No Tree Hill
Fitzgerald River National Park
Directions - Access to No Tree Hill is via John Forrest Rd that comes off Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe Rd. The gravel road turns into a sandy 4x4 track just after you enter the national park. This track is not suitable for 2wd cars and should only be attempted by those confident in driving on soft sand.
The Hike - With an amazing hike the previous day taking in East Mount Barren it was time to move on once again and say goodbye to Fitzgerald River National Park. Before leaving though I had scheduled one last hike to enjoy a different side to the park and to take in a slightly longer trail that didn't involve a lot of climbing (sort of). Packing up our gear we loaded Newt up again and exited the park towards Hopetoun, crossing the lovely Culham Inlet once again before locating John Forrest Rd.
Getting to the start point for this one involves entering the park via farming land and driving along an unsealed road that eventually turns into a sandy 4x4 track once you enter the national park section. Some of the landscapes driving in aren't bad with some weirdly unfenced farming lands providing some great views back towards the mountains of the east but alas it is still lots of cleared land so close to a biodiversity hotspot so that hurts a little. One interesting sign I drove past was pointing towards a John Forrest cairn, something I really should have stopped to investigate but didn't. Being the first premier of WA, Baron Forrest as he was eventually named started life as a land surveyor and a bit of an explorer, eventually marrying into the Hamersley family who have their name attached to several things in the eastern side of Fitzgerald River NP. This cairn was most likely from his surveying visit to the area in 1870 but there are a few of these cairns scattered across the Avon River area with the most famous being located just off the Numbat Trail within Paruna Sanctuary thanks to survey mission he completed in 1877-78.
So there is a bit of history for you and it may be that John Forrest was one of the first eco vandals in WA (kidding, this is accepted behaviour for surveying and trail navigation). We eventually reached the car park (a little side loop) after stopping about 200m from the entrance figuring out if we could make it if the sand got any softer. Having learned to drive on country properties in bush bashing cars I was fairly confident I wouldn't get bogged and I was proven right given we were so close. It was a bit of a warm morning and was only going to get warmer so I applied some sunscreen and we headed off to start the 6km trail. Having climbed two of the Barrens, named so because of their barren appearance, this area had more of a barren feel that is a good reflection of the inland sections of the park. The trail is essentially a disused 4x4 track that nature is doing a good job of reclaiming and I can only surmise that it was an access road to get a better view of the landscape for bushfire purposes or an old recreational road now no longer acceptable to use given the dieback issue.