Goblin Swamp Walk
Hawke National Park
Directions - From the centre of Pemberton head south along Vasse Highway until you reach the turnoff where Vasse Highway heads right at the tourist information boards. Keep driving past Karri Valley Resort until you reach the left turn for Boat Landing Road. Follow this past the Carey Brook Campsite and turn into the Snottygobble Loop Campsite. Park near the visitor information shelter and walk down the hill until you reach the trail running parallel to Carey Brook.
The Hike - With a visit to Pemberton to finish off the trails that I had left to add to the website, I put the Goblin Swamp Walk on the list mainly because of the name. Another factor was seeing the photos from official Explore Parks WA photographer, Bronwyn Wells, and deciding that it would be nice to discover what else was out here. Unfortunately this area was part of the early 2022 bushfire that hit most of Hawke National Park so when I arrived at the Snottygobble Loop Campground, it was obvious that this would be much the same as my visit to Yeagarup Dunes.
There is a longer walk trail linking up Carey Brook Campground with the Snottygobble Loop and then leading on to Goblin Swamp but given the burnt nature of everything and my packed schedule for the day, I decided to condense this walk into a Snottygobble Loop to Goblin Swamp return hike. I had a bit of an issue trying to find a parking spot as all the parking spaces seemed to be attached to the numbered campsites you can book. I eventually found a small patch near the visitor information area where I wouldn't be blocking large vehicles and caravans, and made my way down to the bottom of the campsite to find something resembling a trail head or trail marker. I found the trail that runs parallel to Carey Brook and was soon standing at a sign with a map of the area and where the trail goes. Heading off away from the campsite, I was going to make the most of it and the worst case scenario is I got to see a lot of wildflowers and the wide angle shots looked a bit burnt and scruffy. Meandering really slowly to increase the opportunity for wildflower spotting, some early finds included a Scented Banjine, Silky Blue Orchid and Cowslip Orchid.
Some of the forest was looking nice enough and with a bit of cloud cover overheard, the lighting was just as I like it for these forest hikes. Insert more words here. Reaching the crossing of Cleave Rd, the forest cover disappears and it felt a little bleak but not in a good way. Goblin Swamp is a short distance from the road crossing and this area seems to have copped the worst of the burns. Having seen photos of Goblin Swamp and the boardwalk before the fires, it was a little heartbreaking to see the blackened trunks of the ancient Paperbarks sitting in the water all exposed. The boardwalk lookout no longer exists and I believe it's in the process of being replaced but this area will take a decade or two to really recover properly. A bit saddened by not having visited when it was at its peak, I decided to wander around this area looking for orchids and was rewarded with my first ever Hammer Orchid, which has been confirmed as a Narrow-lipped Hammer Orchid by the orchid experts in iNaturalist. Once I found one, my eyes started picking up plenty more (they are tiny little plants) and that went a long way to perking up my mood. With those fun finds, I headed back to the Snottygobble Loop and was double checking the side of the trail for anything I may have missed on the way out. I would have loved to do the whole trail but made the decision to head elsewhere given the time restraints of the day.