Echidna Trail

Top Trails of Western Australia

Walyunga National Park

Walyunga National Park is located just next to the Darling Scarp, an escarpment that lies to the East of the Swan Coastal Plain. The park itself is known to contain one of the largest known Aboriginal campsites that can be found in and around Perth, a campsite that has apparently been used for more than 6000 years by regional tribes. The carpark that lies just next to the start of the trail can be reached by following Walyunga Road past the park entrance, and straight on past the first junction that leads right down to another carpark next to Walyunga Pool.

Difficulty Rating : 2.2 / 10.0 (Class 2 - Very Straightforward)

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Getting There

Location of carpark (-31.731984, 116.074934)

The carpark itself lies next to an area decorated with picnic tables and flooded gum trees (Eucalyptus grandis) alongside the West bank of the Avon River, called the Boongarup Pool. The 1.2 km Aboriginal Heritage Trail that begins from the Walyunga Pool, just South, ends here and the path continues on Northwards along the 5.2 km Syd’s Rapids Trail. Both of these trails have been named as Western Australia's Top Trails by the Trails WA website. Here are the rest of the trails that can be found in the Walyunga National Park.

The walk along Syd’s Rapids Trail was very flat and was not strenuous in the slightest. Along the way, we came upon some boulders that had a geocache hidden amongst them, leaving the inner-child of those who had never heard of Geocaching before utterly intrigued! Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a GPS receiver or a mobile device to find small containers (geocaches) that had been left hidden by other participants. After signing our names in the logbook, we put everything back where we found them and continued walking Northwards. Soon after, approximately 1.8 km from the start of the trail, Syd's Rapids Trail ended at a junction that was right next to Syd's Rapids itself.

The Avon River Geocaching

This part of the Avon River is well known for its rapids that thunder and crash through the valley in winter but just trickles along past pools separated by boulders in summer. The rapids used to end at a rock garden - an area that was strewn with rocks and stones and was completely blocked by a large boulder in the centre. Back then in order for kayakers and canoers to circumvent this obstacle, portaging used to be required (carrying water craft over land), something that often required quite a lot of effort.

According to legend, a team from the Swan Canoe Club came down to the rock garden some time ago and broke up the boulder with sledge hammers in order to create a path for kayaks and canoes to be able to get through without portaging. They had then decided that the first person to get through the section successfully without any portaging would have the rapids named after them. This honour fell to a young man called Syd Ambler - thus the name 'Syd's Rapids'. The rapids are also known for the Avon Descent, an annual white water rafting event that passes through the area.

A short introduction to Geocaching

The Echidna Trail

At the junction, the trail that veered left continued to head South-Westerly along the 5 km long Kingfisher Trail, so the group carried on Northwards along the Echidna Trail instead. The trail began to ascend almost immediately, gaining 150m in altitude in one kilometre of walking. I enthusiastically welcomed the climb though as the views off to the East had opened up revealing the train tracks that ran parallel to where we were but on the other side of the river instead. We carried on climbing up the wide trail caked with hardened brown earth as freight trains occasionally rumbled through the valley.

The Echidna Trail Train Tracks

Next : Echidna Trail (Part 2)


The bush around this area was sparse with blackened, burnt trunks of eucalypts (Family: Myrtaceae) scattered around. Fire is a natural part of the ecology of the bushland and controlled burns are conducted for several different reasons. the main one being to reduce fuel build-up and to decrease the likelihood of serious (hotter) fires from being triggered. Controlled burning also stimulates the germination of certain plants, ultimately renewing the grasslands. Eucalypts produce shoots (known as epicormic shoots) from burnt trunks, and banksias (Banksia spp.) store seeds in certain woody fruits which open after a fire. The burnt ground also helps the banksia seeds when they germinate as the fire would have cleared the earth of a lot of the competition. Fire also induces the growth of the flower spike of Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea australis).

Destruction left by Bushfires

After about 2.5 km, the trail that was ascending along the side of the hill began to veer left heading Westward instead, still ascending but instead heading directly to the summit of Woodsome Hill. The trail passed through Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) woodland, probably the most ubiquitous of all the eucalypts, with troops of kangaroos lingering around gazing at us curiously from a distance as we passed by. Another half an hour of climbing brought us to the summit of Woodsome Hill (273 m) where we stopped for a short rest. The trail went downhill from that point (something the group seemed to welcome!), veering left once again at a sign marking 'Dicky Jones' Gully' before heading South-West to another junction. The Echidna Trail took a left turn here heading in a South-Easterly direction that lead back to the carpark where we had started.

echidna trail

The walk back to the carpark was entirely downhill, almost a welcome cool-down before the end of the hike. It passed several junctions along the way as well as boulders off to the right - one of which had a tiny bleating lamb (Ovis aries) perched atop of it. Before we knew it though, we had reached the carpark, and I caught myself wishing that the hike had been just a little bit longer..

Route Playback

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Top Trails of Western Australia