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King Karri Trail Donnelly River

King Karri Trail

Donnelly River Village

DirectionsLocated about 25 minutes from Bridgetown, head out of town on South Western Highway and turn right onto Brockman Highway. Turn left after 3km and follow this road as it heads all the way towards Donnelly River Village. As you get closer, there will be plenty of signs to guide you into the holiday village. The walk starts from the information boards outside the fence in front of the General Store.

The Hike - Donnelly River is a place I adore, having a fleeting recollection of visiting as a child and then later on in life when I've been passing through on the Bibbulmun Track or Munda Biddi. It wasn't until my Munda Biddi E2E that I first stayed here as an adult and I have fond memories of chilling here on a rainy September afternoon. With the suggestion of a family holiday, I recommended Donnelly River and so a booking was made for a September weekend for one of the many holiday cottages in the village. 

Arriving on the Friday after a relaxed tour of the towns along South Western Highway, we settled in to our cottage and waited for my sister and her family, plus my parents to arrive. Being disconnected from the modern world to a certain degree, Donnelly River really is a throwback to a simpler time and that's part of the appeal of the place. The wildlife have become accustomed to humans thanks to the bags of feed you can buy from the General Store and there are plenty of activities to keep everyone occupied. Apart from being a stop along the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun Track, there are a couple of walk options that I was keen to check out while we were here. Scheduling in a family walk for the Saturday afternoon, we all gathered outside and walked the short distance through the Karri Trees in the centre of the village and towards the General Store. My last visit here was on a four day Easter trip on the Munda Biddi between Donnybrook and Northcliffe and I had noted that between Sept 21 and April 22, a fence had been installed around the front of the General Store.


I believe this was done to keep the wildlife away from the new picnic tables so people could enjoy their meals outside, without the risk of being set upon by emus and kangaroos wanting some of their lasagna. As we weren't here for lunch, I directed everyone to start walking along the road that passes the old timber mill, an icon thanks to "Donnelly River" written in white on the roof. This road leads you north on the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi, as well as being the out and back part of the King Karri Trail that we were doing today (not to be confused with the King Karri Trail in Quinninup). Everyone was in a jovial mood as we walked past the outskirts of town and the various non-native plants that are leftover from when this was a working mill town. Reaching the edge of the village, you continue along the road until you come across the well signed turn that takes you on the Munda Biddi and towards the King Karri. This is where you enter a more natural looking forest and soon reach the bridge over the Donnelly River. 

It was a bright afternoon on our visit here, so I've cheated a little and included the photos from my Munda Biddi E2E of the Donnelly River as it looks much better. Everyone was content to go at their own pace through here with my nibblings seemingly happy to be out and about in nature. Heading away from the river, you eventually reach Willow Springs Road and the start of the loop section. We turn left to continue following the Munda Biddi, before reaching the turn for the King Karri after a couple of hundred metres. The Karri Forest around here is spectacular, although initially the undergrowth was a little thick. Winding along the single track, we spotted some late season fungi, Austral Bracken and admired the birds flitting in and out of the undergrowth. Everyone was scattered along the trail so it was myself, Caris and Dad that reached the King Karri first, made obvious by the information board and cleared area around it (plus it's a giant tree so you can't miss it). 

Everyone oohed and arrghed at the size of the tree and while a collection of photos were being taken, I was a little worried by my dad and sister estimating how much firewood you'd get from the tree. It wasn't surprising given their affinity for their wood burners in Funbury but it's not the first thing I think of when I walk among our beautiful forests. After taking some family photos, we departed the King Karri and completed the loop section, new territory for me as I'd only ever done the side trip to the King Karri as an out and back. The second half of the loop turned out to be the better half as the forest is more open and you appreciate the size of the Karri Trees a lot more. I don't think I'll ever get tired of walking through Karri Country and a short walk like this is always enjoyable. We reached the end of the loop and made our way back to the village for a restful afternoon by the outdoor firepit. Well the family did, I jumped on my bike and did an out and back ride on the Munda Biddi to near Willow Springs, one of my favourite sections of the whole track.