It was the lure of WA’s best scones and a look at one of the states’ most haunted houses that made us stop at Oakabella Homestead. Six hours later our visit to the heritage listed homestead was so much more.
Located between Geraldton and Northampton, just off North West Coastal Highway, Oakabella Homestead and Tearooms is both an excellent transit stop as well as a destination in its own right. Here you’ll find a tearoom, heritage precinct, campground and perhaps a few ghosts – but more on that later.
For us it was the hearty and warm welcome from new manager Belinda, Brian and ten-year -old Zac, that made us linger at Oakabella. We got comfortable on the verandah and enjoyed the views of the rolling hills and the heritage buildings while tucking into the scrumptious plum scones, homemade jam and five senses coffee.
Even in the driest month, the scenery is beautiful and I can only imagine how stunning the rolling hills and paddocks would be during the greener months.
We weren’t the only ones who felt homely. The next caravan to pull up decided on a whim to stay there for the night rather than continue on to Coronation Beach. The German backpacker sitting on the terrace looked pretty content to stay as well.
With every last bite of delicious scone gone, it was time to take a look at the heritage listed precinct and find out about those ghosts.
We followed Belinda on a tour of the historic homestead, Buttressed barn, shearing shed, stables and the original kitchen. The buildings date back to the 1850’s and were inhabited by some of the more prominent families from the Wheatbelt, including the Drummond and Jackson family.
The 13-room homestead is particularly impressive and gives insight into the lives of the families that settled in the mid-west at the turn of the nineteenth century. Each room is decked out with an impressive array of relics and artifacts. Many of these were dug up and found beneath the timber floors.
Maybe it’s the ghostly presence but the rooms at Oakabella still feel alive and don’t have any of the stale and dusty feel that so often accompanies these kinds of displays.
Belinda told us about the homestead’s previous inhabitants and the many grisly deaths and tragedies that befell some of the people who occupied these rooms.
These stories form the basis of most of the ghostly tales that surround Oakabella’s legacy. There’s the story of the three-year-old boy whose neck was crushed by a sliding window frame and the previous occupant who accidentally shot himself while cleaning his rifle.
Whilst many visitors to Oakabella claim to encounter paranormal activities, I can safely report that I didn’t meet any living dead on my visit. What I did gain though, was a wonderful way to reconnect with our past and learn about the histories of the people who settled in the Wheatbelt
With Belinda’s enthusiasm, Oakabella will continue to live into the future and be a beautiful place to linger while enjoying the heritage and scenery of the region.
Oakabella has a campsite suitable for large caravans, trailers and tents and is both pet and kid friendly. The site has a camp kitchen and hot showers. There’s no electricity but you’ll get a very warm welcome from the managers and a great spot to enjoy your morning coffee.
Prices are $9 per person and kids can stay for free.
Oakabella Homestead is located 3km off the North West Coastal Highway and is approximately 35km north of Geraldton and 18km south of Northampton.
Tours of the homestead are conducted daily at 10am and 2pm. Night tours are available on request for the brazen.
For more information on Oakabella Homestead, visit the website here.
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