Out and About
Kangaroo Trail - Walyunga National Park
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Walyunga National Park was quite badly impacted by fire in early 2021 and you can see the damage as you drive into the National Park along Walyunga Road. Exploring today we discovered that the picnic and river areas are mostly untouched by fire and while sections of the Kangaroo Trail had some damage it did not in any way detract from the walk.
The Kangaroo Trail is a short 4km trail which includes the 1km Walyunga Aboriginal Heritage Trail (River Trail). Although it doesn't have the steep climbs of the Kingfisher and Echidna Trails there is still about 1km of steady uphill climbing. The remainder is about 1km downhill (what goes up must come down) and 2 km of relatively flat walking. It took us an hour to complete with stops for photos.
We started walking from the Walyunga Pool carpark but you can also start from the Boongarup Pool carpark as the trail loops around both. Walking clockwise the narrow trail heads around the back of Walyunga Pool car park, crosses over the entrance road and up a few steps. This section had a few light branches lying across the path in places but you could walk around them. The bush here has been impacted by fire and the bushes were bare and black but there was no smell. Trail marker signage is new after the fire and very clear – you may even comes across the old trail markers featuring a kangaroo.
Soon after crossing the road the trail turns to follow a fire trail which is a little rough in places. The fire trail runs parallel to the entrance road before turning to the right and heading up hill. This area had fire go through and the bush is recovering – an up side is that, without the thick bush, you can see the layout of the land for some distance.
After turning the trail soon splits from The Pilgrim Trail (be careful here as the Pilgrim Trail goes all the way to New Norcia – you don’t want to end up on that one!) and crosses a watercourse then starts to climb quite steeply. Most of this area has some fire damage but there is lots of green emerging –especially grasses, moss and eucalypt regrowth. The bushes are not recovering (yet). For me there was a sense of hope as we followed the trail through the burnt areas.
Half way up there is a granite rock and we found a very pretty wildflower we hadn’t come across before. - I believe it is wurmbea tenella which has eight petals and is also know as Eight Nancy. Droseras were also growing well here. Looking back down the valley you could see the trail we'd hiked and further in the distance you could see the fire damage on the southern ridges.
We continued to climb steadily on a somewhat rutted trail finally cresting the hill. From here you could see undamaged bush to the right and ahead and as you panned around you could see where the fire had passed through. Presumably the undamaged sections were hit with retardant by the aerial bombers. These photos were all taken from the same spot turning a full circle so you can see that the damage is spotty and there is still plenty of beautiful bush along the trail.
The trail levels off for a bit and then gradually descends, eventually meeting up with the Kingfisher/Echidna Trail which descends quite steeply back down to the river. We heard several trains and could see them passing along the railway line on the other side of the valley but other than that all you hear is the sounds of the bush, birds and the breeze.
At the river the trail emerges onto the Syds Rapids Trail and you can choose to turn left and follow that trail to Syds Rapids or turn right towards the carparks. The Syds Rapid Trail is a very pretty 1.7km trail which follows the Avon River. It forms part of the Kingfisher and Echidna Trails but can also be walked on it's own as a there and back trail (3.5km) which will take about an hour.
As we have walked Syds Rapids before we turned right, crossing a small watercourse, The path splits here and you can choose to go to Boongarup Pool car park or follow the 0.9km Walyunga Heritage Trail (not named or trail marked) as it follows the river back to Walyunga Pool as part of the Kangaroo Trail. (Side note: Google maps shows the Kangaroo Trail looping back before reaching the river, running parallel to Walyunga Road and calls the riverside trail River Trail - in any case it is lovely to return along the river trail whatever it is called!)
This riverside trail is a narrower trail with stunning river views as it follows the Avon. If you look carefully you will see water birds across the river on the big stick "island" where the river splits. At one point there are a few big steps and you can access the river for a closer look.
There are interpretive signs along the trail describing how Aboriginals used native fauna and flora. You can see where Woorooloo Brook flows in to the Avon River - this convergence is where the Swan River starts.
A little further along you come to the kayak course. Today there was a group of kayakers doing time trials through the gates so we stopped to watch for a while. That water must be COLD! Note that Walyunga has restricted access over the Avon River Descent Weekend in August.
We also found a secret beach...one to remember when it is summer.
The bush along the river was mostly untouched by fire and we found some fungi. Just beyond the kayak course leading up to Walyunga Pool there is a small section of bush that was hard hit by the fire with the undergrowth completely burnt but there are signs of recovery as green emerges.
The trail leads back to Walyunga Pool where the kids can explore on the rocks while you set up your picnic or cook the barbecue. There are toilets located here but not fresh water. Entry into Walyunga National Park does incur a daily fee unless you have a National Parks Pass (discounted if you are an RAC member) and as it is a National Park no dogs are permitted. Gates to the park are open between 8am and 5pm.
Younger kids will love the two river trails but do take care as there are some steep drops to the water. The Kangaroo Trail is a good length for little legs but is quite steep and uneven in places.
For information on Syds Rapids Trail, the Kingfisher and Echidna Trails go to https://www.outandaboutfnc.com/post/2018/05/21/walyunga-national-park
If you enjoy the river trail and would like to explore more of the river you can follow The Pilgrim Trail between Walyunga Pool and Bells Rapids.
For information on Walyunga National Park refer to the PDF link below
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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 emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
As always when hiking in the bush please help to reduce the spread of Phytophthora Dieback by sticking to the tracks and paths, staying out of quarantined areas and, if possible, clean your shoes before and after hiking. A spray of 70% methylated spirit and 30% water can be effective.