Even some long-time residents of Perth probably haven’t heard of or been to this place before. It’s weird as Julimar State Forest is only a few hours away from the city and it has a lot to offer for off-road enthusiasts. So, why should you go to this place?
Julimar State Forest (now known as Julimar Conservation Annex) is a 4WD adventure playground that is only about an hour and thirty minutes away from Perth. As it is not quite popular among visitors, it is tranquil and remote. So, it is perfect if you want to escape the noise and hustle of the city just for a short while. But you won’t have to worry about the journey taking too long as it’s very close to the city.
So, is a trip to Julimar State Forest worth it? Yes, it is! Here’s why…
How Do I Get To Julimar State Forest?
Located approximately 90kms from Perth near Chittering and Toodyay, just northeast of the Swan Valley, Julimar is an easy drive from Perth. It means that it is perfect for a day out exploring or a weekend camping. You don’t have to travel too far for a bit of off-road adventure.
If you’re from Perth and are not familiar with the area, you can take State Route 51 and follow this route:
- Turn left onto Lord St/State Route 51
- After 6.5 km, turn right to merge onto Tonkin Hwy/State Route 4
- Take the ramp leading to Gnangara Rd/State Route 84 after 14.3 km.
- Stay on the right at the forge and merge onto Gnangara Rd/State Route 84
- At the roundabout after 4.2 km, head to the 2nd exit onto Gnangara Rd/State Route 84
- At the next roundabout, head to the first exit leading to W Swan Rd/State Route 52
- Turn left onto National Highway 95
- After 59.5 km, turn right onto Bindoon-Dewars Pool Rd
- Turn right onto Munyerring Spring Rd after 18.8 km.
- After 950 m, turn right onto Julimar State Forest
What Should I Know About Julimar State Forest?
The reserve resembles an island, and it is a part of DPAW’s 28,000 ha Julimar Conservation Park. It is separated by surrounding farmland, and the impressive bush remnant provides a vital piece of habitat to the animals in the area. The beautiful and very graceful Black-gloved Wallaby can sometimes be sighted here. This reserve also offers a lovely walk. You can park your car at the open area opposite Conostylis Way and walk west along with the boundary fire break for one kilometer. Turn left and follow the track heading south. There are also a couple of steep climbs, and you will get breathtaking views of the entire Malkup Brook catchment. You can also admire the “Three Sentinels”, these are impressive Powder Bark Wandoos that are very massive and old. Also, take a break on the low granite outcrops before heading back to your car via the southern track and Coondle West Road.
How Are the 4WD Tracks in Julimar State Forest?
The tracks in the Julimar State Forest are fantastic routes to explore through. There are a lot of trails of different terrain, from gravel to clay. Some of the tracks are incredibly tight, so it can be challenging to pinch between the tighter parts. Also, there are a lot of areas where there is evidence of vehicles touching trees, so taking it slow is the best way to keep your panels undamaged. Pinstriping also isn’t a big deal, even though it’s dense bushland.
There are two central hills in Julimar, and almost all 4WD enthusiasts give the extreme hill a miss due to how steep and lengthy it is, not to mention its extremely rutted, covered in detached rocks and can be very slippery. With only narrow entry points at the top of the hill, it is best to leave it unexplored, especially for a newbie. You can avoid it by taking the alternative route. Although the alternative way might not look as fun as the extreme hill, the narrow and meandering track heading to the base of the valley can be a breathtaking drive.
The second hill doesn’t have a track that diverts around, and it is the only way to go back! There are several entries and exits on the said hill, which is quite unusual. It makes the adventure more attractive, as you can pick and choose the way where you’re going down or up. Depending on your 4WD vehicle, selecting the right track/line for your descent or ascent is essential. Once you tackle the hill and plan which way you’re heading, stick to it! If you change your mind while tackling the track, it could send your vehicle sideways because of loose rocks before you even notice!
When you reach the open area, watch out for bog holes. Appreciate a bite to eat, while enjoying the company of your family and friends, surrounded by the raw Australian bush.
The best season to drive with ease on this track is during the summer months. It is because rain can affect the ground by turning it essentially to mud; not to mention it is thick and sticky mud. Even in November when the rain hasn’t come for weeks, you will see water in bog holes, and there is a lot of crusty, dried mud. However, don’t be tricked by the crusty mud, because underneath, is loads and loads of thick, sticky mud. You’d be surprised how deep the dirt can be!
It is recommended that you drive with no larger than a six-vehicle convoy as there isn’t enough room around the hill climbs and slopes. You should also make sure you have recovery gear and a friend or two in your convoy that brought along a winch, as you’ll need it if you do get stuck in that thick mud!
What Are The Other Things That I Can Do in Julimar State Forest?
There’s not much you can do in Julimar State Forest aside from driving or hiking. So, if you’re done exploring the tracks, you can head to the following attractions next:
- The Avon Valley Trike Tours
- Capture the Light Photographic Tours
- Earth Sculptures Pottery
- Emu’s on the Park
- Free Range Emu Farm
- Pioneer’s Arboretum
- Toodyay Miniature Railway
- Windward Ballooning
- Windmill Hill Cutting
Where Should I Stay in Julimar State Forest?
There are only two campgrounds within a 25 km radius from the Julimar State Forest, and they are Drummonds Hill and Bald Hill Campgrounds.
- With views of the Avon Valley, Drummonds Hill is an excellent base for exploring Avon Valley National Park
- There is enough room here for camper trailers, and some level sites, however, the road in is not suitable for Caravans as some sections are steep dirt.
- There are pit toilets, picnic tables and a water tank (boil before drinking). Fires are permitted; however, you will need to bring your wood. Make sure you check local bans which may prevent the use of fires.
- The eucalypts provide some pleasant shade, and there are some excellent grassy sites for tents.
- The campsite is accessible even by 2WD, and it is located off Governors Drive via Quarry Rd.
- It is a large, mostly level campground at the top of the hill with excellent views.
- The surrounding bush and granite make for some exciting exploring, and the nearby picnic area is a great spot to stop for lunch if you are only here for a day.
- There are picnic tables with shelters, and wood-fired barbecues (bring your wood, the collection is strictly prohibited in National Parks).
- No bookings are required for Bald Hill, but you will need to register to camp on your way into the park. The campground is usually relatively quiet, and apart from school holidays, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a spot.
- This campsite is accessible with regular 2WD vehicles.
- Bald Hill Campground is at the end of Governors Drive off Avon Valley Road. There is a map on the self-registration desk, and most roads in the park are well signed.
What Does Toodyay Mean?
The meaning of the town’s name is not clear. However, it originated from the Indigenous Noongar — in an early 1834 reference it is transcribed as “Toodye” while maps in 1836 referred to “Duidgee” The Shire of Toodyay’s official history gives the meaning as “place of plenty”.
How Far Is York From Toodyay?
It takes about 47 minutes to travel from Toodyay to York. The approximate driving distance between Toodyay and York is 61.9 km. Also, travel time refers to the time taken if the range is covered by a car.
Are Dogs Allowed In Nature Reserves WA?
Dogs on leashes are permitted at the following campgrounds: Dogs must be kept on a leash all the time and are prohibited in all areas of the park, only particular sites.
How Far Is York From Toodyay?
Distance between Toodyay and York. It takes around 47 minutes to travel from Toodyay to York. The approximate driving distance between Toodyay and York is 61.9 km or 38.5 miles. Travel time pertains to the time taken if the range is covered by a car.