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Yanchep Rose Trail - Yanchep (Yandjip) National Park

While completing the Ghost House Trail we crossed this trail and decided to hike it during Spring but time got away and that didn't happen so here we are, a year later in July. We set off to hike this14km trail hoping we would spot the Yanchep Rose (Diplolaena angustiflora) for which the trail is named as it flowers from Winter to Spring.

It had been raining but cleared up beautifully for our hike. We went to sign in at the Visitor Centre as this is an extended hike and signing in is recommended but the Visitor Centre was closed for renovation. The trail head starts from the Visitor Centre but having hiked all the shorter trails in Yanchep National Park we knew we could drive over and park at Cabaret Cave and shorten the hike by a few kilometres.

The road to Cabaret Cave was closed so we parked at the entrance to Dwerta Mia (Boomerang Gorge) and picked up the Yanchep Rose Trail here. The Yanchep Rose Trail shares the path with the Ghost House Trail for several hundred metres and then veers off to the east.

A few minutes in the trail crosses busy Wanneroo Road/Indian Ocean Drive so take care. The trail then winds through the bush climbing gradually for about 10 minutes to the number 227 RAAF Radar Station bunkers which appear quite unexpectedly! The radar station was established during World War II to provide early warning of Japanese air raids against Perth. The bunkers were used by mushroom growers during the 1960's and 1970's but then fell into disrepair. They were classified by the National Trust in the late 1980's but were heavily graffitied. In 2020 artists Paul Deej and Chris McBride painted murals in partnership with local high school students and it seems graffiti artists have respected the murals and they are intact.

From here the trail meanders through banksia woodland. There were not a lot of wildflowers out but the banksia were putting on a show as was the hibbertia and there were selected wildflowers along the way to keep us interested. About 25 minutes further along the trail splits into the loop section - this is a tadpole trail featuring a there and back and a loop.

We took the left hand trail continuing to walk clockwise. We startled a mob of kangaroos before crossing the first fire trail. Another 15 minutes along and we could see some interesting rock formations at a distance. We came across a side trail indicating a lookout so headed up this trail emerging at the limestone rock formations. We spent some time exploring the rougher somewhat overgrown trails around the rocks spotting our first (and only!) Yanchep Rose.

We backtracked down the stairs and continued along the main trail to the left. There are lots of trail markers along this trail but many are higher up and easy to miss if you are wearing a hat and are looking down at where your feet are going.

We continued around the loop crossing another fire trail and then joining the Coastal Plain Trail for a section - you really don't want to follow the wrong trail here as the Coastal Plain Trail is over 50 km long! The Coastal Plain Trail eventually veers off to the south and we continued around the loop spotting a few more wildflowers along this section and another kangaroo! Along the way we had seen lots of kangaroo prints but also smaller prints which may have belonged to feral foxes or cats.

We sat on some low rocks for a drink and snack break - not very comfortable but there are not too many places to rest. Looking north we could see across the plain to the rocky outcrop in the distance.

In just under two hours from starting the loop we were back at the split and returned west along the trail to the bunkers. The bush has been beautifully quiet with the only noise being birdsong. We did spot an osprey or hawk up high so maybe the birds were singing out their warning.

Another quick look at the murals - one which we recognised as Cabaret Cave but we couldn't place the picture of the pool. We thought maybe there had been a manmade pool here in the 1930's.

Just down from the bunkers there was a split in the trail - a path heading left or the wider road heading right. We weren't sure so took the wider road but this turned out to be a longer way back following a soft fire trail before looping back to where we crossed Indian Ocean Drive. A trail marker would have been handy here and another one should be placed at the rock lookout so you return down the slope. There is a lot of wilderness here if you get lost!

We re-joined the Ghost House Trail back to Cabaret Cave deciding it was definitely depicted in the mural and then spotted a bridge - we had come in on the trail from Boomerang Gorge and had missed this. As we got closer we could see the bridge spanned a section of what looked like a man made pool next to Gloucester Lodge - mural mystery solved!

We arrived back at the car having taken just under 3.5 hours and walked around 11km. This was a most enjoyable walk which would be even more spectacular in Spring. It passes through typical Yanchep landscape similar to that seen on the Ghost House Trail and Yaberoo Budjara Trails but really extends into wilderness. A shorter option would be to hike in to the limestone rock formation and return the same way without completing the loop - I estimate this would take about 2 hours return.

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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.

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