Do you want to have some action to make your weekend more interesting? If the summer’s over and it’s already raining, you might want to get to Captain Fawcett Track in Lane Poole Conservation Reserve. You’ll never know, and you might get stuck in a bog in the middle of the forest. Isn’t that a more exciting weekend?
Captain Fawcett is among the 4WD tracks in Dwellingup. You should try it as it passes through forests, the rivers, and exciting places although it is quite easy when it’s dry, a lot of changes after it rains. Also, you can do several activities in Lane Poole Reserve that will make your trip more exciting. You can also camp right on the bush to complete the experience.
So, do you want to know more about Captain Fawcett Track? Find out more below!
How Do I Get To Captain Fawcett Track?
From Perth, you can take the following route:
- Get on State Route 2 from Roe St
- Merge onto State Route 2
- Continue onto National Route 1/State Route 2 and Kwinana Fwy/State Route 2
- Head to the exit on Pinjarra Rd leading toward Pinjarra
- Use the left lanes to turn left onto Pinjarra Rd
- After 8.9 km, turn left onto George St/S Western Hwy/State Route 20
- Continue onto McLarty St and Pinjarra-Williams Rd
- Turn right onto Nanga Rd after 230 m
- Turn left after 6.5 km
What Should I Know About Captain Fawcett Track?
Captain Fawcett migrated to WA in the 1850s after inheriting land in the Murray District on the death of his father. It made him a wealthy Pinjarra landowner (and the only WA distiller of brandy!). He built a homestead at Pinjarrah Park Estate. He also owned a mill, and it was a large red brick building with a massive chimney and kiln that is now dilapidated, 200m away from the homestead. The Mill was first constructed in 1865, which was the time when Fawcett bought mill machinery from Cooper’s Mill at Yunderup. Also, he was once a Justice of the Peace, and eventually, he became a member of the Legislative Council for the districts of Murray and Williams. He also co-founded the Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers (PMV) in 1862, it was a local reservist horse-mounted force to give some protection in the absence of any formal police force back then.
In search of more lands, he set out in 1860 together with William Pollard to explore the area further. They started their journey by following the Murray River. At Marradong Creek, he spotted a freshwater spring that he assumed the local Aboriginals called “Mokine”. He decided to claim this area to build his house and claimed over 10,000 acres. To head back to Dwellingup, he went directly through the bush, cutting through trees as he went so his workers could reach “Mokine”. Today, the route is now the Marradong-Dwellingup Rd. Mokine Homestead was built by using bricks and local stone with a ridged iron roof.
Captain Fawcett Track is part of the Lane Poole Reserve. It is located about 100 km from Perth, and it covers an area more than 50,000 ha. Also, it is the largest park in the northern section of the Jarrah Forest. The park was named after CE Lane Pool who was the state’s first “Conservator of Forests”. He did a lot of things to make sure that the forests of Western Australia are managed sustainably.
The park is also popular because you can do a lot of recreational activities here like canoeing, mountain bike riding, and bushwalking. It also hosts the Murray River which is one of the last rivers covered by the Jarrah Forest that is undammed.
How Are The 4WD Tracks in Captain Fawcett?
The Track begins at Nanga and Dawn Creek Rds, south of the Nanga campground on the Munda Biddi, or about 18 km away from Dwellingup. Initially, it is slow and rough as it heads down directly to the river. It intersects with the King Jarrah walking trail after around 2.3 km.
After 3.6 km, the Track intersects with the Munda Biddi Trail. The Track turns left, compared to the Munda Biddi Trail which goes straight onto the white gate. Bidjar Ngoulin hut is around 1.9 km away from here.
The track is now very buggy with many sections with gaping ruts, which gets filled with water and mud. Also, it is typically can accommodate only one car at a time. But after about 16 km, the worst parts of the track is behind you – the track is drier and with shallower ruts.
After driving for 41 km on the track, it will lead you to the Harvey-Quindanning Road which has a good quality gravel road. From here, turn left to continue on the trail. But you can also turn right to head to Harvey.
At the 42 km mark, the track intersects the Bibbulmun Track near Long Gully Bridge. This 128m long rail bridge was built for the WA Government Railways in 1949 and was used to supply timber to Hakea Mill. It was an outstanding example of an old rail trestle bridge. The rail network was essential for the timber industry from the Serpentine-Jarrahdale area to the Dwellingup region.
When the Dwellingup Mill burned down in 1961, the rail line stopped all of its operations. Unfortunately, the bridge was destroyed in 2015 due to the Hotham fire, even with the efforts of firefighters. The same fire also ruined the historic railway workshop in Yarloop.
Are There Other Things To Do in Captain Fawcett Track?
You can do the following activities:
Lane Poole is a famous destination for bushwalkers with tracks that has varying length and difficulty such as the Chuditch, Island Pool, King Jarrah, and Nanga Brook trails.
The famous Bibbulum Track, which measures about 1000 km, passes through the Lane Poole. Also, there are several day walk options in the area. Walkers exploring the park on multi-day treks can stay at Dookanelly, Murray, Swamp Oak and Yourdamung huts.
People head to the area to paddle in the tranquil waters of the Murray River, especially in spring and summer. During winter, when the water level rises, fast currents and white water make it more challenging for more seasoned kayakers and canoeists.
There are several places where you can launch your canoe, like Island Pool, Yarragil, Dwaarlindjirraap and Stringers. A famous area for canoeing is the 11.5-kilometre cruise from Yarragil till Nanga Road Bridge.
The stretches of the river that flow rapidly in winter can be treacherous and are suitable for experienced canoeists and kayakers only.
A lot of people fish in the Murray River and some of its tributaries for species such as redfin perch, rainbow trout, cobbler and marron. Bag limits closed seasons, and minimum legal sizes are imposed to help protect stocks from over-fishing. Also, it enables the catch to be divided between the thousands of anglers who search for these species.
Important: You must hold a valid fishing licence, issued by the Department of Fisheries. Permits are available from any Australia Post Office or Department of Fisheries offices or online.
The Munda Biddi Trail makes its way through Lane Poole Reserve with the Bidjar Ngoulin campground providing an option for accommodation if you want to stay overnight within the park. The Waterous Trail will lead you to the Munda Biddi, providing another excellent mountain bike option.
The Les Couzens Bridle Trail starts and finishes in Dwellingup and meanders through the northern part of the park.
What Are Other 4WD Enthusiasts Saying About Captain Fawcett Track?
“Headed out to the area with members of my 4WD Club yesterday (The 4WD Club of WA) and tackled the Fawcett Track via Lane Poole Reserve – it was a great day and my first trip ever since I had a double knee replacement surgery last year. I was a little sore at the end of the day and unfortunately wasn’t able to get around and take too many photos, but it was a great day with great people, so that made up for it.” -Karl Fehlauer (via 4x4earth.com)
Where Should I Stay in Captain Fawcett Track?
Lane Poole Reserve is very famous for camping as it has nine different campgrounds. Also, camping is allowed only in these designated areas only.
Camping for smaller families, groups, or individuals is available at Baden Powell, Charlies Flat, Tonys Bend, Yarragil, Chuditch and Stringers. Also, spots in these camps must be booked online.
Nanga Mill and Nanga Townsite are perfect for larger groups and cannot be booked in advance – they follow a first-come, first-served basis rule.
Nanga Brook has sealed road access through the Nanga Gate on Nanga Road. It is suitable for camper trailers and caravans, and you must book online before you head here.
Are Dogs Allowed At Lane Poole Reserve?
Dogs are allowed to enter the recreation area of Lane Poole Reserve but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Are There Crocodiles In The Murray River?
A freshwater crocodile has been spotted in the Murray River near the New South Wales-Victoria border, thousands of kilometres south of home.
What Does Dwellingup Mean?
Dwellingup is from an Aboriginal word that is said to mean “place of nearby water” or “there are fog, dew and mist everywhere”.