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Wongamine Nature Reserve

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.

Loading the walk up on my phone, the first section is along old vehicle tracks so I could ease into proceedings and get a feel for this place. Immediately I was introduced to the reserve by the local bird life with some Pink and Grey Galahs making a racket, joined by some Corellas squawking about in the nearby Wandoo. With the misty conditions, it felt like another world and I got the feeling I was in for something special as I made my way along the vehicle track. One of the first things I noticed were the termite mounds scattered around the place and once again thought to myself "this is prime echidna territory". Given my luck over the years and the time of day, I was unlikely to come across a spiky monotreme but one can dream. Walking in a westerly direction, it was nice to not have to shoot into the sun but I couldn't help but turn around every now and then to get the golden rays of light poking through the canopy of the Wandoo and Salmon Gums. With my eyes scanning the undergrowth for any little details that stood out, I would end up finding quite an array of different flora. 

Reaching the edge of a creek system that the vehicle track runs parallel to, there was an abundance of life along here with Wattle, a Snakebush and even a tiny little Bunny Orchid. I was happy to see one on my hike the previous week at Bungendore Park and as one of the early bloomers in the Perth winter, they mark the start of the cold and enjoyable part of the hiking season. Speaking of orchids, one of my missions for this hike was to see if I could spot the Winter Spider Orchid as a friend had been out here recently and had found a large grouping of them. I had not got the coordinates off her so would be relying on my own spotting abilities to find them. Given Dave has a few different routes this walk could take, I was hopeful but wouldn't be too annoyed if I didn't see any. The early finds along this first stretch were keeping a smile on my dial as I came across a thicket of She-Oaks that had a lot of different growths off it, along with the various forms of the female flower. While the end result of the female flower is the hard, knobbly cone, the early stage is a prettier red flower that pops up from the branches.