Victoria Reservoir Trail
Korung National Park
Directions - Getting out there is very simple - turn off Roe Highway onto Welshpool Rd and follow it all the way up the hill to its end point at Canning Rd. Turn right onto Canning Rd and soon you will find Mason Mill Rd, a short loop that connects back up to Canning Rd.
The Hike - Victoria Reservoir was one of the early hikes I did for the website and the page always looked a little sad because the photos weren't very good and there weren't many of them. You can check out the old post here if you want to see what it looked like on an overcast day in May 2015. As the website evolved and I've changed the way I approach these posts, I always had plans to come back and re-shoot this one. With this area water and wildflower dependant to get it looking top notch, I had decided to wait until winter or spring to return. With a free slot in my calendar I headed out to the area wanting to capture this trail again plus another of the Shire of Kalamunda walks if time permitted.
Usually I head out at or before first light but I decided to chill at home for a while, enjoy a cooked breakfast and then drive out to the trails. The main reason for this was the bulk of this trail is on the western slopes of the hill and getting there around first light results in some very dark photos. Arriving at the parking area just off Masonmill Rd, there were a fair number of cars here, fantastic to see on such a lovely day. Like my previous visits, I chose to start here as it gets the boring road walking out of the way first (you can do this loop with the Mason & Bird Heritage Trail added on if you start at Hardinge Park). With this being the last trail day I would photograph using my trusty but broken Nikon D5300, I wanted to get some good shots as a final hurrah. It's replacement arrived the following day (a Nikon D7500) and will hopefully serve me well on future adventures. Walking down the road that leads to Victoria Dam, the obvious thing to notice at my time of visit was the recently burnt bush to the right. Choosing to spend my time on the left hand side of the road (which had itself been burnt a years years earlier), I started looking for the little details to photograph while the road and power lines dominated the wider view.
Being the latter half of winter, it was nice to see a good collection of early wildflowers out along with some late season fungi. An interesting little piece of history along here is the "baby grave", the fenced off tombstone of Francis Weston who sadly died a few days after being born in 1876. I'm guessing this area was once private property before the two dams were put in and remarkable that it has been preserved. At the bottom of the road you reach another car park and another set of information boards. I enjoy that this car park is lined with old rusted piping, even if I'm not sure . Duck to the left and you'll find a Water Corp sign pointing you down the Wattle lined path and mercifully into a forested section. I do find it funny that there are Water Corp branded signs for walking trails here given they are the reason we can't access a lot of the great hiking areas east due to an archaic rule. Once into the forest, this trail improves immensely and I remembered how nice it was. With plenty of Grass Trees and a wide canopy, it was just a pleasant place to stroll through. I kept an eye out for more wildflowers and was rewarded with some Hovea, Buttercups and a small pea variety that was covered in bees.
I wasn't moving at a great pace through here and was soon overtaken by a young family. Knowing there was some good views over the dam coming up I let them pass so hopefully they would be finished before I got there. I took the opportunity to slow down even more and search for the details that aren't exactly obvious at first glance. I caught up to the family quickly as they had stopped at a bench seat for a rest so I powered on to the next lookout to get some shots before they arrived. The new Victoria Dam appeared into view and it wasn't long before I was at the rustic wooden lookout overlooking the dam wall. With much sunnier skies to my previous visit, the scene was looking much nicer with a dotting of white clouds being the cherry on top. It's not the prettiest looking dam wall in Perth from this angle but with the turquoise water stretching out to the forest beyond, the overall scene was pleasing to the eye. Joining me at the lookout was a little skink that was too busy sunning itself to scurry off into the cracks and a small yellow robin that was giving me some curious looks as I tried to photograph it.
The family soon arrived so I moved on and let them enjoy the lookout alone. Descending the wooden staircase, it deposits you near the dam wall so I ventured out and had a look from up close. I was fascinated by the depth of colour from the water and with the sun shining it did look appealing for a swim but given this is water catchment, it is not allowed (along with the chance you'll get sucked to the bottom of the dam wall). One thing I enjoy about Victoria Dam is the stepped construction of the dam wall compared with the usual straight concrete that most dams usually sport. Looking down at the shallow pool below reminded me of my old Nintendo Game Boy with the green pool almost a perfect replica of the screen colour and the grey concrete wall substituting in for the rest. Deciding it was time to move on, I headed down the hill on the rarely used road, admiring the trees lining the side of the hill. Arriving at the pumping station, you can see the remnants of the old Victoria Dam on either side of the new building. The more impressive section of the wall is to the left and is home to some information boards and engineering heritage plaques.