Dryandra Walk overview

Dryandra is one of Western Australia’s premier conservation areas and a very special place to visit. In springtime its magnificent open wandoo woodlands and wildflowers are at their best and the area is a prime place for spotting bird life and native animals (including the State’s animal emblem, the numbat). The terrain is mainly quite gentle but the route crosses several laterite ‘breakaways’ / rocky escarpments and occasional gullies. The on-track sections include parts of the established Woylie Walk and Ochre Trail. Overnighting at the Congelin or Gnaarla Mia Campgrounds or at Lions Village is a worthwhile option. The various vehicle tracks through the area also provide ample options for shortening the described route if preferred for a day visit.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    Dryandra is one of Western Australia’s premier conservation areas and a very special place to visit. In springtime its magnificent wandoo woodlands and wildflowers are at their best and the area is a prime place for spotting bird life (over 100 species) and native animals (including the State’s animal emblem, the numbat, a small striped marsupial which you may be lucky enough to spot during the day). Allow 6 hours for this walk assuming  a reasonable pace. The terrain is mainly quite gentle but the route crosses several laterite ‘breakaways’ / rocky escarpments and occasional gullies.

    The off-track sections are mainly through open woodland. Occasionally the prolific Poison Bush (Gastrolobium microcarpum) or the tall straggly Golden Dryandra (Dryandra nobilis) form quite a dense understorey, but they can be easily bypassed by small diversions from the direct path.  The on-track sections include parts of the established and well marked Woylie Walk (5.5km return) and Ochre Trail (5km return) maintained by DPAW.

    The Woylie Walk was selected by DSR and DEC in late 2008 as one of about 30 bushwalking trails in WA to be promoted by Trails WA as “Top Trails”. The Lol Gray Trail (12.5km return) and Wandoo Walk (1km return) are also very worthwhile walks. (See Other Info.). To include those last two walks, allow for a single night’s stay at Dryandra so that upon arrival on the morning of Day 1 you can do both the Lol Gray and Wandoo walks, and then the main walk on Day 2.

    Shorter walk options: The various vehicle tracks through the area are shown on the map and provide ample options for shortening the described route if preferred.

    For overnighters: You could camp at the Congelin Campground, off the York-Williams Road, or Gnaarla Mia Campground, off Godfrey Road, both SW of the walk area. Alternatively you can stay overnight in one of the very well restored and self-contained, old foresters’ cottages in the Village managed by the Lions Club (phone the Village Caretaker on 08 98845231 for accommodation information). The cottage accommodation is ideal and central to the various walks and also to the excellent Barna Mia animal sanctuary tour run 4 nights per week by DPAW (an admission fee applies. See Other Info. or contact DEC’s Narrogin office, ph. 08 98819200). The sanctuary tour is a special opportunity to see several of the threatened species of nocturnal native animals which are being brought back from the edge of extinction (including the bizarre Bilby,  the Burrowing Bettong or boodie, the Rufous Hare Wallaby or Wurrup, and others).

  • Route notes

    Head northward along Gura Road from the start point at Dryandra Village (at wayppoint ‘START’). Pass the entry to the local Lol Gray  Walk Trail on the right at about ‘1’ and continue northward via ‘1-1’ and ‘1-2’. Cross Kawana Road at  ‘1-3’ and continue NW-ward, gently uphill along Gura Road. Turn right (northward) at ‘2’ onto an old vehicle track to follow (in reverse direction) the marked Woylie Walk Trail for the next 1.3km: Turn left at ‘3’ to follow the Trail westward mainly through sheoak thickets to meet Gura Road again at ‘4’. The Trail crosses Gura Road and veers SSW, following an old vehicle track (via ‘4-1’).  Leave Woylie Walk Trail where it veers left at ‘4-2’ and continue straight ahead (SW), gently downhill on the old vehicle track. Veer right at ‘5’ to leave the vehicle track and head westward off-track for almost 1km,  crossing narrow gullies at ‘5-1’ and ‘5-2’. Reach another vehicle track at ‘6’ and turn right to follow the track NW for just 100m to its junction with Newell Road at ‘7’.  Turn left to follow Newell Road WSW for 1.5km, crossing a ridge and descending to meet Marri Road (a vehicle track) at ‘8’. Cross Marri Road and head westward via ‘8-1’, ‘8-2’,  descending/ascending a series of breakaways flanking two narrow laterite-capped ridges. Cross a vehicle track at ‘8-3’ and ascend another breakaway to a ridge at ‘8-4’. Continue westward along the ridge to a vehicle track at ‘9’. Cross the track and veer left (SW) to cross a broad, flat laterite-capped plateau via ‘9-1’, skirting around the eastern side of the often thick Golden Dryandra shrubs and passing a small cluster of balgas. Descend the steepish breakaway slope along the southern edge of the plateau. Cross a vehicle track at ‘9-2’ and continue gently downslope to the floor of the side valley. Veer southward at ‘10’ and then SSE after crossing an older vehicle track at ‘10-1’. Climb to the eastern flank of a small ridge and descend a breakaway on the SE flank. This is close to the halfway point of the walk. Continue SSE. Cross Tomingley Road (unsealed road) at ‘10-2’  and a nearv=by stream course which parallels the road. Climb to a small hilltop at ‘10-3’ and continue SSE along the western edge of a breakaway. Cross a small gully at ‘11’ and veer left (ESE) across gentle terrain. Re-cross Marri Road at ‘11-2’ and cross a small gully at ‘11-3’. Veer left (ENE) ascending a breakaway at ‘12’ , cross a narrow ridge via ‘12-1’ gaining a view to the SE. Descend a breakaway on the SE flank to reach a vehicle track (Baaluc Road) at ‘13’. Veer left (NE) and cross narrow gullies at ‘13-1’. Ascend around the head of more gullies via ‘13-2’ then veer eastward to ascend another breakaway and reach a vehicle track at ‘13-3’. Turn right to follow the track ESE to a T-junction with another vehicle track (Tower Road) at ‘14’. Turn left to follow the track to ‘14-1’. Walk around the Dryandra Firetower via ‘15’ and locate the Ochre Walk Trail where it enters the bushland near ‘15-1’. Follow the Trail initially NE-ward via ‘15-2’. The Trail crosses a laterite-capped plateau then veers eastward at ‘15-3’ to descend a breakaway through delightful open woodlands. Soon after it passes an ancient aboriginal red ochre pit (at about ‘15-4’) on the right. At ‘16’ the Trail veers left to follow an old vehicle track northward and reaches Weirah Road (at ’16-1’) close to its junction with Tomingley Road. Turn right to reach Tomingley Road at ‘17’. Turn right again to follow the road for almost 500m ENE to ‘18’. Then veer right to leave the road and head eastward off-track, crossing a small laterite-capped hill via ‘18-1’ and  skirting the northern flank of a second small hill via ‘18-2’. (Alternatively, you can opt at this point to stay on Tomingley Road to ‘23’ and bypass any further off-track walking.   Meet an old vehicle track at ‘19’ and turn left to follow the track NE-ward. Cross an old vehicle track at ‘19-1’ and continue to an information shelter at ‘20’ at the Old Mill Dam Site. It is worthwhile taking time out to read through the interesting information panels. Follow a track eastward from the shelter around the northern end of the dam. Cross an unsealed road at ‘20-1’ and at ‘21’ veer left (NE) to rejoin Tomingley Road at ‘22’. Follow the road to about ‘23’ or Gura Road, then turn left and head northward back to your Dryandra Village start point.

    Option to reduce off-track walking by 1.4km (after ‘18’):  You can opt at ’18’ to stay on Tomingley Road to ‘23’ and bypass any further off-track walking. This doesn’t reduce the total walk distance significantly.

  • Access / Directions

    162km SE of Perth. Albany Hwy to North Bannister (94km from Perth), then about 68km along North Bannister-Wandering and Wandering-Narrogin Roads to reach turnoff on right  to Dryandra Village, located about 2km along an unsealed road. The caretaker’s cottage is the first of the old wooden cottages on the left.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    Congelin Campground: DPAW-managed site to the SW of the walk route, off the York-Williams Road (see waypoint ‘Congelin’). Amenities include gas BBQs, open ring fire pits (including firewood), toilets and small water tank (water supply and quality not guaranteed). No bookings required. DPAW camping fees apply.

    Gnaala Mia Campground: DPAW-managed site to the SW of the walk route, on Godfrey Road, 1km west of the York-Williams Road (see waypoint ‘GnaalaMia’). Amenities include gas BBQs, BBQ shelters, open ring fire pits (including firewood), toilets, water tanks (water supply and quality not guaranteed) and picnic tables. No bookings required. DPAW camping fees apply.

  • Escape route/s

    Via Tomingley Road (dirt road through middle of walk area) and/or several other vehicle tracks to York-Williams Road in west or back to Dryandra Village in east.

  • Other Info.

    “Barna Mia”, DPaW site. – Includes a downloadable information guide about this animal sanctuary.

    “Birdwatching around Narrogin”, Birdlife Western Australia brochure.  – For a brief birdwatcher’s overview of this region.

    “Dryandra – The Story of an Australian Forest”, Vincent Serventy, 1970 (ISBN 0 589 07066 5). – Inspiration for readers on the important task of conserving such areas of natural bush “for our delight and that of future generations”.

    “Dryandra Woodland”,  DPaW site. – Includes a downloadable visitor guide.

    “Exploring Wheatbelt Woodlands”, Mike Bamford, 1995 (CALM publication; ISBN 0 7309 6495 7). – Provides a good introduction to the flora and fauna of remnant woodlands in the region.

    “Exploring Wheatbelt Woodlands – Teaching Activities for Upper Primary Schools”, Lyn Chadwick et al, 1994 (CALM publication; ISBN 0 7309 6320 9).  – A valuable aid for anyone interested in introducing children to the flora and fauna of remnant woodlands in the region and helping them understand and value the remaining woodlands.

    “Forests on Foot (40 walks in W.A.)”,  Meney & Brown, 1985, pp.87-92 (Wescolour Press, Fremantle).  – The walk on this page captures some sections of the two-day walk originally well-described in that book. Can be viewed at State Library of WA (book Call Ref. # 919.412 MEN).

    “Lol Gray Trail, Dryandra Woodland”, Trails WA site – A 12.5km trail immediately east of  this walk route. (Also see waypoints ‘LG1’- ‘LG17’.)

    “Ochre Trail, Dryandra Woodland”, Trails WA site – A 5km trail which partly overlaps with this walk.

    “Travellers guide to the Parks & Reserves of Western Australia”,  Simon Nevill, 4th Edn. 2011, pp.106-112 (Simon Nevill Publications) –  Includes ia good summary and photos.

    Walks in other ‘islands’ of remnant bushland within the wheatbelt:  See WalkGPS Boyagin Rock Walk and Lupton Walk on this site and also Mt Matilda  Walk Trail, Wongan Hills on Trails WA site.

    “Wandoo Trail, Dryandra Woodland”, Trails WA site – A 2.7km trail (Also see waypoints ‘WD1’- ‘WD6’.)

    Wikipedia-Dryandra Woodland, – A good article, including a useful additional reference list.

    Woodland Wonderland”, D. Mitchell & N.Higgs, article in Landscope magazine (CALM), Vol.9, No.4, Winter 1994, pp.28-35.

    “A Wonderful Woodland”, A.Desmond & M.Boothey, article in Landscope magazine (CALM), Vol.13, No.1, Spring 1997, pp.36-41.

    “Woylie Walk, Dryandra Woodland”, Trails WA site – A 5.5km trail which partly overlaps with this walk.

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate,  2015.  – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tile #440-2232-II-NE and #586-2332-III-NW for relevant map coverage.

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