Category: Roadtrip Worthy Adventures

Conspicuous Beach to Rame Head Campsite Walk

Conspicuous Cliff view

Need to know info

Distance: 6.6 km return
Trail Start: Conspicuous Beach car park, Conspicuous Beach Road, Nornalup
Time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Grade 3
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, wet weather gear
Best time to go: Autumn and Spring.

The trail

Conspicuous: easily seen or noticed; clearly visible. It’s not a word you use everyday but it’s a great way to describe the cliff that is the highpoint of this Bibbulmun Track day walk.

This memorable name might have been the reason I was keen to complete this walk on our latest trip to Denmark. Or maybe it was the promise of spectacular coastal scenery. Or maybe even the walk’s proximity to the Tingles Bakehouse.

Whichever it was, we turned off South Coast Highway onto Conspicuous Beach Road and parked at the beach car park to begin the walk.

Glimpses of turquoise water on the way down to Conspicuous Beach.

From the car park we followed the Bibbulmun’s familiar yellow Wagyl marker down a series of steps to the beach below.  At the base of the stairs a wooden pallet offered a handy bridge over the small, fresh water stream that blocked our path to the beach front.

Conspicuous Beach
A freshwater stream leads to the beach.

At beach level it was easy to see how Conspicuous Cliff got its name. Extremely noticeable, the jagged limestone cliff rises up out of the dense coastal heath and overlooks the beach below. 

With our goal in sight, we turned left and headed down the beach. While the cliff was conspicuous, the next track marker was not. After walking back and forth along the beach a couple of times, we finally spotted the marker on a wooden post partly hidden by some wooden-coloured beach grass. Relieved by the fact that we weren’t blind, we made our way up over the dunes.

This short dune scramble was a hint of what was to come – a slow, steady climb up a zigzagging, sandy path. I usually find bushwalking easy (modest, I know) but I can’t claim the same for sand walking. As my boots sunk into the grey powder, my gait changed from a walk to a waddle. I was very tempted to go barefoot and use my toes for grip.

Heath covered dunes

As we gained elevation the path hardened and my waddle subsided, leaving me to forget my feet and focus on the fantastic view. At the corner of each switchback, coastline appeared. Behind us, heath-covered dunes gave the appearance of a rolling green sea. But the most impressive of all was waiting for us at the top of Conspicuous Cliff. A 360-degree panorama of ocean, inlets, farmland and forest: the sort of view that reminds you that you are just a tiny speck in this incredible landscape.

Looking down on Conspicuous Beach.

After a few moments of oohing and aahing at the wonder before us, we continued over the ridge to the Rame Head campsite. Along the way, we encountered a number of nonchalant kangaroos. Redder in colour and much more chilled than their Darling Range cousins, they simply twisted their ears before continuing to munch on leaves as we passed.

Kangaroo at Conspicuous Cliff
A relaxed roo.
Conspicuous Cliff view
Amazing views ahead.

At the campsite, we took a short break before turning back, conscious of the late afternoon light and darkening clouds.  The return walk proved to be a lot easier, almost a tumble with some of the sandier slopes propelling us forward. At these moments I could see the value of hiking poles.

By the time we returned to the beach, the light was beginning to fade and the waves were growing louder. In the car, tired and covered in that fine coating of salt you get from coastal walking, we agreed the walk was a winner and worthy of its Top Trail status

Next time you’re on the Rainbow Coast, warm up those legs for some sand walking and check out this trail.

Karri Gully to Gregory Brook Campsite Walk

For a lot of people, hiking is about the challenge of the distance – immersing yourself in nature for days at a time. I am not one of those people.

As much as I love exploring the bush and testing my stamina on a technical trail, I love coming home to a comfy bed even more. And when it comes to tackling the Bibbulmun Track, WA’s quintessential 1000km walk trail, I have to do it my way – one day-walk at a time.

Karri Gully to Gregory Brook Campsite Walk is a Bibbulmun Track day-walk I have wanted to do for a while. The walk’s promise of tall trees and a babbling brook was appealing, and when you add in the closeness to Donnelly River Village and the opportunity for an emu selfie, it became irresistible. So we took off a couple of days and headed to Bridgetown to tick this walk off the list.

Welcome to Bridgetown

Bridgetown is a quaint, country town located 3 hours south of Perth and a convenient 35 minutes from Karri Gully, making it a handy base to explore the Bibbulmun Track and surrounding Blackwood River Valley.

We arrived late Sunday afternoon, which was not only too late to head to the Bibbulmun, but also too late to check out most of the main attractions in town. (Tip for young players: 4pm is closing time in Bridgetown.) Not ready to settle in for dinner, we headed to the Blackwood River to complete the River Walk, which turned out to be a delightfully scenic way to stretch our legs.

Not my most fashionable outfit, but I got my emu selfie.

The next day, after a holiday sleep-in, we set off mid-morning to Karri Gully. Driving along Brockman Highway, I saw the sign for Donnelly River Village and decided the pull of emus was too strong to ignore. At Donnelly River Village we were greeted by a whole flock of feathered and surprisingly fearless friends. This isn’t a blog post about Donnelly River so I won’t go into too much detail, but I highly recommend buying a bag of emu feed from the General Store – you will get pleasantly ambushed!

The Karri Gully to Gregory Brook Campsite Walk

After exploring the peaceful little village, we got back on track and continued 15 minutes more down Brockman Highway to Karri Gully. Located on a bend in the road, the Karri Gully picnic ground is clearly signed but can creep up on you if you’re driving at a fast speed, so keep an eye out for the brown picnic signs as you approach. Pulling in, we could see the red Bibbulmun Track sign, the yellow waugul marker, and a grove of tall karris so we knew we were in the right place.

Which way?!! We didn’t have a map!

The track began by leading us through karris and lush undergrowth, reminiscent to many trails in Pemberton. Soon enough we encountered a fork in the track where both sides displayed Bibbulmun Track markers. Turn left or go straight ahead? Using some hiker’s intuition, we ignored the left fork and correctly continued straight along the trail.

The track then left the karri forest and we entered dry, gravelly jarrah forest. At this point, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. With a name like Karri Gully, I was hoping towering karri trees would be a dominant feature of the walk, not Perth-style jarrah forest. The trail then turned onto a stretch of 4WD track and the gravel continued, and my heart dropped even more.

Nice jarrah forest – but where’s my karri?


Luckily this part of the track was short lived. After about 10 minutes of gravel, we veered on to single track. We were still surrounded by jarrah forest, but it was different. The trees were denser and the ground was covered in a lush undergrowth of green shrubs and wildflowers, including an abundance of cowslip orchids. I could feel my earlier disappointment being replaced by the familiar excitement of hiking in a beautiful location.

Heading into single track – my favourite.

Plenty of Cowslip Orchids – (Caladenia Flava)

The best way to describe the middle section of the walk is ‘meandering’. The track twisted and turned through trees and grasstrees, getting denser and greener as we went along. The increase in greenery was accompanied by a downhill slope in the trail – two very good indicators that we were approaching water. Our hunch was right as we reached the bottom of the valley and the sounds of Gregory Brook filled our ears.

I couldn’t stop the smile appearing on my face as we arrived at the Gregory Brook campsite. Surrounded by tall trees and being metres from the water, it’s the sort of campsite that makes you want to pack up and move permanently to the forest.

Although we had no plans to stay the night, we still enjoyed exploring the campsite hut. The view from the bunk beds was a wall of green foliage and I imagined the sounds of the creek would lull weary walkers to sleep – or, send them to the toilet. Regardless, the thought of staying overnight seemed very appealing.

Gregory Brook campsite

The green as green view from Gregory Brook campsite bed.

Can confirm Gregory Brook is cold. Very cold.

I always enjoy reading the notes of other walkers, so I took some time to flick through the Bibbulmun’s campsite register. One walker had written that he had gone for a dip in the brook and discovered it was ‘bloody cold’. After dipping my arm in the water, I can confirm that he was one hundred percent correct.

Once we had gotten our fill of campsite fun, we turned back to retrace our steps to the start. Heading back, I noticed the valley had some of the tallest banksias I had ever seen. Tree-like in height, I think they’re called River Banksias and look very different from the wide, Bull Banksia that is commonly found in Perth.

Jewel beetle bling.

In terms of wildlife, we only had two close encounters on the walk. The first was a couple of brilliant, blue-green jewel beetles that took a great liking to Jarrad’s black cap. The second was a quick glimpse of some emus darting through the forest. They were very speedy so I didn’t get a clear view. However, they had left some pretty obvious clues in form of distinctive cone-shaped poos.

Just before reaching the end of the trail, we took a short detour on the short Karri Gully Walk ( Note: this is not part of Bibbulmun.) The signage claimed it was a 20 to 30 minute walk, but any moderately fit person would be able to complete it in five. As short as it was, I was glad to squeeze some more karri into our trip.

Back at the car, Jarrad and I agreed the Karri Gully to Gregory Brook Campsite Walk was excellent. Short enough to fit into half a day and scenic enough to impress any nature lover, it’s a fantastic introduction to the Bibbulmun Track. If you’re a day-walk fan and are heading to the Blackwood River Valley region, check it out.

Need to know info

Distance: 8km return
Where: Walk begins from Karri Gully picnic area, Brockman Highway. 20km from Nannup or 28km from Bridgetown.
Time: 2-3 hours.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, wet weather gear
Best time to go: Winter to Spring are ideal.

Where to find it

Cape to Cape Track Day Walk – Cape Leeuwin

Need to know info

Distance: Our walk was 9km return. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Skippy Rock is about 5.5km return
Where: Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse carpark, end of Leeuwin Road, Augusta.
Time: 2-3 hours.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, wet weather gear
Best time to go: Autumn and Spring are ideal. Late winter, if it’s not too windy.

The Cape to Cape Track is well known as a must-do for all walkers but the multi-day camping requirement has always been a barrier for this low-on-annual-leave contract worker.

The only way I was going to experience the Cape to Cape anytime soon was to break the nine day itinerary in to smaller day walks. I knew I had three spare leave days on the horizon, so I started planning to make it happen.

While searching online, I found plenty of information about camping and completing the Cape to Cape as a whole, but very little on the directions and vehicle entry points you’d need to create a day walk. I knew there were guide books available but it was too late to place an order online. Thankfully a member of the Trails WA Facebook group came to my rescue and recommended downloading the day walk-friendly Cape to Cape Track Guide app.

The app cost $13.99, which seemed a pricey at first, but I realised it included a very handy map that clearly marked the vehicle entry points and highlights, making it much easier to plan a day walk – and it didn’t even run off data or wi-fi! Anyway, before I start sounding like a sponsored post (which this sadly isn’t), let’s leave the app and get back to the day walks.

Storm clouds over Cape Leeuwin

Having visited Margaret River many times before, we decided to base ourselves thirty minutes away in Augusta. While Augusta doesn’t have the restaurants, shops and wineries of Margs, it is home to the peaceful Hardy Inlet, impressive rugged coastline, and most importantly, the southern terminus of the Cape to Cape Track – the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Sooty Oystercatchers enjoying the rocks before Quarry Beach.





Day Walk One – Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Skippy Rock to Augusta Cliffs.

A blue bottle.

Our first day walk was from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Skippy Rock and then inland along the heath covered Augusta Cliffs.

The track delivers on beautiful scenery almost immediately, leading you past the Augusta waterwheel and over large, ochre coloured boulders and rock pools to Quarry Bay. Being in the middle of a stretch of stormy weather, the shore of the bay was scattered with blue bottles. Apparently these nasties can still sting you even if dead, so we did our best to avoid stepping on them.

As we continued on the track, we met something much worse than bluebottles – an unavoidable 20-metre stretch of knee-deep seaweed. Before I continue, I want to emphasise how much I completely and wholeheartedly hate seaweed. However, with the ocean on one side and a limestone cliff on the other, the only option was to grit my teeth and push ahead. After a few missteps and almost lost boots, we soon discovered the best way to cross this seaweed quicksand was with quick light steps  (Note: This seaweed isn’t a normal feature of the Cape to Cape Track, so I’m sure you won’t have the same wobbly walking experience.)

The seaweed almost claims a boot!

Once we were free of the dreaded weed, we could easily rock-hop our way along the track up to Skippy Rock Road. The Cape to Cape Track crosses the road and continues up the hill, however we chose to take a short detour and continue on to Skippy Rock.

Mini pinnacles of Skippy Rock.

Skippy Rock is a small, rocky fishing beach, however at the end of the Skippy Rock carpark, we spotted a narrow trail through scrub. Curious, we followed the trail to find that it led to a barren sand dune covered in small pinnacle like rocks. Apparently these rocks were calcified trees, which seemed plausible as twig-like remnants crunched underfoot as we explored the area. The strange pinnacles combined with the starkness of the dune gave the area an otherworldly feel – much like being on the set of a dystopian sci-fi film.

Need a location for your next sci-fi flick?

Into the coastal heath we go.

For a shorter 5.5km walk, you could turn back at Skippy Rock. We chose to follow the route back along Skippy Rock Road, and carry on along the Cape to Cape.

From here the track meandered uphill through dense coastal heath scattered with wildflowers. At a small clearing surrounded by peppermint trees, we reached the Cape to Cape check point, where we signed the register (“YOLO – Bree and Jarrad”) and took a quick drink break.

Up above storm clouds were filling the sky, so decided to carry on until we found a viewpoint from the cliffs and then head back. As we continued walking, the vegetation rose higher and we began to doubt our chances of reaching the end of the cliffs and finding that elusive coastal view. The threat of rain was increasing, so we turned back only to realise there had been a view all along – it was hiding behind us! On the way down the hill, breaks in the trees offered perfectly framed views of the coast and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

A post-card perfect view of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

To head home, we had to retrace our steps, including that awful seaweed crossing. But this time, being wiser and more confident, I showed that weed who was boss and trampled straight through it. By the time we were nearing the end point of our walk, it was quite late in the afternoon and the rain had set in. About 400 metres before the lighthouse, the sun returned and cast a glorious rainbow in front of us. Was it luck or a reward for my seaweed bravery? Regardless, it was the perfect way to wrap our first and definitely worthwhile day walk on the Cape to Cape Track.

Stay tuned for day walk two…

A rainbow for all your hard work?

Where to find the walk

Sheila Hill Memorial Track

Sheila Hill Memorial Track cave view

Need to know info

Distance: 5.5km one way trail
Where: Trailhead carpark on Ocean Beach Road (Between Chiltern and Heather Roads).
Time: 2-3 hours.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, wet weather gear
Best time to go: All year round.

Where to find it

Sheila Hill Memorial Track

“You need to be in Albany by 4pm on Monday.” When you get a message like this from your boss, you don’t think about work, you think how can I squeeze a hike in to my schedule.
Being lucky enough to have Sunday night accommodation in Denmark, I started looking for a nearby trail I could complete in a morning and Sheila Hill Memorial Track seemed to fit the bill.

At first I had my doubts. From the trailhead on Ocean Beach Road, which I’ve passed many times before, the Sheila Hill Memorial Track looked ordinary. A sandy car park, straggly bush and ‘medium to difficult walk’ sign showed little promise of an excellent walk.

However, after seeing the positive reports and photos from the Life of Py, the Long Way’s Better, and Bibbulmun Track Foundation, I knew I should put this outwardly modest trail on to my to-do list.

Sheila Hill Memorial Track signpost

Fun fact: The Sheila Hill Track follows a section of the Bibbulmun Track.

A note on distance

If you google the Sheila Hill Memorial Track or Sheila Hill Trail (as it’s also known), you’ll find there are varying views on the time it takes to complete the walk. Most sites say it’s a 5.5km one-way trail that takes three-ish hours. It’s also commonly suggested that you leave a car at each end of the trail.

Map from the Trails of Denmark Brochure:

Only having one car, I took the advice of a brochure from the Denmark Visitors’ Centre that claimed it to be a loop trail that would take three-ish hours – despite adding a 3.5km stretch along Lights Road to Ocean Beach Road.

The brochure’s time estimate seemed a little off but being overconfident, I decided I’d set aside 3 hours and see where I got to before I had to head back in time for work.

On the trail

My dad and I began the Sheila Hill Memorial Track mid morning with a cloudy sky and a weather report that predicted on-and-off showers. In true Denmark style, the phrase ‘on-and-off’ turned out to be quite the understatement, but I’ll get in to that later.

Sheila Hill Memorial Track karris

Tall karris line the edge of the track.

From the entry on Ocean Beach Road, the walk began as a four-wheel drive track on flat ground in karri and jarrah forest. Following the yellow triangles (or the Bibbulmun’s yellow Wagyls) the track then turned left up a hill, running along the boundary of residential properties. I noticed these lucky homes have views of Wilson Inlet through the karris, and found myself wondering how much I’d need to save to buy my own holiday home in Denmark.

After about 10 minutes of uphill, the wide trail narrowed to a single track that plunged into dense and changing forest – one of my favourite things about this walk. Reminiscent of trails in Pemberton, the Sheila Hill Memorial Track winds through sections of tall karris and green mossy undergrowth that is scattered with karri hazel and tassel flowers.

Sheila Hill Memorial Track

Along the track you’ll find the odd bit of railing to make it easier to scale some of the boulders.

What makes this track different from its Southern Forest cousins is that it crosses groves of Sheoak trees, steep rocky sections and huge granite boulders that offer glimpses of the coast below – with the biggest boulder hiding an impressive cave.

Exploring this cave was an unexpected highlight. Giant boulders created two ‘rooms’ that someone creative had decorated with ochre dots, handprints and circles. The fresh remains of a campfire and crate full of sleeping bags suggested that this same someone may also regularly spend the night – and with the cave’s excellent views, you can’t blame them.

With a view like that, I’d camp here too.

At the cave it felt like we had reached track’s highpoint. We were mistaken. The track continued past several more enormous boulders before finally emerging from the trees to a large flat granite outcrop, known as Alex’s Rock, and Mount Hallowell.

Now at the top, we were rewarded with 270-degree views of the coast, Wilson Inlet and the rolling hills of Denmark’s farming areas. On a clearer day, we might have even been able to see the neighbouring Mount Lindesay.

Sheila Hill Memorial Track mount hallowell

Even with rain clouds, Mount Hallowell offers a gorgeous view.

Sheila Hill Memorial Track fungus

Fungi adds some colour to the forest.

We took a short break to enjoy the views, keeping our eyes on the clouds coming in from the sea. These looked like the on-and-off showers the weather bureau had promised. With this in mind, we followed the Bibbulmun’s handy signposts to make our way to Monkey Rock. This section was quite hilly, winding up and down over logs and rocks, and we were quickly too warm for our rain jackets.

Naturally, as soon as we shed our wet weather gear, the rain arrived and settled in for what became less of a shower and more of a downpour. When we reached Monkey Rock we were well and truly soaked. Monkey Rock is known for its spectacular views but all we could see was a haze of white. It was a shame to miss but I’ve watched this video of the views, so I feel a tiny bit better.

If we had two cars, Monkey Rock’s carpark on Lights Road would have been the end of the hike. Unfortunately we didn’t, so we agreed to make a run for it and jog along Lights Road back to our start point.

On a sunny day, this last stretch of the loop may be quite pleasant, as the road was quiet and there was grassy farmland along the way. For us, it was a very, very wet four-kilometer run with the only feature being a quick hello to some friendly brown cows.

Looking on the brighter (and drier) side, our sodden jog ensured that we completed the Sheila Hill Memorial Track within my three-hour time limit, meaning that I achieved my goal of squeezing in a hike before my afternoon work commitment. I may have been wet but my hike craving was satisfied!

I do love a mossy rock.

The wrap-up.

The Sheila Hill Memorial Track is definitely worth checking out.

Don’t be turned off by my wet-weather experience. If you go on a fine day, you’ll enjoy a wonderful walk that has a variety of terrain, beautiful trees and lots of rocky features to explore along the way. Whether you start at Ocean Beach Road or Monkey Rock, there is quite a lot of uphill, so your legs are sure to get a work out. The steep, technical sections and narrow single track give this track an element of challenge, while still being achievable for most fit walkers.

Going back to the earlier note of distance, I’d recommend you make this a one-way walk rather than the loop. While the walk along Lights Road is doable, it does add an hour or so. Park a car at both ends or get a lift and spend that saved time at Denmark’s other beautiful sights – that’s my plan for my next visit!

Sheila Hill Memorial Track granite outcrop

There’s plenty of rocky sections to test your footing.

Bald Head Walk Trail & Torndirrup National Park

Have you ever been to a location so beautiful that it makes you feel glad to be alive? It may sound a little odd, but that’s exactly how I felt while exploring the Bald Head Walk Trail.

Need to know info

Distance: 12km there and back ( we however did about 5km)
Trail Start: Isthmus Hill car park,  Murray Street, Albany, Torndirrup National Park
Time: 2 – 3 hours one way
Difficulty: Difficult
Stuff you’ll need: Sunscreen, water, hat, sturdy walking boots

The Bald Head Walk Trail

Our Bald Head Walk Trail experience did not go to plan. When we set off from Denmark, the sun was shining, albeit a little weakly but the skies were definitely blue. As we made the 40 minute drive to Albany, grey clouds began rolling in, and by the time we entered Torndirrup National Park, these ominous clouds had covered the sky.

Bald Head Walk Trail boardwalk

The wooden boardwalk up Isthmus Hill.

When we reached the trailhead, light rain was falling and thick white mist obscured our view of the coastline. Should we turn back and check out some other, drier tourist spots in the area? Probably. But first we decided to make the short 1km climb up Isthmus Hill to see if our walk would be worthwhile.

After walking up a slippery and steep wooden boardwalk through peppermint trees and coastal heath, we emerged on the top of Isthmus Hill. In the distance, we could just make out the striped rocks of nearby Stony Hill and the coastline of Frenchman’s Bay. But by then, that oh-too-familiar walking itch had set in so we agreed to go ‘‘just a little bit further.”

Isthmus Hill

Me trying to be positive about our cloudy view from Isthmus Hill.

As we rounded the next corner, I think we all shared an involuntary outburst of exclamations and swear words. The view was incredible. The thick white mist had parted to reveal a brilliant green isthmus that stretched out between two blue but very turbulent bodies of water below. You can’t turn your back on scenery this beautiful so we continued on the trail.

Bald Head Walk Trail

The sort of view that’s sure to make any nature fan feel giddy!

With every step we took, more and more of the coastline came in to view. To our left was Frenchman’s Bay. To our right was the Southern Ocean, which was putting on quite the show with huge waves crashing against the rocks below. As the peninsula narrowed, we spotted a sign and narrow path leading down to these fierce waves.

Bald Head Walk trail

Walking down to meet the monster waves

Normally, I’m a little hesitant around angry water, but my braver walking buddies saw no problem, so we made the descent to the rocks below where we met some of the largest waves I have ever seen in my life. These turquoise blue monsters were thrashing the rocks, making the sort of roar that reminds that you don’t stand a chance against them. As nerve-racking as that can be, that humbling feeling is one of my favourite things about nature and about this trail.


Bald head walk trail waves

While this photo doesn’t capture the scale of the waves, it does capture their excellent colour.

After we had filled our wave watching quota, we climbed back up and continued along the main trail until we reached a peak which I think is called Limestone Head. Here, our old friends heavy rain and mist returned, once again blocking our view of the surrounds. I also admit, that we had made the regrettable decision of not bringing much water, as we hadn’t planned to go much further than Isthmus Hill. So rather than push on unprepared and through bad weather, we turned back before reaching the trail’s namesake Bald Head.

Common Bunny Orchid

Common Bunny Orchid

While it was disappointing to cut the walk short, we did manage to catch a few glimpses of late-blooming wildflowers on the way back, like the Common Bunny Orchid, as well as plenty of droplet covered spiderwebs. Seeing as the trail features large granite and limestone outcrops, I’d be willing to bet that it also plays host to plenty of pretty wildflowers during spring. In fact, I’ve vowed to return to the trail during the warmer months to see if I’m right!

Torndirrup National Park

To make up for our shortened walk, we stopped in at a number of Torndirrup’s other wonderful coastal sights, including The Gap, Natural Bridge and The Blowholes. All of these are impressive in their own right, particularly the Gap, who’s new walkway gives you a bird’s-eye view into a deep, wave filled chasm. Torndirrup National Park is definitely worth a visit, even if Bald Head’s 12km trail is out of your comfort range.

The Gap Albany

Feel the rage of the The Gap!

Torndirrup National Park

Colourful lichen adorns the boulders surrounding the Blowholes.


The verdict

While our Bald Head Walk was a little damper, greyer and shorter than the experience of others, (see the posts of Life of Py & The Long Way’s Better for sunnier pics) it was still a spectacular walk with scenery that I think is best described as life-affirming. Let me know if you feel the same way!

Torndirrup National Park

That curved dome is Bald Head, as viewed from The Blowholes.


Denmark to Lights Beach Bike Trail

Mixing the Munda Biddi Trail and Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail to make our own scenic tour.

Need to know info

Distance: Approximately 25km one way
Trail Start: Denmark River Bridge or Lights Beach.
If you start at Denmark River Bridge, you’ll begin the ride on the Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail. If you start at Lights Beach, you’ll begin on the Munda Biddi Trail.
Time: 2 – 3 hours one way
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Stuff you’ll need: Mountain bike, helmet, sunscreen, water

Note: Sorry about the lack of trail map…someone forgot to turn on Strava. Luckily, you can find the map of the Lights Beach Munda Biddi section here and the Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Trail is visible on Google Maps.

Over the Easter break, we headed south to Denmark with the aim of squeezing in some nature time between our heavy schedule of easter egg eating. We’ve already ridden a few of Denmark’s popular cycle paths like Ocean Beach Cycleway and the Wilson Inlet Heritage Trail, but seeing as I am now the owner of a legit set of wheels, we were keen to explore some less paved terrain. Although eager, I am far from being an experienced mountain biker, so I was looking for trail in the Denmark area that was epic in scenery but still achievable in distance.

Our solution came from a bike riding duo we met at Greens Pool who mentioned a stretch of Munda Biddi Trail that crossed with the Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail. They assured us it would be a pleasant ride, taking us from the beach, through farmland and forest all the way back to Denmark town centre…and they were right. (Thanks guys!)

The Trail

Being a combination of two different trails, this 25km route uses rail trail, bitumen road, gravel paths and winding single track. It can be completed in number of ways:

1. Start at Denmark River Bridge and enjoy a cruisey, mostly downhill ride to Lights Beach.
2. Start at Lights Beach and challenge yourself to a few uphills before finishing with lunch at Denmark town centre.
3. Make it a return 50km ride, or a loop by following the Munda Biddi Trail along Ocean Beach Road.

Seeing as we were already near Lights Beach, we took the second option. However, if you can organise a lift back, I’d recommend starting at Denmark, letting the scenery at Lights Beach be your pay off. Which ever way you choose, here are some of the highlights and challenges you’ll meet along the way:

Lights Beach Denmark

Lights Beach – an epic start or finish to the trail

Lights Beach

Lights beach munda biddi

Weaving through the maze of dense underground.

One of Denmark’s most rugged coastal spots, Lights Beach offers fantastic views of the coast and Southern Ocean. While it’s far too rough for swimming, Lights Beach has impressive lookouts and plenty of rock pools to explore. The bike trail starts on the north side of the carpark (look out for the Munda Biddi Trail sign) and leads along the coast before quickly turning inland. Here you plunge into lush peppermint forest for a rollercoaster ride up and down hills, past a small waterfall and most likely a roo or two.

Road to/from Greens Pool

Munda Biddi Lights beach

Look at that coast line in the distance. See hard riding pays off!

This section will put your wrists to the test. This 6km stretch of red dirt road between Lights Beach and Greens Pool is extremely corrugated – so much so that it feels like you’re riding along a tin roof. Our handy tips for tackling this section include riding along the very edge of road, where the ground is slightly smoother, and relaxing your grip on the handlebars to reduce your chances of whiplash…just kidding.

Greens Pool

Greens Pool is one of Denmark’s most famous spots – and for good reason. Large, smooth rocks provide shelter from the harsh swells of the Southern Ocean, making it look and feel like a swimming pool. On calm sunny days, the pool’s turquoise water sparkles and is somehow enhanced by the promise of a Mr Whippy van up in the carpark. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I forgot to take any pics.

Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail

nornalup heritage rail trail Denmark Cycle Trail

Riding through young Karris

The full length of the Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail is 55km, but on this ride we covered just 12km. This short section still manages to pack in the scenery, passing through slices of karri forest and rolling green paddocks. You might even be greeted by some very chilled cows along the way!

denmark to nornalup heritage trail Denmark Cycle Trail

A patient boyfriend waits while I take photos.

The Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail is very easy to follow with blue train markers at regular intervals and bright red timber signs at every road crossing. Closer to Denmark town centre, you’ll also spot the familiar yellow Wagyl markers as sections of the trail overlap with the Bibbulmun Track. Take note: If you’re coming from Denmark, turn left when you reach South Coast Hwy and keep an eye out for the yellow Munda Biddi signs – they can be hard to spot as they lead into a very narrow strip of single track along the edge of farmland.

nornalup heritage rail trail

Overall, this route is a nice way get a glimpse of some of Denmark’s prettiest locations. Thrill-seeking mountain bikers might find it a little on the easy side, but if you’re happy to cruise along, it’s a wonderful way to soak up some excellent Great Southern scenery.

The Jabitj Trail

Jabitj trail

‘Jabitj’ is the Noongar word for running water – and you’ll see plenty of it along this excellent riverside trail.

Need to know info

Distance: 12km return or 6km one way
Where: Wellington National Park, 25 minutes drive from Collie town centre
Time: 2 hours one way
Difficulty: Moderate
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, and bathers if it’s warm.

Where to find it

The Trail

Water, views and dense, green forest – they are some of the main things I look for in a bushwalk, and the Jabitj Trail is blessed with all three. Located in the Wellington National Park, The Jabitj Trail follows Collie River, taking you straight through the middle of an ancient river gorge.

Jabitj trail

The Collie River Valley in all its glory!

The trail begins behind the Wellington Dam Kiosk – look for the green boot print marker – and plunges straight down a steep incline until you reach a water pumping station. You could ignore the station and stick to the trail, but I recommend you take a quick detour to the left and check out the Wellington Dam Wall.

Wellington Dam on the Jabitj Trail

Gushing over the Wellington Dam.

Wellington Dam Wall.
While I’m normally all about the nature side of walks, I’ll admit that the Wellington Dam is impressive.The curve and size of the wall plays tricks on your eyes and the torrent that pours out from the dam wall is an excellent reminder of the unthinkable amount of water that is being held at bay. At this point of the walk, Jarrad raised the question of what would happen if the wall suddenly gave way…rather than dwell on that thought, let’s get back to the trail!

After the Dam, the trail takes you up a rocky outcrop and then curves around to give you an excellent view of the Collie River. Shaded by a canopy of trees and studded with mossy rocks, this part of the trail reminds me a little bit of Lane Poole Reserve in Dwellingup.

Jabitj trail 2

The first glimpse of Collie River on the trail.

Following this shady stretch, the trail moves into a drier, rockier and more exposed section a bush. Don’t worry, you only need to make one small hill climb before you’re once again greeted by the river’s edge and a fantastic view of the valley. From here on, it’s a constant stream of rapids, gentle pools and brilliant green water. Seriously, make space on your phone or camera, because you won’t be able to stop yourself snapping photos of this wonderful landscape.

Big Rock
Along the way keep an eye out for a gigantic, granite rock outcrop – creatively named ‘Big Rock’. Essentially a hillside of granite, it’s located on the other side of the Collie River and can be accessed via Lennard Road. The day after we tackled this trail, we drove to Big Rock and climbed almost to the top. It’s a very steep climb but it offers some incredible valley panorama, and a view down that will have your stomach turning somersaults.

Big Rock Jabitj Trail

It really is a big rock!

Honeymoon Pool
The final stop on the trail is Honeymoon Pool. This is a very popular camping spot, and deservedly so, because it’s beautiful. The pool itself is quiet stretch of river that is edged by peppermint trees and marris. There’s plenty of picnic tables and a handy boardwalk where you can sit and dip your feet in the glass-clear green water. If it wasn’t so cold on the day we visited, we’d have stripped off and gone for a swim!

Jabitj Trail

We named this spot Se-WREN-ity Pool because of the many blue wrens flittering on the water’s edge.


jabitj trail signage

The Jabitj Trail crosses paths with the Munda Biddi as well as the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail.

Tree on Jabitj trail

Burl on a gorgeous old Marri.

Being the endpoint of the trail, you can finish up at Honeymoon Pool and get a lift home, or you can follow the trail back to the start. Alternatively, you can follow our lead and use the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail and Sika Trail to get back to the Wellington Dam Kiosk. While it does add 2 or 3 extra kilometres and a very steep hill climb to your walk, taking this route home gives you some different, higher views of the valley. And thanks to DPaW’s excellent signage, it’s very easy to find your way back.
To wrap up, I cannot recommend the Jabitj Trail enough. It’s a wonderful walk with so many scenic spots to enjoy along the way.

Rapids, views, idyllic green pools – any nature fan is sure to be impressed. Definitely worth the trip!



4 stops to make in D’Entrecasteaux National Park

Salmon Beach at D'Entrecasteuax national park

D’Entrecasteaux National Park is one of the wildest and most rugged places you’ll find down south. Think jagged cliffs, lonely beaches and sand dunes that move on their own. A large part of the park is only accessible by four-wheel drive, but luckily for us proud Yaris owners, it’s also got a sealed road that takes you right up to the edge of some spectacular scenery. Heading down Windy Harbour Road from the town of Northcliffe, here are four places that are worth stopping the car for.

1. Mount Chudalup

Mount Chudalup doesn’t look like much from the road but don’t let that fool you. Surrounded by tall forest, the short 1km walk to the top of this giant granite outcrop rewards you with incredible 360 degree views of the national park. Even the trail itself is interesting, with vegetation that changes dramatically from lush karri trees, to dry banskia and grasstrees, to colourful moss and lichens as you climb the rock. Once you reach the summit of Mount Chudalup, you’ll have an excellent view of sand dunes, coastal cliffs and kilometres of heathlands.

Mount Chudalup D'Entrecasteaux National Park

The boardwalk to the top

For a different perspective, check out Way To Much Coffee’s blog post on Mount Chudalup and its surrounds.

Mount Chudalup D'Entrecasteaux National Park

Mossy rock and magnificent view.

Mount Chudalup D'Entrecasteaux National Park

The Summit of Mt Chudalup and a Jarrad for scale.

2. Salmon Beach

The next stop is secluded Salmon Beach. Edged by huge, ominous-looking cliffs, this white sand beach looks like it could be the set of a fantasy film; or at least inspire some poetry. We visited late Tuesday morning mid December, and we could only spot one other set of footsteps on the sand, so if you visit out of school holiday season, you’ll most likely have the beach to yourself. While this isn’t a spot for swimming, it does make a great place for a walk, dramatic selfie or just a moment of complete peace and quiet.

The view of Salmon Beach in D'Entrecasteaux National Park

If the view is this good from the carpark, imagine it up close!

Salmon Beach D'Entrecasteaux National Park

We had Salmon Beach all to ourselves.

3. Tookalup

The view from Tookalup is a good reminder than you’re just one tiny person in a giant world. Tookalup lookout gives you sweeping views across the cliffs of Salmon Beach to Point D’Entrecasteaux, and outward to an endless expanse of deep blue ocean. Signage at the lookout mentions that Tookalup is an excellent vantage point for spotting humpack and right whales during May to November. If you’re lucky enough to spot a whale from this magical spot, please let me know so I can be very, very jealous.

Tookalup D'Entrecasteaux National Park

The view to the right from the Tookalup lookout.

4. Point D’Entrecasteaux

Point D’Entrecasteux is the last stop on the drive and it goes above and beyond with scenery. This point is the start or finish of a number of short walks, including the Coastal Survivors Walk that takes you down to Cathedral Rock and Windy Harbour (this trail looked awesome, I probably should have done it) and the Pupalong Loop Walk that offers fantastic cliff views while being 100% wheelchair accessible. Another highlight of this spot is The Window – a hole in one of the cliffs that gives you a slightly frightening yet very photogenic view of the steep drop to the ocean below.

Window D'Entrecasteaux National Park

The perfectly framed Window view.

 Cliffs in D'Entrecasteaux National Park

Too close to the cliff edges of Point D’Entrecasteaux


While these were my four highlights of D’Entrecasteaux National Park, there are plenty more to explore nearby and along the way, like the tiny holiday settlement of Windy Harbour, Sunset Lookout, Gardner Lookout and Cathedral Rock. Plus lots of off-road adventures for those lucky enough to own a 4WD.

One final note:

There are no shops in D’Entrecasteux National Park so bring plenty of water and snacks for the trip. You can stock up on supplies at Northcliffe – I have it on good authority that Northcliffe bakery does a good old-fashioned chicken and salad roll!

Map & Directions

We accessed D’Entrecasteaux Drive via Windy Harbour Road from Northcliffe.
The town of Northcliffe is approximately a 35 minute drive from Pemberton.

The Cascades Walk

Last August, I visited the Gloucester National Park and was blown away by the beauty of Karri forest on the Gloucester Route Walk.  As wonderful as this trail was, I knew I had just scratched the surface of this magical place and vowed to return. Now in December, I’m back and ready to discover what else the forest holds – starting with a greener-than-green walk to The Cascades.

Need to know info

Distance: 6km one way. 12km return.
Where: Gloucester National Park, Pemberton
Time: 2.5 – 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: $12 national park entry fee
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes and possibly wet weather gear.

Why do this

The Cascades Walk is chance to immerse yourself in the heart of some of Pemberton’s lushest karri forest. The Cascades are a set of rapids that tumble over the rocks of Lefroy Brook. Towards the end of summer, the cascades slow to gentle stream. From winter to spring, they’re a raging torrent that churns foam and creates an impressive roar. We visited on a particularly drizzly day in mid December, and luckily for us, they were still putting on quite the show.

The Trail

Trail entry point at Burma Road and Eastbrook crossroad.

Officially, the trail starts at the Gloucester Tree and follows the Gloucester Route for the first couple of kilometres. Having already climbed that majestic beast and explored it surrounds on bike and foot, we decided to save a bit of walking and start at the crossroads of Burma Road and the Eastbrook Trail.

The official start of the trail takes you down a series of switchbacks, passing giant karris and giving you valley views along the way. You’ll then hit a bitumen road that you will follow until you reach the crossroads. From here, you turn right and head back into the forest. No matter where you choose to start, the trail is well signed posted with wooden signs and the friendly and familiar yellow Wagyl. (Yep, that’s right, The Cascades Walk is actually a stretch of the Bibbulmum Track.)

The cascades pemberton

Now this is lush.

When you’ve got into the swing of the trail and stopped marvelling at the towering trees, you’ll notice the incredible range of greenery. There are karris covered in day-glo green moss, deep green tree ferns, vines with bronze-edged leaves and plenty of others I can’t name.

moss on the cascades walk

Did I mention the greenery? Moss, moss and more moss.

Compared to the usual subdued greys and greens of Perth’s bush, the Karri forest looks like someone has used every shade of green in the crayon box – in the best possible way.

From the crossroads, the trail is flat and easy, and it continues this way for three or so kilometres.  After a little while, it might seem a little repetitive but that just means you have the opportunity to zone out and soak up the forest sounds, or catch up with your walking buddy. (Two of my favourite things about bushwalking! )

The Cascades Bridge Pemberton

The Cascades Bridge

Once you’re deep in the forest, you’ll reach another gravel road. Cross over this and now the trail starts showing some attitude, taking a few sharp ups and downs that will get the heart pumping.

Soon enough, you’ll hear the sound of running water and spot the Cascades Bridge, which is still used today by Pemberton’s tourist tram. From here, you’ll easily find the Cascades by following the boardwalk over the brook.

The Cascades Pemberton

The Cascades looking glorious even in mid December.

The Cascades boardwalk

The Cascades timber boardwalk leads you up and around Lefroy Brook.

A lot of care has been put into the facilities of the Cascades. There are picnic tables, information shelters and a wide timber boardwalk that gives you a good view of the falls.

The best thing is that even with all of this infrastructure, you can still get up close to the Cascades. In fact, if you’re careful, you can walk right out on to the rocks and find a spot to daydream alongside the water. On the very soggy and slippery day of our visit, we opted to follow the boardwalk further upstream to check out the more tranquil parts of Lefroy Brook.

Lefroy Brook looks peaceful but lampreys lurk beneath the surface.


Overall, The Cascades Walk is wonderful way to escape in the Karri forest and see one of the South West’s prettiest waterfalls. Plus, the dense forest means the trail is cool, damp and shady even on warmer days. Whether you go one way or take the return trail, add the Cascades Walk to your Southern Forests to-do list.

Map & Directions

The Cascades Walk is located in the Gloucester National Park which is located on Burma Road, just 5 minutes drive from the Pemberton town centre.

Once you’ve paid your $12 park fee, you can enter and drive through to the carpark. The beginning of the trail follows the same route at the Gloucester Route, which is marked with the yellow Bibbulmun Track sign.