Xanthorrhoea Trail (incorporating West Terrace Walk)
When we were hiking these trails I wasn't sure if these two trails are the same of if they just overlap. Sometimes things make so much more sense afterwards and when writing this blog I referred to the Trails WA information on both trails and realise that the West Terrace Trail forms the beginning of the Xanthorrhoea Trail which veers off to traverse the ridge into the Brine Moran Reserve. Trails WA states West Terrace is 4km and the Xanthorrhoea Trail is 5km but we walked a lot further than this. In hindsight I can see where we went wrong and have explained it in my notes below. It really doesn't matter as we thoroughly enjoyed our walk.
We followed the Shire of Kalamunda trail notes for the West Terrace trail and had a contour map for the Xanthorrhoea Trail. I still find the Shire of Kalamunda notes to be a bit misleading or at least not 100% clear so if you can download the KML file from Trails WA that is a much better option. There is off road parking available at the end of West Terrace near the water tank. There are no toilets or other facilities.
The trail follows nice wide firebreak trails the whole way around. In places it is very rough, quite steep and also quite muddy but not impassable. I wished I had brought both my walking poles as the pea gravel and honky nuts made it quite slippery on the steeper sections. If there were any trail markers we didn't spot them but we had the trail map so were not looking for markers.
The trail notes direct you to go through the white gate and down the hill. This was a bit confusing as there were a number of intersecting trails at the water tank. We could see from our contour map that those trails looped around the tanks so we veered left and assumed this was correct as we were going downhill. There were some fabulous views across the coastal plain.
The next instruction was to take a sharp right at a junction of four tracks and walk down the hill to a small water course. This fell into place so I guess we were going the right way. The trail was flatter along the water course and we could see that it is used as a bridle trail.
After this the trail notes made no sense so we just followed our contour map up the hill from the valley keeping to a loop. I suspect we took the extra steep trail as it was a good workout!
There are so many xanthorrhoea (balga) trees you can see how this trail has earned it's name! The trail skirted the edge of some bush block houses and we came to a white gate, presuming it was the gate to Panoramic Terrace, and thought we'd found our place on the trail notes. In hindsight I can see that this is where we veered from the West Terrace Walk which loops back down the valley. We had set out to walk the Xanthorrhoea Trail so that was fine but can now see how we got confused. We did not pass though the gate but continued along the firebreak trail now running parallel to the trail we walked earlier but much higher up with great views across the valley over the water tank and beyond. The wildflowers have been prolific but understated and sadly close to the houses freesias have crept in to the understorey.
At the crossroads we turned left and started to descend until we came to a crossroads with a sign to Wrong Way Hill. The Xanthorrhoea Trail incorporates a loop into Brine Moran Reserve but as I had, for the first time ever, left my water bottle in the car we returned to the carpark to rehydrate, intending to retrace our steps to do the extra loop.
Back at the car to retrieve my water bottle we noticed another weathered sign at the trail head. Wrong Way Hill (1.05km - 15 mins), Darlington Road (1.65km - 30 Mins) and loop back via Dorrington Creek. We hadn't noticed it when we parked. Intrigued by the name Wrong Way Hill and thinking this was the loop to Brine Morton we doubled back and took the left hand trail to Wrong Way Hill. We followed the fire trail behind some houses descending quite steeply into the valley. As we levelled out the trail follows a stream although it is well hidden behind long grass and undergrowth. You can hear it babbling along but it has to compete with the noise of traffic on Kalamunda Road. There was one point where you could cross the creek so we were able to get a closer look.
Along the creek (which I later traced back to the watercourse which originates at Stirk Park but I was unable to put a name to it) we came across someone pulling out weeds and asked him if we were on the right track for the loop walk as this time we had no trail notes only the contour map. He assured us the trail would soon loop back so we forged on. What he didn't tell us was that the next section was long and steep and just seemed to go forever. Although the trail was alongside houses, which was reassuring, it seemed to have no end. If you drive up Kalamunda Road and look to the bush on your right and see a dirt trail heading straight up the hill - that's the one we were on! Feeling that going forward would end up being a shorter distance than retracing our steps we kept climbing that interminable hill, finally reaching an intersection where we could turn off to the right and follow a more level trail across the valley. Of course we were so high up that we had fabulous views across the valley which made that last hill worth it!
Eventually we emerged at the crossroads where we had started back downhill earlier and it was a short walk (downhill) back to the car at the water tank. This section was not at all what I was expecting but ended up being a pleasant if challenging walk.
Looking back at the maps now I can see that Wrong Way Hill was exactly that the Wrong Way! It led us down into the valley which we then had to climb back up. The Xanthorrhoea Trail actually traverses the ridge which we walked back along and heads into the Brine Moran Reserve where it loops around and returns along the ridge. So we have yet to discover Brine Moran Reserve as we missed it altogether. That explains the discrepancy in the length of the two trails! Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
The West Terrace Walk (or the loop we did) took an hour and then it was another 50 minutes for the Wrong Way Hill Loop. The Xanthorrhoea Trail should take about 90 minutes for the full loop from the water tank.
Maps: Xanthorrhoea Trail Map, West Terrace Walk Map, Map showing the walk we completed.
You can see from the third map that Whistlepipe Gully is not far from the southern edge of this trail. You could look at extending and completing Whistlepipe Gully from end to end and then looping back to join the West Terrace Trail.
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.
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.