Not many people will know of this secret hidden little gem. Tucked away in a corner of Roleystone, Perth. You can google trails in the area, it won’t pop up. It won’t be seen listed on the trails websites or apps. Like it doesn’t exist which makes exploring this area more exciting. It doesn’t have a name actually, only that it is made up of 4 small walk trails called the Echidna, Kangaroo, Emu & Botanical walk trails located in the Churchman’s Bushland Reserve. A perfect day hike awaits!
Driving along Brookton Hwy you come to Stocker road. Nothing in it. Just a quiet no through road with farm houses coming off it. No sign saying “awesome walk trail this way”. Drive to the end across the small bridge over Canning River & you arrive at the cul de sac. A short dirt road leads up to locked gates but an open pedestrian gateway & your journey begins at Wungong Regional park. An old interesting shed still stands disused & slowly falling apart. Interesting contents inside from a bygone era. There is no trail signage, only 3 wide tracks leading off left, right & in the middle. Right goes to private property. I go left instead & it ends at the Canning River. So backtrack & take the middle Path pass the shed head straight up hill. Might as well get the heart rate up at the start! The track unmarked but well maintained, follows the Canning River from above, the sound of water rushing along below. Lots of kangaroos everywhere. They are not impressed by my presence. So much green from the rains. This area is so beautiful passing small creeks, moss growing on trees & that green cover over the ground with rocks poking up so photogenic this landscape!
After going 2 kms or so the track turns sharply to the right & the first trail markers indicating this is the Echidna trail marked with an orange triangle or orange ribbon. Steep climb commences. The trail turns into a goats trail, bushes overgrown I end up drenched wet from brushing pass wet foliage. I also can’t walk upright due to the branches in my face. I have to walk hunched over head butting my way through what a crazy trail it has become! I eventually come out face to face with an impressive 30m high huge granite rock face. Rock climbers come here for a party as is obvious by the metal hooks in the face wall. Awesome spot, must see to be admired as photos don’t do it justice. I go right, climb some man made stone steps up the side but they stop abruptly & I end up carefully picking my way up on hands & feet. More climbs! I play along the top, daring to peer over the edge to the long drop below. Scary. Not wanting to break my neck today I scrambled & climb back down to the bottom via the steps on the other side. After looking at every nook & cranny, feeling puffed & weary from the climbs already, I went back up the left side straight to the highest point of the walk where I reach the small dirt car part where the rock climbers access the rock face.
To the right the Echidna trail looks to continue on its loop. Ahead going west is a sign stating the other 3 trails going in the one forward direction. The path up here is wide again, pleasant, flat & different landscape altogether. The old hand drawing picture of this area made by a bloke called Bill, shows an abandoned airstrip. Now covered in green lush grass I wouldn’t know it was an airstrip – used for something in a bygone era. Old white information markers are scattered along here but the words have faded away with very few readable at all. I encounter one other hiker that has also discovered this place. There are many skinny goat trails running here & there off the main path, sometimes I come across a marker with a kangaroo or emu picture so know I am still on the trail. This part of the walk reminds me of a part on the Bibbulmun track heading to Beraking from Waalegh campsite, as I stomp along enjoying the occasional wildflowers starting to bloom.
I reach the far end here again now changed to some skinny trees woodlands & out into a vast oval of lush open greenness. Farms skirt the edges as the track unmarked here can only go forward in a north direction completing its big loop back to the start. The track again is pleasant, flat, high above with views out to the surrounding farmlands & hills. I even took a right turn on purpose instead of left back to the start so I could do some more steep uphill climbing. The track rejoins the higher kangaroo track loop portion I had passed by earlier. Now with a visual map of the area in my head, I trotted back down the pea gravel track back to the start where I enjoyed a lunch break in the old shed. You can walk as far as you want on this one. So many options but is very hilly, so my total 12.5km hike felt double that. A very nice 3.5hr loop hike. The scenery is amazing here. I can only imagine how nice it will be in spring with the landscape bursting with colours. But still right now is best time to go. The greens are amazing. Kangaroo central here, I must have seen at least 50 of them hopping across the trails in front of me.
Remember this place is our little secret!
About the author AmblingRose
We are keen hikers based in Perth, Western Australia. We have hiked 7 New Zealand multi-day walk trails, the 800km Camino Frances in Spain, the Cape to Cape in WA, Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. We have hiked sections of the 1003 km Bibbulmun Track in WA with plans to complete an end to end this year in Spring, 2019.
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