Dwellingup is fast becoming a trails destination with some lovely forested valleys to explore, picturesque camping spots along the Murray River and plenty of investment coming in the future. One of the best activities to do while you’re having a bit of R&R in nature is to stretch the legs and take a hike. There are a few options close to Dwellingup and one of the best is the King Jarrah Walk Trail.
What Is It?
As one of the longest dog friendly day hikes in the Perth region, the King Jarrah Walk Trail is a great way to explore the Jarrah forests that are found up and down the Murray River Valley. The area was previously a haven for logging activity but has since been protected and the forests allowed to start the process of regeneration without the looming devastation of forestry. One of the trees that was spared the chop now lends its name to the track with the King Jarrah one of the oldest and biggest examples of a Jarrah tree you’ll find in WA. Estimated to be over 400 years old, it still stands tall through the ravages of time, fire and European colonisation.
Where Is It?
Located within Lane Poole Reserve near Dwellingup, it’s a little over an hour from the centre of Perth. This nature playground is full of activities ranging from mountain biking, kayaking, camping, hiking and its very own trees adventure course. The King Jarrah Walk Trail starts from the Nanga Mill Campground, accessible off Nanga Road and a 15-minute drive south of Dwellingup. The trail is a loop so no need for a car shuffle and there is plenty of parking right by the trail head.
What to Do?
The 17.8km trail is a mix of single track through the forest and old vehicle tracks exploring the edge of the Murray River. Heading in an anti-clockwise direction from the trail head, you head straight up a pretty steep hill to a lateritic ridge where you will be surrounded by the soft grey trunks of the Jarrah forest that thrives in this area. Walking along single trail, you get some fleeting views of the surrounding hills but the real joy here is taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest. A series of dips and climbs keep the heart rate up as you make your way to the namesake of the trail, the King Jarrah.
An impressive sight, this girthy tree has recently survived the latest bushfire that ripped through this area in 2015 and is a sight to behold. From the King Jarrah you make your way down to the bottom of the valley to join up with a series of vehicle tracks that loops you back to the start. Getting a bit of space to admire the surrounding Jarrah forest, the walk along the edge of the Murray River allows you to appreciate some time in nature and thanks to a couple of side paths, you can get up close views of the river.
What Not to Do:
While most walking tracks in Perth are located within National Parks and State Forest that don’t allow dogs, the King Jarrah Walk Trail is an exception. Remember to be a good dog owner by keeping your four-legged friend on a lead at all times and always pick up after it. The vehicle track section of the walk is shared with the Munda Biddi cycling trail so be aware of other trail users.
As mentioned earlier, there is plenty to do in Lane Poole Reserve and Dwellingup. There are plenty of camping options with bookable campgrounds all along the river, see the Parkstay website for more details with Nanga Mill Campground being dog friendly. The new Murray River Mountain Bike Network is a recently constructed set of trails that utilises the hills of the Murray River Valley to good effect. Along with the new trails, both the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail go through Dwellingup if you’re after a longer adventure. Dwellingup is quickly becoming the nature escape for Perth adventure enthusiasts and serves as a quick way to get out into nature for the weekend.
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.