Lane Pool Reserve

We left Chudacud Estate in the morning and headed for the coast, the idea being to spend another few days by the sea but on the we way changed our minds. We fancied just one more outback experience which is what campervanning in Australia is all about. A quick look at the guide book pointed us to Dwellingup with the Lane Pool Reserve close by.

Dwellingup is a peaceful little place situated on the Murray River in the jarrah timber district. It was established in the late 19th century but unfortunately most of the buildings were destroyed by a bush fire in 1961. We called in the town for provisions and also visited their excellent visitor centre. We picked up maps for the Lane Pool Reserve and also details of the King Jarrah Trail which is an 18 km loop walk within the reserve that we planned to do. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving round the reserve on its mostly unsealed and rough roads checking out the various camping and swimming spots. We eventually settled on the Nanga Mill campground, found a nice spot and collected wood for our fire (although it’s very hot during the day it still gets quite cold at night in the forest). This is such a beautiful remote spot but only 2 hours from Perth. Fires are only allowed for the next week or so and then there’s a total fire ban everywhere in WA because of the bush fire risk.

We were up early in the morning to start our walk. It was a well marked track with just a few steep slopes along the way. Most of the early part of the walk is through very thick jarrah re-growth forest. It’s so natural, trees are left to grow for several hundred years and when they die they are left where they fall and obviously they take another few hundred years to rot away. Some parts of the forest have been infected by die-back which is a disease of trees that just kills everything in it’s path. At the moment they have no way of stopping it apart from keeping the general public off affected areas which is what spreads it. Today Australians are struggling with some of the most severe environmental problems to be found anywhere. Austalia’s long isolation, it’s fragile soils and difficult climate have made it particularly vulnerable to human induced change. It might sound a bit of a cliche but we really did feel as though it was a privelege to walk in such an ancient forest. We spooked a few kangaroos along the way and came across 2 lizards on the track but they decided to stay put and it was us who had to walk round them. Just after the halfway mark the track ran along the side of the Murray River and we found a good spot for lunch and a swim. The rest of the walk was relatively flat as we were getting tired by now. It was the middle of the afternoon by the time we got back for a much needed rest and cup of tea.

We were joined later by Andy, a German who’s been living in Australia for 12 years. He lives near Perth and had just come down for a couple of days in his campervan with his dog. Andy had lived in several places around the world, particularly South America which he was very enthusiastic about which gave us some ideas about places we might like to visit in the future.

The next morning we did a shorter walk right on the banks of the river and found a great swimming spot and when we returned Andy was waiting with a very welcome cold beer. We spent a bit more time with him and then it was time to move on to Fremantle which should be our final destination.

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