D'Entrecasteaux National Park
Directions - From the centre of Walpole, head west on South Western Hwy for 29km until you see the small sign for Mt Pingerup. Take a left here and follow the vehicle track until you reach the small car park on the left. The trail continues along the vehicle track after the info board.
The Hike - With my spring road trip continuing, I had a full day in Walpole to take in some hikes that were on my to-do list. Originally I had planned to do the Nuyts Wilderness Walk over two days but the forecast was for a storm to roll through and rain for most of today. Normally a bit of rain wouldn't phase me but I didn't want to rush to the campsite and sit in my tent all afternoon while it rained. The forecast had changed to show the rain arriving from 9am onwards so I changed my plans to take in a few day hikes around Walpole that were on my list or needed an update of photos. Wanting to get the new hikes in first, I headed out to a place I had previously visited on a week long hike but not done as a day walk.
Located just off South Western Highway west of Walpole, there is a tiny little street sign pointing you into the bush along a vehicle track (2WD accessible) to the car park. Having hiked in this area the previous year as I did Northcliffe to Walpole on the Bibbulmun Track, I knew you could access this spot from the highway and figured the walk in was just on the vehicle track that extends to up near the summit. Reaching the small car park and the bollards stopping you driving any further, I parked up and had a look at the new looking information board. With sunny skies above, I was keen to get going and reach the summit before this weather was meant to roll through. Vehicle track walking can sometimes be a bit monotonous but having visited during spring I was expecting a kaleidoscope of colour along the edges thanks to the fantastic biodiversity of this area. To those familiar with the Bibbulmun Track, this is the infamous Pingerup Plains area that frequently gets flooded from mid winter through spring. A vast area of open space dominated by low scrub and little islands of forest, this is a really unique part of the state that is amazing to walk through.
The start of the Mount Pingerup trail gives you a little taster of this kind of vegetation type and I was pleased to see lots of different wildflowers lining the edges from the very start. From Flame Peas to Boronia to flowering Drosera to Grevillea to Hooded Lily's, this was exactly how I imagined this place to be during spring (my last visit here was at the start of winter). Wandering along the track I was happy to see some taller trees on the edges that were very much unburnt. This whole area was set alight in 2018 as part of an over the top prescribed burn that diverted the Bibbulmun for 60km+ but I guess being next to the highway, this part survived. Hiding in the tall grasses were some lovely examples of the Kingia Australis, a tall and slender lookalike of the more familiar Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea). All up the vehicle track lasts for about 1.3km and it took me a while to get through it as I weaved from side to side looking for different wildflowers and hunting for the elusive rare orchids that you sometimes find this time of year. While I didn't find any orchids down here, the quality of the wildflowers was a real highlight with a dozen or so varieties strewn all along the side of the track.