An easy drive east from Perth, the trip through Wandoo National Park from The Lakes Roadhouse is an enjoyable jaunt through open eucalypt forest.
|Grading||AWD with care|
|Time||Day trip or overnight|
|Distance||166km, The Lakes Roadhouse to York|
|166km, The Lakes Roadhouse to York|
|Facilities||The Lakes Roadhouse, York|
|Best time of year||Spring for wildflowers. Avoid summer if possible.|
|Warnings||Always check if fire bans are in place before heading out|
|Permits and fees||None apply|
|Camping||York Caravan Park|
DPaW Perth Hills National Parks Centre Ph (08) 9295 2244 or (08) 9295 9100, www.dpaw.wa.gov.au
York Tourist Bureau Ph (08) 9641 1301
Beverley Information Centre Ph (08) 9646 1555 www.beverleywa.com
What to expect
The great thing about this full day of touring is that it's suitable for soft-roaders or first-timers. At around 300km Perth return it makes for a long day if a picnic is included, but it's well worth getting up early so you can allow time for plenty of stops.
The roads vary from bitumen and well-formed gravel to some rattling corrugations, narrow rocky tracks and some steep climbs and descents. There are narrow tracks where vegetation and trees close in, making it a tight fit. Other sections feature eroded gullies that require careful negotiation, but not enough to cause the beginner too much stress.
During the cooler, wetter months paddocks are green with pasture, creeks are flowing and the wandoo forest is carpeted in springtime wildflowers. Even in summer, there are wildflowers about and you will not be disappointed if you love bird watching. Several times we saw majestic wedgetail eagles resting near farm dams or rising on summer thermals.
This drive will not push the experienced campaigner, but the numerous scenic highlights still make it worth the effort. Many of these tracks go along fence lines where hilly farmland is separated from attractively open wandoo forest.
Once you get to the T-junction and turn left onto Beverley Westdale Road and go about 65m you will see the curiously named Church of Saint John in the Wilderness that was built in 1858 and restored in 1975.
While on the historical side of things, take a detour to another historic landmark - Avondale Discovery Farm, a 4km detour one way. Originally a pastoral station dating back to 1836, it has gone under several guises, including a trainee farm for returning soldiers from WWI.
The Lakes Roadhouse, on the junction of the Great Eastern Highway and the Great Southern Highway, is the starting point of this trip. Head east for 9.8km then turn right into West Talbot Road. Go a further 3.7km to the intersection with Yarra Road and keep going straight ahead.
At 19.7km, turn right and immediately turn left at a T-junction.
At 3.3km there's a track on right, keep straight ahead. Go 0.4km and turn right onto Luelfs Road then bear right at 0.6km. At 2.9km, turn left and bear right. At 3.2km there is a track on the right, but keep straight on. Again keep straight on at 2.7km where there is a track on the right. At 1.3km there is a track on the right, keep straight on.
At 5.7km there is a T-junction, turn left onto Qualen Road. Go 3.2km and bear right at the fork. Go 3.3km to a cross road, turn left. Then turn right at 0.8km along the fence line. At 2.27km there is a T-junction: turn left. At 2km, there's a fork bear right and then left. After 0.5km there is a crossroad, keep straight on. At 4.9km at a fork, bear left onto fence line. After 1.1km, there is a T-junction where you turn right onto Dobaderry Road.
At 1.4km turn left into Wandoo National Park. Then it's 8.8km to a T-junction where you turn left. At 6.4km, turn left at a T-junction. At 0.6km you arrive at the historic Dale Hall & Church.
At 2km you reach Spring Hill Road, turn left. It's a further 5.7km to a T-junction where you turn left onto York Williams Road.
At 9.6km there's a crossroad: turning right leads to the Avondale Discovery Farm. The entrance at Avondale Gate is 3.7km. After a visit to the Farm, double back 3.7km to the crossroad and turn right.
At 4.6km there is a T-junction where you turn left onto the Great Southern Highway. Go 6.3km and turn left onto Sandgate Road.
After 9.9km there is a T-junction: turn right onto Qualen Road. At 12.7km there is a T-junction where you turn right. Go 0.9km and turn left. At 2km, you reach the Great Southern Highway. From here you can turn right to York or left back to The Lakes Roadhouse.