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Entries about walking

Day 27 Queensland to Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park which surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River, is one of the popular Western Australian National parks. The Murchison River has created a 80 km gorge through the red and white banded sandstone to create formations such as Nature’s Window/The Loop, Z-Bend and Hawks Head. All of these can be reached by following well formed trails.

The National Park also runs along the coast where wind and wave erosion has created some wonderful creations such as Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Eagle Gorge, Island Rock and the Natural Bridge, these are the best-known features of this rugged coast.

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Wildflowers in Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park is known for its exceptional wildflowers which are at their best in spring and early summer. I even found my first green and red Kangaroo Paw in the park. People come here for a variety of reasons that include sightseeing, picnicing, abseiling, diving, rafting, kayaking, swimming, canoeing (only after heavy rains) Snorkelling, Surfing, Bushwalking and Fishing.

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Kalbarri N/Park

Make sure you bring your own drinking water as there is none available in Kalbarri National Park, wear sunscreen and a hat - It gets hot out here during the daytime. Toilets and Picnic shelters with bbqs are at some look-outs, not all.

To enter the National park, you need an ENTRY PASS.
A Day Pass - This pass covers entry into one or more parks on any one day. Passes are available from rangers in the parks. In some parks, a system of self-registration applies.
Holiday Park Pass - Entry to as many parks as you wish for any 4 week period, this is the one we bought, but first we made sure we would get our moneys worth out of it before buying.
Annual All Park Pass - Unlimited access to all parks in WA. Valid for one vehicle, with up to 8 legally seated people.
PARK PASSES DO NOT INCLUDE CAMP SITE FEES - Separate fees apply.

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Hawks Head- Kalbarri N/Park

Hawk's Head Lookout is about a 30mins from Kalbarri township. We found the brown tourist sign and followed the road until we came to a car-park and picnic area which is a far as we could go, the rest is walking. This area is quite new and very nice and even had nice clean composting toilets. There was a shelter with benches and bbqs where a bus load of tourists were having their morning tea. There weren't any rubbish bins, so we took our rubbish home with us.

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Composting toilets- Kalbarri N/Park

Putting my hat on and taking a bottle of water with me, I made my way along the paved pathway, a walk of only 100 metres to the look-out. The look-out gave me a spectacular view over Kalbarri Gorge and the Murchison River.

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Hawks Head- Kalbarri N/Park

Hawk's Head was named in honour of a hawk shaped rock formation visible from the lookout. It is a great view made even better by the deep red colour of the Gorge.

The Ross Graham River Walk, a class 3, is an easy walk I followed along a paved walkway to the edge of the peaceful Murchison river, where trees were lush and green and the rocks a brilliant red.

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Kalbarri N/Park

The view from the look-out itself is a good one of the Murchison River and gorges.

Before coming to Kalbarri National Park, I had read over 1,000 different species of wildflowers have been found in the park. As a lover of flowers I was quite eager to see how many I could find.

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Kangaroo Paw

I was very excited to find my first Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, "Anigozanthos manglesii," the floral emblem of Western Australia since 1960.

On the roadside were many different wildflowers to what I had seen previously, a walk into the low scrub found many more!
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Wildflowers

The wildflowers come in a myriad of colours and shapes, some were low ground hugging plants and others were taller shrubs with many dead looking branches but were still covered in flowers.

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Wildflowers

Some of the more common ones I saw were gold and orange Banksias, Grevilleas in many colours,
the unusual Smoke bush,

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Wildflowers

Starflowers, the famous Kalbarri catspaw and spider orchid and the small Murchison Hammer orchid. Twenty-one of these species are only found in the Kalbarri area. It was very pretty!

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Wildflowers

Take many photos as many species will not be found elsewhere in Western Australia, I learnt that lesson earlier in this trip.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO PICK THE WILDFLOWERS
The best time to see the wildflowers is between July and November.

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The Loop trail is one of the harder walks to do in Kalbarri National Park. It is described as a "challenging but spectacular walk through the gorge system." The walk is 8km return, too far for me to walk, so the only part I did was the first section which forms part of the trail to Nature's Window. I imagine if you had the time and energy, it would be well worth doing.

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Kalbarri N/Park

The 400metre walk to Natures Window is on paved pathway most of the way, then the last part to the window is over sculptured rocks, the elderly and those a little incapacitated were finding it little difficult, I managed ok, but saw others struggling.

The rock geology of this National Park is really something to see and shouldn't be missed!

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Kalbarri N/Park

At Nature's Window I saw orange/red and white banded rocks and rippled surfaces that were formed by waves moving over tidal flats in a shallow sea approx. 400 million years ago. These red and white banded rocks can be seen through most of the river gorge. The rock is made from Tumblagooda sandstone, a soft stone which the wind shapes into all kinds of different shapes.

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Kalbarri N/Park

Natures Window would have to be one of the most stunning sights and most photographed sights in Kalbarri National Park.
The Window is a wonderful natural creation made this way by the wind. In the centre is a gaping hole from where there are wonderful views of the Murchison river. This natural formation is a great natural frame for your photos so make sure you have your photo taken in the frame, even though you will probably have to wait your turn!

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Natures Window - Kalbarri N/Park

From Nature's Window, I could see people clambering over a narrow rocky razorback to reach a part of the plateau that has almost been cut off by the bend in the river. Once on the heath covered plateau, the walk is along the rim of the gorge where some weather carved sandstone and views of the river can be seen. River gums and Sandy beaches beside the river would be a nice spot for a rest, perhaps some lunch/morning tea and a cool off in the River before continuing. Of course, the end of the trail means a steep short climb back up to Nature’s Window.

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Kalbarri N/Park

In another area of Kalbarri National Park were more walking trails, sadly after doing so many on a hot day, I was feeling rather tired and weary by the time I reached these, so all I did was the shortest which happened to be the Z Bend Trail. The trail is a 1.2km return, class 3 walking trail that departs from the car park. It was quite and easy trail, although expect uphill on the way back. I saw more wildflowers and an interesting small Lizard that ran flat out across the track with his head held high, golly he looked funny!

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Kalbarri N/Park

I came across a signboard with a drawing of a Scorpion which told me about these creatures that were found in Kalbarri nearly 400 million years ago, making them one of earths earliest land creatures. These were the Arthropods whose descendants are Spiders, Scorpions, Cicadas and Centipedes. It tells you where to look for their trails and sure enough we could see the parallel markings made by the creature known as an Eurypterid.
On reaching the end of the track, the view from a large rock is over the Murchison river and is very nice!

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Kalbarri N/Park

If you wish to go down to the River, then follow the "River Trail" a class 4, a more difficult trail and one with ladder climbs, steep descents, loose rocks and a narrow chasm to walk through. The trail is 2.6kms return and the estimated time is 2 hours.
The Four Ways trail is 6kms return and is expected to take between 2 - 3 hours. It too is more difficult and has a steep

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Kalbarri N/Park

Meannara Hill Lookout is a must visit if your in Kalbarri.
As you drive out of Kalbarri township along Kalbarri road, watch for the turn-off to the right not far from Kalbarri township. The road is dirt and can be rough, it depends on when the grader has been through. It's a no through road ending at a dirt car-park. From here it was ashort walk to the look-out along a dirt path where bushes were flowering and Honeyeaters were after their nectar. The look-out has wonderful views over the Murchison River and its entry into the Indian Ocean, Kalbarri township and the lovely coloured cliffs. Early morning and the sun was behind me, so I took lots of good shots, unfortunately, my camera played up and l lost all of them, so had to return in the afternoon to take more when the sun was in the wrong position.

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Kalbarri National Park was wonderful! Even though it was winter, it still was quite hot, so I would hate to come here in summer, I definitely wouldn't recommend that!

Tomorrow, we are going to explore the seaside part of Kalbarri National Park

Posted by balhannahrise 15:58 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes park walking australia outback national western trails wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 28 Queensland to Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park to Chapman Valley near Geraldton

Time to pack up and start heading to Perth, but I wasn't in any hurry to leave this lovely spot.

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Pelican feeding

I had spotted a notice that Pelican feeding takes place daily at 8.45am and is run by volunteers who feed the Pelicans fish. All you have to do is wait near that sign for the wild Pelicans to waddle up from the water to be fed. A small crowd of people had gathered, unfortunately the Pelican group was small too, only five! A couple were rather nervous and flew back to the water, later they plucked up courage to come closer again. If you have never seen an Australian Pelican up close, then this is a great chance to see one, and there are plenty of photo opportunities. For me, it was disappointing that more Pelicans hadn't zoomed in on the free feeding like they have done elsewhere in Australia.

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Kalbarri

I decided to take one last stroll along the esplanade. Feeling lazy, I dawdled along taking in the pretty scene, the deserted picnic area, a fisherman and a couple kayaking. So quiet now, later it would be a lot busier, but still not too busy as many people go to the Kalbarri National Park.
The Esplanade parklands is such a nice area to sit back with a book, do some reading and to watch life go by. No wonder this is a popular winter time destination. The weather is warm and perfect then!

Caravan packed and hooked up, we were going to head south to Perth, but along the way would be making many stops.

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Murchison river entrance

Our day began in Kalbarri, at Chinaman's Rock Look-out from where we had views of the Murchison River mouth entering the Indian Ocean. The Murchison River flows for 820kms, making it the second longest river in Western Australia. At the free car park, trails led to view points, Chinaman's Beach and to Chinaman's Rock, other trails led to sheltered picnic areas. We sat here for quite a while watching the waves and looking for Dolphins, no luck with the Dolphins, then I went for a walk along the trail, not right to Chinaman's Rock look-out as I was feeling tired after a day of walking in the heat, but I did walk far enough to see and enjoy watching the rolling surf hitting the sandbar at the River entrance.

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Kalbarri coastline

Back on the road again, this time leave Kalbarri and follow the coastal road (Red Bluff Road), noticing tourist signs along the way. We begin at the first and follow everyone we see.

The first tourist sign is to Blue Holes, an area which is part of the inshore coastal limestone reef system, parts are permanently submerged by the ocean and others are exposed and have rock pools at low tide - I love exploring these. This area is a fish sanctuary, so fishing wasn't allowed, this meant an abundance of sea creatures.

Jake's Point was our next stop. It turned out Jake's Point beach was a national Surfing Reserve. As I am not a surfer, all I can tell you is what I read ....." Jake's Point is home to the iconic left-hander. Jakes breaks from two foot and up are best ridden by experienced surfers only."
Lots of the locals are surfers and people come here as it is one of Western Australia's remotest surfing breaks. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen playing in the water, once again, I didn't see any!

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Red Bluff

A little further along Red Bluff road was the turn-off to Red Bluff Beach. A short drive and we were at the carpark, and once again in Kalbarri National Park. Red Bluff beach is located in a small cove, with brilliant deep red rocks and cliffs surrounding it, the flat rocks in the ocean are the same colour, stunning scenery!
Above the beach is the actual "Red Bluff" which you can walk to from the beach, be warned, it is a steep and rocky climb of 1.8km return. I took the easy way and drove to the Bluff.

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Red Bluff Look-out

From the Red Bluff parking area I walked to Red Bluff Look-out. At the start of the paved footpath was an interpretive board with a map, details about Red Bluff and how to be safe, as these high cliffs have undercut edges and can be unstable, so you must keep to the track and always watch your children, its a long way to the bottom!

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Kalbarri coastline

Halfway along was more interpretive signage and an amazing view of the high cliffs along the coastline - What a dramatic coastline, no wonder there were so many shipwrecks!

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Kalbarri coastline

The red rock landscape of Red Bluff is something I cannot get enough of, the colour is amazing and even more amazing is its been around for 400 million years. These cliffs were discovered by Dutch Explorer, "Willem de Vlamingh" in 1697 and run along the coastline of the Kalbarri National park for 13 km. The Dutch named it "Roode Hooge." when translated meant "red high" an important landmark for early Explorers to use as their guide.

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Kalbarri coastline

From the look-out I could see for miles, including many of the beaches we had called into on our way here. Looking to the north was Wittecarra Creek believed to be the site of the first "permanent" landing of Europeans in Australia. The 100metre high cliffs would make it easy to spot a Humpback Whale in the ocean below.

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Wildflowers

Even though the top of the cliffs have a harsh sandstone & limestone surface, 71 native plants have been found. That was a lot, so I walked slowly and looked carefully for flowers but didn't find many, one of the prettiest was a Thryptomene in flower.

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Next, we pulled into the Mushroom Rock Trail car-park where an Interpretive sign told me it was 1.5km trail or 3km loop that would take me to Rainbow Valley, approx. 2hours to do. The Australian classification for this trail was a Class 4 which means it is one of the more difficult to do. My husband left me here and went to the other end to pick me up - That made life easy!

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Mushroom rock trail

Beginning from the car-park was the easy part, walking along a dirt track and in amongst some different wildflowers, all I had to look for were the white posts, really didn't need them as here I was on a well worn pathway. It was different when I reached the rocky gorge where I had to walk along the rocks, cross the gorge and do the same on the other side, eventually clambering to the top and out of the gorge. This is where I saw Mushroom rock, a rock so windswept it looks like a Mushroom. I saw plenty of unusual rock creations formed by the strong winds and water erosion around here.

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Mushroom Rock

I sat there for a while watching the crashing waves making their way onto the brilliant dark red rocks, I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, it was lovely. If you come here, and your fit, do this walk as it's an excellent one!

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Rainbow Valley

I continued along the trail from Mushroom rock to Rainbow Valley and was blown away by what I saw!

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Rainbow Valley

What attracted me first, was the colours of minerals that had compacted and weathered to make a rainbow formation in the stone, although this apparently isn't why it's named Rainbow Valley, it's the Rainbows seen in the mist is where the name comes from.
I marveled at the amazing colours in Rainbow Valley, lucky there was an information board nearby to give me some information.

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Rainbow Valley

The formations along this part of the coast are made of Tumblagooda Sandstone, deposited here approx. 420 million years ago during the Silurian period when the Earth underwent considerable changes. As a result, layers of silt, sand and minerals have compacted and formed layer upon layer of different colours. It is an amazing sight to see, one I had only previously seen at Natures Window in the Kalbarri National Park

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Rainbow Valley

I went closer for a look and felt wet sand beneath my feet. Wondering where the water came from as I was quite a distance from the sea, I looked up to find a rocky overhang where water was dripping over making what looked like small Stalactites forming. I guess there is a proper name for these, but this is best I can do for description.

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Rainbow Valley

They were wet and dripping just like Stalactites in Caves, and on the ground where the drip landed, a small formation like a Stalagmite was beginning to form. This and the colours were amazing!
This would be one of the most beautiful and different natural sites I have ever seen.

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Rainbow Valley

What is the good news, is you don't have to do the whole walk like I did to see this, you can come here from the car park at this end. Don't be discouraged and think nothing is there, as you have to walk down the steps to see the coloured cliffs. Once there you will be blown away with what you see. My photos are ok, but they are nothing compared to seeing this area "in the flesh" so to speak.

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Rainbow Valley

Would you believe there is still more to see in Rainbow Valley and this was something I have never seen elsewhere either.

Have you heard of a Skolithos? Well I hadn't! The rocks in Rainbow valley are riddled with what looks like tubes or straws, once the home of the ancient worm Skolithos. They are everywhere and are in all different shapes and sizes, colours, another interesting amazing formation .

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Eagle Gorge

Still travelling along Red Bluff Road in the Kalbarri National Park, I notice a name change to George Grey Drive. It's on this section of road, where we take another turn off towards the ocean to see Eagle Gorge where wedge-tailed eagles live in the gorge and can often be seen in nests and soaring in the sky on a look-out for food.
From the proper look- out platform, I looked down onto a small beach and at the beautiful coloured rugged cliffs. The beach can be reached by foot, I didn't do this though.

Natural Bridge is a 1.4kms return walk along a proper boardwalk to a viewing platform look-out area from where there a fantastic views. This is one of many Natural Bridge's around Australia and the world.

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Natural Bridge

Here the forces of the ocean, the wind, waves and even salt spray has sculptured these landforms into a Sea-Stack and a Natural Bridge. The cliffs aren't the usual red I had been seeing, instead the beige/cream Tumblagooda coloured sandstone that is 480 million years old. Different colours of sand and silt has formed layers in different colours, then has compacted. The tops of the cliffs are a made of 2 million old white rock made from Tamala limestone. This was made from wind blown sand dunes which later converted to limestone. All of this information I found on interpretive signage at the site

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Castle cove was another 300metre return walk to where there is another proper lookout over Island Rock. It was lovely here, especially seeing it was very quiet and hardly a tourist here.
Between June - November, this is one of the good places to look for some of the 22,000 Hump-back Whales that pass by here.

The Shellhouse and Grandstand are more impressive limestone cliff formations that have been shaped by the wind and the force of the Indian Ocean. It's a short easy 200m walk to each lookout to view them.
I didn't do this, but if you have plenty of time, this area is part of the 8km Birgurda trail we begins or ends at Castle Cove and Eagle Gorge, passing by Island Rock, Grandstand and Shellhouse. The trail is named after the Bigurda kangaroo, one I have never seen, and still never did! It's only found in this region.

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Kalbarri coastline

Wow! The scenery around Kalbarri is some of the best I have seen in Australia.

We have decided to make our next stop at the "Principality of Hutt River" also known as "Hutt River Province."
The Principality of Hutt River at Ogilvie Road West, Yallabatharra was founded in 1970 by Leonard Casley and his family, or should I say "Prince Leonard and his late wife "Princess Shirley."
Hutt River Province is a Mirco nation which is not recognized, even though the principality claims to be become an independent sovereign state in 1970, it remains unrecognised by Australia and other nations.
You can buy a visa and have your passport stamped by Prince Leonard, both for entry and exit at the same time. We didn't have passports with us, he said he would still let us in!
There isn't a lot to see here and it had gone into disrepair, just too much for Prince Leonard to look after.

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Prince Leonard

We met Prince Leonard who told us his story, I was surprised to learn he was a former mathematician and physicist who worked for NASA in the 1950s, and had a star named in his honour.

The Principality of Hutt River has its own stamps, bank notes and coins. There are many postage stamps on display, most of these can be bought unless they are sold out. I bought some for myself, and posted a letter home from here.
If your a stamp or coin collector, then don't miss the Post Office! There is plenty to choose from and it is something different to take home as a souvenir.

The Chapel of Nain in Hutt River Province was officially blessed by the Rector of the Northampton Anglican Church on 29 August 1973.
We were allowed inside and found normal Church pews, religious paintings and many paintings of the Prince. His large chair was their for anybody to sit in and make out they were knighting somebody!

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In Chapel of Nain

As Prince Leonard produces all his power on the farm, we found the lighting quite dull and learnt their are often black-outs because of lack of power.

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Back in the car and heading back to Geraldton, instead we stopped at a free camp outside of Geraldton in the Chapman Valley, a good spot in a rural area with a few facilities, so we left a donation as asked for by the local council.

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Posted by balhannahrise 12:59 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches birds park walking australia sunsets national scenic western wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 29 - Queensland to Western Australia

Chapman Valley - Greenough - Walkaway - Ellendale Pool

Even though we had a good nights sleep at our campsite, it was time to move on again.
The Chapman Valley is a rich sheep farming and crop growing area, we saw both. The fields were full of bright yellow Canola as far as the eye could see.

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Canola

We didn't stop at Geraldton on our return visit, instead we passed it by on our way to Greenough, a historic settlement located 25kms south of Geraldton.
I had picked up the free Greenough/Walkaway Heritage trail," a 57km car trail to follow that took us to the settlement of Greenough and around the back roads where over 30 sites were marked to see.

We began following the trail from Greenough Pioneer Museum on Phillips Road off Brand Highway, then looked for the signs bearing the Heritage Trails Network symbol.

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The Museum was once known as Home Cottage when built by convicts from Port Gregory in 1862. It was John Maley, his wife and family of 14 children who lived in the homestead between 1862 and 1880. His wife was the daughter of the first German migrants who came and settled in Western Australia, in fact, this area is where all the first migrants came and settled in Western Australia.

A cottage garden and a large old Pepper tree were in the front garden of the 11 room homestead. The Pepper tree is not an Australian native, it comes from an arid zone in South America. Pepper trees were obviously brought to Australia by the early settlers who settled in the eastern states of Australia in the 1870s. This Pepper tree was brought here 1876 by Baron Von Muelier who was a friend of John Maley. It's thought this may possibly be the 1st Pepper tree in Western Australia.
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Home Cottage

We entered through the front door to where some volunteers were working, they were happy to have a chat to us and about the history of the house before setting us in the right direction with a fact sheet of what we would see.
This house has many original furnishings, musical instruments, clothing, toys, hand made lace work and the every day items used in running the homestead. Outside are sheds where farm machinery and other old pieces are on display and we could go down the cellar.
It was interesting what I saw, but in my opinion, nowhere near as interesting as many I have seen. At least it wasn't expensive, so for what we paid it was worth it!

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Maley's Mill was a big old stone building built between 1860 - 1863 and used as a flour mill and general store. When this was first established, there were many other buildings near this mill, all of those have long gone. The Mill operated until 1891, now it is used as a shearing shed. The Olive trees that were planted over 100 years ago are still alive and doing well. It wasn't open to the public.

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All along this coast experiences a lot of wind, but just how much wind?
We passed by trees that were blown over badly by the super strong and salty southerly winds that come in off the Indian Ocean and burn off the growth on the windward side and cause the tree trunks to grow horizontal to the ground. It was an amazing sight!

At last we were at the Greenough historical village where the buildings are the remains of the once thriving village of Greenough, which in the 1860's had a population of 1,000 people.
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Those early settlers had a hard life. Natural disasters, floods, heavy rains, hail storms and drought led to many crop failures resulting in the settlers finding it hard to pay their lease rent. If that wasn't bad enough, a cyclone passed through causing enormous damage to homes and crops. Many farmers deserted Greenough to try their luck in the newly discovered goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.
In the 1900's, the few farmers that remained here began producing chaff for feed. By the 1930's all the mills had closed and the town eventually fell into ruins nearly becoming a ghost town.

Now all that remains is the few buildings in the historical village and some other deserted stone buildings along the country roads in Greenough.

Paying our entrance fee at the Greenough Cafe & Visitor Centre, we began our walk through the village of 11 stone buildings, each can be looked through, each has some original furniture.

Buildings in the village were St. Peters Catholic Church and some old convent buildings and the Presbytery built in 1900 for the local catholic priest who lived here for 30 years. Monsignor John Hawes, whose Churches I had been seeing was the architect.

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The Police Station and Gaol would be the largest building left standing in the Greenough Historic settlement.

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This white limestone building once housed the court house, constructed in 1867, the police station and gaol built in 1870 and the Telegraph & Post office built in 1873. Lucky the building was huge as it was used as a place to stay by the visiting Doctor, the School teacher, the Police Sergeant and the Magistrates. It had a kitchen where meals were prepared for the Prisoners. I found their cell blocks and read with interest, whites and blacks were kept apart. Four cells were for the "white" prisoners, either one or two people to a cell, and the Aboriginals were put in the larger 5th cell where they were chained to an iron bar. A small enclosed yard was where the prisoners exercised.

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Out the back I found quite a large area where the horses would have been stabled and an old well and some Tamarisk trees. The high stone wall surrounded the whole house and the stables. This building was used for quite a number of years as Government offices.

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Goodwin's Cottage
There were a few old cottages, one of them was "Goodwins" cottage. a four roomed stone building with a front verandah built by the Catholic church as a home for retired Policeman, "Ned Goodwin." He and his wife lived here until Ned died in 1912, then the Church took over the building again and converted it to a school where the Presentation Nuns schooled the children.

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Hackett's Cottage

Another Cottage is known as "Hackett's" cottage. This cottage dates to 1888 and has been extended several times. There was once an adjoining store which Ned ran, this has long since gone. Ned was a very busy man, as not only was he running the store, but he was the community Undertaker, Carpenter, Blacksmith and Cobbler, he sure could multi-task!

There are some other cottages, all which you are able to enter and have a look around. Some have more furniture than others, all have a sign beside each with the history on each home.

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Maley's Bridge was built by John Maley whose cottage we had previously visited. Built in 1864, it supports were made from the local limestone by "ticket of leave convicts." These were convicts who were allowed out to do work like this as their behaviour was good in prison. The bridge was being repaired when I was there.
Near the bridge, was a stone barn, also thought to be built by "ticket of leave convict labour" around the same time. This building has been used since then for horse stables and as a shearing shed. As with all the properties in this area and on the heritage trail, they are all classified by the National trust.

Another church on the trail was Wesley chapel, built in 1867 by "ticket of leave convict labour." Near the Chapel was Gray's Store, located on a cross -road, I imagine this was a pretty busy intersection in the 1800's when horse and drays plied the roads with settlers coming here for their supplies. The heritage listed store was another constructed by "ticket of leave Convict labour," and another that has stood the test of time.

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Hampton Arms Inn

The Hampton Arms Inn is a two-storey stone and iron building with single-storey wings each side of the main section and a stone stable block. As it's an excellent example of the Victorian Regency style, it's listed on the National Trust heritage register. The Hotel was named after John Hampton, the Governor at that time.

It is one of a few buildings from the village of Hampton which has survived. The village was established in 1862 and the Hotel opened in 1863. It was the district's first hotel, so of course it was very popular, somewhere for a Beer after a hard days work, a chance for the ladies to dress up to attend a social gathering or Ball being held here, and place where important meetings were held. Fun in those days was very different to today!
In 1868, a ploughing match was held adjacent to the hotel and for several decades it was a centre of social life. The 1870s, and this area experienced a series of droughts, floods and fires causing a decline in patronage at the Hampton Arms Inn.
The Hotel closed in the 1890s and was used as a farmhouse until it was bought in 1978 by Judy and Brian Turnock, who over 16 years have been restoring it. A restaurant was opened and the ballroom completed and now you can come to this Pub and enjoy a meal, a beer or wine, afternoon or morning tea and even stay the night in their accommodation.

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Around here, the paddocks were growing something we hadn't seen before. On having a closer look, I found they were Lupins, the first I have seen growing this way instead of in a cottage garden., I have grown them in my garden and I have seen them growing wild in Europe and the U.S.A, but I had never seen them being cultivated!
Evidently, Lupins grow extremely well in the sandy Western Australian soils, in fact so well, that Western Australia produces about 80% of world production and is the world’s leading lupin producer.
The Lupin is part of the legume family that includes soy beans, peas and lentils etc. Lupins are the world’s richest natural source of protein (40%) and fibre (37%). The Lupin has a lot of wonderful benefits including being cholesterol free and are a great alternative for people with Coeliac disease or following a gluten-free diet

Clinch's Mill was on the route, another on private property that we could only view from the road. When this Mill was first built in 1858, it was only a single storey building built from local sandstone. Originally the Mill was owned by Edward Whitfield who in 1869, sold it to Thomas Clinch, who quickly went about renovating the Mill, eventually making it a massive three stories high. He added rooms and then built a home for himself and cottages nearby for his workmen. He then began producing flour using a horse driven mill stone.

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Still following the heritage trail, we came to the small town of Walkaway where a big wind turbine was beside the road for people to view. Having seen these windfarms in the distance, it was a great opportunity to see just how large the blades are.

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The nearby wind farm provides clean energy from 54 of the worlds largest wind turbines, each are 80 metres high and each have three blades stretching 41 metres. When running at full capacity, the Alinta Wind Farm can generate 90 megawatts of electricity which is enough to supply about 60,000 homes. Internal computers monitor the wind's direction and speed. The electricity is produced and fed directly into Western Australia's electricity grid.

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Ellendale Pool

Near the end of the day we had reached the Ellendale Pool, our final destination on the Heritage trail.
Ellendale Pool is a stunning naturally formed water hole in the Greenough River about 45km south of Geraldton on Ellendale Road, via Walkaway.

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On one side is the day use area & Campground set amidst gum trees, and on the other side is a sheer cliff made up of beautiful colours. The cliff changed colour through-out the day, it was especially beautiful for a few seconds at sunset.

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I was lucky to be quick enough to catch the sunset, what a beauty it was!

I went walking and found some orchids and heard and saw lots of small birds that love hiding in the fairly dense bush, plus some Parrots feed on the grass seeds.
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Orchids

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Wildflowers

At Ellendale Pool is a lovely rusty cut-out of Bimarra the Serpent, who created the Greenough River and came to live in Ellendale pool. This is one of the connections the Aboriginal people have with Ellendale pool, a place they think is a lovely as the surrounding countryside. They would come to Ellendale Pool and camp for a month as food was in abundance here and easy to catch. They caught freshwater Perch, Eels and Mussels in the pool, plus Echidna , Kangaroos and lizards on the land. It was here they sat around the fire and told their dreamtime stories that kept their culture alive.

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Stories about the Serpent is one of their dreamtime stories that you will find in their paintings all around Australia. The story goes- Bimarra was born from a large rock in the Greenough River and was supposed to live in a big cave in the cliff face, but hasn't been seen for a long time. If you hear a splash, you will know it is Bimarra telling you he is still here!
The Aboriginals come here these days and throw sand into the water as a sign of respect and to let Bimarra know they are still there.

It was such a nice campsite that we decided to stay the night.

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Toilet and barbecue facilities, picnic benches, rubbish bins, fire-places and cold showers are all available for a mere $5.00 per night per site and it's limited to three day stay. An honesty box has been provided, so we were more than happy to put our $5 in the envelope provided and into the box. You would be a pretty mean person if you didn't do this!

Posted by balhannahrise 21:13 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds walking australia village sunsets heritage scenic western drive historic area Comments (0)

Day 30 Queensland to Western Australia

Ellendale Pool to Mingenew

Today was one of our lazy days as we knew we weren't travelling far.
We had a good night's sleep at Ellendale pool, so I was up and on my pushbike cycling alongside the Greenough river. It was so peaceful in the morning, just the twitter of birds breaking the silence and the smell of campfires and cooked breakfast.

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Beside Greenough River

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Australian Ring Necked Parrot

When I returned to camp, I went walking amongst the shrubs trying to find some more orchids and the smaller birds that frequent this area. I did find some of both and a Ring Necked Parrot too. This took me to the upper part of the campground where our friends were camping, so I stopped for a chat and said good-bye to them. It was late morning by then, so I did my part of packing up the caravan and we were soon on our way to Coalseam Conservation Park.

As it happened, we were on the wrong road, the one we were on was the Depot Hill road to Mingenew. Oh well, we decided we would stay at Mingenew tonight and drive the 12kms back to Coalseam tomorrow.

It was along Depot Hill road where we saw the Brown tourist sign for Depot Hill. Lucky there was plenty of room to pull off the road with our car and caravan.
At the parking area there is an interpretive board that tells of the Gregory Brothers finding this place in 1846 and burying their supplies here. Depot hill was used by explorers and coal prospectors and was an important stock grazing area as it had year round water from the Irwin river.

During World War 2, it became an important Army Firing Range, now there is a 1.5 km return trail for the public to walk to the old historic Firing Range. It is a fairly easy walk, you may see mounds used for exercises before reaching the firing range. Local residents tell of seeing Tanks embedded in the earth on Depot Hill! There were plenty of armoured vehicles here and this was the location where extensive training exercises took place between 1942 - 1944.

Before I walked the trail, I took a look at the rusty steel cut-out and read the board about what went on here.

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The heading read....

"Come on - look smart you fellows! Gerry's not going to give you all day to get a bead on him. And keep your damn silly head's down or you'll get hem shot off...
By crikey - I knew they were sending me a raw bunch but I imagined you might have known how to reload by now! Take that long in a scrap and you'll be in real strife."

The cut-out shows the Sergeant bellowing out these orders to his young Soldiers. Usually the Officers were older men who may have served during WWI. They pushed the young Soldiers hard and demanded discipline, finally turning them into excellent Soldiers.

It was time for the walk, only 30mins to the old firing range.

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Everlasting Daisies

This area was covered in 1000's of Pink Everlasting Daisies, what a picture they made! Along the trail were quite a few garden seats, these were appreciated on a warm day. I was extremely happy to find my first Cats Paw here, a brightly coloured dwarf Kangaroo Paw.

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Dwarf Kangaroo Paws

There was more to see, like the stunning blue Dampiera, some Cowslip orchids, pretty Thryptomene and others I need to identify some-time in the future. The floral emblem of Mingenew is the Bird Beak Hakea which grows wild here along with many species of Orchids.

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On arrival at the Mingenew Spring council operated Caravan Park, we found nobody at the office, so we chose our own site as we were told to do by the notice on the door.
We were happy there were plenty of gum trees for shade and nice green lawns as the weather was quite warm, even though it was August and Winter. The caravan park is located next to the original Mingenew Spring which is now dry.
The Park was smallish, clean and tidy with 35 powered bitumen sites and non-powered caravan & camping sites. If you haven't your own accommodation, there are en-suite self contained units, semi-self contained rooms, a double cabin with en-suite and on-site caravans. and several self contained units.
There is a camp kitchen, BBQ area, small Laundry with 2 washing machines and one Dryer, costing $4 for a wash in 2014. There were a couple of outdoor clothes-lines. There are amenities for disabled people. The Showers and Toilets were clean, but the shower area and drying area was so small, I couldn't dry myself in there, not good! A large person would find this small space extremely difficult. I had to have the hot water on full to be able to have hot water!
The park did advertise meals which would have been nice only I think the days were Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights only.
If the shower block was upgraded, then this would be a really good park, as it is, even though everything else was good, because of the showers I

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Murals at Mingenew

The area where Mingenew is situated was first explored in 1847 by brothers Augustus and Thomas Gregory when they were looking for some good grazing land for their cattle. Settlement was in the 1850's then the Midland Railway opened in 1891. It took until 1906 before Mingenew became a town.

Mingenew was named after Mingenew Spring, an Aboriginal word meaning either Minganu "the place of many ants" or Mininoo "the place of many waters, today it's known for sheep farming and growing of wheat and lupins. As Mingenew is known as "The Grain Centre," I wasn't at all surprised to find prominent features of wheat around the town. The Mingenew Co-operative Bulk Handling is the largest inland grower receival site facility in the Southern Hemisphere, with a holding capacity of 403,000 tons.

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Tourist Information Centre

We went for a drive around town, first beginning at the Tourist Information centre located in the historic old Post Office building & residence built in 1894. As this centre is run by volunteers, it is only open limited hours, and some days it is shut. I was lucky to find it open and to have a chat with the friendly local lady who was only too happy to fill me on where the wildflowers were and to give me a map. This isn't a large centre, but it still has all the info you need for exploring Mingenew and area. There was a small section of souvenirs and arts and crafts and jams the local people had made. I even picked up some free magazines from here that local people had donated for giving away to tourists.

Wheat sculpture ( Big Ears)

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A short walk from the centre was the giant wheat stalk in Cecil Newton park, no prizes for guessing what the locals call it "Big Ears!"

Our next stop was at " Drover's Rest" located at the base of the hill that is the town look-out.

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This area is known as Drover's Rest, as it was here the Drovers stopped with there stock to give them a well earned drink from the water troughs. The water was piped from Mingenew spring to here. A Rain-water tank at the rest stop has a good collection of old work boots strung around it, looks like anybody can add a boot if they wanted. A few pieces of old farm machinery and a cut-out cow made from corrugated iron are at the site, as well as a Picnic shelter and picnic bench. There is plenty of room to pull up with a car and caravan. You can walk a track to the top of the hill, or drive your car which is what we did.

Mingenew hill was discovered by the Gregory Brothers in 1846 who described it "as a remarkable ironstone Hill." In 1901, it was made into a reserve.

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View from Mingenew Hill

Even though Mingenew hill isn't that high, it's high enough for good views over the surrounding plains where fields of wheat were growing. We could see the road we came into town quite easily and also the town and some industries. Some yellow Everlasting daisies were flowering, evidently it gets quite pretty when they are all out! Quite good for viewing the countryside!

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Old Railway station.

The old Railway Station, built to service the new Midland Railway line that opened to rail traffic in 1894, was an important station and the main depot on the line for the Midland Railway. The Railway Station and residence were built of stone, had a iron roof with a breeze-way between the buildings. Barracks, Station master's house, small signals shed, goods shed, timber yards and trucking yards were all built. The 'Goods shed" was where the engine could be parked for maintenance by the team of men from Walkaway. Many of these buildings have been demolished.
Since 1975, when the last passenger train went through, the building has been leased to the Shire and the Arts Council and now is used by the Mingenew Art & Craft group.

As with many of these small country towns, they are trying to attract the tourist $'s by making the town more attractive. I think they are doing quite a good job.

I read Mingenew had 5 murals, all part of the "Painted Road" trail. The "Painted Road” trail is a series of murals along Midlands Road, I missed a couple but saw some extras, so I think there may be more than five. The idea of the Murals is to capture part of the local scenery & history.

The first one I saw was "The Droving Scene," which takes you back to the early 1900's. It shows a Drover taking his herd of Longhorn cattle to the Lockier River for a drink, another was the Centenary mural painted by local school children & members of the community. A good one on the wall of the machinery shed in the Museum, is " Hope’s Wheelwrights Shop Mural." Samuel Hope & Sons operated a wheelwright & blacksmiths shop near the Mingenew Spring. They were such excellent wheelwrights, that teamsters always came back to them for wagon repairs. The Westrail bus shelter in the Main street has local scenes of wildflowers, gum trees & windmills, but the one I liked the bestl was "the Emus" painted on the Toilet wall at the Tennis club.

There is a story about the mural that goes something like this.....

Long ago, there were a lot of Emu's that frequented the Tennis courts in Mingenew, enjoying a game of tennis on the lush green grass. No tennis racquets, not a problem as they used mallee sticks as tennis racquets. The Emu's haven't been seen for ages, but ghostly forms have been seen where the Tennis club now stands.

It was decided to paint this fun mural in honour of those Emus! Now they stand guard forever and oversee the goings on at the Tennis courts.

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The Emus

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Located at the western and eastern ends of Mingenew, the local Shire has erected banner display paintings which represents many of the important events and landscapes seen in and around Mingenew. They include landscapes of wildflower scenes, sporting events such as the Races & Polocrosse Carnival, Expo, historic churches and the Universal Space Network which gives access to children all around the world to space programs.

I just had to stop and take some photos of these, at the same idea thinking this was a go-ahead town!

That completed another good day of touring.

It was time to settle down and make plans for our stay at the Coalseam National Park tomorrow.

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged birds walking australia murals western trails wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 31 Queensland to Western Australia

Coalseam National Park

Today is a short drive to Coalseam National Park, no getting lost today as I have a map from the Mingenew visitor centre to follow. We had no trouble finding the park today.

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Driving through Coalseam National Park

Campsite

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I had read about Coalseam Conservation park and all the wildflowers and was thinking at the same time how nice it would be to camp there. To get a site it was first in best dressed and if the Miner's campground was full, then you could stay at the Breakaway Campground.
We were only coming from Mingenew, approx. a 30minute drive away, so we knew we would be fairly early and likely to get a good site.

Volunteer Rangers greeted us and booked us in, as we were early we could choose our own site and tell them the number later. Already campers were here, the lucky ones had stunning river views!

We chose one amongst the wildflowers, a nice flat area with room to sit outside the Caravan. Most of the sites were taken by the end of the day.

This is bush camping where both caravans and tents are permitted. Sites were dirt and set overlooking the river or in-between the wildflowers which is where our site was. There were toilets, bbqs and picnic tables, but no drinking water, not a problem as we always carry drinking water.
It wasn't crowded, but on weekends it's extremely busy in wildflower season, and a 3 night stay limit is in force between late July and October.

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Picnic area @ campground and Galah

What a stunningly beautiful area to stay, so peaceful, the quietness only broken by the Galahs squawking as it was their nesting season!
I rode my bike to some places, others were close to the camp so I walked, and some sites were further away, so we drove to them.

River Irwin and Fossil cliffs

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Thousands of fossils can still be found at the fossil site. We drove to this site, then walked down into the sandy, pebbly River Irwin. There was only a little water running in the river, although enough to make it difficult to cross without getting wet feet. A short walk and we found a crossing that led us to the high cliffs on the other side of the river. It is in these cliffs where the marine fossils are embedded, left-over from the Permian sea that once covered this area. The fossils are small and can be found, actually quite easily once you have found one and have an idea what to look for.

Views from Irwin Lookout

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On the same road was Irwin Lookout which had an off road car-park and a track to the cliff edge where we had magnificent views of Breakaways and over the cliff edge to the Irwin river below.

After enjoying these views, we followed the 560 metre loop trail to another area for more great views, and then back to the car park, via a track through the bush where I found some wildflowers. An interpretive board informed me Peregrine and the majestic Wedge Eagles are seen soaring around here, none were around at the time.

Wildflowers

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Across the river from our campground was the Johnson mine shaft and viewing platform, located along the Miners walking trail. The old mine shaft is fenced off for safety reasons, but you still can see way down the shaft and take photos through the wire.
Signs tell me the shaft was sunk in 1917, and that if I looked hard, I should be able to see some of the coal seam at the bottom of the shaft. The shaft once had timbered sides that went down the mine for 15 metres. Above, was a tall wooden headframe. Good coal was found here, but the seams were too thin to be mined economically!
I believe this is WA’s first coalmine.
The Miner's walking trail is 700 metres return and is estimated to take 30 minutes.

Irwin River walk

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On my bicycle was how I reached River Bend. Leaving my bike by the ford, I was able to walk along the nearly dry river bed to River Bend on the Irwin River. I loved the cliffs along here, the colours in them and the shapes carved by the wind. It was interesting seeing what type of flora could manage to grow out of them and survive!

Irwin river & cliffs

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Along here, the rock layers are exposed. I could see quite a large volume of water came down this river at various times because of the way the trees had been swept and the rubbish caught in them. This is how people get caught out, and then washed away.

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I knew no rain was expected anywhere, so it was ok. If you know storms are around or in nearby areas where the River Irwin runs through, do not walk along the river bed.

A lot of the wildlife at Coalseam is nocturnal, so is only seen at night. Animals that live here are Echidna, Euro and Red Kangaroo. Reptiles found are Stumpies or Bobtails, Sand Goannas, Western Blue Tongue lizard, Western netted Dragon, Mulga snake and a few others. How-ever, I found the birdlife to be plentiful and readily seen. It was the Galahs who were most prevalent. Coalseam has a lot of dead trees which many hollows from where branches have fallen. This is the perfect place for a Galah to nest, which is what they were doing at this time of the year.
Mum, Dad and baby Galah could be seen sitting on the dead trees, and sometimes a head was poking out from one of the hollows.

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If you couldn't see them, just head towards where the squawking was coming from. Honey-eaters love the wildflowers and I saw many of these, too hard for a photo though! Red Robins, Ringnecks, swallows, cuckoo shrikes, bronze winged Pigeons and many other birds are found here.

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Coal seams in the Irwin River

A walk alongside the Riverbed near our campground was different to the one I did at River Bend. Once again there are plenty of interesting shapes and rock, but it is the cliffs that have changed. Here, they are not the red/orange colour, but a dark brown with plenty of coal seams that can be easily seen. This rock strata includes glacial rocks which were laid down during the Permian Ice age, estimated to be 250 million years ago. During the ice age, glaciers carried huge blocks of rock gouged out by the ice and deposited them hundreds of miles away.

Irwin River

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It was another interesting walk that was worth doing.

This is one of the top places to find wildflowers in Western Australia, but the ones that put on the biggest and best show, are the Everlasting Daisies.

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These are everywhere, and are so attractive that I had to stop myself from taking too many photos. Tracks weave their way through them, a carpet of pink, gold, cream and white everlastings transforming this area to one of exceptional beauty! Look out where your walking, just in case you run into a snake!

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This Conservation Park, is among the most botanically diverse areas in the northern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. Woody heath plants flower profusely in spring along with the spectacular everlastings. (dependent on rainfall to how good they flower).

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After a full day of walks I was ready to sit outside the caravan and enjoy the colour. This was a wonderful National Park, really, it had a little bit of everything!

Tomorrow, we are heading to Perenjori to see more wildflowers

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds cliffs park walking australia national camping western trails fossils Comments (2)

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