965 km / up to 60 days / day and multi day walks
Discover towering forests, tranquil farmland and wild beaches on this award-winning walk through Western Australia’s south-west. The gold snake signs that mark the trail stretch almost 1,000 kilometres, from the Perth hills to Albany on the south coast. Scale Mt Cooke in the Darling Range and lose yourself in the lush forest fringing the Darling River. Visit vineyards in the Blackwood Valley, walk next to waterfalls and wildflowers in Beedelup National Park and clamber over granite boulders on the Pingerup Plains. Walk through sky-scraping karri trees in the Valley of the Giants, swim from Peaceful Bay and watch migrating whales from Albany. Do the walk in sections, or mix and match day and multi-day treks according to your time, the scenery you want to see, and your energy. Keep in mind it would take around two months to follow the snake markers all the way! The track is well-equipped, with hikers’ huts or camping sites situated a day’s walk apart.
Section 2: Dwellingup to Balingup
Enquire at Balingup Visitors Centre
Head south out of Dwellingup to Lane Poole Reserve, which protects dense jarrah forest and the long, winding Murray River. Snake along the river’s east side, past rock-rimmed pools, melaleuca thickets and flooded gum woodlands. Walk over the timber Long Gully Bridge and head to the Harvey-Quindanning Road, a popular starting point for day or overnight walks. Then meander south through jarrah, marri and wandoo forest to picnic-perfect Harris River Dam. From here the trail passes through the quaint mining town of Collie and over Glen Mervyn Dam before dropping down to the tiny settlement of Mumballup. Do a bum-burning climb through farmland to the Noggerup Conservation Park, home to some of Western Australia’s most spectacular virgin jarrah forest. It’s then a scenic descent to the shady, green sanctuary of Balingup Brook. Arrive in Balingup, set in the Blackwood Valley amidst forests, rivers, rolling hills, vineyards and lush orchards. Choose from a range of accommodation or walk further to the Blackwood campsite, perched high above town.
Section 3: Balingup to Pemberton
South of Balingup, the trail climbs through the Golden Valley Tree Park, home to over five thousand trees from around the world. Walk to the edge of the Blackwood Valley, for panoramic views over the green patchwork of forest and farmland. You’ll see your first karri trees at Karri Gully, just north of the Brockman Highway, between Bridgetown and Nannup. Cross the highway and roam through low-lying jarrah and karri forests before hitting the trail’s halfway point – the old mill town of Donnelly River Village. Amble alongside the tranquil Donnelly River before veering east for the waterfalls and wildflowers of Beedelup National Park. Skirt Big Brook Dam on the way in to Pemberton, in the middle of majestic karri forest. You can even scale one of these skyscrapers – like the 61-metre high Gloucester Tree – with metal spikes.