Portogabra Track, Beelu National Park
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
We returned to Mundaring for our mid winter bush walk. Previously we had tried to walk the Portogabra Track but due to a lack of information and maps we walked the O'Connor Trail instead. This time we had completed a bit of research and found a review of the Portagabra Trail by The Life of Py ,which provided a much needed guide. (Thank you). It took us 80 minutes to complete this trail which is a 3.5 km loop through pristine bushland.
We were going to have lunch at the Mundaring Weir Hotel after the walk and as we had trouble finding parking on past visits we decided to park at the hotel and begin our walk from there. Although several other walks are signposted the Portagabra is not but we knew that the path started at Fred Jacoby Park so we backtracked alongside the C.Y. O'Connor water pipeline until we reached the intersection of Mundaring Weir Road and Allen Road. We crossed straight over and then walked down into Fred Jacoby Park. There is plenty of parking at Fred Jacoby Park so this might be a better starting point. If you are visiting the Hotel it is only a short walk there and back again.
Fred Jacoby Park was a surprise. A wide open area of landscaped parkland with toilet facilities and primitive barbeque hotplates. There are information plaques scattered around the park telling the park's history including the story of the 140 year old oak tree. We wandered around the park for a little while collecting rubbish lying on the ground (plogging) and following the paved pathway down towards the pipelines. As directed by The Life of Py we found the entrance to the Portagabra Trail at the end of the pathway and headed under the giant pipeline.
The track is clearly signposted all the way. We took the right hand trail opting to travel in an anti-clockwise direction . The trail is a single track climbing at a very gradual pace through thick bush. You are brushing against the bush so if it is tick season make sure you spray with DEET, wear long sleeves and pants and check for ticks after your walk. As far as we knew we were the only people on the track.
At one point you cross over some rocks which may or may not have running water over them depending on rainfall. From here you continue to climb gently until you reach some boulders. You can see the ridge so know you are getting close to the top. At the very top the path flattens out before intersecting with a wider track - the 4WD track. This is the one place that there was no trail marker. You need to head west for a short while and keep your eyes peeled for the trail marker where you turn off to the left back into the bush.
This part of the walk is a gentle descent with views through the trees down in to the valley. The trail is a little wider here and you descend through some distinct vegetation. The forests and balgas give way to a small section of banksia forest before you come out on the edge of the pine plantation. There are trail markers here but a small section of the trail is on the 4WD track and adjacent to the mountain bike track with it's jumps. We walked on a weekday but I can imagine that on a weekend the noise from bikes and 4WD's might intrude on the peace of the forest.
Continue to follow the trail markers and you come out at a bridge which crosses over the pipeline, providing a good view in both directions as the pipelines stretch into the distance. Once across the bridge turn left and follow the wider muddy track back to Fred Jacoby Park.