Lefroy Brook Loop Walk
Gloucester National Park
Directions - From the centre of Pemberton take Vasse Hwy west and keeping going as it turns into Pemberton-Northcliffe Rd until you see the left turn for Glauders Rd. There is a sign for the Cascades at this intersection and another one on the unnamed road that leads down to the Cascades car park.
The Hike - This was my final planned hike for my adjusted South West Road Trip and I'm happy I didn't try and cram this into the four hike day a couple of days before. With a lazy rain day spent at my accommodation the day before editing photos, drinking coffee and admiring the soggy farm scenes, I was ready to leave Pemberton and head home. Before I left though I had one more place on my list to visit, a place that didn't require a lot of effort but would offer a calm and tranquil farewell to this amazing part of the world.
That place was the Lefroy Brook Loop Trail that takes in the tourist attraction that is the Cascades combined with a jaunt through the Karri forest. Greeting me this morning was my favourite weather for exploring the Karri forest, grey clouds that make for perfect photographic conditions that isn't either sunrise or sunset. The facilities are as you would expect from a Parks and Wildlife managed area with excellent toilets, paved entrance roads and great signage at the start. The Cascades are right at the very start so the walk trail is basically there to create a longer visitor experience but as I've previously mentioned several times, any excuse to hike amongst the Karri forest is alright by me. The Cascades part of the trail is broken up into a couple of sections and your first introduction is a lookout over a small set of rapids and a metal bridge over Lefroy Brook. Keen to get closer to the rapids I saw a trail leading off the bridge so followed it and found a spot with a perfect viewpoint of the flowing water. Having had some success with hand held long exposure shots previously I had another crack at it and I was happy at the moody results.
The real highlight of the trail and the meat of the "Cascades" portion comes up the stairs and further along the trail with a break in the trees leading to a granite platform overlooking the many rapids in this area. Visiting in spring I was lucky to have a good mix of water flowing combined with enough spots where I could pick and choose a dry bit of granite to get into position for some better photos. If you are playing around here then be careful as one slip and your phone or camera will vanish into the tannin coloured water. There were plenty of spots that produced some amazing scenes and I spent way too much time exploring the rocks and rapids. Being a Wednesday morning and not noticing any other cars in the car park, I thought I was alone but as I was I preparing to leave the Cascades a man walked past in a blue tattered tracksuit and thongs. I gave him a bit of a nod and thought it was odd that he didn't stop to look at the Cascades. I let him get a little bit ahead so my photos were void of any people and continued on my way.
This next section runs right next to a much calmer Lefroy Brook and the reflections of the Karri forest reminded me of my time on the Warren River Loop Trail. The wildflowers were out in force along here and having thought before I started the walk that the trail not directly near the Cascades was going to be a bit uninteresting, I was just a little bit wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this calm and serene section with plenty to photograph and it was just a very peaceful place to be. In the distance I spotted the tramway bridge (more on that later) but the trail departs the brook here and heads into the forest. While it was sad to say goodbye to the green reflections of the water, the Karri forest is such a magical place that you can't really complain. Plenty of Old Man's Beard and Flame Pea's graced the fallen trees along with lots of fungi and moss but the real highlight of this section was an overgrown section of forest that looked like the Temple of Doom from Indiana Jones. It's slightly off the trail but noticeable enough so I took a look and didn't really capture how it felt. Half imagining a cool little cave area being hidden by vines and the forest, I realised this probably wasn't a thing given it's close proximity to the trail.
My imagination also got a little overactive here thinking of the thong wearing man that passed me earlier. In my mind I came up with a scenario where he was just checking the trail for the owner of the sole car in so he could get back and break into it. I humbly can say I am an idiot and if that man is reading this post then I am a terrible human being for thinking it and I sincerely apologise. Having arrived back at the bridge over Lefroy Brook, I wasn't ready to leave so decided to check out the spur trail that links up the Cascades to the Bibbulmun Track. This proved to be an excellent idea as I found another bridge over Lefroy Brook and the amazing old school bridges that support the tourist tramway that runs between Pemberton and the Warren River. The tram does stop at the Cascades but I wasn't lucky to be there when it did so had to make do with photographing the cool bridges and the last of the water shots for my day. The Bibbulmun Track isn't too far away but in the interest of posting a complete-ish loop trail, I stopped at the wooden bridge and turned around to return back to the car park (to an unbroken into car).