I’m going to tell you a story about gnomes; hundreds and hundreds of gnomes. And you’re also going to get the odd frog thrown in for good measure. So, pull up a toadstool, get yourself comfy and I shall begin…
The Story of Gnomesville
Once upon a time in a forest, far, far away (well actually about a 2-hour drive south of Perth in Western Australia) something strange happened. Gnomes started appearing on a roundabout.
There are lots of rumours as to why.
One is that a local who liked repairing gnomes left a few there and then other people started adding them too. Another says that it was something to do with a protest about the roundabout that just grew, but a sign at Gnomesville reveals the real reason.
There used to be a tall gum tree on the site which had a hollow in its base.
A local decided it looked like the perfect place to put a gnome – and so added one.
Another resident added a sign above its head…and, then other folk got in on the fun.
More gnomes followed setting up home on the nearby roundabout. And then came more, one by one, in all their bearded, tall-hatted glory.
After a while, the roundabout became a bit of a distraction and so, the gnomes…and the little villages that had grown up around them were moved to a larger patch of land nearby.
Here the gnomes had room to grow, shade to hide under, a gentle flowing stream to dangle their little plaster feet in… Gnomesville was born and now it stretches as far as the eye can see into the forest.
And it is quite the sight!
There’s now an estimated 7000 citizens of Gnomesville. Little gnome tribes have grown up; there are gangs of biker gnomes, beach gnomes and others.
You’ll find an international conglomerate of French, German, Italian (and more) gnomes. Corporate gnomes, charity gnomes and gnomes carried halfway across the world to be dropped off.
They’re on shelves, perched on fallen logs, playing the leaves under trees – frankly, it was my happy place; although at last one person I know thinks it’s creepy! (these people are mad btw!)
We didn’t just visit Gnomesville though, we also increased its population by adding NaGnomie, the Differentville gnome (thanks to the lovely Jackie and Clive my boyfriend’s relatives who bought me her for my birthday).
It took me a while to decide where I was going to place her – there was a bit of a tragic flood in Gnomesville a while back. Turns out no-one had taught the little guys to swim…the footage still causes me trauma to think about.
NaGnomie was therefore planted on a nice shady spot, up from the river with a couple of other gnomes and some meerkats for company. I may have also given her some rudimentary instructions on how to float.
Mission completed it was time to say goodbye to the gnomes and head to our next stop….Frog Hollow.
What the Heck is Frog Hollow?
You see not content with having an entire village full of gnomes on their doorstep. A little way down the road, the good people of Wellington Mill have started a second ‘gathering place’.
This time for Frogs.
Frog Hollow can be found about a five-minute drive south of Gnomesville directly opposite the Preston Valley Store who also have frogs for sale, should you not have one about your person when you arrive.
It’s nowhere near on the same scale as Gnomesville – possibly because not that many people know about it yet, but Gnomesville grew from one solitary resident so who knows what could happen?
The store also has some cool topiary in the garden and is a good place to grab a cold drink or find some food near Gnomesville.
If you decide to eat on your way back to Perth, the freshly made sandwiches at Darandup Bakery were really good.
Where is Gnomesville?
As I said, it’s about two hours south of Perth in the Ferguson Valley. The exact location of Gnomesville is LOT 4059 Wellington Mill Rd, Wellington Mill WA 6236.
You have to go by car there’s no public transport – if you’re looking for a good deal, check out Jucy who now do car rentals as well as camper vans.
There’s no big entrance sign or anything. You just arrive at a roundabout and there it is. There is parking though.
The good news is this casual set up means there is also no entrance fee to visit Gnomesville.
If you want to make a day of it, there’s a lot to do on the journey there or back. You can combine your trip with a visit to the pretty Black Diamond Lake near Collie, Busselton with its super long pier, you could stop off at Mandurah and take a trip around the harbour to see the dolphin and/or go to Rockingham to visit the little penguins.
However, if you don’t drive or hiring a car is a bit out of your trip budget do not fret, there is also a mini Gnomesville to be found – and it’s a lot closer to the centre of Perth itself.
Gnomesville by the Sea
Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth’s prettiest beaches. Most people go there to swim, sunbathe, maybe have a spot of lunch…I went because tucked away on a piece of land between some houses and a highway is the Secret Gnome Garden.
It’s marked on google maps, but, if you just drove past you’d have no clue that anything was there.
Only if you get out of the car and head toward the area will you spot a path running between some trees. Follow this and ahead of you, you’ll find a magical garden.
There are gnomes, there are stuffed bears, there are china wombats and windmills. Okay, I admit in some places, it looks like a home for lost toys, but it’s peaceful, cute and charming.
Like Gnomesville, I have no idea why it’s there but I appreciate the fact that it is!
PS: There’s a similar kind of place in Newcastle, NSW if you’re heading that way. Look for the Fairy Garden in our guide to Newcastle.
Or, if you’re visiting Sydney, then you might want to head to the North Shore and check out the pretty Wendy’s Secret Garden which has a bit more of a sad story attached to the cute things you find there
If you want to visit you’ll find it just off Marine Parade by Grant Street Beach. Look for Secret Gnome Garden on the map.
Again, a car is the easiest way to get to it, but you can also get the train from Perth station to Grant Street station the Freemantle Line and it’s about 15-minute walk away.
You might want to then take the time to wander down the coast to Cottesloe Beach itself and get the train back into town from Cottesloe station – or, carry on down the line to Freemantle where you’ll find heaps of cool street art, cafes, pubs and more.
What to Read Next
If you like the idea of visiting Gnomesville, you’re probably also going to want to check out a heap of other sights in our guide on fun things to do in Perth.
You might also enjoy the Oh Hey WA tour which points out some of the more quirky sights around Perth City Centre. See more about it (without giving too much away) in our review.
Who Writes Differentville?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles including The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.
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