Donnelly River to Tom Road
18th June 2017
The Hike - After selling my soul as a young man to the world of finance and big banks for ten years of service, I found myself at the ripe old age of 31 having 13 weeks of long service leave up my sleeve. A trip to Europe for four weeks was already on the cards so I decided to use a bit more of my leave and spend a few days out on the Bibbulmun Track to take some "me time" away from the soul sucking grind of the daily hamster wheel (I exaggerate) and get the body in tip top shape for the European summer. Now I just needed a section to do and one that immediately came to mind was Donnelly River to Pemberton. I absolutely love the Karri forests and the thought of spending five days wandering in-between the giants of the forest and staying in some of the best huts on the track was too good to pass up.
Every review of this section placed it as one of the most beautiful and challenging sections so I booked the leave and prepared for what would be a very relaxing and enjoyable adventure. The plan was to drive down very early on the Sunday to Funbury, get my dad to then follow me to Pemberton to drop my car off and then take me to the start at Donnelly River. That idea was scrapped when dad offered to pick me up from the finish in Pemberton so I just needed to get myself to their home in Funbury. Leaving before dark I arrived just as the sun was rising and I convinced dad to cook me his world famous pancakes before setting off for Donnelly River. Given the first day was only 16km and fairly flat I wasn't worried about getting there super early so I spent some time with my young nieces that were staying with mum and dad for the night before loading up the car. The drive to Donnelly River via Nannup was very pleasant and soon we arrived in Donnelly River Village as it bathed in glorious sunshine.
The village was full of emus and kangaroos so we enjoyed a coffee (later I found out it was the mayor of DRV that served us) before walking around and taking a look at all the postcard perfect holiday homes. I had stayed here as a kid on a family holiday but don't remember much about the trip. I can see why people love it as it's a good look back in time and just a very comfortable place to walk around. I located the correct exit that was made easier by the sign telling you which campsite was in that direction, said goodbye to the old man before taking a deep breath and setting off into the forest. The start is fairly nondescript Jarrah forest, which is not my favourite but forest is forest so I made good time on the flat section. Not far up the 4x4 track I came across a large tract of bushland that had been recently burnt out. I was not amused and was really hoping that large tracts of the trail had not been affected by burn offs. Thankfully it soon ended and I continued on my merry way.