Off Grey Road
11th August 2019
Winter to Spring
Directions - Located just outside of Dwellingup, from Pinjarra-Williams Rd take Grey Rd north (look out for Marrinup POW Camp signs) and follow this over the railway. Keep going until you see the sign for Marrinup Falls and turn left to follow Grey Rd all the way to the obvious car park area.
The Hike - With a cancelled photo shoot in the Wheatbelt, I had a free weekend to go out and adventure so made some plans to do some maintenance at the Sanctuary of Py on a beautiful sunny day. With winter providing some good rain and the wildflowers starting to come out in the Perth Hills, I thought I would check out Marrinup Falls on the way to see if it was flowing and as a fun side trip to the battling of the Soapbush and Prickly Moses that would occur later on in the day. Joining me today was regular maintenance helper and Assistant Regional Trails Experience Intern, Aron (aka 1A1R) and I let him have a sleep-in this time by picking him up at 7am. The drive out was pleasant as usual with the hills leading up to Dwellingup being some nice country to drive through.
Turning off at the sign for the Marrinup POW Camp (another attraction I might check out at a later date) we followed the gravel road over the railway and then located the sign pointing us towards Marrinup Falls. The gravel road leading there was easily done in my X-Trail but lower 2WD cars will have to take care over some of the puddles and potholes that dot the surface. The car park only fits four cars and I'm not sure there is room to park on the road leading in so be mindful not to block others if you arrive at a busy time. Luckily we were the only ones there upon our arrival so set about gathering all of our gear into our packs and putting on shoes etc. While picking up Aron and telling him of the likelihood of flowing water I realised as he went to get his tripod that I had left the camera attachment for mine in my office so would have to improvise today. Having done a bit of research the day before, TrailsWA has this listed as 2.6km but the sign at the start said 1.3km (I clocked it at 1.5km with side trips) so it would end up being a briefer visit than expected. Heading down the hill we were on lovely single track with plenty of wildflowers out already. Reaching the end of the short tadpole section, I made an executive decision to head clockwise on the loop and I think this turned out to be the correct way for the conditions giving the lighting issues we had further down the track. The first point of interest on the hike is an open granite space with a lot of non-Leave No Trace cairns leading up the hill (given the path goes downhill they are not for navigation purposes).
There is one rock that has weirdly been painted red so there's that to look at but I was more interested in the lovely moss and trying to find a good looking sundew (couldn't find one unfortunately). From there you cross a small bridge over one of the creeks that feeds Marrinup Falls and the fun part is not far away. Here I spotted the first of a couple of places where Donkey Orchids were in bloom, weirdly right on the trail where you would think they might not survive being trampled. With the joy of seeing my first orchid of the season we continued on to the first of three cool rapids that are good fun to photograph and explore. Fortunately there is a flat platform from which you can setup your camera gear right in front of the biggest of the rapids in this area. I found a suitable rock and put on the cheap neutral density filters I bought off eBay ages ago so I could leave the shutter open for a longer period. The first few test shots were looking good, even though the sun was slowly rising and would soon be right in our field of vision. I moved around, trying different angles and settings before finding out there was more to explore on the upper level. Aron stayed behind to get more shots and to get creative with his underwater camera (not sure how they turned out) and I ended up finding another smaller set of rapids to apply the long exposure treatment to. I really enjoyed the effect of the swirling water in the finished shots in this area and will have to come back with my tripod on a cloudy day to get some better photos.