Bibbulmun Track

Rating:  2000 Frequent Bio Points*

South West__0605The Bibbulmun Track is  world famous. It is a  long distance walk trail (one of the longest in the world), stretching 1000km from  the Perth Hills all the way down to Albany on the south coast.

The track winds through the scenic South West of Western Australia.

For the more seasoned and adventurous walkers there are shelters along the trail for overnight camping.

For the more casual walker  (who may prefer to stroll for an hour or two in scenic surroundings) the track is easily accessible in many places along the way.

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The track starts in the Darling Ranges and finishes at Albany on the south coast.

It passes through many towns such as Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Donnelly River, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole and Denmark.

I spent a week or two exploring different sections of the trail starting at the picturesque Donnelly River and finishing up just past Walpole on the southern coast.

 

 

The Karri forests past Walpole were particularly pristine!

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Along the way I captured many different sounds of the forests.

I put these sounds together to create a Soundscape depicting a day in the forest from dawn to dusk. It is called Bibbulmun Cathedral and attempts to capture the spirit of the forest.

The bush walk is ever changing and at times breath taking, for example when you reach cliff-tops above the  Southern Ocean.

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This magnificent trail winds its way through diverse areas of natural and wild beauty; from jarrah forests to the giant karri and tingle trees.

 

 

You will come across a variety of flowers and trees, low-lying scrub heath lands, lakes and rivers.  There are very many mammals, reptiles and birds that thrive in these areas.

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Even just an hour or two on this track will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Highly Recommended!

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Smiths Beach

Magpie, cockatoos and surfSmiths Beach, Yalingup

Rating:  300 Frequent Bio Points*

Yalingup is a coastal surfing town located in the south west coast of Western Australia. 01e30d20a7267d6f84650c77942799acf46dd07eeb

It is along the Cape to Cape Walk  which starts at Cape Naturaliste near the magnificent coastline of Geographe Bay.

Smiths beach is a popular swimming spot with Resort style accommodation right on the beach.
Yalingup is part of the Margaret River’s famous wine making region.
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You are currently listening to Old Scruffy, a magpie that sings for his many visitors outside Canal Rocks Beach Resort.
The outdoor beach shower post provides an ideal platform for his operatic performances.
There are a variety of sea birds, local cockatoos and kangaroos that frequent the area.
Apart from the beautiful swimming beaches there are stunning ocean views a short walk away along the Cape Cape Trail
Yalingup is an easy 3 hour drive down from Perth and we spent a very pleasant few days at Smiths beach, enjoying swimming in the crystal clear waters and breath taking walks along the coast. February is usually very warm and dry but we came across some very unusual weather patterns while we were here.
Prior to our leaving Perth, this amazing cloud band (taken  at Peters Pool Cottesloe) was a portend of things to come!
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A low pressure tough from the humid tropics of Northern Western Australia can form cyclonic weather there. In this case it created a rain depression that traveled all the way down to the South West, causing unseasonably humid and wet weather and flooding in some places.
It also presented us with amazing sunsets as can be seen in this picture of my mother and I walking along the coastline one evening. We felt like we were on the edge of the planet Mars looking out at the universe (and everything)!
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Rottnest Island

Wadjemup –  Land across the water where the spirits go.

Rating:  1,000 Frequent Bio Points

 Plus 500 Bonus Frequent Bio Points every time you walk or ride to a bay away from the settlement!

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Rottnest Island

19 Kms across the sea from Fremantle, Western Australia.

Rottnest Ferry services are available from Perth and Fremantle.

Rottnest Island is an A Class Nature Reserve preserving flora, marine and wildlife.

Cars are not permitted on the Island and bicycles or walking are the main means of transport.

Rottnest is a place of natural attractions and healthy activities.

 

Rottnest is the home to the quokka, a quokkasmall marsupial with a pouch similar to Kangaroos and Wallabies. In 1696 de Vlamingh thought that quokkas were “a kind of rat as big as a common cat” and he named the Island ‘Rotte nest’ (meaning ‘rat’s nest’).

The traditional and Indigenous name for Rottnest is Wadgemup.

After colonization Rottnest was used for a time as a prison for convicted Aboriginals. These convictions were often only for very petty crimes.  The conditions on the Island have been quoted as being horrific; ‘squalid, cramped, dank and dark’. This was a shameful period in the recent history of the Island.  A memorial centre is to be built and at least some proper respect will be paid to those who lost their lives there.

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There are many walks on the Island including guided walks and bird watching walks

The Island is surrounded by beautiful and often secluded bays.

The waters around Rottnest as crystal clear and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

October and November are best times to see the many humpback whales heading past Rottnest towards the Southern Ocean.

Accommodation is basic but clean. It is a safe place for children and families.There are facilities for disabled and elderly visitors. This has become a place for all people to enjoy. 019e435f9a6c1fbd7ea637179c88dd39b636d5013f

Developers want to get their hands on the Island and build 5 star hotels and resorts.

Locals do not want the Island to become a place just for the wealthy.

 

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My mother  has Parkinson’s disease.

We have just spent a lovely week at Rottnest.

We were well looked after on the ferries and on the Island.

Mum says she felt so much better after having spent a week in such a healthy environment.

Her appetite was good, she slept well, and there was an obvious improvement in her health each day and throughout our stay.

 Rottnest is a  pristine environment and a natural wonderland.

 Highly recommended!

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Ridgeback Trail

Rating:  500 Frequent Bio Points

IMG_0401Ridgeback Trial

Distance: 5 km circuit

Moderate 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the Ridgeback trail is on the Telephone Road about 1.5 km north of Quinninup.

Finding the trail

Quinninup-3Walking north of Quinninup, go past Karri Lake on the right and the new forest re-plantations on the left. After a turn in the bend at the top of the road you will eventually find a small sign post indicating a forest track called Telephone Road.

This is near the entrance to the Ridgeback trail.

This trail is much underused. In fact the original sign for the trail was lying flat on the ground and was therefore hard to find.

The trail itself is largely overgrown and the signage can be hard to follow at times. If you are persistent you will come across some beautiful and tranquil  forest scenes. There is a feeling of remoteness in places.

I love this walk.

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This was a particularly good wet winter. We need more of these!

And the frogs were happy.

Along Telephone road near the Bark road turn off the frogs seemed to be in conversation with each other.

They are amusing to listen to if you have the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orchid Trail

Rating:  500 Frequent Bio Points

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Orchid Trail

Distance: 5 km circuit

Easy 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the Orchid Trail is off Karri Lane 1.5 kms East of Quinninup.

 

 

 

 

Singing Australian Magpies

MaggieOn my way to Karri Lane I came across a clan of magpies living near the town’s park on the edge of the forest. Sitting down at one of the picnic tables I turned my sound recorder up high to try and capture the magpies caroling in the trees tops. To my surprise a curious magpie* flew down, hopped up onto the table and started to talk into the microphone. It blew the recording meter right off the scale!  Luckily I managed to save most of the recording. You can hear him from about 0.48 (volume has been reduced).

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The orchid walk is a delightful walk and well marked.

The entrance is off Karri Lane and across a small footbridge. It is not long before you will enjoy some beautiful forest scenery.

Taking this trail in mid-winter we unfortunately didn’t spot any orchids.

 

 

 Spring would be the best time for wildflowers and orchids.

I can imagine this walk would be most spectacular then.

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 In season the Orchid walk features many of the species such as the Spider, Helmet, Hammer, Snail and Bird Orchids.

In any case the forest  was still impressive with varied foliage throughout the walk including banksia, hakea, grevillea, dryandra and a variety of  fungi.

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Overall very satisfying and not too arduous.

Recommended.

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*Footnote: Magpies Alert; Magpies can swoop! Usually only in Springtime to protect their young.

My cousins from Cornwall loved our Australian Magpies. I did too. I couldn’t resist sampling their song to introduce a little piano piece I wrote last year.

 

 

Araluen

 

Tip Toe Through the Tulips

Rating:  500 Frequent Bio Points

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Araluen

Botanical Gardens

Located in the Darling Range.

35km south-east of the Perth

Easy and Inclusive Walks

(Disabled Access)

 

Springtime in Western Australia, one always thinks of our beautiful wildflowers especially after such a good winter. However, here in Araluen one could almost imagine being in Holland with such a spectacular show of tulip. Kathy and Marcia took a trip there and this is what they found and photographed.

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Araluen Botanic Park is home to many species of Australian and international flora.

Its unique micro-climate featuring loam soils and high rainfall provides an unparalleled opportunity to grow exotic cool climate plants in our desert climate.

 

Camellias, tea roses and tulips can all be discovered at Araluen in springtime amongst a native backdrop of Eucalyptus, Marri and Blackbutt.

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The natural surroundings support a range of native wildlife, including marsupials, birds, reptiles and water creatures. After a good wet winter the frogs were particularly active and great Bio Indicator of this unique environment.

Araluen boasts of a magical journey through the Park highlighting the stunning bursts of colour from the 125,000 Tulips throughout the Park.They are not wrong and well its worth the drive there!

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Park for Parkinson’s

Perry Lakes

 My mother has Late Onset Parkinson’s Disease. She is 85.

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Some times when I visit her she is struggling a bit to move around her apartment. Every Sunday morning we go for a walk in the park. We drive down to nearby park lands called Perry Lakes. This is large beautiful area with lots of trees and several lake areas situated right next to Bold Park (an A class reserve).

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The air in Perry Lakes is always fresh and the bird life plentiful.

And there are outdoor exercise machines here too!

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We take our time as we walk through the trees towards the several outdoor exercise gym machines. On those days we are nearly always overtaken by other people!

freda-8Two exercise machines are particularly good for mum.

This first  one is the cross trainer walker machine and is a little like a ski walking machine.

It helps her coordinate her arm and leg movements and helps her to  make large strides.

 

 

 

fredaThe second is an ab-hip swinger.

Mum often comments that she can feel this one loosening up her hips.

She finds them both easy to do and I can see how much more she is loosening up as she exercises on each machine.

The results of taking these exercises in the park are always apparent afterwards. When we return to the apartment her ability to move around the apartment has greatly improved.  We often remark that it is not just the exercises but also the fresh air and the natural surrounding that re- invigorate her.  It is noticeable to us that the effects are  better than those when she  exercise indoors.

For mum, the walks are easily worth 1000 or more  Frequent Bio Points (this is subjective of course)! It may not cure her but it at least helps improves her condition.

White Cockatoos recorded at Perry Lakes

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Thank you to the Rotary Club and the  Town of Cambridge for supplying and maintaining this resource.

Karri Lake Trail

Rating:  300 Frequent Bio Points*

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Distance: 4 km circuit

Easy 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the Karri Lake Trail is  off Wheatley Coast Road at the northern end of Quinninup.

 

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The winter of 2016 was a decent season with constant rainfall across the region. They say that frogs are a good sign of a healthy environment (bio-indicators). Wherever I walked I could hear frogs!

On one particularly wet day I walked down to the entrance off Wheatley Coast Road where  I could hear Bonking Frogs sounding like an orchestra of banjos in the rain!

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The walk around Karri Lake is mostly very easy with beautiful and at times stunning views along the way.

Karri Lake is the water catchment area for the town and there is evidence of logging and clearing in parts of the lake.

 

Unfortunately there is  bacteria in the lake and the water is not fit for consumption. Drinking water has to be be constantly trucked in to refill the town’s reservoir tank .

It seems strange houses are allowed to be built around and very close to the lake.

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The closeness of the houses and the human manipulation of the landscape is why the walk doesn’t attract the full 500 Bio points * you would expect.

Never-the-less it is a very satisfying walk and well worth doing for the views,the fresh air and to listen to the birds, frogs and insects everywhere! This recording captures the sounds of the forest as I walk past a stream.

 

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King Karri Trail

Rating:  500 Frequent Bio Points

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King Karri Trail

Distance: 4.2 km circuit

Easy 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the King Karri trail is off the Wheatley Coast Road towards the South West Highway.

 

 

 

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Fallen LogNot far from the entrance I thought a fallen tree had crossed the track. It wasn’t a tree, but a massive branch from the top of one of the huge trees.

A reminder not to walk in the forests during storms (or the day after)!

 

There are two named trees along the trail; Shaggy Karri and the Hollow Butt King Karri  They are 300 to 400 years old and over 60 metres high!

Shaggy Karri

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Recently the Hollow Butt King Karri had succumbed to nature and crashed down to the forest floor. I’m very glad I wasn’t admiring it when it fell across the path.

Hollow Butt before (2015).

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Hollow Butt after! (2016)

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Overall this is a delightful and easy walk. Listen to the bird life in the ambiance of the forest air (including magpies and kookaburras).

 Time Machine: Listening to these sounds takes me right back to this place and time!

 

Quinninup

RATING: 750 Frequent Bio Points

Every year I try and escape the technologies and demands of city life by going down South for a couple of weeks. In the Great Southern Region of Western Australia I discovered the charms of an old timber town called Quinninup.

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Quinninup is a few kilometres down from the turn off to Pemberton on the South West Highway.

The little town is a hidden gem.  It  is not the place to go to find 5 star accommodation or for any resorts surrounded by sparkling spas, pools, cocktail bars and artificial plants.

 

But it is the place to go for easy, beautiful and restorative walks in our magnificent Karri forests!

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Accommodation varies from old timber cottages, caravan park and cabins as well as holiday homes with beautiful views of the Karri Lake.

 

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Meals are available from a great little country pub.

 

 

 

 THE WALKING TRAILS

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Toadstool Quinninup

There are three easy to moderate walking trails around Quinninup; The King Karri Trail;, Karri Lake Walk and the Orchid Trail.

There is also one lesser known moderate to difficult walking trail called the Ridgebark Trail.

Winter is a great time to walk the Karri forests of the South; the snakes are all asleep and the forests are vibrant with intriguing tapestries of various creepers, fungi, mosses, ferns and lichens.

However to catch the wildflowers and wild orchids then Spring is ideal. The snakes might be awake but they are rarely a problem (they slide away and hide from human footsteps). It’s a good idea to wear appropriate sturdy shoes and long pants. Dress for the weather (rain can come up quickly and unexpectedly).  Always carry water in the warmer months. Avoid walking the forests on stormy, windy or very hot days.