This walk takes in some of the rugged scenery of the Avon Valley National Park on the south side of the Avon River. The River runs southwestward through the park, cutting deeply into the granite of the Darling Range (as it has also done about 20km further SW at Walyunga National Park, where it becomes the Swan River). The steep slopes of the Avon Valley and its side valleys provide for some good views.
The Park lies at the northern limit of the jarrah forests and includes a transitional mix of wandoo woodland with jarrah and marri trees. There are some short sections of thicker shrubland and tall heath. (You may prefer to wear trousers or gaiters to avoid scratches. And be aware of ticks!)
Western Australia’s pioneering surveyor-explorer, John Forrest (later a Premier of W.A.) and his surveying team in early 1878 placed cairns on several observation points near the hill-tops overlooking the valley. This walk includes an opportunity to capture some sense of that history by including an optional diversion to the Cairn “OS” site.
Together with the Avon Valley National Park and Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary to the NE, the Park is now an important area for native fauna conservation along the Swan-Avon Valley. Animals re-introduced by DPAW/AWC include the tammar wallaby, black-flanked rock wallaby, the quenda (southern brown bandicoot), and woylies (bettongs). In recent years however, in the absence of serious culling, feral goats have reached damaging, plague proportions in the Park .
Two-day visit: A good option is to spend a weekend in the National Park, arriving Saturday morning and leaving Sunday afternoon. Camp at the Homestead Campsite. Do the Avon Valley – Both sides Walk on Day 1 and then this walk on Day 2. There is no significant overlap between the two walks, but both start conveniently from the Homestead Campsite. The Valley Campsite (at waypoint ‘VALL’) provides an alternative good camping option for this walk. It is much closer to the River and easily reached via waypoint ’33’, about 4km before the end of the walk route.
Other opportunities: Much of the western area of the Park, west of Joe’s Cage, is less easily accessible, and is quite rugged and challenging in places, especially between Plunkett Rd and the Avon River, with some dense, scratchy shrublands, but it also has potential for some good walking. Access is possible from Great Northern Hwy, via Chittering Rd (from Bullsbrook) and Wilson Rd, then into the Park along unsealed roads (Smith Rd and Plunkett Rd). These unsealed roads are quite rutted and rocky in places and more suited to 4WD.
However, a little further north on Chittering Road (14km from Bullsbrook) the “Peace Be Still” Guest House/Retreat provides easy access to walking at the westernmost fringes of the Park, above the Brockman River and Chittering Valley (e.g. Kyotmunga Walk Trail and ‘Out & Back’ Walk; see Other info. on this site).