Kitty's Gorge

Burnt Banksias

The road eventually loops around and heads eastwards instead, roughly a kilometre after the river crossing, and follows an old forestry road that traces the contours of the hill. The trail makes its way along the hilltop, gradually bending north-east, until descending sharply back down to Gooralong Brook at the 7km mark. It is basically downhill from there.

Along the hill we passed by quite a lot of banksia trees (Banksia sp.), with their strange-looking seed pods pointing in every which way. These seed pods have always fascinated me, but I'll leave it to David Attenborough to tell you why:

"Like the bottlebrush, some banksias will not shed their seeds unless there is a fire. Indeed, it is almost impossible to remove them from the plant because they are held in hard woody two-valved capsules. But as the flames scorch the branches, the intense heat causes the capsules to open. Their front ends resemble pairs of brown lips on the side of the furry spike…By releasing their seeds only in the wake of a fire, the banksias ensure that they will fall on well-cleaned, brightly-lit ground recently fertilised with ash and so get the most favourable of starts in what is, even at best, an extremely harsh and demanding environment."

David AttenboroughThe Private Life of Plants

Banksia (Banksia sp.) seed pods

Descending down to Gooralong Brook brings you to a junction of sorts. Following the signs to Kitty's Gorge trail will loop you back in a south-westerly direction and down the gorge itself. The opposite direction however, will bring you to the much shorter 'Stacey's Trail' loop and the historic town of Jarrahdale just beyond that.

The gorge follows the river gently downwards past huge granite formations and rocky outcrops that are fringed by jarrah trees. As you continue walking down the gorge, you are met with some impressive views as the Gooralong Brook and its cascades (after periods of rain at least) are sent plunging down and over granite boulders, smoothening and polishing them over the many years.

The trail eventually swings southward and meets up with the dirt road (Selkirk Road) that you left a while back, and shortly after, the bridge that crosses Serpentine River and the familiar mud cottage just after. From there it is just a short walk downhill back to where it all began.

Red-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii) keeping us company as we descended down the gorge

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