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The Ruins Trip

Rain, rain, rain. What it is about us and camping trips that always seems to attract the rain?

 

This trip was a 'spur of the moment' thing that saw two days of frantic packing just prior to the October school holidays. Originally we hadn't planned to go away at all but at the last minute a window opened up and we decided to jump through it!

 

This trip was to be mostly a search for old ruined buildings to help add content to our 'Abandoned Western Australia' Facebook page. The route was to take us into the southern and central wheat belt and to a number of different campsites along the way.

 

Since we had spent too much on the gold fields trip in August, this trip had to be done on a budget and that meant no stops in caravan parks.

 

We drove south to Pinjarra and then took the road up into the hills towards Dwellingup. Our intended campsite was Marrinup Townsite about 4km west of town.

 

Initially we took the wrong road to get to the campsite and had to turn around and come back to the main road again. A bit further along was the signpost I had been looking for at Grey Road.

 

We arrived at Marrinup about 10am. The campsite was fairly full (as you would expect at the start of the school holidays) but we found a good spot and thankfully there was at least a long enough break in the downpour to allow us to set up camp.

 

Marrinup campsite

 

Once that had been accomplished, each time we tried to get out of the van, down came the rain. We gave up and wrapped ourselves up under the covers and relaxed until the rain decided to let us out.

 

Finally late in the afternoon there was a break so we un-hitched the car and took a drive out to the old POW camp.

 

A pleasant walk and a few foundations but not a lot to see. Very few wildflowers out as well.

 

Marrinup P.O.W. camp

 

The Hotham Valley steam trains were chuffing up and down all day but we were never in the right place at the right time to get a picture. As we had to wait until the rain stopped to move on, we decided to 'stake out' the railway line (it runs along the foot of the campsite) next day to get some pics of the steam train

 

The campsite had quite a few campers but if the weather was better it would probably be overflowing with people. The evening was a bit noisy with music but most people had settled down by 11pm so we did manage to get a good sleep.

 

The following day it was still raining so we decided to go down to Pinjarra and pick up a few things from the shops.

 

When we got back I managed to get a few pics of the Hotham Valley train as it went up and down between Pinjarra and Dwellingup.

 

Hotham Valley steam train

 

On the third day the weather cleared and we decided to spend one last day at Marrinup. We went to Namga Mill and through Lane Poole Reserve. The roads were in a horrible state and full of pot holes but it was an interesting day out and nice to see the sun again.

 

There are a lot of good campsites in Lane Poole Reserve and the Murray River that runs through the area makes it very attractive indeed.

 

Nanga Mill - Lane Poole Reserve

 

We got away from Marrinup early in the morning and travelled along the Pinjarra - Williams road. We found a couple of old ruins as well as a church at Marradong and another church and a tavern at Quindanning to photograph.

 

Abandoned farmhouse on the Pinjarra - Williams road

 

We picked up fuel at Williams (it was surprisingly cheaper than Perth) and went on to Wagin and then to Norring Lake to make camp for the night.

 

It was a lovely day right up until evening, when the rain caught up with us again. A strong wind came in too and we thought we might be in for a rough time but it soon settled down again.

 

Norring Lake is now very neglected compared to a few years ago. The toilet block is gone, shelter gone, BBQ gone and the area is completely overgrown. Very sad to see it like this as it was such a nice spot when we last came here.

 

Norring Lake near Wagin

 

It was so nice and peaceful at the lake that we ended up staying for 3 nights. We just relaxed and recharged our 'personal' batteries soaking up nature and the very pretty scenery.

 

The mozzies at Norring were VERY BAD around dusk but after a couple of hours they seem to settle down a bit but it was impossible to sit outside while they were active. There were so many mozzies, you could actually hear the buzzing of their wings. Perhaps that was why we had the place to ourselves and no other campers turned up.

 

Somewhat reluctantly we moved on from Norring and stopped in at Woodanilling to take some pics, dump rubbish and pick up water.

 

From there we went to Kenmare where there is an old ruined farm house and a hall that has been done up. There is a parking area by the hall that would be a possible overnight camp and the toilet is rather flash for a bush dunny.

 

Flash bush dunny at Kenmare Hall

 

We saw signs to Lake Queerearrup and were glad we followed them because we found a great little campsite by the lake with toilet, BBQ, shelter and water. It isn't quite as pretty as Norring but a good alternative.

 

We went on to have a look at Lake Towerrinning which is a very popular campsite where a lot of water skiers go. Much too crowded and noisy for us so we kept on heading towards Boyup Brook.

 

We stopped in at Dinninup and while we were photographing the old store a car pulled up and we were asked if we would like to see the Tea Pot House. This turned out to be just up the road and is operated by Barlee and Robin Jones.

 

Tea Pot House at Dinninup

 

Their collection of teapots is astounding. Barlee is full of all sorts of interesting information and it was something we had no idea was in this tiny little town.

 

We had to get to Boyup Brook to pick up supplies so didn't complete our photography but we camped at Condingup where there is another old ruin. We just had time to take some pics before night set in.

 

The rain started YET AGAIN in the night and we thought we were going to be stuck for the whole day. As we ate breakfast a clear patch came over and by the time breakfast was over the canvas was dry enough to pack so we got on with it and moved.

 

We finished photographing Dinninup and moved on to Jayes Bridge where we set up again just before the rain really started to come down.

 

Now we were stuck for the day but we had mobile signal (and therefore internet) and the campsite was better that the one at Condinup which was just a bush track.

 

Jayes Bridge

 

We waited for the van to dry a bit before moving and then got back into Boyup Brook to take some pics.

 

Next it was on to Wilga (a very tiny settlement) and then to Collie. We had planned to stay at Lake Stockton overnight but DPW has taken it over and is charging too much, so we moved on to Darkan.

 

Had a look at Six Mile Cottage north of Darkan and then went on to the Collie - Williams road where I had to choose whether to head back to Collie or head for Williams and then north towards Boyagin Rock to camp for the night.

 

Six Mile Cottage north of Darkan

 

In the end we decided to go to Boyagin which is quite a nice campsite. Sadly there is no mobile signal, well it is too weak to be useful, but after quite a long drive we decided to stay 2 nights and have a rest day to recover.

 

The first night was literally freezing cold. Water vapour actually froze on the inside of the canvas over the bed!!

 

We went for a walk on the rock morning and saw a large dugite (snake). Sadly it saw me first and vanished into a crevice before I could get a photo. A bit of a wake up to be more alert since that the weather is starting to warm a bit.

 

Boyagin Rock west of Pingelly

 

Moved on from Boyagin and stopped off in Brookton to pick up bread etc. Went on to Yenyenning Lakes and set up camp. Lots of flies but a nice spot. There is a sign saying 'Private property' as you head down the track towards the lake, when you see it turn left across the cattle grid. (big rigs may not be able to get in here) Follow the winding track through a second cattle grid and on to the pleasant recreation area by the lake.

 

We had another rest day at Yenyenning. Clouds came over and some strong wind sprang up but no rain eventuated for which we were very grateful.

 

Yenyenning Lakes

 

After a nice relaxing day by the lake we moved on to Quairading. This town has excellent RV facilities including dump point, toilets, showers with hot water, rubbish bins and drinking water pickup with easy access.

 

Quairading is a nice little town with some interesting buildings and a vintage vehicles centre. For some reason I have never managed to get out and see it before so it was great to finally have a look round.

 

Not far from town (about 12km) is Toapin Weir. A concrete weir has been built in to a large rock formation and now it is a nice picnic area and useful campsite. Water, BBQs with electric light, flushing toilet and shelters are all provided.

 

Toapin Weir near Quairading

 

Went north to photograph an old farmhouse ruin on Goldfields Road and then made for York where we stopped to have a look around town. York is a very popular day-trip from Perth and has some wonderful heritage buildings.

 

We had intended to stop at Gwambygine overnight but as we reached there by mid-morning we decided to push on to Beverley and then find an overnight stop closer to home.

 

At Christmas Tree Well a sign was posted saying NO CAMPING, so we took a shortcut through from Brookton Hwy to Albany Hwy and found Gleneagle. This was also signed as NO CAMPING but we basically said 'BUGGER IT' and found a secluded spot to camp anyway.

 

From there it was just a short drive to get home and yet another trip had come to an end.

 

We had managed to get quite a few good shots of ruined and abandoned buildings. You can see the results (along with many more pics from other trips) on our Abandoned Western Australia gallery page.

 

Updated October 2014

Go to the next blog installment Go to the next blog installment

 

 

PLACES ON THE WAY

 

Pinjarra

 

Marrinup

 

Dwellingup

 

Lane Poole Reserve

 

Quindanning

 

Williams

 

Wagin

 

Woodanilling

 

Boyup Brook

 

Collie

 

Darkan

 

Brookton

 

Quairading

 

York

 

Beverley

 

 

 

 

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