Not far from one of the emerging trail towns in Western Australia and nestled among the giants of the Karri forest is a world of weird and wonderful fungi mixed in with the relaxing feeling of isolation.
If you’re looking for a country escape to settle down and do nothing but explore, chill out and enjoy the sounds and smells of nature then look no further than the Warren National Park.
What Is It:
At almost 3000ha in size, the Warren National Park is a haven for old growth Karri forest that is being threatened by native logging throughout the South West.
Highlighted by one of the great rivers of the South West, the Warren River, that flows through the park and empties out into the Southern Ocean, the giant Karri trees (some up to 90m tall) thrive here thanks to the river and the large amount of rainfall this area receives each year.
Where Is It:
Located 11km south of Pemberton in the South West (a four hour drive from Perth), the main access area for the park is off Old Vasse Road. Follow the signs from Pemberton-Northcliffe Road as you head south from town and be careful on Old Vasse Road as it turns into a gravel road not long after leaving the main road.
Depending on what you have planned in the park, you can park at the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree (more on that further on) or at one of the campsites located along the Heartbreak Trail (2WD accessible).
What To Do:
With so much of the great outdoors to explore, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a few options to get out and about. The 11km Warren River Loop Trail is a fantastic way to see the park and immerse yourself in the little details that make this place so wonderful. Taking in the hills above the river valley, you’ll get some great views from the lookout while the path along the river connecting the campsites is full of moss covered logs, bridges and interesting fungi.
Speaking of camping, there are two main campsites along the Warren River (Warren and Drafty’s) with some added facilities to get you as close to the river as possible. Boardwalk platforms over the river complete with wooden benches give you a great spot to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, listening to the sounds of the birds and gently flowing river.
Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are popular activities along this stretch of the river with plenty of jetties and launching spots for boats. Take care in winter and spring when the water is flowing faster than usual as there are rapids in the area.
What Not To Do:
Being a good human is important so if you plan on camping here then remember your manners and treat the place with respect and be mindful of other campers.
With the threat of dieback a big issue all over Western Australia, make sure you wash your boots/shoes before and after any walks and if possible do the same to your vehicles before and after visiting the park (the pathogen that spreads the fungus is carried in soil and water so is easily spread).
I mentioned the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree before and it’s a great challenge for those that love to brave heights. Standing at 75m tall, a series of metal pegs allows you to climb all the way up to the platform located 65m off the ground.
As one of the two remaining climbing trees near Pemberton (the Diamond Tree closed in 2019), the views you get from the top are stunning and worth the shaky legs if heights aren’t your thing. Make a weekend of it and explore one of the most underrated spots in the South West.
About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content HERE.