Load Up On Vanilla Slice At Western Australia’s Best Country Bakeries
There’s nothing like stumbling into a warm and welcoming little country bakery, only to taste their assorted homemade pastries or stacked chicken and salad rolls and realise you’ve hit the jackpot.
It’s rare to meet someone from Perth who doesn’t claim to know of ‘the best’ place to stop for a meat pie or a sausage roll on a road trip out to our state’s extremities; so it’s time we had a definitive list that pools all of this great wisdom and enhances the road trip experiences of Perthlings forever. So here it is: your list of Western Australia's best country bakeries. And yes, we've been fairly liberal with our definition of country, deal with it.
Four Seasons Patisserie
The kind of place that covers their walls with gold medals and certificates of excellence for you to admire while pondering your order, the original Four Seasons Patisserie in Kelmscott is the home of some of Australia’s most highly regarded pies. Baker and owner Andy Le’s apple pie took out the first spot in the Great Aussie Pie Competition last year and the plain mince pie took home a gold medal, so if you’re looking for a pie in the hills, look no further.
Highland Bakery & Patisserie
Depending on how liberally you apply the term ‘country’, the Highland Bakery and Patisserie is well-deserving of a spot on this list. Whether you’re stocking up for a day-trip in the hills or heading further east, a quick pit-stop here for Australia’s best sausage roll is essential. You heard us: Australia’s number one plain sausage roll. These things are downright delicious.
Baker’s Hill Pie Shop
It’s slightly beyond the Perth Hills, but The Bakers Hill Pie Shop is famed for a reason (and it’s not least because it’s within day-trip range of Perth). The pie selection here, as the name would suggest, is out of control. They’ve got everything from steak and pepper to the Ned Kelly (steak and egg), lamb and rosemary to chicken satay, and a whole range of vegetarian pies, too. That’s to say nothing of the sausage roll offering, which spans your regular homemade right up to your chilli and cheese Kransky, or their sweet treats, which includes some of WA’s best vanilla slice. Get the obligatory Insta-snap of the old-school façade with pie in the foreground before eating.
Stock up early on your east-bound road trip with a stop in at Honey’s Bakehouse. If you rate your bakeries more on their sweet offering than anything else, this place will be your heaven. They’re offering one of the best apple turnovers going around, delicious bee stings and the all-important old-school jam or custard doughnuts. The real standout here though is their crazy vegan creations like the deep-fried potato and gravy and their vegan vanilla slice. This place is where diets go to die.
CC’s Coffee and Cake
Not a bakery per se, but definitely the best pastry fix you’ll get heading east, CC’s Coffee and Cake has become the essential half-way stop for punters heading from Perth to Esperance, or those touring the Wheatbelt. Set in a heritage home next door to the town’s Post Office, CC’s offers an amazing array of lunch options including classic burgers, stacked sandwiches and delicious meat pies, to be enjoyed in the leafy front garden.
It’s all well and good to run a great bakery in the lush South West, but to uphold pie standards all the way out in Hyden is another thing altogether. The town welcomes a higher than the Wheatbelt average number of tourists who flock to see Wave Rock, so a solid bakery is needed; and the Bush Bakehouse delivers. Their pies boast thick and crispy pastry and well-seasoned, generous filling, not to mention great variety. Get anything from a classic peppered steak to a curried beef to a country classic chicken and veg. Best eaten with a choc milk before a trip out to see the rock.
Maybe it's north, maybe it's east, but either way, Toodyay Bakery does a mean pie that's worth stopping in for. These guys even do a couple of vegan pies that even the most hardcore meat-eaters would approve of. Make sure you pick up a loaf of bread for the road too.
West (AKA Rottnest)
Rottnest Island Bakery
It’s not country, but we felt the Rottnest Island Bakery definitely deserves a mention because let’s be real, it’s insane, and it’s the only place in Australia you can share your pie with a quokka (don’t feed the quokkas). The place is iconic, offering up freshly baked bread made from local ingredients, organic meat pies and hands down the best jam doughnuts going around. But the hero here is definitely the jubilee twist, which sells out about 10 minutes after opening, so you best be quick if you want one.
If you want one of the best pies of your life, head to Bindoon Bakehouse. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. The banoffee eclair is also a winner, even Prince Harry thinks so. Trust us, this place is worth a detour.
The Indian Ocean Drive might be picturesque, but it doesn’t boast too many great bakeries. That’s what makes stumbling into the Dongara Bakery right at the end of the drive all the more rewarding. Known for their cool store signage but loved for their tasty pies, this place has established itself as somewhat of a northern-route institution.
Coral Resort Bakery
It’s pretty much your only option in the way of baked goods up in these parts, so we’re lucky The Coral Resort Bakery doesn’t disappoint. Obviously go straight for the reef and beef pie (you’re on the turquoise coast, after all), but grab one of their made to order sandwiches for later. The breakfast toasties also do not go astray after camping out, or before a long day of, you know, swimming in pristine waters and sunbathing.
Wongan Hills Family Meats
Local butcher Dave McLaren is a bit of a living legend around town, which won’t surprise you when you try his pies at Wongan Hills Family Meats. Ok, it’s not a bakery—but it’s the meat equivalent, and when the pies are this delicious, who cares about technicalities? These pies are detour-worthy.
South | Mandurah, Pinjarra, Dwellingup And Beyond
Pinjarra Bakery & Patisserie
There’s a couple of these to be found around WA, but no prizes for guessing where the original is. The Pinjarra Bakery & Patisserie has collected no shortage of medals for their highly creative pies; 18 in last year's Official Great Aussie Pie Competition, just in case you were wondering. If that's not proof that you can't go wrong here then we don't know what is.
Miami Bakehouse needs absolutely no introduction to West Aussies. They’ve got a few locations across Perth and Mandurah, as well as the drive-through bakehouses in Myalup off the Forrest Highway, but the Falcon outpost is the standout. All locations open seven days a week, the team won’t put anything on the shelves that they don’t love themselves. That explains how they scored themselves 12 gold medals in the 2019 Official Great Aussie Pie Competition. We’re talking chicken laksa pie, peri peri vegetable pies, lamb rendang pies, large family pies and even an ever-changing pie of the week (follow them on Facebook for all the updates).
This gorgeous little red corrugated iron bakery is a pie-lover’s haven. Their handmade pies and sausage rolls sell out pretty quick, so get in early if you want to sink your teeth into one of these golden goodies. The baker behind it all brings a lifetime of international baking experience, so expect a European influence on the freshly baked sourdough and pastries, too. The vanilla slice is delish, but we say grab a piece of German baked ricotta cheesecake for the road, friends.
The Mushroom At No.61
The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition has some serious contenders from all over Australia, and this unsuspecting little bakery in Balingup has been taking out medals for their insanely good Szechuan Ginger Beef Pie, Thai Green Chicken Curry Pie and the Lamb Moussaka Pie. The owners also pride themselves on concocting some adventurous sweet treats, such as their lamington strawberry layered cheesecake.
The Passionate Baker
Don’t let the trendy wooden-box seating and contemporary branding fool you; The Passionate Baker is pumping out some extremely good country-style pies, sausage rolls, pastries and cakes that drop the jaw. Grab one of their seasonal pies and finish it off with a French vanilla slice the size of your head.
South | Margaret River Region
Rise & Co Craft Bakery
Serving up Busselton’s best artisan bread, Rise & Co Craft Bakery is your numero uno option when travelling through this seaside town. They’ve got French pastries and sweet tarts aplenty, plus the most delicious chunky beef pie going around. We don’t want to get too far off the pie trail, but these guys also have an extensive brekky and lunch menu.
For the most authentic French pastries in the South West, head straight to Fre-Jac. Run by a couple from Paris who made the region their home around a decade ago, this beloved little bakery is serving up baguettes, croissants, turnovers and tarts made daily from French flour to a very loyal and loving group of locals, plus anyone else who stops in.
There are two types of down south holidaymakers; those who go to Dunsborough Bakery and those who go to Tas’s Bakery. While the former doesn’t do too badly, Tas’s Bakery takes the cake. Their pies are glorious, their sweet treats are enormous and their stacked meat and salad rolls are the definition of a country lunch. Top it off with a choc milk and devour the whole thing on the lawn out front.
Yallingup Woodfired Bread
An essential stop for anyone travelling down south, Yallingup Woodfired Bread sells hand-crafted, traditional woodfired bread baked daily from locally sourced, biodynamic grain. In true Yalls style, German owner Gotthard Bauer prefers to bake his bread in the afternoons rather than early mornings, so stop in at the Yallingup or Margaret River outpost at around 3.30pm to grab a few loaves before they run out. If no one’s manning the place, leave what you owe in their honesty box.
Owned by the same family who brings us said woodfired bread, the Yallingup Gugelhupf is another charming bakery that can’t be missed on a trip down south. The traditional German Gugelhupf cake made here is traditionally eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner with tea or wine, but when you’re down south, enjoy it any time with local preserves, cheese, and a glass of vino.
Margaret River Bakery
This eclectic and trendy spot on the main strip of Margs takes the idea of the traditional country bakery to a whole new level. Decked out with quirky frames and photographic prints, retro furniture and luscious greenery, the Margaret River Bakery is everything you’d expect from the artisan town and more. Drop in for a takeaway pie and choc milk (they don’t skimp on the country essentials) or settle in on one of the upcycled lounges and choose from their menu or cabinet of delights; think paninis, veggie bowls and incredible salads, not to mention the town’s best burgers. Or, sit in the sun out front with a plate of chips and gravy. Your choice.
Gracie’s General Store
Not technically a bakery, but in a tiny place like Gracetown, the local shop sextuples as a bakery, cafe, general store, petrol station, bottle shop and boutique. Gracie’s General is ticking all of those boxes, but most importantly is home to Little Pie Lane, who offer pies hand made on-site from local ingredients to the constant stream of locals and visiting beachgoers alike. You won’t know what to choose for brekky—the Rancheros pie, or a sourdough toastie (try the meatball)—although, you’ll probably just have to settle for whatever is yet to sell out. For the vegos out there, the lentil pie is a serious goer. Enjoy the whole lot with ocean views from their sunny courtyard.
Augusta Bakery & Cafe
For a top-notch pie in the most southwestern point of our beautiful state, go straight to the Augusta Bakery & Cafe. This place has been in business since 1948, so they must be doing something right, and we say it’s their pies. You can even park up in the alfresco area and have your pie with chips and salad, eaten with knife and fork. Weird, but we’re not complaining. They also offer up much-loved cream doughnuts.
South | Southern Forests
The award-winning Crossings Bakery is giving passers-through a taste of the delicious Southern Forests produce in the way of pastry goods. Your only problem here will be what pie to choose. From the Chunky Beef to the Jack Daniels & Coke, the Pork Vindaloo or the award-winning Misteak N Mushrooms Vegan, all we can say is good luck.
South | Great Southern
Definitely one of the best stops along the Albany Highway, the Williams Woolshed is a family-run one-stop-shop for all your country road-trip needs. The place comprises retail stores (no prizes for guessing what they sell) and a large cafe, which isn’t technically a bakery, but it is practically famous for its house-made pies and sausage rolls—so we thought it deserved a spot on the list. The pies range from Beef Mince to Lamb Curry and you can even enjoy them seated, on a plate, out on the verandah.
Mount Barker Country Bakery
One to travel for, the Mount Barker Country Bakery is no stranger to a national award or two. They took out seven gold medals in the Great Aussie Pie Competition last year, not to mention a couple of silvers and a bronze too. Their chunky mince pie is a winner for the purists, but we'd recommend giving their chicken camembert & sweet potato a try. For the vegos out there seeking something a bit more inventive than your standard creamy mushroom, these guys do a seriously good cauliflower blue cheese pie.
Traditional baking methods and innovative culinary adventures meet in the glorious pies produced at the family owned and run Denmark Bakery. Perhaps one of the state’s most famous bakeries (for good reason), the place has their trophies up on the shelves right next to their freshly baked bread as reminders of their dedication to quality and craft. But back to the pies; wrap your mouth around anything from a Vinda-Roo (yep, that’s curried kangaroo) to a Thai Chicken, or go for a classic Chunky Beef. You won’t be disappointed either way.
If you’re choosing your bakery stop-off based on most Insta-worthy store façade, we’ve found the one for you. Doralane Pastries has been in operation since 1967, and their classic green, red and white signage won’t be the only thing you can’t resist. They’re known for their square pies, but offer over 18 different varieties, so you might have to double (or triple) park to really make the most of your visit.
Not a bricks and mortar bakery, but baking damn fine bread is the Esperance mum behind Bread Local, who delivers freshly made bread to the local grocer—Bob & Jims General Store— and also appears at the local markets bearing freshly baked gifts. COVID-19 meant she started doing online orders, deliveries and pick up once a week from her pop-up, so keep an eye on the Facebook page to keep up with what they're doing as things go back to normal.
French Hot Bread Shop
To get your bakery fix on other days of the week in this beautiful town on the southern coast, head to their outpost of the French Hot Bread Shop. It might be a chain, but this particular store is trusted by locals for well-stocked bread, a good pie, and a delicious jam doughnut.
If you happen to be heading to Margs, check out our favourite wineries in Margaret River.
Rottnest Bakery | Image credit: Nancy Hanna