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Entries about waterfalls

Mt Field National Park to Queenstown

Via Lake St Clair National Park, the Wall in the Wilderness, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Mt Field NP - Lake St Clair

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  • Nice rolling hills farmland, with forest as you get higher and closer towards Derwent River and Lake Saint Claire National Park.
  • Good to see some regrowth slowly occurring after the previous seasons fires.
  • Interesting detour into Tarraleah to see the canals and penstocks (large water pipes for hydroelectricity).
  • Before seeing the signs for Tarraleah, we drove over a large canal and were rather surprised to see one in that location. Only really used to seeing canals for irrigation purposes before.
  • Watch out for wildlife!! We ran over a wallaby or small kangaroo going down a windy section of road at dusk. No damage to the van thankfully, but reckon we would've killed the roo.
  • Finally got to Lake St Clair well after dark.

Lake Saint Clair National Park

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  • We were hoping there'd be a similar self-service set up for camping here, as there had been at Mt Field.
  • No such luck! All buildings were well and truly shut, with the only real information I could find regarding late accommodation, telling us that keys for cabins would be left in the box provided for late arrivals.
  • Considering we hadn't rung ahead to say we were even coming, there obviously wouldn't be any keys for us! Plus, we weren't wanting a cabin anyway.
  • Another couple in a similar situation to us, said they'd rung earlier, and been told to find a site and pay $50 in the morning. Figured we may as well do the same.
  • The whole campsite area was fairly large, and unfortunately.... all amenities (2 blocks in different areas) were well and truly locked!
  • So yes, bush toilets for us that night. Thankfully, Sonia didn't mind and was quite happy to do her wee's under a tree, despite the cold.
  • Toddlers, cold wet ground, bush toileting under trees... This's one spot where gumboots really come into their own!! Sonia was able to squat without pants on, and not have to worry about getting her pants or feet wet. If wee accidentally got onto her boots, no problem! Just wash it off!!
  • I woke early, considerably feeling the need for a wash. Not really wanting to do a camp style wash in the bush (Couldn't use the van - would've woken the kids and Clancy!), I decided I may as well see if the toilets up near the information centre were open. And yes they were! Yay!!
  • I found hot water available in the disabled toilet handbasin, so with my trusty plug, flannel and towel... a nice quick warm wash was had by me!
  • Back to the van in time to greet waking kids and start the hopefully improved morning routine. (Result = Yes, definitely improved!).
  • Finally, a walk down to look at the lake and distant mountains, then back into the van to see the Wall in the Wilderness.
  • So our hints and tips for Saint Clair National Park Campground in winter...

1. Plan more time - looked like there could be some really nice walks and things to see/do.
2. If you're thinking of arriving late to camp there, and are willing for the possible price tag, Ring Ahead!

Wall in the Wilderness

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  • This was amazing!! The artist's an awesome wood carver.
  • Things looked so real. Clancy and I had to double check ourselves, looking at the long coat he'd carved, hanging up beside the entrance door! It took a bit to realise it wasn't real.
  • You aren't allowed to take any photo's, which is explained really well on numerous signs. But they do have books and other things you can buy if you want.
  • Apparently the artist does not like misbehaved children (stated on numerous signs!), so we had a bit of fun trying to keep Sonia calm and quiet, when all she really wanted to do was touch everything. Understandable for a kid her age.

Derwent Bridge to Queenstown through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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After me Dad!

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and.... Peeka Boo!!

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  • Really nice drive through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, seeing some varying landscapes - dryer forests, grasslands, rainforests
  • We only stopped quickly at King William Saddle and Surprise Valley for some photo's, as the kids were nicely asleep at that stage. From memory, I think you may only be able to stop at the Surprise Valley lookout if you're heading west.
  • Stopped longer at the Franklin River Nature Trail to enjoy the walk through the bush and beside the river, and have some lunch - Picnic tables and toilets available.
  • Nelson Falls are also well worth the time to stop and have a look at. A really nice board walk through rainforest to the wonderful falls. - Toilets were available here as well.
  • Both the Franklin River Nature Trail, and the Nelson Falls Nature Trail, were nice short easy flat walks suitable for prams, and for Sonia to run relatively free.
  • Kids were fast asleep again once back on the road, so quite a few scenery photo's were taken on the move for the rest of the way into Queenstown.

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Posted by Goannaray 10:03 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes queenstown rainforest tasmania river creek campground toddlers wall_in_the_wilderness derwent_bridge lyell_highway nelson_falls lake_st_clair 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Rosebery & Montezuma Falls

The location of Australia's safest mine??

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Rosebery

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  • After rewashing and drying everything for the second time in Queenstown (following a full night of projectile vomiting from an 11month old boy), we managed to get to Rosebery in time for lunch.
  • Didn't think we'd be able to make and eat lunch, then walk to and from Montezuma Falls before nightfall, so delegated that for the next day.
  • Good parking area in town with playground and skate park nearby for kids to play in while I made lunch.
  • Both parks looked to be getting a good workout by the local kids despite the wet, windy weather.
  • Found a nice cafe opposite the IGA to get the hot chips that'd been promised for when lunch had been fully consumed. Seemed to be the local hangout for quite a variety of different age groups too.
  • Then on to the Rosebery Cabin and Tourist Park - Signs up saying check in preferably after 4pm when office opens, but feel welcome to choose a site and see staff after 4pm.
  • By the time we'd chosen a relatively sheltered spot and organised the van ready for the evening, it was 4pm.
  • Paid for the site, then went for a walk to see Stitt Falls which were just below the caravan park, and continued on a loop past the town pool and oval, through some bush up to the townsite, and back around past the local mine to the campground.
  • Stitt falls hadn't been on any of the maps we'd seen, but they seemed pretty good to us.
  • Thought the sign at the entrance to the Rosebery mine site was pretty good too: 'Australia's safest mine? Not yet - we're working on it!'

Montezuma Falls

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  • Getting there and preparation

Rain continued on and off all night, and into the following morning. Not quite what we were hoping for... but it was either do the walk and see the falls today, or forget the falls and keep going. Decided we may as well try it and see how we went.

Not far out of Rosebery on the way towards Queenstown, is the turnoff to Montezuma Falls and Williamsford. It was bitumen for most of the way in, before turning to gravel to go down the hills past the old Williamsford cemetery and town site, to the start of the Montezuma Falls track (Approx 6km from main road into walk carpark). There was a decent sized gravel parking area, with two creeks flowing nearby. Some picnic tables, and a toilet not far into the start of the walking track.

I was starting to wonder, did I really want to do this? It was raining constantly, and Clancy wasn't feeling too well, so really didn't want to do the predicted three hour walk. Finally decided that Clancy would stay and have a sleep with Kaden, while Sonia and I went in to see the waterfall.

A 22 seater bus arrived at the carpark not long after us, with a group tour. I asked their guide, who said he thought a pram should be able to get through to the falls ok as there were a few steps, but no really bad sections that he could remember. Well.... it was ok for me. I did it with the stroller and Sonia, but wouldn't really recommend that method for anyone else unless it's good dry weather! The pram and I were totally soaked and muddy by the time we got back. Sonia managed to sleep for most of the trip back too, despite the bumpiness.

I'd read the track was an old tramway and therefore fairly level, and had been debating between the pram and Kathmandu child carrier backpack. I didn't really want to have to carry Sonia in the backpack by myself for 3hrs, with her constantly wanting up/down. It would've totally killed my back and hips by the end of the walk, and so therefore, with a bit of confidence from the guide, decided on the pram with raincoats, and whatever we could fit in our pockets. ie, water bottle, mandarines, muesli bars, and camera.

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  • The Track

The track into the falls is mostly one joined track, but there are atleast 2 sections where the track divides for those walking, and those with bikes. The bike sections ford across rocky creeks on a 4WD track, where as the walking sections often involved some steps, and a narrower bridge. We chose the walking sections, as the creeks were too high for the pram at that time.

Clancy and Kaden walked the initial 10-15mins in with us before turning back for the campervan. Not far past the toilet, you go down a steeper section to the first wooden bridge, and then up another steeper section with rocks as steps, to get back to the main tramway track. Sonia walked these sections while I carried the folded up stroller heading in, and I figured she could do the same on the way back out. In regards to the correlation between track and pram.... there were both good and bad patches of track.

- The Good: Wherever the track was rocky or like rough gravel, basic wooden 4WD bridges, walking bridges.

- The Bad: Deep mud, fallen rock slides, tramway sleepers where there wasn't a better walkway beside them.

- For walking: The only bad was the mud!

The tourist group that'd arrived in the bus not long after us, comprised mostly of Asian girls, some wearing very good neat casual clothes, heels, and wedges. Not quite what I would've thought appropriate clothing for that track on that day. But then again, who am I to judge. I was taking a 2.5yr old toddler through the same rain and mud in a pram! And at a fairly fast pace too considering the conditions. I passed the tail end of the group on the way into the waterfall, and then again on the way out as well.

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  • The Waterfall and Suspension Bridge

The waterfall, creek, suspension bridge, and history was amazing! Well worth the walk in good weather. The walk would be much nicer then too! Others may not have thought it worth the struggle, but I was glad I battled my way through the rain and mud with toddler and pram to see it all. There's quite a lot of spray from the waterfall that comes out over the viewing platform near the base of it, so trying to get good photo's was interesting. Water droplets on the lens from not only the continuing rain, but also from the waterfall's spray got rather annoying! Sonia and I enjoyed the food and water we'd brought along as well. Talking to the group's tour guide, we found out he knew one of our neighbour's from when I used to live on a farm in Toodyay, WA!

The suspension bridge was a lot of fun! Sonia and I really enjoyed it. It gave a totally different perspective and view of the falls and valley. Only two people were allowed on the bridge at one time, and I made sure I hung on to Sonia's hand like crazy the whole time we were on the bridge. I also made sure I had my camera well and truly secured to my wrist!

  • The walk back

Heading back, Sonia wanted to walk and run, so she walked, jumped, or ran down the tramway sections while I carried the pram. That was much easier than on the way in where I'd bumped the pram around or over the tramway sleepers. She did end up totally soaking her shoes and feet in the mud and puddles, but that was unavoidable, so oh well. Once we got through the tramway sections (they're all mostly at the waterfall end of the track), Sonia got back into the pram, where I then proceeded to pull her backwards for the rest of the way on the back two wheels only. This was much easier, especially through the bad sections. And with the hood fully pulled down (Valco stroller hood fully pulled down nearly covers the whole seat!), and a raincoat covering from the hood to the footrest, she soon fell asleep out of the wind and rain.

I was expecting to have to wake Sonia so she could walk through the steep sections and first bridge close to the beginning of the track, but the group guide had walked back to check on the tail end of his group, and helped me carry the pram through instead. Very much appreciated!!

Got back to the campervan, where Clancy and Kaden were stirring from a good sleep. We woke Sonia up so she could get into some clean, dry clothes, and found that only her outer layers were wet! All her internal layers were still nice and dry! I grabbed the big umbrella and a change of clothes to go change in the toilet, while Clancy cooked up some nice hot two minute noodles for a late lunch for everybody.

Timing from the start of loading the pram, to getting changed and dry... we'd managed the walk in about four hours. Considering the conditions and everything else... I reckon we did pretty well!! When I got back to the campervan, I felt like I could have kept on walking with Sonia in the pram as she was at the end, for another hour or so. If I'd had her in the backpack, I reckon I would've had badly aching hips by the time I got to the waterfall, let alone the return trip.

  • Recommendations

So, after successfully completing the walk with the pram this way, my recommendations are...
- If Dry: Go for it however you want. Walk, baby/child carrier, pram... whatever.
- If Wet: Gumboots!!! Umbrellas/good rain gear, pram if prepared for mud and a rough trip! Baby/child carrier if it's not going to affect you physically.
- Whatever the conditions: Enjoy the walk, the suspension bridge, and waterfall!!

Posted by Goannaray 21:15 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls rain tasmania walk mine toddlers pram rosebery montezuma_falls 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Cradle Mountain and Gowrie Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

  • Cradle Mountain Accommodation

Considering the volume of wet gear we had from splashing our way to and from Montezuma falls, we decided we'd pay a bit extra that night and camp in one of the cabins available at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. They'd come up the cheapest after a quick call to the Sheffield Information Centre. Doing this would hopefully allow us to wash the mud out of everything, and then get it all as dry as possible... including the pram and our shoes/boots! Washing everything in the shower, then hanging everything in front of heaters overnight, we partially succeeded. We managed to get the pram dry enough to use the following day, but both my boots and Sonia's shoes still needed a bit more dry heat. So onto the van's dashboard in the sun (as much as we were likely to get!) they went for the next few days.

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We woke to a lovely clear morning, and headed into the information centre to see what we could feasibly do that day. As we had a regular sized van (length and width), and two young children (one close enough to still be considered a baby), they said we could take our vehicle through the boom gates and all the way up to the Dove Lake carpark. Otherwise we would have had to leave the campervan in the parking lot at the information centre, and catch the shuttle bus service.

Understandably so as we found out on our return trip. The road in to Dove Lake is rather narrow (mostly single lane) with plenty of blind corners, and few wider areas for passing. Some really nice scenery and views to see along the way though. Going in was ok, as we were relatively early and nearly all traffic was also heading in to the lake at that time. Coming back out... there was a lot more traffic going in both directions causing you to constantly be on the lookout for oncoming traffic, and also places to pull over to allow each other to pass. It would've been crazy if we'd had a wider or longer vehicle.

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Interesting stones

The view across Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain is stunning! We were very lucky with only a few clouds in the sky for the time that we were up there. Reading the signs and maps detailing the walks available, and standing at the edge of the carpark looking towards the mountain, we decided that walking to Glacier Rock would be the best option for us. A shorter, flatter, easier walk. The pram once again got delegated to Kaden, while Sonia managed the distance walking there and back reasonably well. There were some steps leading up to and past the rock, which Clancy, Kaden and the pram handled ok (plus a few hints from me after the Montezuma Falls walk experience!), but otherwise a nice short, easy walk for all involved.

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As soon as we got near the rock, I once again made sure Sonia's hand was held especially well. All she wanted to do, was jump in puddles, and jump off any slightly higher point. Not quite the safest thing when there's a decent sized cliff nearby! Despite this, the views were once again amazing! Definitely worth a return visit for longer walks if we ever get the chance.

  • Walks near the park entrance

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Come on Dad!

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Starting at the bridge between the park entrance and Cradle Mountain Lodge, is the Enchanted Walk. A boardwalk well suited to young children and prams. It meanders along beside the Pencil Pine River, with a few side detours involving fun tunnels and pictures for kids (and kids at heart!). I enjoyed seeing the differences in vegetation types, and managed to spot a wombat in the distance, and several wallabies near the track. No platypus sightings for us in this river either unfortunately. But yes, a nice, well thought out short walk.

The track to Pencil Pine Falls, and Knyvet Falls starting opposite the Cradle Mountain Lodge, is also a boardwalk, but involves quite a few steps after the initial viewable flat section. We took Kaden in the pram down to Pencil Pine Falls, but then folded it and left it beside the track for the return trip, before continuing onto Knyvet Falls.

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Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin passed us on the way down to Pencil Pine Falls, where we met up again and swapped camera's for family shots with the waterfall, before they continued back along the track to Knyvet Falls. I wouldn't have recognised them if Clancy hadn't said anything to me later. And no, we didn't acknowledge to them that we knew who they were, figuring they might like some anonymity.

The boardwalk section between Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls was also really nice with numerous little rivulets and waterfalls running down the nearby slopes and under the boardwalk. This resulted in frequent pointing and cries of 'Wart Fall' from Sonia! She also enjoyed being able to run along the zig-zag walkway, jumping up and down the frequent steps (even after accidentally sliding off the boardwalk at one stage!).

  • Gowrie Park

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We were hoping to explore Tasmazia the following day, so after looking at a map, decided we'd camp at the Gowrie Park Wilderness Village that night. On the way, we detoured in to the dam at Lake Cethana, and then up to the lookout point on Olivers Road beside the Mount Roland Regional Reserve. Where we were rewarded with a nice view over the surrounding hills and valleys.

On arrival to Gowrie Park Wilderness Village (we hadn't rung ahead), we were informed that we were in luck. Apparently the campground would normally have been shut at this time of year, but this year was different. More tourists continued to trickle through, warranting them staying open for longer into the winter season. They had a small but decent enclosed kitchen, the cheapest laundry we'd seen so far, pademelons hopping around everywhere, and pay showers.

Posted by Goannaray 22:04 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes trees winter view wildlife tasmania panorama cradle_mountain toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Liffey Falls and Pencil Pines at Pine Lake

Using Deloraine as a base

all seasons in one day
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

We camped beside the Meander River in Deloraine at the Apex Caravan Park, and managed to enjoy an early night thanks to arriving a bit earlier, and constantly improving evening routine. This campground had required us to ring earlier to be able to obtain a key for the amenities, which we picked up from the caretaker living across the road and railway tracks. In the morning however, when I went to return the key, I didn't see the board on his front verandah for early morning key drop off's, and woke him up knocking on the door! So for those likely to be staying there and wanting to return their keys earlier, make sure you ask what they want you to do for this, and be very observant!

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It was a bit of a trip into the Liffey Falls State Reserve from Deloraine, with the smaller more bendy access road to the falls turning to gravel not long after leaving the A5 Highland Lakes Road. If we'd had a bigger style motorhome, I don't know if we would've made it round some of the tighter slippery wet bends ok. It was definately worth the trip in though, with a nice easy walk, and some rather picturesque falls.

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The track to the upper cascades was a gentle to moderate downhill walk that we could've easily taken the pram on. There were quite a few steps involved to get down to the bottom of the main falls though (still only gentle to moderate steepness), so we carried both Sonia and Kaden in baby carrier backpacks (Kathmandu and Ergo) to help reduce time. Sonia didn't want to return in the backpack however, so she walked for most of the return trip back up to the carpark and picnic area. Numerous informative signs were posted alongside the track which also caught Sonia's attention, as they incorporated a variety of drawings from primary school aged children helping to depict the written information.

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There were quite a few picnic tables available, including some undercover ones. As we were leaving, driving around the picnic/parking area circle, I saw the sign for the Big Tree. Clancy stopped and stayed with the kids in the van for a while, allowing me to quickly run in to see the 50m tall Browntop Stringybark tree and grab some photo's. Not far from the picnic area toilet.

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I'd read that Pine Lake beside the Highland Lakes Road, was one of the best and easiest spots to see Pencil Pines. Considering it wasn't too far from the Liffey Falls turn off, we decided we'd drive up to have a quick look. The drive on its own was worth it, as there were some really nice views of the Great Western Tiers. There was ice on the rocks beside the road, and with a strong wind blowing over the lake, it made for a rather cold walk. As Clancy wasn't really interested in going for another walk and the kids had once again fallen asleep, I left them in the warmth of the van and ran down the boardwalk to see the trees closer up, and grab some more photo's.

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We got back to Deloraine in time for a picnic lunch at the Deloraine Train Park beside the Meander river. We found this to be a great spot, as it looked to be well maintained, had a fenced in playground for younger children, a bigger open playground for older kids, old train that could be climbed on, decent toilets, and nice views of the river and bridges. We were lucky it was nice and sunny at that time, as both Sonia and Kaden really enjoyed being able to play freely on the fenced in playground. Before continueing on to see some of the sculptures around the town, we went for a walk over the fun bouncy walk bridge across the river. Sonia had a lot of fun trying to get it to bounce with some help from mum!

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Posted by Goannaray 05:46 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls lakes winter view tasmania walk sculpture tiers picnic campground deloraine toddlers liffey_falls pencil_pine 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Scottsdale to Bicheno

Wow!! Did we really do all that in 1 day?!?

all seasons in one day
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

After leaving Ben Lomond National Park and looking at some of our maps, we decided we'd head up the Camden Hill Road (C405) to cut through to the Tasman Highway (A3) to get to Scottsdale. This was another winding dirt road through forests and farmland with its fair shair of road kill. A nice drive, however the signage was a bit to be desired. We initially missed the correct turnoff for the A3, but finally figured it out when the next turnoff we came to had a sign at the junction explaining various road closures!

Phoning ahead to the number listed for the Scottsdale North East Park camping area in one of the brochures we had, we got the ok to camp there and found out it was a free campsite!! It was located at a really nice Lions park beside the A3 highway heading out of town towards Branxholm and St Helens. There were toilet and shower facilities (pay showers) available, power and water, a playground, picnic tables, shelters, and some short walking tracks. Considering our late arrival, we opted for a hot flannel face/hands/feet wash, and went straight to bed after a quick dinner. There was also a small lake beside the camping area, with quite a few large resident ducks. Clancy got a bit annoyed at them waking him up, but the kids enjoyed being able to chase them around in the morning!

Come morning, we decided to backtrack a bit to check out the Scottsdale Forest EcoCentre that we'd passed on the way into town the previous evening, only to find it didn't open on weekends. So onto the information centre, to find out that didn't open till 10:30am (was then 09:30am). After all that... we figured we may as welll continue on our way to Ralph's Falls via Legerwood.

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Legerwood is a small town not far off the Tasman Highway (A3) between Scottsdale and Branxholm. Even if you're just travelling past on the highway, it's well worth the short detour in to Legerwood to see these amazing memorials to some WWI ANZACS, and read their stories.

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Ralph's Falls are located approximately half - 2/3 the way along the Ringarooma/Pyengana Link Road or Mt Victoria Road (travelling from Ringarooma). It's a winding gravel road that'd only been opened relatively recently in 1998, joining Ringarooma and Pyengana, travelling through the Mt Victoria Forest Reserve. Considering the rather overcast day it was turning out to be, we weren't too sure if it was going to be worth it or not, but decided we may as well enjoy the drive and see how things developed. As it turned out, we ended up not being able to see a thing when we got there due to thick heavy fog.

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The drive itself was interesting enough with some rather nice views before the fog closed in, and despite the extremely cold dampness and occaisional misty rain, I think we all generally enjoyed the short walk to Norm's Lookout. I wouldn't recommend it in foggy conditions, but if it's not foggy, I reckon there would be some amazing views. Once again we had to keep an eagle eye on Sonia, as all she wanted to do was jump off rocks or logs, and run along the wet slippery track. This behaviour was quickly stopped by a firm hold from Clancy as we got closer to the lookout however, as the last 50m or so was a bit too risky for that sort of thing from a 2.5yr old! The track became rather narrow and was very close to the cliff edge.

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Near the carpark area, there was a decent sized BBQ/picnic shelter available, with utensils chained to the walls. Satisfying a toddlers curiosity looking through everything, we came across a Geocache by total accident! Clancy and I had previously enjoyed finding a few of these when we'd been based in Sydney, and hadn't even thought about possibly looking for some on our travels around Tasmania! So after signing the log and replacing the cache, on we continued to St Columba Falls.

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We were glad to find that these falls were below the cloud level that we'd previously experienced up at Ralph's Falls. There were good toilet and picnic facilities availalbe, and the top half of the falls were visible from the start of the track at the parking area. Some rather interesting historical information was available in the small shelter at the start of the track, including the background of the 'Pub in the Paddock', and a story about a lady who went missing for 9 days chasing a lost cow.

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We were expecting quite a few steps so carried Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier, but the walking track down to the falls and viewing platform ended up being quite suitable for a pram. The falls themselves were awesome, and well worth the trip. We were also lucky in seeing an echidna crossing the road. Rather fat and fluffy compared to the ones I'm used to seeing in WA.

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After stopping for some lunch, lollies and information at St Helens, we headed on up the coast to Binalong Bay and The Gardens. The coastal red rocks were great! It would've been even more amazing on a sunny day, contrasting white sand, red rocks, ocean, blue sky, and green trees/bushes. This area is well deserving of the positive reviews it receives.

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Kaden slept through most of the time we spent there, while Sonia thoroughly enjoyed being able to run and jump all over the large rocks and sand. I would've loved to have utilised one of the many free campsites available near the beaches to see the rocks at sunrise, but once again, we had to keep moving. This time it was so we could hopefully get down to Bicheno in time to join a penguin tour.

As we were leaving Binalong Bay, we rang Bicheno Penguin Tours to see if there was any space available for us on the tour that night if we managed to make it down in time. There was, and thankfully, we got there with just enough time to pay for the tour and get on the tour bus, carrying the extra jackets we'd need to combat the cold wind. We weren't allowed to take any video's or photo's on the tour ourselves, but could later email the tour company to receive a copy of photo's that they had.

The kids were understandably hungry and tired, but did amazingly well to stay as quiet and as still as they did for the whole tour. We found it best to carry Kaden, and let Sonia walk (occaisonally carrying her as well). It was really good seeing all the penguins coming up through the rocks and steep banks to camp in all sorts of random hiding places. They were rather noisy, with interesting songs or calls, and apparantly smelt pretty bad when they opened their bowels. Thankfully, we didn't get to fully experience that side of them! The guides were also very excellent. Really knowledgeable, and interactive with all ages on the tour.

We'd organised to stay at the Bicheno East Coast Holiday Park, and had informed them that we could be late (ie, after reception shut, but before 10pm). No problem, just press the buzzer. Following the penguin tour, we ordered pizza from the nearby restaurant (very yum!), and finally got to the campground by about 7:15pm. Reception was obviously shut, so I pressed the buzzer and received a somewhat surprising response. A not very happy lady answered, stating we'd interupted her dinner!! I remained polite and didn't say much, but really felt like saying 'Sorry, but we did warn you, and the person I spoke to (I'd previously spoken to a man on the phone) said that would be fine, and to just push the buzzer when we got here!'

I'm glad I didn't say it, as the rest of our stay there was quite positive. We'd been given a very handy spot close to the bathrooms, laundry and enclosed kitchen, and Sonia and Kaden loved the playground that was available before leaving in the morning.

Posted by Goannaray 20:24 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls birds winter view ocean wildlife memorial tasmania river rocks walk sculpture creek lookout campground bay_of_fires toddlers wood_carving 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Lesmurdie Falls

Nature's Day Trips from Perth with Toddlers

all seasons in one day
View Nature's Day Trips from Perth with Toddlers on Goannaray's travel map.

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Lesmurdie falls are located in Lesmurdie Falls National Park, within Mundy Regional Park. The falls themselves are rather spectacular after recent rains, but expect to enjoy more rock climbing activities than water flowing activities during summer, or when there hasn't been rain for a while. The variety of wildflowers in late winter and throughout spring are also rather impressive to see.

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There are two main access points to the falls. One at the top, and one at the bottom of the falls:

  • Top of the falls

Falls Rd, Lesmurdie - This access point has a carpark, picnic tables, toilets, trail and park information sign.

  • Bottom of the falls

Palm Tce, Forrestfield - This access point has a carpark, picnic tables, trail information sign.









Top of the Falls
Following the path down past the shaded picnic tables, you'll find a sign showing you the options of following the brook upstream to the cascades (150m), or downstream to the lookouts over Lesmurdie Falls (320m). These lookouts provide great views over both the falls and out through the valley to Perth. If you have toddlers that like to explore and climb like ours do, you may want to keep a close eye on them near the lookouts as there's plenty of toddler enticing things to see/do not far from the path, right beside the sharp drop.

View over Perth from top side of Lesmurdie Falls

View over Perth from top side of Lesmurdie Falls

Cascades above Lesmurdie Falls

Cascades above Lesmurdie Falls

Top of Lesmurdie Falls

Top of Lesmurdie Falls

Top section of Lesmurdie Falls

Top section of Lesmurdie Falls

For those wanting to use a pram, the main concrete path leading down past the picnic tables does have several sections of steps. At present, there is the availability of going on the gravel beside the steps, but I'm not sure how long it will be before this gets eroded too much. Diverting off the concrete path near the first picnic table to follow a vehicle access track down to the track beside Lesmurdie Brook is another alternative. Whichever way you choose, you'll be able to get to the top of the first lookout, but that'll be it before more difficult and lengthier steps will require pram abandonment.

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There are also some other trails leading off from this track above the falls, which will take you through the bush on the surrounding hillsides. Providing further great views of Perth and it's surrounds. Continuing further down the track from the lookouts at the top of the falls, you're able to walk down to the bottom of the falls. Bearing in mind that unless you have someone to pick you up from the entrance point down there, you'll need to make the return trip up the hill!

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The first time I explored this area, I was about 6months pregnant, and had a rather energetic (except for going up hills!) 1.5yr old tagging along who wanted to jump off every rock she could find! I think I made it about a third of the way down before deciding to head back and see if there was a different access point to reach the base of the falls.

Bottom of the Falls
Whenever we're wanting a quick bush getaway for a few hours, this is one of the sites we most frequently visit. One, because its very close to where we currently live, and two, because it's a nice easy place to let the kids pretty much run free and explore as much as they want (bit more cautious of snakes during the warmer months though!).

Gumnut discovery

Gumnut discovery

Running down rocks

Running down rocks

This track mum!

This track mum!

Splash!

Splash!

Trying to pick some flowers

Trying to pick some flowers

Finding smooth rocks

Finding smooth rocks

The track to the base of Lesmurdie Falls from the Palm Tce car park follows along beside Lesmurdie Brook (480m). Prams can make it nearly halfway along the track, up to the second bench seat. After that there's quite a few rocks to navigate. Once you reach what looks like the end of the track, it is quite easy to walk/climb beside the rock wall of the hill beside you to get right to the base of the falling water.

Lesmurdie Falls

Lesmurdie Falls

Climbing with Grandad

Climbing with Grandad

If you don't want to hike to the top of the falls, yet still want to get a different perspective of them, Lion's Lookout is not far up the side of the hill. The start of both the track up to Lion's Lookout, and up to the top of the falls are signposted along the main Lesmurdie Brook track. Once on the Lion's Lookout Track, you will need to take the left fork when it branches to get to the lookout. At the moment this track is being slowly overgrown in places, otherwise not too bad.

Here's the sign...

Here's the sign...

Lesmurdie Falls from Lion's Lookout

Lesmurdie Falls from Lion's Lookout

Too much bush mum!

Too much bush mum!

So whichever access point you want to use, enjoy the falls, the views, and all that nature has to offer :)

Posted by Goannaray 14:16 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls walk creek western_australia perth toddlers lesmurdie_falls nature's_day_trips_from_perth perth_surrounds Comments (0)

John Forrest National Park

Nature's day trips from Perth with Toddlers

all seasons in one day
View Nature's Day Trips from Perth with Toddlers on Goannaray's travel map.

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We’d previously driven past this national park numerous times a year when heading into or out of Perth, but had never gone in to have a look. So this year we decided to change that and check it out. Finding that several trips were in order to fully appreciate each of the main attractions. Making for some very enjoyable days out in nature.

History

The park is enveloped by the cultural history of the Nyoongar people who lived nearby or traveled through the area, and also further colonised history, as the original eastern rail line ran through there from 1896 – 1966. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, sustenance workers also did a lot of work in and around the parks headquarters, helping to make it the wonderful place it is today.

National Park Station

National Park Station

Train Crash

Train Crash

Swan View Tunnel

Swan View Tunnel

As one of the parks’ information brochures explains, the area was originally declared as a conservation reserve in 1898. Making it the oldest national park in WA. It later become John Forrest National Park in 1947 in honour of the famous explorer and statesman, Sir John Forrest (Premier of WA 1890-1901).

Access

As this is a National Park, there is an entrance fee (currently $12/vehicle without annual pass), and depending on what you’re wanting to do, there are several access points to the John Forrest National Park. The three main entrances that access the national park headquarters and developed area are located off the Great Eastern Highway between Midland and Mundaring.

Lookout over Perth

Lookout over Perth

The first signed entrance when heading east away from Perth is opposite the Bilgoman Aquatic Centre, which takes you on a scenic drive through part of the park before reaching the entrance toll booth. Near the beginning of this road is a lookout point allowing you to look west over Perth towards the coast. Take note that the gates on this road are shut by 4pm daily, so it’s recommended that all visitors should exit this area by 3:45pm to avoid being locked in!

Gate deadline...

Gate deadline...

The second entrance isn’t as well sign posted, but is the shortest route into the main park area. And the final entrance road is opposite the Glen Forrest Shopping Centre.

For parking and walk in access to various walks and sites, without having to pay to go through the main entrance, Pechey Rd in Swan View, Toodyay Rd between Red Hill and the Red Hill Auditorium entrance, and Victoria Rd in Hovea are other possibilities.

Things to see and do

There are quite a few tracks available to explore including the John Forrest Heritage Trail, which is a section of the Railway Reserve Heritage Trail (RRHT). Some tracks are wheelchair accessible, some are for walkers only, others allow bicycles, and some that pass through the park boundary also allow horses and dogs for the sections located outside of the national park. All of these tracks allow you to enjoy the natural bush and wildlife of the area.

John Forest Heritage Trail

John Forest Heritage Trail

With regards to prams, we found both the RRHT and narrower trails between the main attractions that we visited were quite suitable and relatively flat. There were also informative signs located along the RRHT explaining various interesting points, but not along the narrower walk trails.

Waiting for mum!

Waiting for mum!

Riding... riding...

Riding... riding...

Train, arrow, waterfall, tunnel... I choose... waterfall!

Train, arrow, waterfall, tunnel... I choose... waterfall!

As explained further below, the gardens and picnic areas are also rather nice for young and old to be able to enjoy.

Some of the main highlights or sights to see include:

Swan View Tunnel

Swan View Tunnel

Swan View Tunnel

Swan View Tunnel

Inside Swan View Tunnel

Inside Swan View Tunnel

This is a 340m long inactive railway tunnel built in 1894-95 for the Eastern Railway. The jointed granite, and clay seams in the area caused difficulty with the construction, requiring a masonry-lined face to prevent rock falls. This however reduced the inner diameter of the tunnel, which along with the steep gradient, caused smoke accumulation. This resulted in near-asphyxiation of train crews, with the first serious incident occurring in 1903. The worst accident in the tunnel was in 1942 when several train crew workers were asphyxiated, causing one death. A new line was built around the tunnel for trains going up (east), which was completed in 1945. This Eastern Railway line route was finally closed in February 1966, coinciding with the opening of the new eastern rail route through the Avon Valley. (References and further information: ...1... ...2... ...3...).

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Hint: Remember to take a torch! It is doable in the dark, but some form of light source is definitely appreciated. Especially if you’re riding a bike and there’s still puddles around. We forgot a torch, but managed to get through the tunnel ok using an assistive light app I had on my phone.

Shall we go through?

Shall we go through?

The bike stayed upright!

The bike stayed upright!

From the main picnic area of the national park, it’s about a 5km return trip along the RRHT. Going this way, you’ll pass the National Park Falls along the way. Or for free access and a shorter walk, you can park near the Pechey Rd, Morrison Rd, Swan View Rd intersection and walk or ride in to the tunnel from there.

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  • National Park Falls

Jane Brook drops sharply over about a 20m rock face before continuing to flow through further boulders, creating a rather picturesque scene. Late winter and spring (especially after recent rains) are the best times to view these and Hovea Falls as the brook generally dries up over summer.

Hold on... Look...

Hold on... Look...

Don't go too far!

Don't go too far!

Exploring around National Park Falls

Exploring around National Park Falls

Exploring the rocks and bush around these falls with toddlers can be both a lot of fun, yet also slightly stressful. Requiring the need for you to constantly know where they are and what they’re doing, as there are both water and cliff hazards that they may not necessarily recognise.

National Park Falls Lookout

National Park Falls Lookout

In the water, out the water, in, out, in, out ...

In the water, out the water, in, out, in, out ...

National Park Falls

National Park Falls

It’s about a 2km return trip from the picnic area along the RRHT. An alternative route is following a section of the Eagle View Walk Trail which follows along the northern side of the Jane Brook (RRHT is on the southern side). Being a narrower trail and closer to the brook, this track provides a slightly different perspective of the brook and surrounding bush compared to the RRHT. The variety of flowers available to see along this track during spring is also rather spectacular.

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Or, if you’re prepared for a slightly longer walk, you can park near the Pechey Rd, Morrison Rd, Swan View Rd intersection and walk or ride in past the tunnel.

  • The national park main picnic and entrance area

As mentioned above, a lot of work was completed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s as part of relief employment, including gardens, paths, picnic shelters, and other infrastructure. It may appear more run down now than what it did then, but it is still a really nice place to enjoy a picnic and relaxing time out in nature (barbecues are also located throughout the picnic areas).

Picnic shelter

Picnic shelter

Hello!

Hello!

Sit here mum

Sit here mum

The kids (myself included!) really enjoyed exploring the numerous paths and interesting picnic shelters scattered throughout the extensive native gardens. Being able to set up lunch while the kids played nearby in the creek was also nice. Something to note however… Watch out for the magpies and twenty eight parrots who like to steal food from your plate/hands before (or even as), it enters your mouth! Miss 3yr old Sonia was none too happy when the cheese on the sandwich she was about to devour disappeared in a whoosh of wind and feathers brushing her head from a rather pleased and successful magpie!!

Picnic lunch time!

Picnic lunch time!

Twenty Eight

Twenty Eight

Paddling

Paddling

Magpie

Magpie

The John Forest Tavern is also located here, with some rather yummy food available. The tavern staff put feed out for the kangaroos as well, so about mid-afternoon, you’re pretty well guaranteed to see a good sized mob of kangaroos up nice and close if you wish to. From bigger older ones, right down to small joey’s.

Kangaroos

Kangaroos

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  • Hovea Falls

These falls occur where the Jane Brook cascades down a large granite sheet, occasionally weaving amongst bigger boulders sitting on top of the massive rock face. Not as spectacular as the National Park Falls if you prefer typical falling style waterfalls, but still very impressive in its own way.

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Once again, constant monitoring of toddlers is required for water and fall hazards. Another thing we found to watch out for leading up to and around this area was meat ants. After quite a few unhappy encounters, followed by repetitive education and instruction (with frequent reminders!), Sonia finally realised that they weren’t too bad if you kept moving and stayed away from where their nests and trails were located.

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From the main picnic area, it’s about a 2km return trip along the RRHT. If you’d prefer to walk down amongst the bush closer to the Jane Brook, there is also a nice track available to do that. Or, for free access, you can park at the end of Victoria Rd and walk in from there.

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  • Glen Brook Dam

You see and pass this dam upon entry into the national park through the main entrance point. There is a walk trail leading around the dam’s perimeter (Approx 2.2km), but unfortunately there are signs up to say ‘Swimming not allowed’ due to the disturbance this would cause to the animals who use the dam as a refuge and feeding area. According to one of the signs there, the water is also neither treated or quality monitored, and is mainly used for watering the gardens and fire fighting.

No swimming <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

No swimming :(

Glen Brook Dam

Glen Brook Dam

Glen Brook Dam sign

Glen Brook Dam sign

  • Rocky Pool

As the name suggests, it’s a rocky pool in the Jane Brook, not far from where the brook exits the national park. So far I’ve only seen this area with very little water present in the lead up to summer. Lots of fun clambering around and over the abundance of rocks that make up the stream bed, and exploring the few remaining pools of water. From this, I could imagine that during winter with a better water level, it would be rather nice, with quite a few small rapids along this section of the brook.

Bridge near Rocky Pool

Bridge near Rocky Pool

Flower

Flower

Parking is located on Pechey Rd near where the brook goes under a bridge in the road. Tracks lead off in different directions from here, heading to different locations within the national park. So you could access this area from within the national park if you wished.

I have not completed this trail, but as the trail brochure states ...

The Eagle View Walk Trail is a 15-kilometre bushwalking circuit that leads you to several of John forrest national park’s less explored destinations. The trail is a bushwalker’s delight, covering a variety of relatively pristine habitats. It’s also more challenging than other trails in the park, but your efforts are well rewarded. Be sensible and allow plenty of time for the walk which, depending on your level of fitness, will take from about four and half to seven hours. This also depends on your interest in your surroundings as you go along.

Another good source of information about the trail can be found on the Inspiration Outdoors website.

So there you go, another excellent, not too far away place that’s just waiting to be explored and enjoyed :)

(References: Historical and other detailed information (not attained from personal experience) was obtained from the associated links inserted into the blog.)



Posted by Goannaray 21:16 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls walk tunnel picnic western_australia toddlers nature's_day_trips_from_perth john_forrest_national_park perth_surrounds Comments (0)

Whistlepipe Gully

Natures day trips from Perth with toddlers

all seasons in one day
View Nature's Day Trips from Perth with Toddlers on Goannaray's travel map.

Whistlepipe Gully

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  • Location / Access points

- Whistlepipe Gully is located in Mundy Regional Park between Kalamunda and Forrestfield.
- Top of gully - the end of Orange Valley Rd, Kalamunda.
- Download Map...
- Bottom of gully - the end of Lewis Rd, Forrestfield.

PB081672.jpgWaiting in the shade...

Waiting in the shade...

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  • Pram access

- From top of gully - I wouldn't recommend it. It doesn't take long before rocks and erosion on the track make it far too difficult.
- From bottom of gully - Perfectly fine up to the house remains. The walk from the Lewis Rd parking area up to the remnants of Wallace Greenham's house is on an old road. Some sections semi sealed, some gravel.

Wait for me!  Boots... Off!

Wait for me! Boots... Off!

Splash!

Splash!

Paddling fun

Paddling fun

Wallace Greenham's house remnants

Wallace Greenham's house remnants

How deep can I go?

How deep can I go?

Whistlepipe Gully Creek

Whistlepipe Gully Creek

Righto, this way, lets go...

Righto, this way, lets go...

  • What we liked...

- The walk and whole area is much nicer when water's flowing and flowers are out. Summer can get rather hot and dry.
- Not far into the walk from the bottom of the gully at the Lewis Rd end is a short, slightly overgrown track that leads in to a large rock near the creek. We found it to be a nice spot for the kids to paddle, or be able to just sit, relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
- Wallace Greenham's house remains. Lots of fun clambering around, trying to imagine what it would've looked like... how it all would've worked... wondering why it's now gone. You do have to watch out for kids slipping and falling down the rock water slide though!
- Numerous nice spots along the creek. Rather picturesque, and fun to play in. Especially for toddlers, and those who're kids at heart!

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  • What we did not like...

- Meat ants!! They're nearly everywhere, and come out with a vengeance in hot weather.

270_PB081664.jpgPicnic lunch

Picnic lunch

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  • Other miscellaneous points...

- Dogs are allowed.
- I would love to see the plans for the house, or photo's if any exist. If they're available to see anywhere, let me know!
- Otherwise... I hope you enjoy this bush escape as much as we do.
- Edit 04/11/2016: Here's a great link for further information for those who're interested. Many thanks to 'mgglasby' for commenting and pointing me in the direction of this site.



Posted by Goannaray 05:13 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls history walk creek western_australia toddlers nature's_day_trips_from_perth whistlepipe_gully perth_surrounds Comments (2)

Around Pemberton, WA

all seasons in one day

We've been through, and camped at Pemberton a few times, finding more things to see and do each time. Here is some of what we've experienced so far.

Camping

Pemberton Swimming Pool

  • Easy to walk to from the Pemberton Caravan Park.
  • It was too cold for swimming when we were there. But I'm guessing it could be rather popular in summer.
This way...

This way...

How deep is it?

How deep is it?

Log bridges are always fun!

Log bridges are always fun!

No tadpoles...

No tadpoles...

Fire Lookout Climbing Trees

  • There are three trees of different heights that are able to be climbed within the Pemberton area.
  • A National Parks Pass is required for vehicles to enter the National Parks where they're located. These can be obtained online, or from the Pemberton Visitor Centre. Or if you're a RAC member, you can get discounted National Parks Passes.
  • Sonia and Kaden request to climb these trees every visit, but with the gaps between the pegs, tantrum potential from one child, and needing to look after a younger sibling, they have yet to be allowed to climb higher than about 3m. Much to their annoyance!
  • Gloucester Tree - Approx 3km to walk to this tree from Pemberton town centre. Various other walks to do from the tree as well.
  • Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree
  • Diamond Tree

Can we go higher mum?

Can we go higher mum?

The Cascades

  • There are some steps to navigate, but then it's an easy enough walk for a pram to get to the cascades from the car park

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The Cascades

The Cascades

Come on!

Come on!

Karri Forest Explorer Drive

  • Brochure and map
  • There are interesting audio points on the radio
  • I enjoyed it, but the kids didn't particularly find it that interesting. Was just another drive for them.

Karri Forrest Explore Drive

Karri Forrest Explore Drive

Heartbreak Trail Scenic Drive

  • Brochure and map
  • There are quite a few nice places to camp along this drive.
  • Unfortunately there were no gentle easy slopes into the water for little kids that I could find though.
  • Good for flat water canoeing/kayaking however.

Warren River

Warren River

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Beedelup Falls and the Walk Through Tree

  • It's a nice easy trail to the falls. Suitable for a pram to the lookout.
  • I'm not exactly sure how far it is from the falls information boards to the Walk Through Tree.
  • You can do a loop walk including the falls, walk through tree, and Karri Valley Resort.
  • Kids weren't in a particularly good mood for this walk... but did really enjoy climbing through the tree!!

Beedelup Waterfall

Beedelup Waterfall

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Walk through tree

Walk through tree

Yeagerup Lake and Sand Dunes

  • Looked like a nice campsite near here.
  • I'd love to go exploring more across the sand dunes to the beach. But only if I had more experience, or someone else to go with for assistance getting out in case I got stuck!
  • We found the track to the start of the dunes was fairly firm. Finding a spot to park that was close enough for a short walk to the edge of the dunes.
  • Kids loved running/playing on the sand dunes!

Edge of Yeagerup Dunes

Edge of Yeagerup Dunes

Yeagerup Lake platform

Yeagerup Lake platform

Race you!

Race you!

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Yeagerup Sand Dunes

Yeagerup Sand Dunes

Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park

  • Only about 25mins from Pemberton to Manjimup
  • Considering we generally head south through Manjimup to get to Pemberton, we always have to stop for a play at the Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park.
  • Kids love it, and so do I!!
  • Amazingly huge slide (It may get rather hot on really hot days though. However, it was fine for us on a cooler day in December)
  • Fun big double flying fox
  • Historical Hamlet
  • Plus other playgrounds, swings, picnic tables, BBQ's etc.
  • See this link for opening times.

The awesome slide!!

The awesome slide!!

How did this work mum?

How did this work mum?

Fun climbing

Fun climbing

Posted by Goannaray 21:31 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls rivers kids western_australia sand_dunes pemberton toddlers weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion other_sw_wa_areas Comments (0)

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