A cold but bright morning. The forecast was for a cooler, but bright morning and wet afternoon. We had decided to walk to the Big Brook Dam, a round walk we had been told of about 10 miles, incorporating part of the Bibbulman track which was supposed to run through the campsite. We searched in vain for a signpost, but after the usual disagreement about which way to go (I think my magnetic north has gone completely south) we set off to walk along the road to the Dam. This was after asking a young lad the way on the campsite and having him tell us it wasn’t worth doing because it was a long way…….
Although we were walking on the road and initially there was a long slog up hill, it was a great walk. The tall Kerri trees towered over us but after a sharp left turn, they eventually gave way to fruit trees and vines. A large pond came into view on our right.
To our left there was some new planting going on, carefully protected fruit trees in meticulous straight lines covered the hillside. We had walked about 5 k when we came across a sign to a vineyard and cafe that also sold beer. It seemed rude to walk past, so we set off up the track to the Hidden River Vineyard. Horses peered over a fence at us and some very smart chickens clucked around the road way.
There was no one around initially, except a rather large soppy dog who sauntered off to find someone. It was all very casual. We had a drink and the menu for lunch looked so good we decided to return on Saturday for lunch on the way to our next port of call, Walpole.
I took the precaution of asking if I could taste their fizz as I will be driving when we have lunch and we might want to buy a bottle……. That very satisfactory diversion over, it was back to the walk. About another two km further on we came to the Dam. What a beautiful spot!
It had a footpath all the way round it with some interesting information about the area. It would seem that where Augusta owed its existence to whaling, Pemberton was a centre for timber. However over the years some friction arose between the timber people and the farmers, as the timber types were concerned that the farmers land clearance would exhaust the lucrative timber trade.
It was just such a beautiful location. Given its easy access to the road, we saw the occasional stroller, taking advantage of the opportunity to stretch their legs, but mostly we had the place to ourselves. We had our lunch on a beach by the water and then continued our walk around what is a quite a sizeable reservoir.
It’s about 4K round. Every now and then there was a hide built to enable you to watch the birds, particularly the black swans paddling elusively in the centre and too far away for iPhone photography. Apparently the dam is a good spot for seeing rakali, the Australian Water Rat. We weren’t lucky on this occasion. Our ‘I Spy’ book of Australian creatures was left empty at the rakali page…….
It was a lovely walk. ‘Lovely’ seems a little bit lacking as a descriptor, but it is becoming difficult to find enough superlatives for these particular travels! We reached the head of the reservoir and turned back along the other bank, picking up the Bibbulman track again and at one stage looking across to the beach where we had lunch earlier.
Birds chirruped and called and rustled in the trees but we saw no-one on this, the more remote side until, as we arrived at the dam bridge where we had started out, we found a cycling Yorkshireman(!) who pointed out the forest path that would take us back to Pemberton.
It was a great route. Paper bark (hope I have got it right!) from the surrounding trees crunched under foot like Autumn leaves in England. Butterflies danced along beside us. The dappled sunlight made the pathway ahead mottled light pierced the tree canopy. It was a magical walk. For the final delight the last hour and a half it was down hill as we made our way into the back end of the campsite.
Here the numbers had swelled. Tents had arrived. There was a triathlon taking place in the town at the weekend, so a number of participants it appeared had arrived to take part. I walked up into the town to buy some bread to augment our supper and then – never had a beer tasted so good……! Nectar of the gods!
It remained hot and sunny until quite late and we ate supper outside and then another early night. Tomorrow we move on again………
One thing I did not mention was that apparently in recommending the route we walked to Keith, the chap at the camp site office told him there was a strong possibility of coming across snakes out by the dam. Keith omitted to mention this until well into the journey. It will be discussed at his next appraisal………