23 ARPA bushwalkers met at the Western K.I. Caravan Park, hosted by Mark and Fiona, on Sunday 16thSeptember for a week of walking the Wilderness Trail.
Monday consisted of a leisurely twelve kilometre wander along Rocky River, inclusive of a substantial cascade. Despite many ripples at Platypus Waterholes, no platypus was sighted. There were, however, an abundance of wildflowers including numerous native orchids. This day, as indeed throughout the walk, there was evidence of regenerating eucalypt woodland. Some walkers enjoyed a visit from a cheeky scarlet robin while they ate their lunch.
Each evening walkers met for shared drinks, nibbles and highlights of the day. Mark and Fiona joined us with information about the following day.
Tuesday was unforgettable. It began with a boardwalk river crossing then a very demanding fourteen-kilometre walk. The limestone terrain on the clifftop demanded that walkers watch their feet while ferocious wind gusts tossed several people into the bushes. The one and a half kilometre beach walk was not for the faint-hearted. Winds created a higher than usual tide forcing walkers to hug the sand dunes.
The next day saw the winds abating while we walked through dense coastal mallee up to Remarkable Rocks. Here we had time for lunch and exploration. A highlight of the afternoon was walking down to Sanderson Beach before being picked up by the bus.
The diversity of the Wilderness walk was especially evident on Day Four. There was plenty of wild life to be seen including dolphins, seals and their pups, kangaroos and an echidna. Walkers noted the changing vegetation which included some delicate spring flowers. Amid much laughter, we crossed the South West River before continuing to Hanson Bay. Here everyone had to remove their footwear to cross the cold stream as it entered the sea.
Friday was a shorter walk alongside Wilderness and Grassdale Lagoons with a background of croaking frogs and birdcalls. The track undulated through sugar gum, old growth banksia woodland and yakkas. Entering Kelly Hill Conservation Park we wended through gullies full of bracken fern. Suddenly, and somewhat sadly, we had completed the sixty six kilometres! What a satisfying adventure. Some chose to participate in a guided tour of Kelly Caves not anticipating the excitement of a Tiger snake sunning on the track to the caves.
We recommend the Wilderness Trail as an achievable but sometimes challenging walk and the Western K.I. Caravan Park as a base. The Park provides the opportunity to explore the surrounding area which includes lagoons full of bird life, a koala trail, and free ranging Cape Baron geese, kangaroos and wallabies at your doorstep.
Our excellent hosts, Fiona and Mark, prepared a tasty final evening meal to send us o our way. Thanks must go to ARPA for providing this opportunity and to all the walkers for making this such a memorable event.