Bobakine WalkGPS Route
Bobakine Nature Reserve
Directions - Bobakine Nature Reserve is about an hour and 15 minutes east of Perth. Follow Great Eastern Hwy until you reach the Old Coach Rd turnoff. Turn left here and then an immediate right onto Eadine Rd until you reach a left turn for Smith Rd. Turn left onto Bobakine Rd and follow this through the farm area until you see the Bobakine sign on your right.
The Hike - After a fantastic introduction (an entrée if you will) at Clackline, I was ready to move on and experience the second of the WalkGPS hikes I had planned for the WA Day public holiday. As with most of the WalkGPS hikes, this requires a membership to the website and a way of navigating using the downloadable GPX file and PDF track notes. I was using AllTrails and as I discovered at Clackline, there were some idiosyncrasies I needed to adjust to before getting things entirely right (and even then it was still difficult). After snaking my way along Bobakine Rd through the various farms, I was happy to see a healthy stand of Wandoo leading all the way up a moderate hill that is home to the Bobakine Nature Reserve.
Parking my car on the side of the wide gravel road opposite the old CALM logoed Bobakine Nature Reserve sign, this marks the start of the walk. Unlike Clackline, there are no fences around the reserve at this point, a good thing for wildlife coming and going from this small oasis in a large sea of cleared land. Starting up AllTrails and checking the notes, it seemed the first section was all along vehicle track, which suited me just fine given my lovely experience at Clackline. Initially the scenery is a bit dull and muted with the track following along the border of the reserve and away from the stunning Wandoo you can see at the start. It does provide a lot of variety compared to the rest of the hike with less Wandoo and more sandy heath mixed with some lovely Marri trees. Straight off the bat there was a splash of colour provided by some red wildflowers that belong in the Calothamnus grouping (perhaps One Sided Bottlebrush), the white flowers of a budding Sundew and a flowering Parrot Bush.
An unexpected treat was waiting just up the track as it narrowed slightly with the emergence of a Woolly Bush. These were never my favourite plant growing up because they were just haphazardly planted in gardens around the area I lived in and looked really awkward. Out here in their natural environment and when I found them near West Cape Howe, I am a convert to their overall appearance now. While the grey conditions didn't make for eye-popping vistas of the farmland to the east, it did provide a more even lighting for this first section and I was able to pick out some of the details as I hiked along. Character filled tree trunks, lichen on the rocks and Parrot Bush flowers were in abundance along here and I'm sure in spring there would be a lot more to see. Reaching the first turn of the hike, the vehicle track heads uphill to the west and towards the Wandoo Woodlands that I was very much looking forward to seeing.
A fence borders the track to the left where I spotted a few kangaroos hopping away in the distance and I caught sight of one of the largest Zamia Palms I've ever seen. Even from a distance (using my zoom lens to capture it), it was massive and I estimated it to be well over 2m tall including a base section that would have been over a metre off tall. These ancient palms don't grow at a fast rate so this one could have been upward of 500-600 years old (happy to be corrected on this). Keeping an eye on the map, it suggested an off-track excursion was on the cards soon instead of following the vehicle track all the way up to the summit of Bobakine Hill. Spotting where this would occur, it made sense to follow the natural ridge so I made my way through the open undergrowth, passing over another vehicle track before joining up with the one I was originally on. This short off-track meander wasn't entirely necessary but it was nice to break up what is a very long vehicle track section to start with (more so if you follow the route correctly but more on that later).
Back on the navigational safety of the vehicle track heading NNW, it was a case of enjoying the scenery around you as the terrain flattened out. More large Zamias appeared next to the track, survivors of the extensive land clearing that has devastated this part of WA. Now near the highest part of Bobakine, the views to the west really started to open up with occasional gaps in the Wandoo providing glimpses of the farmland looking back towards Clackline Nature Reserve. The area up here was really nice to walk through with lots of healthy trees, large habitat logs and a mushroom that had started poking out of the vehicle track. A gloomy looking stand of She-Oak provided something cool to photograph with views to the east becoming prominent. Eventually I located the survey marker for Bobakine that is a combination of the newer yellow diamond sign and an old school concrete marker with a metal plaque on it (I much prefer the old school method but I understand they can be much harder to find as a surveyor).