Mokine WalkGps Route
Mokine Nature Reserve

Leaver Dr

6.7km (Loop)

123m

2-4 hours

Directions - Mokine Nature Reserve is an hour and 20 minutes east of Perth. Follow Great Eastern Hwy until you reach the Great Southern Hwy turnoff. Turn right here and keep driving until you reach Wambyn Rd. Turn left and follow this to the end and turn right onto Leaver Rd. The small parking area for Mokine is a kilometre up the road on the left. 

The Hike - I had a plan back in early June to tackle the "hiking degustation" of Clackline, Bobakine and Mokine all in one day but time got away with me as I had so much fun exploring Clackline and Bobakine. This left Mokine as the one I had to cancel that day but vowed to return in the near future. Fast forward a couple of months and after racking up some time in lieu on a particularly annoying project at work, I made plans to take a Friday off and spend a day exploring the Wheatbelt. Expelling the non-resident tax treatment of non-cash income for Managed Investment Trusts from my head (it's as boring as it sounds), I pencilled in Mokine and a visit to York as my activities for the day. Friends Tomas and Mel were meant to join me but they had to cancel so I would be adventuring on my own today. 

With Perth experiencing a warm and sunny winter so far, these conditions greeted me once again as I drove out along Great Eastern Hwy and then Southern Hwy to reach the reserve gates. Marvelling at the canola fields and also the signs telling the Instagram crowds that security cameras are capturing their unwanted trespassing, it was a relaxing drive to start the day (I do enjoy my driving). Making this an extra special trip was the arrival of my new camera during the week, a Nikon D7500 with an 18-140mm lens. This was a long overdue purchase as my old Nikon D5300 was very long in the tooth and no longer auto-focused (along with the body and lens being quite beat up). The D7500 and 18-140mm lens was chosen because it represented a good compromise between quality, cost and shooting range. It would have been nice to spend a lot more and get a D850 with two lenses (a 24-70mm and 70-200mm) but I didn't have $8k to spend and wanted to eliminate having to change lenses while out hiking. I'm happy with my purchase and now have the ability to shoot wide landscape shots and get better wildlife shots without any hassle. I think I'll treat myself to a better macro/astrophotography lens down the track that will be small enough to carry on multi-day hikes and be brought out for the right occasion.

Enough of the camera review/justification, on to the hike. After locating the somewhat hidden parking area on the side of Leaver Rd, I packed all my gear up and started by crossing the road to photograph the canola fields opposite the Mokine Reserve gate. It did look pretty in the morning light and I understand the appeal of them but I was respectful to the farmer and stayed behind the fence while taking my photos. Back at the gates, there was no indication that this was Mokine as unlike Clackline and Bobakine, there is no signage here (there is further up the road though). The walk initially heads through a She-Oak dominated landscape as it runs parallel with a small creek and unfortunately heading east to begin with means you're looking into the sun so the wide shots weren't great. Following vehicle tracks makes the early part very easy so I could concentrate on photographing everything that caught my eye, along with getting used to the new camera. I decided that from the introduction of this new camera I would be taking more control of my photos and switching to shooting in aperture mode, only letting the camera decide the shutter speed. While the scenery early on was a bit underwhelming and the area showing signs of disrespect (litter and fire rings), I found plenty of wildflowers and orchids to photograph. After a kilometre you reach the border of the reserve (unfortunately it's a tiny place) and turn left to follow another vehicle track. 

With Mokine being touted as the better of the three WalkGPS walks in the area by both Dave the creator of the website and my podcast partner Donovan, I was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. That's not to say the scenery wasn't excellent to begin with, far from it. I was intrigued with the views looking east over the farmland and after crossing the creek, I started ascending up to the first real highlight of the loop. Passing under a fallen tree, I spotted a lone orchid in the undergrowth that turned out to be a Banded Greenhood Orchid and this would be the first of many cool finds along the way. Emerging from a thicket of undergrowth, you rise up towards an open area of granite. Warming up in the morning sunshine, I caught the last moments of a mob of kangaroos fleeing the area (they are very shy here) and was happy to have a camera that auto-focused again. All throughout here were lovely white stars that were still clinging onto the winter dew. Also clinging onto one example I decided to photograph were a couple of insects that unfortunately didn't make it into focus (should have chosen a wider aperture). Along with the white stars, there were plenty of droseras around of many shapes and sizes. One of my favourites plants in the whole world, droseras look stunning in the morning with their sticky pads glistening in the glow of first light. 

I found a vine variety too and was keen to get one in focus as their small size and winding nature makes it very hard sometimes. In-between two patches of granite on either side of the continuing vehicle track were a number of Donkey Orchids, showcasing the excellent biodiversity that this spot has. The second granite platform overlooks the farming land to the east and it was nice to get the contrast between the nature reserve and the endless farms that dominate this once pristine landscape. I said it before in my Clackline/Bobakine posts, it's a real shame that there are only these small pockets left, islands of refuge for native species that call back to a time before colonial settlement. After spending two kilometres on vehicle tracks, it was time to leave them behind and head off-track into the heart of the reserve. Following the GPS track on my phone I headed into the open Wandoo woodlands that dominate the upper hills and immediately noticed an abundance of flowering sundews. Vast clumps littered the ground with beautiful white flowers springing up from the centre. Treading carefully I photographed quite a few of them before deciding to move on out of fear of running out of space on my memory card (not really).