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Numbat Trail

Numbat Trail

Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary

Directions - The Numbat Trail is located within the Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, an hours drive from the centre of Perth in Gidgegannup. From Roe Highway, take the Toodyay Road exit heading east and drive up the hill, turning left at O'Brien Road. Follow this for 17km as it weaves through the hills and valleys, eventually reaching the signed turn-off for Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary at Avon Road. Continue down the unsealed road to the end, where you will find the car park at the gated entrance. 

The Hike - One of Perth's most popular hikes, and one I've enjoyed many times over the years, the Numbat Trail is the longest of the three hikes found within Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary. Run by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Paruna is one of many private land holdings around Australia that the AWC have purchased for the purpose of vegetation rehabilitation, wildlife protection and scientific study. 

This was one of the first hikes I put on the website, way back in 2014, and despite adding photos from various visits over the years, it was always a page I had meant to re-do at some point. With most of the major trails around Perth having received a refresh in the past few years, the Numbat Trail was the last of the popular ones that I wanted to do. To fully showcase why it's one of the best, I left this until spring, when the wildflowers would be at their best. With this being the busiest time of year for me hiking-wise, I selected a spare weekend in advance and would have to deal with whatever weather came my way. Having lost my Nikon D5600 to bad weather while hiking the Wiilman Bilya a couple of weeks prior to this, this hike would be the first time using my new (used) Nikon D7500. Purchased second hand with only 1100 shots of the shutter, this would be my second D7500 after owning one briefly in 2020 before also losing that to water damage (I have better measures in place to deal with this going forward). 


With foggy weather forecast for the morning, I was hoping that it stuck around for a while but not too long. Arriving at the car park after the lovely drive along O'Brien Road, my timing couldn't have been worse. A large tour group was waiting for their last members to arrive, so I hastily got everything into my pack and put my shoes on in an attempt to try and put some distance between myself and the group. The forecast was proving right, with the thick fog providing some atmosphere to the start of the hike. Shooting in more balanced light, even if things were a little grey was fine by me to start with, as this first section heads in an easterly direction and I didn't want to be shooting into direct sunlight. Entering in the code I received after booking and paying for the hike online, I walked down the hill and found the trail markers for all three trails within Paruna. As they all follow the same path for the first section, I headed off along the trail and was immediately impressed with all the wildflowers around. 

Splashes of pink and yellow were everywhere thanks to the Calytrix and Verticordia acerosa growing profusely along the trail. Snapping away at everything I saw, over the past couple of years I've made an effort to try and catalogue all the different wildflowers I see, and this means going at a slower pace as I scan the edge of the trail. This first section leading down to the dam is a really enjoyable meander, weaving between curved sections of boardwalk that take you past several granite boulders. It doesn't take long to reach the dam, and with the lingering fog, dead trees and grey conditions, it had a spooky feel to it. That was soon interrupted as I heard the tour group approach. Figuring I was going to be stopping a lot to photograph everything, I made my way to the edge of the trail to shoot a Spindly Grevillea and watched the train go by. It seemed everyone was in conversation with each other and not really noticing anything around them but as they say "hike your own hike". 


After enough time had passed and peace was restored, I headed away from the dam and made my way along the edge of the valley lining a small creek. The Wandoo and Trymalium through here was thoroughly enjoyable and just a taste of things to come. Eventually the landscape opens up and you get some really cool views looking down the valley, and across to large boulders on the other side of the hill. Reaching the intersection where the Numbat and Quenda Trails leave the Possum Trail, I wandered down to take a look at the bridge over the creek before doubling back to head up the first of many hills for the morning. Switching between open woodland and thick pockets of Trymalium, this section introduces you to the major theme for the whole hike, stairs. I'll talk more on that subject later but for now I was busy spotting flora that included a Rabbit Orchid and some Lemon-scented Darwinia. Passing a boulder on the edge of the hill, I remembered back to hiking with some old friends here and a picture I have of one of them stood on one of the rocks.