-tailed Eagle
  • Little Eagle
  • Brown Falcon
  • Nankeen Kestrel
  • Painted Button-quail
  • Stubble Quail
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Black-fronted Dotterel
  • Banded Lapwing
Pigeons, Doves
  • Rock Dove
  • Laughing Turtle-Dove
  • Common Bronzewing
  • Crested Pigeon
Cockatoos, Parrots
  • White-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Galah
  • Little Corella
  • Australian Ringneck
  • Mulga Parrot
  • Elegant Parrot
  • Pallid Cuckoo
  • Horsefield’s Bronze-Cuckoo
  • Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
  • Southern Boobook
  • Barn Owl
Kingfishers, Allies
  • Red-backed Kingfisher
  • Sacred Kingfisher
  • Rainbow Bee-eater
  • Blue-breasted Fairy-wren
  • White-winged Fairy-wren

Pardolotes, Thornbills, Allies

  • Striated Pardalote
  • Weebill
  • Western Greygone
  • Inland Thornbill
  • Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
  • Red Wattlebird
  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
  • Yellow-throated Miner
  • Singing Honeyeater
  • White-eared Honeyeater
  • Brown-headed Honeyeater
  • Brown Honeyeater
  • White-fronted Honeyeater
  • Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
  • White-fronted Chat
Australian Robins
  • Scarlet Robin
  • Red-capped Robin
  • Western Yellow Robin
  • Southern Scrub-robin
Whistlers, Flycatchers
  • White-browed Babbler
  • Varied Sitella
  • Crested Bellbird
  • Golden Whistler
  • Rufous Whistler
  • Grey Shrike-thrush
  • Magpie-lark
  • Grey Fantail
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  • White-winged Triller
Wood swallows
  • Black-faced Wood swallow
  • Grey Butcherbird
  • Pied Butcherbird
  • Australian Magpie
  • Australian Raven
  • Richard’s Pipit
  • Mistletoebird
Swallows, Martins
  • White-backed Swallow
  • Welcome Swallow
  • Tree Martin
  • Brown Songlark
  • Silvereye
  • Mallee Fowl