Christmas Tree Well
Directions - Located an hour east of Perth, head east along Brookton Highway, passing both the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun Track crossings until you reach the left turn for Christmas Tree Well that is just before Yarra Road. It's not well signed until you're there so you may need to turn around at Yarra Road. Follow the gravel road towards the parking loop where you will find some picnic benches. Christmas Tree Well is located by walking down the sandy track that is not accessible by 2WD cars anymore.
The Hike - After a long summer of hot weather, plenty of cycling and lots of planning for the upcoming hiking season, the return of the cooler weather of Djeran meant it was time to head back out and get stuck into some hiking. For 2022 I had decided the concentrate on hiking more of the WalkGPS routes that Dave has mapped out on his website as the Wandoo Woodlands east of Perth are less dependant on flowing water or epic wildflower displays to provide an enjoyable experience (although it certainly helps). Having already visited the Wundabiniring Walk and loved that walk, I had a few routes to choose from that I didn't mind seeing out of the ideal window.
In the end I chose Christmas Tree Well (not to be confused with Christmas Tree Creek in John Forrest National Park) as my destination for this mid May weekend adventure, mainly because I knew the area contained some lovely mixed forest. I'd driven back from a Great Southern road trip in 2020 through here and it looked enticing, so wanted to explore it a bit more. With some wet weather hitting during the week and some more forecast for the afternoon, I was hoping for a few wildflowers to be out and possibly some early season fungi but a decent walk through the forest alone was going to be enough today. Arriving at the Christmas Tree Well car park after shooting past the turnoff (it's not marked until you're right there), I parked up and wondered where the well or the Christmas Trees were actually located. Getting my gear together and loading up the GPS file on my phone, I knew it was to the north west of the car park so headed along a chewed up sandy track and eventually found it. The Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda) is an iconic sight in early summer as the bright orange flowers light up the areas they are located and are the largest specie of Mistletoe in the world.
To the first nations people the Moodja represents a place for the soul to rest and they are treated with great respect. Traditionally they do not touch the tree or sit in the shade of one so it was particularly disappointing earlier this year when it was discovered that a gin distillery in the South West was using the flowers of the Moodja in one of their products. This website I found to be very good at sorting through the various colonial misrepresentations about the Moodja and it's uses. Reaching the small pocket of trees that seem to only grow in this one area, there is an old well that has since been covered by metal wire. I wandered down the path to take some photos and was impressed by the thickets of Bracken Fern that surround what is a naturally moist area (hence the well). As a whole, this area looks like a bit of a mess with sandy vehicle tracks, rubbish from idiots camping out here and the sight of a scrappy pine plantation in the distance. After walking down a vehicle track for a while, I was thankful to be pointed into the nearby woodland by the GPS and begin what was a much better walk than the first 300m. Heading on a NE bearing for quite a while, I could set my internal compass in one direction and focus on enjoying the lovely atmosphere of an early morning walk through mixed Jarrah and Wandoo woodlands.