A taste of Perth (and vicinity)

Apr 10th, 2009, 03:53 AM
  #21  
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Hi Maudie -

Just now got a chance to look at your link - we're currently in the Changi Airport awaiting our flight to Zurich.

I've walked several short sections of the Bibbulmun track, but the walk and overnight option is certainly something I'd be interested in. Doubt I could do all 965 km though! The volunteer opportunites also piqued my interest. Will have to take a closer look when I get back to Perth.
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Apr 10th, 2009, 06:36 AM
  #22  
 
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Hi Mel,
Didn't realise you were going quite so soon. Do have a wonderful time on your holiday, lucky you going to Switzerland. Hopefully we can catch up when you get back and you can tell me all about it.

Take care, safe travels.
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Jun 21st, 2009, 06:33 PM
  #23  
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5) Exploring Yanchep National Park

On a cool cloudy Sunday in mid June we donned our hiking boots, climbed into our chariot and pointed ourselves north. We took the Mitchell Freeway, picked up Joondalup Drive, turned left on Wanneroo Road and kept going straight. Easy.

We quickly left the city behind, finding ourselves surrounded by trees, strawberry farms, vegetable stands, a vineyard and a mango farm.

A short 45 minutes later we pulled into Yanchep National Park, paid the $10 entry fee and headed to the Visitor’s Center, where we picked up a walking map. The first thing I noticed when we entered the park were all the grey kangaroos grazing on the lawn. Apparently, kangaroos spend their time out in the open during the winter months, but hide in the bush during the summer.

A free History Walk was due to start 10 minutes after we arrived, so we signed up and were soon learning about the history of Yanchep thanks to a volunteer, who incidentally, is Swiss. It was just us, the guide and a couple from South Australia.

http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/park-finder...onal-park.html

Our guide explained the origins of the park and led us down to Loch McNess (no, I’m not making that up). We walked the grounds, visiting the Yanchep Inn, Yanchep Lodge and the wildflower garden, which was being methodically eaten by three errant 'roos who’d gotten past the gates. Our guide helped identify some of the birds in the vicinity, and put a name to a massive tree in front of the Yanchep Inn (blue gum). She also answered all our questions about the plants in the area and told us what type of snakes one might encounter (including the dreaded tiger snake). It was a nice interpretative walk, despite the sporadic rain.

Back at the Visitor’s Center, we said goodbye to our guide and sought out the koala enclosure. I was expecting to find koalas in a zoo like setting, but instead they were in a large park that almost led one to believe they’re native to WA. In other words, they looked as if they belonged there. We spotted seven koalas, most of them high up in the trees doing what they do best. We were lucky enough to see two active koalas who'd come down from the trees to munch on some eucalyptus leaves.

The park has nine hiking trails, but due to recent fires, three were closed. We decided to walk the Crystal Cave trail, which led us past the entrance to the cave and on to Cabaret Cave, where we stopped for a picnic lunch. Crystal Cave trail is one way, so we backtracked via the Dwerta Mia walk, which leads through a pretty gorge before it rejoins the trail. This was a nice walk, easy and level with lots of kangaroos and birds.

We also took the 2km Wetlands Walk trail which circles Loch McNess. Sections of this walk were pretty, but we much preferred the Crystal Cave trail. All told, we walked five miles, about 2:15 of easy, level walking.

I really enjoyed the park like setting of Yanchep. It’s peaceful and serene, and we hope to go back to walk a few more trails and perhaps take a tour of one of the caves.

On the way home, we noticed a huge store called Drover’s, located at Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive, which was actually open on Sunday! I just had to investigate. Wow. This place was amazing. It was basically four separate stores under one roof; a meat shop, a seafood market, a bakery and the biggest produce shop I’d ever seen. Once again I was awed by the incredible produce in this country. I’ve never seen lettuce, leeks and carrots the likes of what they grow here. Everything is so BIG.

http://www.droversfishmarket.com.au/

Next up: ???
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2009, 07:05 PM
  #24  
 
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Sounds like a very nice Sunday Melnq8. I've yet to see a koala, so am a bit jealous of that.
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Jun 21st, 2009, 07:14 PM
  #25  
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Hi Toucan2 -

We've been fortunate enough to see lots of koalas, and I never seem to tire of the cute furry lumps.
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Jul 17th, 2009, 05:42 AM
  #26  
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6) John Forrest National Park beckons

A Friday morning in mid-July, dead of winter in WA, and we’re scanning the skies, wondering if those threatening clouds and blustery winds mean business. In Colorado, we’d be worried about snow, but here, no worries, it looks like a promising day for a hike, so we’re off.

We leave Perth via the Mitchell, Graham Farmer and Great Eastern Freeways, soon wondering what the heck we were thinking, as we get caught up in a messy traffic jam, our little Toyota surrounded by intimidating commercial trucks and semis. Once again, Google has let us down and lead us right into the fray. We really need to get a GPS. This city confuses me to no end, although Bill seems to have no troubles. Hmmmm…

We finally break free of the chaos, and are in the Perth Hills in no time. Once again I’m reminded of how much I like this area, and how much we have yet to see.

We turn left on Park Road and approach Western Australia’s oldest national park, John Forrest, from one of the three entrances off the highway.

http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/hotproperty...onal-park.html

We pay our $10 admission, park the car and examine the information board next to the Rangers Station to see what hikes are on offer. It seems there are three short walking trails (1-4 km) and two longer options. We’re momentarily tempted by the 15 km, moderately difficult Eagle View Walk Trail, until we remember the sign a the entrance to the park that advises everyone must be out of the park by 3:45 pm; we’re not sure we have enough time. We decide to play it safe and settle on the 10.2 km Heritage Trail instead.

We cross the brook and locate the trail sign, which leads both left and right, we decide to go left first.

We’re soon walking along the former steam locomotive railway line, a wide level path, surrounded by wandoo, jarrah and marri. Although it’s marked moderate we find it ridiculously easy, but we’re so taken with the trail that we don’t care. Before long we’ve reached the National Park Falls, which unlike the Serpentine Falls we visited a few months back, actually do look like falls. The winter rain probably hasn’t hurt. We poke around on the rocks, exploring a bit before we head back to the trail and continue our walk. It’s pretty through here, the birds are singing and I’m feeling content and at peace.

We eventually reach the Swan View Tunnel, built in 1895, the only railway tunnel in Western Australia. We start to walk through it, but it’s long, wet and incredibly dark; I get creeped out imagining snakes and crawlies. Bill gives in to my pleas for mercy and we backtrack and walk around the tunnel instead.

Soon we begin to see bits and pieces of the city and realize that we (and the residents of Perth Hills) are on the path of the approach into Perth Airport. We reach the end of the one way trail and head back, stopping for a picnic on the return.

Back at the ‘beginning’ of the trail, we continue walking the second section, and are surprised how different this side is from the other. It’s more wooded, less exposed and oddly enough, it has an entirely different feel. Before we know it, the Hovea Falls appear on our left. We’re both surprised, as the falls seem so out of place. The rocks are covered in green moss and the falls are moving with gusto thanks to the winter rain.

We follow the path to its end, and then turn back. The parking lot and picnic areas have filled in our absence; and the smell of grilling sausage is in the air.

Before we reach the car, we’ve promised ourselves we’ll return to tackle the Eagle View Walk Trail.

Back on the Great Eastern Highway, we turn left, and seek out the Mahogany Inn, a place I’d scoped out just for this purpose. Some ten minutes later, we’re sitting in front of a fire, awaiting scones and flat whites. I’d been warned that the two ‘devons’ that came with my Devonshire tea ($8.50) were huge, so we opted to share. Good thing too, as we’d have been stuffed. The ‘devons’ were delish, the jam fruity and the cream plentiful. The flat whites weren’t as hot as we’d have liked, but otherwise good.

http://www.mahoganyinn.com.au/

It was a good day.

Next up: ???
Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 08:19 AM
  #27  
 
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Another great installment!
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Jul 23rd, 2009, 07:52 PM
  #28  
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7) Getting reacquainted with the king of parks

An overcast Thursday in late July and I’ve the sudden urge to visit an old friend. I don my hiking togs, toss some snacks into my backpack and head out on foot, pointed towards the nearest train station. In my spontaneity I’ve not consulted the train schedule, so it’s no surprise when my train departs just as I’m working my way down the escalator towards the tracks. It’s not long before a replacement arrives, and I’m soon on my way, arriving at the Esplanade station some eight minutes after boarding the train. As I work my way up from the station to Mounts Bay Road, I notice a young woman in front of me wearing bright pink sneakers, a refreshing change from the sea of black that confronts me every time I go into the CBD. I can’t help but smile.

I take an assortment of passages and walkways and I’m soon turning left onto St Georges Terrace, surrounded by the black clad hustle and bustle of downtown Perth. I walk a few blocks, turn left onto Milligan Street and I’m soon crossing the Mitchell Freeway via the pedestrian bridge. I’m deposited at the foot of Mount Street, the steepest road I’ve found in Perth to date, and I begin my uphill trek. I once thought it would be nice to live on Mount Street, but the proximity to the highway and my intolerance for street noise would make it impossible. Just as well, as I think independent wealth is a prerequisite for living up here. The views are fantastic, with many balconies dangling over the Swan River and nearby Kings Park, but it comes at a price; the deafening roar of the converging freeways below.

I soon find myself at Cliff Street, where I turn left, walk to the end and look out over the edge. This is the home of Jacob’s Ladder, 242 steps that lead to Mounts Bay Road 43 meters below. It’s a popular spot for the local masochists who run up and down the steps repeatedly in the name of exercise. My knees still haven’t forgiven me for the time I walked it, so Mount Street is my poison of choice, the lesser of two evils.

After gawking for awhile, I head back to Mount Street, and a couple of left turns later, I’m walking past a massive tree and into Kings Park. The drone of the highway has fallen away and all I hear now is birdsong. Or rather what passes for birdsong; Australian birds seem to have their own ideas about what constitutes music.

Oh how I love this park! It’s an oasis of calm in an otherwise urban setting and thoroughly enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. I wander a bit, then walk to the Visitor’s Center where I pick up a walking map. Or so I thought.

I pay my respects at the war memorial, and then set off on the Law Walk, a 2.5 km loop I’m told will lead me to the bushland tracks. The Law Walk runs along the perimeter of the park, overlooking the Swan River and the old Swan Brewery. It’s just me and several joggers on the path and it’s not long before I see evidence of last summer’s bushfires. Amazingly, the land has already begun to recover, and I see lots of green poking through the burned areas. As the trail begins to circle back, I consult my map, only to discover it’s not the detailed bushland map I thought it was. I continue on anyway, turning when I reach the first marked path, the Zamia. I enjoy the solitude, just me, the bush and the birds. Before long I stumble upon a parking lot and the Zamia café, which I’m later told is the best café in the park with ‘five star food at three star prices’. It’s busy with the lunch crowd. I pass the café and wander into the Synergy Parkland, a beautifully landscaped park with picnic areas, benches, playground equipment and an island play area in the middle of the lake. It’s too beautiful to just pass through, so I park myself on a bench, munch on a snack and soak up the scenery, feeling very lucky to live in Perth.

I retrace my steps, but I’m soon sidetracked by the Baird path, which I walk both ways, once again alone with the birds. Then I’m sidetracked with the Serventy path, which I blindly follow, not having a clue where I might end up. The path ends at the Saw Avenue picnic area, yet another beautiful lush green park with some amazing trees. I see a sign pointing to Subiaco and briefly wonder if I’m lost. I decide to walk along the street for a bit (Lovekin Drive) figuring it must eventually lead back to the city side of the park. It’s not long before I’m sidetracked with the Goanna path, which turns out to be a good choice as it leads to an area I actually recognize, Roe Gardens. I wander some more, stopping by the massive boab tree that was transported to Perth from the Kimberly, and I’m soon on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, taking in the incredible city and Swan River view that I can’t seem to get enough of.

I walk back to the Visitor’s Center and ask if there’s a detailed bushland track map; sure enough, I’d been given the wrong one. I have a nice chat with a friendly volunteer who suggests I come back on a Friday to take one of the guided bushwalks. She mentions snakes more than once, but I try to ignore that bit.

The gloomy skies have returned to their usual WA bright blue and the park has filled with locals and visitors alike. I retrace my steps to Mount Street which is now busy with those insane masochists, some jogging up, some jogging down and one fool jogging down backwards.

I walk back to the Esplanade, catch a train and walk home from my neighborhood station. I put up my feet and indulge in a few warm homemade chocolate chip cookies with my tea. I’ve clocked over 10 miles, I’ve earned it.

Next up: ???
Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 09:26 PM
  #29  
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Some photos from the above excursions.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/354397/index.html
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Jul 30th, 2009, 12:47 AM
  #30  
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8) Exploring the bushland of Bold Park…

My internet research had piqued my interest in yet another park, so on a beautiful sunny day in late July, I toss my backpack into the car and head out in search of Bold Park, located somewhere between City Beach and Floreat. Being directionally challenged even with a map, it’s not long before I’m thoroughly turned around. My insecurity with driving on the left always seems to make my lack of direction that much more frustrating. But I persevere and miraculously stumble upon a parking area that shows promise. I don’t see any signs pointing towards a trail, but there are a few buildings, so I mentally toss a coin and choose the one that houses Birds Australia WA. The woman inside is kind enough to point me in the direction of the Western Australian Ecology Center, which I’d passed on my way into the parking lot (it seems I’m also oblivious). I enquire about walks, and I’m given a map and a brochure on the birds of Bold Park. I’m in need of a loo, and this is when I discover Bold Park doesn’t have any public facilities, but the woman in the Ecology Center takes pity on me and lets me use the staff restroom.

Armed with a map I can actually read, I’m soon walking along the Reabold Hill Scenic Walk, going UP. It’s a nice paved path, and it’s not long before I begin to see glimpses of the CBD in the distance and find myself at the base of Reabold Hill, which I proceed to climb via the raised boardwalk. It’s not much of a hill, just 85 meters above sea level, but once at the top I’m treated to 360 degree views of the CBD, the Swan River, Rottnest Island and of course the Indian Ocean. I entertain myself for awhile trying to locate the landmarks outlined on the information boards, and then retrace my steps and locate the Zamia Trail, which is the longest walk trail in the park at 5.1 km (loop). The sun is shining, the skies are bright blue, the birds are chirping and at 16° C, it’s a beautiful day for a walk.

Like Kings Park, Bold Park is an A Class Reserve, which means it’s one of the most protected areas of public land in Western Australia. It has over 15 kilometers of walking and bridle trails and ten different lookouts. And like Kings Park, it’s yet another oasis in the city. Had it not been for the distant sound of traffic and a sports stadium, I’d have completely forgotten I was still in Perth.

I spend the next few hours walking, making detours on the Hovea, Thornbill and View trails, backtracking each time to return to the Zamia trail, as I want to walk the entire loop. There are benches scattered throughout the park and I stop here and there trying to identify birds with the help of the brochure I’d been given, but my attempts are futile. So I just watch and munch on mandarins instead. It’s peaceful, it’s serene, and I enjoy the solitude. I walk for almost 2.5 hours, 6.2 miles. I’d have loved to explore more of this beautiful park, but alas, that second cup of tea I had for breakfast catches up with me and I decide I’d better see if I can find my way back home.

Next up: ???
Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2009, 11:48 PM
  #31  
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9) Back to the hills…

The last Friday of July dawns beautiful and sunny, so we load up the car and work our way east to the Perth Hills. The more we explore this area, the more we find, so my list is growing longer instead of shorter.

I’m slowly coming out of my directional fog, and the drive to the hills is beginning to feel familiar. In less than an hour, we’re pulling into the Perth Hills National Park Center and seeking help from Marie who’s minding the shop. We enquire about the Paten’s Brook track, an eight km loop in Beelu National Park (formerly Mundaring National Park) that I’d found online. We collect a map, and we’re told that the path has a few steep bits, is poorly marked in spots and should take us about 3½-4 hours to complete. Marie suggests that we pop back into the center on our return to report how long it took us, so the pressure’s on.

We’ve gotten ourselves an annual WA parks pass since our last national park visit, so no more paying as we go, although it seems Beelu National Park doesn’t charge a fee.

http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/park-finder...onal-park.html

The Paten’s Brook trailhead begins just north of the car park and intersects the Bibbulmun Track, the 965 km track that begins in Kalamunda and ends in Albany. So we’re off, walking through peaceful jarrah and marri forest. It’s pretty through here, and in no time we find ourselves at Paten’s campground. We continue walking and begin to pay closer attention, as this is where we’re told the trail markings begin to play hide and seek, although we’d underestimated how much so. We’re soon walking along a disused road, looking high and low for the elusive trail markers, finding many potential paths, but not a single hint as to where the trail goes.

We continue walking and begin to get frustrated and hot, the road is exposed and boring; we’re not finding so much as a glimmer of those promised views of Mundaring Weir and Lake CY O’Connor and our map is a useless jumble of indentified squiggles. We realize we’re lost, but good sense tells us to stay on the road and not be tempted by the many unmarked side trails. We eventually see an area that looks likes it’s been clear felled, it’s ugly and barren; we walk on, wondering where we’re going to end up. At long last, we see the backside of a sign, which tells us the cleared area we passed was an airfield; we consult our map, which doesn’t show an airfield. Where the heck are we?

After three miles of road, we happen upon a trail marker on the left and a gate straight ahead. Sure enough, we’d walked back to the National Parks Center via the road and found the end of the Paten’s Brook loop simultaneously. We’ve still not see what we came for and we’re curious as to how we missed the trail, so we decide to take the marked path and walk the trail in the other direction.

This is much better, we’re back in the trees and we can see Mundaring Weir and the lake in the distance. We find a perfectly situated rock; we plop down for a rest and a picnic overlooking the weir.

Back on the trail we wind though sweet smelling pine forest. It’s not long before we come to a T intersection, and yep, not a marker to be found. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, we choose a path, then backtrack when we don’t see a marker further up. We repeat this process several times over the next two hours, finding more T and Y intersections with no markers, backtracking, wondering why this path is so miserably marked. We eventually find the road again, turn right and locate the marker pointing back to the campground. We find the trail marker we’d missed the first time around, the one that had sent us on our wild goose chase up the road; it was set back too far from the road to be seen from the direction we had come and completely concealed by foliage.

Upon our second return to the National Parks Center, we report back to Marie. It has taken us ten miles and 4.5 hours to walk the 8 km loop (twice). She tells us that they plan to re-mark the track next week. Figures.

It wasn’t what we’d planned when we set out, but it was a pretty hike and we enjoyed it all the same.

We’d earned a treat, so we call in at the Lavender Patch in Mundaring for flat whites and lavender scones ($12.50 total). A sign warns us that Tiger snakes have been seen in all areas of the property. Oh boy. The coffee is good, the peacocks are gorgeous, the grounds are nicely located, but not particularly well maintained. And the scones, well, let’s just say the Mahogany Inn still reigns supreme.

http://www.thelavenderpatch.com.au/

Next up??
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2009, 08:42 AM
  #32  
 
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As always, enjoyable reports. I was a bit behind, I've caught up on them now!

Things that made me laugh: "One fool jogging down backwards" and "mandarin eating sheep." But really, who/what doesn't like a good mandarin?

Looking forward to your next adventure.
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Aug 1st, 2009, 03:13 PM
  #33  
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Thanks Toucan2, glad to hear at least one person is reading! I have no idea how that icon got in there, but it seems appropriate.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 10:58 PM
  #34  
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10) An urban wetland…

A day in early August, rain appears imminent, but my yearning for fresh air is stronger than my need to be dry, so I’m off. I load my pockets with a few necessities, grab my rain jacket and camera and hit the road. I drive to Leederville via the Mitchell Freeway, turn west and enter the town of Cambridge, home to Lake Monger Reserve. I’ve driven by this lake dozens of times, but today I’m going to explore it in depth.

http://www.cambridge.wa.gov.au/facil...ke_monger.html

I park in the small lot off Vincent Street and begin walking the 3.5 km paved path that circles the lake. I know from my frequent drive bys that this reserve is teeming with birds, and before I know it I’m creeping up on all manner of feathered creatures, willing them to be still while I take photos.

I’ve read that Lake Monger is home to 33 species of water birds. I’m not a birder, so my untrained eyes just see a bunch of interesting birds and ducks. Of course I recognize the black swans, and there are some beautifully vibrant parrots, but other than that I’m at a loss until I get home and do some research. As it turns out, I saw Purple Swamp Hens, dozens of screeching Little Corellas (white cockatoos) and what I believe to be a Western Long Necked Tortoise hatchling, which crossed the path right in front of me. There were loads of others of course, but for now, they’re nameless.

I reach a fork in the road and decide to go left, which leads through the conservation area of the reserve that hugs the lake. The bikers, rollerbladers and joggers are forced to go right, so there are fewer people on this path. It’s far from quiet, as the Mitchell Freeway is mere meters away, but it IS an urban park. I work my way around the lake slowly, stopping frequently to take snaps. The conservation path ends and rejoins the main path and I’m soon in a large park, fringed by some impressive looking houses.

Over an hour later, I’m back in the car park, but instead of getting into my car, I decide to walk around the lake once more, a bit faster this time, making this a nice 4.5 mile walk.

If any birders are reading this, I’d really appreciate your help in labeling the birds in these photographs (toward the bottom of the page).

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/354397/index.html

Next up: The Chittering Valley
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 06:52 PM
  #35  
 
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Melnq8, if you give a call out to Saltauris (I know I just spelled that incorrectly) I'll bet he can help you with the birds. The one before the long-necked whatcha-hoolie we just call a common moorhen here, don't now about Australia. The one with the curved black bill at the end is some sort of ibis I would guess, but I don't have the Australian bird book at hand.
Toucan2 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 02:45 AM
  #36  
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Thanks Toucan. I probably should invest in a good birding book.

11) A wet walk and some nice wine discoveries…

We’ve discovered that there are three separate wine trails in the Perth Hills, so on a gloomy day in August we decide to visit the one in the Chittering Valley. In addition to a list of wineries, I’ve cobbled together a rough plan for walking a portion of the Kyotmunga Walk Trail, a 7.1 km (one way) trail that leads to Avon Valley National Park.

Gathering information on walk trails in WA has proven to be a challenge, as details aren’t readily available online, even through the respective shire and National Park websites.

Rain is expected, but we throw caution to the wind, toss our backpacks and rain gear in the car and point northeast, via the Mitchell, Reid and Great Northern highways. Having taken an entirely different route, we’re somewhat surprised when we end up smack in the middle of the Swan Valley surrounded by naked vines.

We exit the Swan and pass Walyunga National Park, which is on my ever growing list of places to explore. Before long we’re in the midst of green rolling hills, horse farms, riding schools and stables. The colors and topography are so different from what we’ve become accustomed to that it momentarily feels as if we’ve left the state. It’s gorgeous through here, having obviously benefited from the winter rain. We reach Bullsbrook, turn right onto Chittering Road and we’re on the Chittering Valley wine trail.

http://www.chitteringvalleywinetrail.com.au/

We detour to Chittering Valley Road, and we’re suddenly surrounded by citrus orchards; dark green trees with bright oranges set off nicely against the lush green backdrop of the hillside. There are several honesty stands set up along the road, selling oranges for $2 a bag, so we stop to buy one. Apparently they also grow sweet lemons here, which you can eat as you would an orange. We’re intrigued, but there aren’t any for sale.

I’d read that the Kyotmunga Walk Trail begins somewhere across from Kyotmunga Estate. We locate the sign, turn on Yozzi Road, park and set out through what appears to be a private orange orchard. We see two white posts that we assume are trail markers and begin walking through the middle of the orchard, half expecting someone to come out with a shotgun and shoo us off. After several false starts and a bit of cross country tramping, we manage to find the trail above the orchard. We see what we think is an emu tucked amongst the trees, but it vanishes before we can get a good look.

The green suddenly disappears and we’re in the trees, ambling along a wide, badly eroded red dirt path. It’s a bit steep, but offers some nice views of the surrounding hills and the orchard below.

We walk for awhile, eventually turning back to retrace our steps, but not before the sky opens up and gives us a good dousing. We attempt to follow the white markers through the orchard again, but we end up in a wet sloppy marsh, dodging large puddles and abandoned pumpkins or squash or gourds – green striped balls attached to tiny dried up vines. Rain aside, it’s a nice enough walk, but it really could use better signage.

Our raincoats protect us from the squall, but our feet are soaked after walking through the marsh. We return to Chittering Road, where we seek out Stringybark, and make our first winery visit of the day. We sample the goods, particularly liking their 2008 Verdelo. Their restaurant is so inviting that we decide to stay on for lunch. There’s only one waitress attending to several tables, so we have a bit of a wait, but it gives us a chance to dry off. Bill tries the scallops and bacon parcels with rice and béarnaise sauce; the scallops are huge ($26). I go for the potato and leek soup ($8.50). Both are good, but the plain white rice and white bread are uninspired.

http://www.stringybarkwinery.com.au/about.html

Our next stop is Western Range Winery, but we can’t raise anyone at the cellar door, so we move on to Briery Estate, where we’re warmly welcomed by three friendly dogs, one of which hops right into our car ready for a ride. We sample several wines on the porch while we chat with co-owner Christine. She answers our endless questions and tells us that temperatures as high as 53°C have been reported in the valley (!).

I ask Christine about Bindoon Bakery, and she tells us that people drive in from all over for the bakery’s meat pies. Bill hasn’t yet recovered from a dodgy meat pie he ate years ago; I’m not a fan of meat in general, but in my never ending quest to find good bread and sweets I feel compelled to pop in a take a peek. The girl behind the counter assures me that the tempting chocolate cake in the display case is indeed as good as it looks, so I buy a piece to take home (it’s later warmed up and shared with Bill, who proclaims it worthy).

The weather takes a turn for the worse and we’re soon driving in wind driven torrential rain. We dodge downed branches on the road for the remainder of the day. We work our way toward the next winery, Riseborough Estate. What a wonderful find this is. Absolutely fantastic wines – we love every red we try, and purchase six bottles. The winery also has a gallery, but we’re so consumed with the wines that we completely forget to go upstairs to check it out.

http://www.totaltravel.com.au/link.asp?fid=1065367

Our next and final stop is Jylland Vineyard, where we have a nice chat with the owner’s daughter and see our biggest Australian spider to date. We’re told it’s a harmless Huntsman. It’s creepy and doesn’t look particularly harmless to me.

It’s been a good day, but it’s getting late and we’re wined out, so we head home.

Next up??
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 05:18 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 198
Melnq8:
Love reading about your adventures and I've been taking plenty of notes for the past 6 or so months. The time has finally arrived. We leave to the land downunder next week and will arrive in Perth on the 27th of August. Will be in Perth and south (MR, Denmark, Pemberton, etc) until Sept 8 when we depart to Adelaide and KI. I thought you guys were experiencing a drought down there but lately I've been reading about a lot of rain. Any forcast predictions (temperature/rain) during the time we're there (WA/SA), anyone?
Thanks
lovingretirement is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 04:36 PM
  #38  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,666
Well, thank you lovingretirement. We've had a wet winter here in Perth (my first, so I have nothing to compare it to) and it should be nice and green for your visit with plenty of wildflowers. A week ago I was convinced summer was on the way, it was so sunny and warm, but winter returned just in time for the weekend. I use the term 'winter' loosely, as it's like no winter I've ever experienced - it's mandarin season afterall - (I'm from Colorado mind you).

I wouldn't worry about the weather for your visit - we tend to get squalls - the wind will whip itself into a fury and dump some rain, then 10 minutes later it's a distant memory and that blue WA sky is clear as can be.

A few months from now WA will be as dry as a bone and we'll be craving a good squall or two.

Enjoy your visit!
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 10:53 PM
  #39  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,666
12) A park in the 'burbs…

The dozens of snails on my back patio bodes ill for walking, but I decide to go anyway. I’ve discovered that Perth’s grey winter mornings can’t be trusted; chances are it will be a beautiful day. I walk the mile to my neighborhood train station and board a train bound for Joondalup, taking my raincoat just in case.

I’ve purchased “Family Walks in the Perth Outdoors” a walking guide by CALM (Department of Conservation and Land Management), and I’ve decided to start with the Lake Joondalup Nature Trail on page 77.

I detrain at the Joondalup station and it’s immediately obvious that I’m going to need a few more directions than have been provided; “you can also travel by train to Joondalup and walk through Central Park to Neil Hawkins Park” is woefully inadequate, as I’m on a platform with a shopping mall at one end and a train track at the other. I waylay a TransPerth employee; she’s kind enough to direct me through the mall, up the escalator and out the other side, which deposits me on Boas Ave, where I turn right. I soon discover that I’m walking along Central Walk; apparently there’s been a misprint in my book.

I walk through town and notice the wide streets; a nice change from the claustrophobic narrow roads that wind through most of Perth’s shopping districts. I walk until the road ends and find myself in Neil Hawkins Park/Yellagonga Regional Park. Why it has two names is a mystery.

I locate the track by the edge of Lake Joondalup, and begin the nature trail. I meander along the path surrounded by banksias, wattles and paper barks. I only know this because my book tells me so. To me, they’re trees. It’s a nice path, wide, shaded, full of birds and early wildflowers in bloom. As expected, it’s not long before the sun is out and those clouds and snails are a distant memory.

I’m soon entering the parkland area of Picnic Cove. From here I cross the road and walk up Quarry Ramble in search of the lookout, which I’ve read offers some nice views over the lake; it does. I then retrace my steps and continue on the path to Ocean Reef road, which a sign indicates is another 1.9 km. This portion isn’t in my book, but I follow it for awhile, thinking it’d be perfect for rollerblading.

This is a one way path, so I retrace my steps to where I began. Neil Hawkins Park is full of birds now, so I creep up on a few and take some photos. Suddenly the entire flock takes to the air, screeching, circling and swooping like mad. I prepare to be shat upon, but I escape unscathed.

I return to the mall and decide chai and cake is in order, so I pop into the Merchant Tea and Coffee Company and sample the best mud cake I’ve had to date. It’s so rich I only manage a few bites; the rest goes home to be fought over later. In five short minutes and four bites I’ve managed to undo eight miles of walking. Oh well, a life without cake can’t possibly be worth living.

13) Lake Gwelup Reserve…

On a cool August morning I motor up Karrinyup Road, with Lake Gwelup in my sights. I turn right onto North Beach Road and begin to look for a place to park, as I know the lake is on my left. No luck, so I turn left onto Wanstead Street and look some more. Alas, I seem to have found a park with no parking area. I turn around and do as the other visitors have done, park on the grass along the perimeter of the park. I don’t know if this is an Australian thing or merely a Perth oddity, but parking on the grass seems to be widely accepted. (A few days back I saw someone jump a curb, drive across a park and pull up next to a lake.) It feels wrong to me, but the city planners seem to have forgotten parking bays and sidewalks in this fair city. There are loads of walking paths, but very few sidewalks and most of the streets are too narrow to accommodate parking on the street.

Gwelup Lake is another of those places I’ve passed many times; today I’ve come to explore it on foot. I’ve downloaded a nice map from the Internet to prevent me getting lost:

http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/...LakeGwelup.pdf

The first sign I encounter is one I’m becoming entirely too familiar with, a warning that snakes have been seen in the area. Imagine that. I begin my walk near the Rotary Gazebo, and work my way around the lake via the paved path, diverting to the lake viewing shelter and walking the entire loop in about 30 minutes. Except for the ever boisterous parrots overhead, the walk is peaceful, the traffic on Karrinyup distant background noise. I notice that sections of the path are perfect for rollerblading; if I ever muster the courage to reacquaint myself with my rollerblades, I’ll have to give it a go.

I decide to walk around again, but this time I take a narrow dirt path that winds through the bush. I enjoy the walk until I hear rustling…I begin to wonder if the Aussies who’ve assured me that snakes hibernate in the winter are just yanking my chain…the rustling continues, coming from every direction and I expect a snake to crawl out at any minute. I’m relieved when I rejoin the main path and I decide to stay out of the bush for the rest of the walk.

On my second trip around the lake I veer to the right, finding a different network of paths that lead away from the lake. I take one, then another, then another, amazed at how many paths there are. I eventually find myself back near the lake, so I continue the loop I started, returning to my car some 90 minutes and five miles later. I vow to return.

Next up??
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 12:16 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,694
Being home not feeling well, with nothing better to do with my time I grabbed my husband's bird books. I'm not the best of birders so if the picture doesn't look exactly like the one I'm looking at I am in trouble, but here are a few of your birds. The bird before the purple swamphen is indeed a Moorhen, a Dusky Moorhen. After that you have an unattractive white bird with a big red blob and I don't know what that is. The duck you have is an Australian Shelduck. go a few more pics after ones you have identified there is a black and white bird and I think it is an Australian Magpie. The black and white ibis at the end is an Australian White Ibis.
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