Wongamine WalkGPS Route
Wongamine Nature Reserve
Directions - Located 80 minutes north east of Perth, from Roe Highway take Toodyay Road east and follow it all the way to Toodyay. Turn off at Goomalling-Toodyay Road just before the town centre and follow this for 16km until you reach Bejoording Road. Turn left and keep going for 1km until you see the car park on the left. The walk starts from the CALM gate.
The Hike - One of the highlights of my hiking season in 2020 was heading out to the small pockets of remnant woodlands east of Perth and walking the routes set out by Dave from WalkGPS. Tiny dots on the map among a vast sea of land clearing, these isolated islands are home to a richness of biodiversity that defies the relatively small area they occupy. Having done the "hiking degustation" of Clackline, Bobakine and Mokine, I was excited to have a free morning to check out another of the shorter routes at Wongamine Nature Reserve near Toodyay.
Wongamine promised more of the same kind of enjoyment with Wandoo woodlands and seasonal creek systems to explore so on a crisp winter morning I headed out to investigate. With a lunch scheduled in for just after midday, I left before dawn to get out past Toodyay and back again with time to spare. The 6km loop that Dave has mapped out (WalkGPS subscription required to download maps and access the route information) doesn't sound like a lot but this is mostly off track and requires good navigation skills. Add in taking a lot of photos and it's not unusual for me to average less than 2kmph for these walks so I gave myself a good time buffer. The drive was a pleasant affair, although passing the recent Wooroloo bushfire zone wasn't a nice sight as there are a few good hikes in there that will take quite a long time to recover. As I approached Toodyay I was blanketed in some serious fog that I was hoping extended out towards Wongamine because it always adds an extra element to the photos.
Stopping a couple of times on the side of the road leading out to Wongamine, I witnessed a pretty cool sunrise through the misty conditions. I eventually reached the car park on the edge of the reserve and the sight of the old CALM sign on the gate put a smile on my face. For those that aren't familiar, CALM is what DBCA are today but about three name changes ago so this is a very old sign. The reason I love it is because they seem to have forgotten these small pockets of land in their management plans so they are rarely burnt and because of that, are a good representation of what the entire area used to look like before it became one big sheep paddock (one of the reasons I stopped eating meat was to due to this issue). It also reminded me of the Clackline walk as there is a similar sign there and I have fond memories of that experience. As I arrived at the car park my cars temperature gauge was reading 1C so this would be a jumper and beanie walk until it started to warm up.