Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Back to Banksia

February 24 - 27

So another 4 days off and I get to catch up with Steve and his boy, Daniel for a few days away. This was pretty cool as I hadn't been away with Steve (always good for a laugh) for a considerable time now. On top of that, his Paj has been retired to street duties now and I would get to check out his handy work with the new "pooey" patrol.

Talking before hand, and with only4 days to play with (2 of them being transit to and from home), it really dictated somewhere reasonably close. My last trip being to Banksia Camp, and the one prior to that at Fish Creek, I suggested we head back that way and fill in the blanks between Fish Creek and Banksia via Broke inlet. Steve was in. He hadn't been that way before so we just set a plan to camp up at Moore's hut on night one and see how far East we get.

Meeting Steve/Daniel at the "cones" on Forest highway, I had to sort out some drama.....namely a UHF that wouldn't work. Pulling all my electrical distribution system apart to diagnose the problem, I discovered the issue......or should I say, Steve did. I had not been pressing the bloody power button on the mic, but a different one. Well that was quite embarrassing - indeed! Never done that before and I guarantee, I will never again either.

Anyway, making Manjimup about lunchtime, Steve filled the new 89L kickass dual zone fridge freezer with a bag of ice and we hit the road south into the forest country and eventually onto Moore's track.

We stopped and checked out the hut for a bit, but it was too early to set up camp for the day. So we headed down to Coodamurrup beach for a look.

On the beach, we decided to cruise down to the Gardiner River mouth. Trev and myself were on the other side of this in the "full on at fish creek" post, with no way to cross. So at least that particular blank was filled in. Getting out the car was terrible. The wind was howling and we were getting sand blasted to pieces, so we didn't hang around long and made for Moores Hut again, where we set up for the night. Steve and Dan in their tents, myself taking the easy route by putting the swag under the veranda of the hut. No point ginning around with awnings if you don't need to hey!

Waking in the morning, the weather was looking a little suspect, a thunderstorm rumbling away to the North, we had breakfast then had a mad scramble to get everything packed before the rain started. We made it just in time and decided to sit it out till the rain departed. It's not like we had a lot to travel today anyhow, the next camp being at Fish Creek, only 26KM's away.

Stopping for a photo session on the beach at West Cliff Head, we went in search of the hut, something I missed due to time constraints when I was here last.

Not exactly sure how to get there, although I did have its waypoint. So first attempt was up the limestone slope to the back of the cliff in the background above. Well that was a fail, that only led me to a cliff on the other side, but the scenery was spectacular. So we ventured past the camping spot on a track that would take us out near the western edge of Broke Inlet. The track passed the waypoint to the North by a short distance and I said to Steve, there is probably a turn back a bit further up to the shack. I was correct, very soon afterwards we turned on the turn back and was at the hut in no time. A spectacular looking place indeed where Steve stopped for an ice cream out of his freezer.....bastard!:

He did offer to let me lick the stick when he was done...Grrrrr.

The shack was a bit manky inside. It smelt a bit rodenty and musty. Definitely, it needed a good air out. the coastal scenery behind the hut was just damn amazing:

Sea mullet playing in the shallows below:

But after a short break, we hit the road for Sand Peak and Broke Inlet (or at least as close as we could get to the mouth on the Western side). Some fantastic sand track to drive, more spectacular scenery and quite a few hidden little campsites to be had out here:

But the track finishes in the middle of nowhere, so we returned the way we had just come and back to West Cliff Head. It had turned out to be a magnificent day, rather warm in fact. Even though we had had a late start, we were still on the beach early afternoon, so with no wind blowing today, it was a good excuse to have a beer on the beach, before making the 500 odd meter drive to the grassed area where we were to camp for the night.

How's the serenity hey!

A nice purple sea snail shell caught my attention in the sand:

So as the sun started to think about setting, we made our way to camp to set up for the night. Steve decided to lash out and set up his in car shower and all I could do was think "I hope he left that bloody mankini at home"

And with that, a sun that had set, a moon that had risen, dinner and a few drinks afterwards and day 2 was done.

Day 3 saw us heading out of the national park and heading South East looking for spots to access broke inlet, airing up once at Chesapeake Rd:

Poking down one track, Spring break Rd, we got closed in by the vegetation and beat a hasty retreat. To be honest, I wasn't that keen on destroying the car just to look at a bit of water. But further on we spotted another access point that allowed us to get to the shoreline. A nice little secluded camp site almost on the water and a nice view, but in all reality, there wasn't much to see, almost not worthy the 2km sandy track to get there.

With no real plan on where to go we turned off at the end of Chesapeake Rd for Camfield and that surprised us. A small little shack village, right on the banks of the inlet. What a lovely little haven this place is, a great place for a shack for sure. And there are heaps of them. There is/was access to the inlet from here, but DPAW (now known as DBCA - FFS what's with all the mane changes.....) have closed this track for management purposes. So in reality, the whole Northern side of broke inlet is just about out of bounds. Springbreak rd (if you can survive the vegetation), the unnamed track and Camfield being the only 3 points of access to about 12km of Northern shore line. A bit disappointing really.

With the weather starting to cloud in, I suggested to Steve maybe we make for banksia camp again in case the weather turned. Again, with plenty of time up our sleeve, we turned east for a look at centre Rd campground. That presented us with a hikers jarrah shack and a low level water crossing. pretty all the same but not appealing to us, so onto banksia we ventured.

As it was on new years day when I first came here, the Fisheries track out to the Southern Side of Broke inlet was still closed. Apparently, when the mouth closes, this track floods and is impassable. So until the mouth opens again, I guess this track will be closed for a while. Such a large body of water to investigate, and so little opportunity to do so by vehicle.

Arriving at Banksia early afternoon, and finding the lodge empty, we moved out gear in, under cover. Only one other camper was here, in the campground, a double swag in the open and a marquee for their other gear.

We headed off down the beach for a look and it was then the weather decided to break:

Back at the hut, in dry comfort, we let the afternoon drift away in the wake of constant showers, some of them very heavy. The other campers returned to a drowned campsite. In between showers, we went over and offered them to also use the facilities to get out of the wind and the rain. They agreed it was a good idea. Strangely, we never saw them again. Stuffed if I'd be out in the wet and cold with a nice cosy table and shelter to sit at. Oh well, each to their own I guess.

The morning now being day 4 meant packing for home. Coffee and a cooked breakfast and we contemplated the 3.5 hour drive home.

A thoroughly enjoyable few days, now having filled in all but most of the gaps on the coast between Augusta and Walpole. Next summer, I guess I will venture east from Walpole and try to fill in the gaps between there and Albany. that's going to take me some time for sure!

On the way out of Banksia, We drove the track to Cliffy Head. Rather different to the track in to Banksia, this one had some quite soft sand sections, one place in particular had me have a second attempt. but all was good, we hit cliffy head and got blown away, so we didn't hang around for long.

And soon enough it was on the road for Manji, Bunbury and the freeway for home. Steve peeled off on the Southern side for his abode, whilst had another 40 Mins of freeway to go.

All in all, another top trip away for a few days with good company. Thanks for coming Steve and Daniel, hope you enjoyed it is much as I did.

Trip Stats:

3 nights under canvas
1050km travelled
124L fuel used
for an average of  11.8L/100Km
cost of fuel $174
camp fees $0 owing to vandalism @ Banksia - not collecting fees.

The running tally of nights under canvas now stands at 4

Trip vids:


  1. Another great blog post Shane! Daniel and myself thoroughly enjoyed this trip, thanks for showing us around down there, we'll have to do some more exploring when we get the chance.

  2. Thanks mate, I knew you both would enjoy down there. We certainly will have to explore some more......one powerball hey!