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Davilak Heritage Trail, Manning Park with Azelia Ley Homestead

Updated: Feb 3

Starting at the Manning Stairs we hiked the 193 steps to the top….certainly one way to get the heart rate up! There is a platform with a bench at each 50 step interval so you can have a rest and enjoy the views back over Manning Lake, or south over the Davilak Ruins. Once at the top follow the spiral footpath to the lookout for 180 degree views east across Manning Lake and south as far as the eye can see. Looking west you can see ocean glimpses across the ridge of bushland.

The Davilak Heritage Trail starts here and winds for 1.9 km through the bush emerging at the Azelia Ley Homestead with optional longer trails. The limestone path is quite wide and relatively smooth as you wander through low level bush. As you climb higher you get ocean views over North Coogee and views across to the peak of Manning Hill. There is a split in the path and with no trail markers to point the way we continued on straight ahead coming to another lookout (square this time). We enjoyed looking out over an area we had recently explored: North Coogee and the Port Coogee Marina, the Port Coogee Play Park with it's distinctive container theme and across to the derelict South Fremantle Power Station. This lookout had a plaque pointing to various landmarks. We could see a trail descending the hill, running parallel to Cockburn Road and then swinging back inland. Instead of following this trail (which would have made a longer walk) we backtracked to explore the side trail we had passed.

This side trail appears to be the Davilak Trail judging by the trail marked on the map. There were occasional little tracks that shot off into the bush – fun for kids to explore! After walking downhill we started to climb again coming to a third (rectangular) lookout which had a plaque about the native flora and views inland. As we continued there were a couple of glimpses of the Power station, nicely framed by the bush. We could see across the valley to the first spiral lookout in the distance.

The path, which now had a loose gravel surface, descended the hill as we saw some early wildflowers. We soon emerged at the back of the Azelia Ley Homestead but kept going to follow a wider track heading up the hill. As we crested the hill we could see the old Robb Jetty Abattoir Chimney near C.Y. O'Connor Reserve. We followed the path to get a bit closer, trying to get a better photo past all the power poles and wires, before retracing our steps.

On the return we decided to explore one of the smaller side trails. You can tell when you are off the main trail here because the side trails are narrow and rocky, whereas the wider main trail has had the bigger rocks removed and is more level.

This was a pleasant walk which took about 45 minutes including our small detour to see the chimney. This kid-friendly trail is too rough for prams and bikes but bring them along to ride around the lake afterwards. Mid winter there were not many flowers out but I imagine that this bush will come alive in spring.

Back at the Azelia Ley Homestead we spent some time exploring around the buildings. The Homestead was built in 1923 by a prosperous settler family descended from the Manning Family who were early settlers in this area. The Homestead Museum is open between 1.30 and 4.30 on Sundays. The grounds have some magnificent, gnarly old trees and vintage farm equipment out in the open so kids can climb up and pretend to drive the old tractors.

From here we walked down to the playground and then around Manning Lake which is absolutely stunning and deserves a blog all on it's own! After Manning Lake we explored the Davilak Ruins which we had seen from the top of Manning Stairs . The Davilak Ruins are featured in the Manning Lake blog.

There is a large car park at Manning Park, however it does get busy and occasionally is the venue for large public events. It has toilet facilities, barbecues and picnic benches and lots of large grassy areas and is open between 7am and 7pm daily.

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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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