Dwellingup, Western Australia

Dwellingup is another great place that you can enjoy without spending a huge amount of money. To top it off, Dwellingup is only an hour and a half drive from Perth, making it the perfect getaway for a weekend, whole week or even just a quick day trip. It is a small town located in the middle of the Western Australian bush, with a river that flows right through the middle. Over the last few years Dwellingup has become a huge playground for outdoor recreation. Opportunities include hiking, camping, mountain biking, canoeing or kayaking, tubing, white water rafting, fishing, swimming, tyre swings, 4×4 and more.

Dwellingup Accommodation
I’ll be perfectly honest. The only place I have ever stayed in Dwellingup is at the camp sites, and a highly doubt that I will ever stay anywhere else in Dwellingup, simply because you miss out on too much by doing so. I think that if you want to stay in luxury accommodation you may as well do it on the beach in a 5 star resort, but that’s just me. If you don’t want to camp, then you can stay at a Caravan Park, a bed and breakfast or even luxury chalets. As mentioned above however, these tend to be closer to town, meaning your intense experience with nature is severely limited. Some people prefer this, but considering the cost you have to pay for it, I will take camping any day! The whole idea of Dwellingup is to be out and about with nature!

Dwellingup Camping
There are quite a large number of campsites available (Nanga Mill, Yaragil, Baden Powell, Charlies Flat, Stringers and Tony’s Bend). Most of these campsites are located within a hundred meters of the river, with spectacular views. Some are designed to support over a hundred campers, whilst others only offer 3 campsites or less. The rangers are trying to bring in a booking system because Dwellingup gets incredibly busy at Easter, Australia Day, Christmas and school holidays. Something to point out is that the gravel roads can be very slippery, especially if you haven’t driven much on gravel before. The speed limit is 40 km/h and the rangers will kick you out of you go too fast.

We stayed at Nanga Mill in Easter, and the rangers began to turn away people who wanted to camp and even just visit for the day after the campsites were full and it became very busy. I find you can still have a lot of fun when it’s busy, but it’s often better to pick a quieter time of year to visit! Some campsites have concrete fire rings to use, but many don’t. You have to pay to camp in the camping areas, but it’s only a few dollars each night (a fraction of what you would pay to stay in a caravan park or chalet!)

As I have mentioned in previous posts about Camping, being prepared will make or break your trip. Most of the campsites have at least one drop toilet, but make sure you bring your own toilet rolls, just in case. Having a comfortable mattress to sleep on, a warm sleeping bag, a waterproof tent and an easy way to cook each day are just a few of the vital parts of camping. I have been on trips with total disorganisation, and the result is a trip that could have been great fun becomes a total burden.

Murray River
The Murray River runs through Dwellingup, and is used for canoeing, white water rafting, tubing, swimming, fishing and even rope swings. Some parts are quite shallow, whilst others you would struggle to reach the bottom. A number of rapids exist in the river, which is why so many take to canoes in the wet season. In summer, the river drops off considerably in height, making it hard to get along much of the river with a canoe. Throughout the whole year you can catch Red Fin Perch and Trout in the river. If you are over 16, you need a Freshwater fishing license, but it is well worth it! Most of the rope swings get removed for safety reasons as well, but they can be great fun if they are sturdy and safe.

Dwellingup Canoeing
Generally the best time to go canoeing or tubing is just after a very heavy downpour (usually in between June and September). In saying this, if you are just there to have some fun then there is always water at Island Pool and various other open spaces. The canoeing in Dwellingup can be extremely challenging if you have not done much of it before. Knowing the right technique and being confident can be the difference between manoeuvring around the rocks in fast flowing water and getting tipped over amongst the rocks.

There have been a number of serious injuries in the river at Dwellingup when canoeing or kayaking. The bottom line though is to tackle what you are capable of, and leave the rest. There are often trails where you can drag your canoe around the rapids, and unless you are confident these are a great option. There are even a few rapids which are banned today, because they are simply too hard (Baden Powell one). Most of the river is flat calm and fairly slow flowing, but there are of course a few rapids here and there.

Munda Biddi trail
The Munda Biddi trail is a bike track which starts off in Mundaring (just east of Perth). ‘Munda Biddi’ means ‘path through the forest in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language’. In many ways it is very similar to the Bibbulmun track, but only for bikes. There are quite a few camp sites as well as huts that you can stay at, a lot of bushland to enjoy and lots of hills to ride up and down. The main track is easily done by someone who is capable on a bike, and if you are looking for something a little more extreme you can try the Downhill Mountain Biking tracks in Dwellingup, or find tracks that lead off the Munda Biddi trail. I will put another post up later on going into more specifics of the Munda Biddi Trail, because it is well worth the mention.

Bibbulmun track
Like the Munda Biddi Trail, the Bibbulmun track meanders through the bushland of Western Australia, and is freely accessible to the public. It starts in Kalamunda (a small suburb in the hills of Perth) and ends in Albany, on the south coast of Western Australia. It is almost 1000km’s long, and has over 48 huts that you can sleep in. The track passes through a huge number of towns, and some scenery which will blow your mind (make sure you take your camera!).

There are very few people that do the track from start to finish; most will do bits and pieces here and there, which is what I have done. For those that are experienced and comfortable you can camp or stay at the huts, but if you organise it well you can even stay in the many towns that you walk through. Most people use the towns to refill their supplies (water, food and other bits and pieces) anyway, so don’t be surprised to meet people in town that are doing the same track. The track is for walkers only, and is marked with a yellow triangular sign with a snake on it. Some of the places the track goes through include Dwellingup, Collie, Donnelly River Village, Pemberton, Walpole, Peaceful bay and Denmark. It truly is an epic adventure, and as long as you are well prepared you will have a lot of fun. Again, I will make a separate post about the Bibbulmun track, because it is so popular!

4×4 in Dwellingup
What makes Dwellingup so much fun is that regardless of when you go there is something to do. If the water levels are too low, take a rod, a bike and your Four Wheel Drive! The 4×4 in Dwellingup includes a large number of tracks, hill climbs and just general play areas. There are places that highly modified cars will struggle and many places where an all wheel drive car with a bit of clearance would be fine. Most of the tracks can be found in the area where the camp sites are, but be sure to check with the ranger in regards to where you are allowed to drive.

Many of the tracks are next to the Downhill Mountain Bike tracks (on the left as you enter the gravel road), and they continue to the top of the hill. There are quite a number of tracks elsewhere, and the easiest way to find them is to get a map either from the ranger station or from the Dwellingup information centre. If you head a little bit passed Dwellingup you can find a big circle 4×4 track which is easy for most vehicles, and some very secluded and nice camp sites.

In summer, many of the hill climbs are very dusty and slippery, but they are still good fun. Some become almost impossible when it’s wet, because the mud is thick and full of clay. Of course, you will have a lot of fun trying, but stick to the tracks. I love to go four wheel driving in Dwellingup because its different to the beaches and dunes that I enjoy so often in Lancelin and Wedge Island.

Dwellingup Downhill Mountain Biking
Every year Downhill Mountain Biking competitions are held at Dwellingup. Of course, there is good reason for it; many of the tracks are challenging and difficult but most of all great fun. I must point out that these tracks are not for the inexperienced; there are drops, uneven ground, jumps and tracks that come very close to the trees. If you want to give it a crack, take each new track slowly as there are a few drops and unexpected obstacles!

Again, finding these tracks can be a bit of a pain. The harder ones tend to be on the left side of the gravel track as you drive in past the ranger’s station. There are a few if you turn right over the bridge on the way to Nanga Mill, and then head first left up the hill. We found the best way to do it was to have a driver and a trailer. You drive to the top of the hill, pull the bikes out and ride down, and the driver picks you back up again at the bottom. The hills are quite long, and extremely tiring to ride back up!

Tyre Swings
As a kid I have very fond memories of the good old tyre swing into the river. Some people refer to them as Tarzan ropes, but the rangers have removed most of them, and for good reason. The risk is that if someone is injured on one then they could be at fault for leaving them up. Many are not maintained and are very risky because of rope that is weak. We have built our own, but it’s a good idea to pull them down after you leave. The best place to do it is on a steep bank with very deep water. If you find one that’s already made, give it a careful inspection before you try it, and test the water. You can get very seriously hurt if it’s not safe.
Fishing in the Murray River
The first time I ever did any freshwater fishing was in the Murray River, in Dwellingup. We hired out some canoes, took the rods and just drifted for fish. If you know much about fly fishing, there are some good places to try it. We managed to get a few Red Fin Perch (which are a pest and are not allowed back into the water, regardless of their size) which cook up very well. You can get a number of trout too, but patience is the key. I found it very relaxing as well; it’s quiet and very enjoyable. If you have a Marron license (and it’s the right season) you can try your luck for these too. There are a lot in the river, and it’s not hard to get a good feed.

Dwellingup Fires
Not every campsite will have a designated concrete fire ring. After politely asking the ranger if we could have a fire in the open we were able to clear away any flammable material and warm up with a small one. Previously, Dwellingup has had some huge bush fires which have threatened and damaged homes and put hundreds at risk, so don’t be surprised how strict the rangers are. If it’s out of season, you can’t have a fire, regardless of how cold it is. You need to bring your own firewood, as the rangers will get nasty if you take it from the bush. If you don’t have a fire ring, ask the ranger if you can build your own safe fire. If they see you are intelligent and responsible chances are they will let you. I can’t stress the importance of being careful though, because the bush down there burns like paper.

Hiring equipment for Dwellingup
Many people don’t have the equipment for Dwellingup (including canoes, kayaks, mountain bikes, hiking gear, camping gear and various other bits and pieces). There are a number of places that you can go to hire these things, but a great one can be found on the main road, called Dwellingup Adventures. You can get a bike for about $20 a day and a 3 person canoe for about $40. They will even deliver and pick them up as you need, and give you guided tours if you want to pay extra.

It’s really worth hiring what you need, unless you have better equipment yourself. You will have a lot of fun riding and canoeing around Dwellingup. You have to pay a small deposit which is kept as security if anything goes wrong with the equipment. It’s all fairly robust and good quality as well, which helps because they take a beating!

Weather at Dwellingup
To make this short, it’s often quite cold in winter (freezing at night) and very hot in summer. It’s easy to swim in summer if you get hot, but you need to take good clothes in winter time, because it can get very cold. It rains quite a lot in winter which gets rid of the dust, and the bushland looks much better at this time. I have been at various times of the year and enjoyed them all; you just need to be prepared for the conditions.

If you like the whole adventure thing then Dwellingup is your playground. Even if you are just looking for a relaxing weekend away, Dwellingup has a lot to offer. It’s a brilliant place for tourists as well because there is enough isolation and nature is literally on your doorstep! I have found that Honeymoon Pool in Collie is a very similar place to Dwellingup, so that’s always an alternative

Spend You Next Holiday in Denmark Western Australia

The Australian Denmark is not named after, or related to the one in Europe. It received its name because it was established near the Denmark River. The river was named after Alexander Denmark who was a friend of the English explorer who discovered the river.

Maybe if the first Europeans to discover the area around Denmark had been a little more interested colonizing, the city would have been named Holland. Dutch explorers arrived in the seventeenth century but the area didn’t become settled until 200 years later.

Around that time England needed wood for building. The Kari trees that grew in forests all around the area made excellent building timber. A large lumber industry grew up.

For many years Denmark was a quiet farm town. It hasn’t stopped being that but the natural beauty that surrounds it has attracted many tourists. The rocky coastline is picturesque. The photogenic beaches, rivers, inlets and forests provide a myriad of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Walpole-Nornalup National Park has long been one of the area’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors are especially eager to experience The Tree Top Walk. It’s is a walkway that rises up to 38m above the forest allowing visitors of all ages to view the canopy of the magnificent tingle forest from a unique perspective.

The 1960s brought a stream of people in search of a place to live their alternative, counter-culture lifestyle. The Hippies brought with them a passion for traditional arts and music and natural food. Their environmental awareness set a standard that continues to keep Denmark beautiful and organic foods readily available.

When you visit the Denmark Visitors Center you will learn that the strange shaped building was constructed for the purpose of containing an object that can only be seen in Denmark, WA. The water barometer built by Bert Bolle is the largest barometer in the world.

The three story tower in the building was required because the barometer is 12 meters or 39.36 feet tall. The barometer is a real, functioning scientific instrument. It wasn’t built huge just to attract attention.

The creator of the barometer explains that he built it that big because it would not work accurately if it were any smaller. A barometer filled with mercury needs to be only about three feet high to measure the pressure of the air surrounding it. However water weighs only about one fourteenth as much as mercury so much more of it is required to get an accurate reading.

“Denmarkians” (not Danes) call their town the place “where the forest meets the sea”. Denmark accommodations are as diverse as the travelers who come to visit. Whether you want a backpack hostel or a luxury hotel or something in between it’s here. Your choice may depend on whether you would rather be closer to the forest or the sea.

Secret Australia – Discover The Hidden Adventures Down Under

If you are planning a trip to the land of Koalas and Kangaroos, why not make it something special. Everyone knows of the ‘top’ tourist spots, like the city of Sydney and the many nice beaches. Instead of hopping around with the crowd, travel off the beaten path, and experience the wonder that most tourist never see. The ‘hidden gems’ of Australia.

Far North Queensland

Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef, which of course is a major tourist destination. But while most people never look beyond it, you’ll be ‘in the know’ and heading off to lesser explored wonders.

The Kuranda Railway – Reserve some time to take a ride on this majestic caravan. This luxury train will take you on a guided tour of a lifetime, weaving through beautiful ancient rain forests. You’ll pass stunning waterfalls, get up close to flora and fauna of the region and stop at Rainforest Village for crafts made by the locals. Ride a military vehicle inward, to explore the aboriginal culture in Rainforestation Nature Park, then take a Skytram ride over the rainforest canopy. This is a trip that you’ll want to book at least a few days to experience.

Port Douglas / Daintree / Cairns

This beautiful area is north of the Great Barrier Reef and continues the rainforest splendor. This area is where the rainforest meets the coast. Outdoor recreation of every kind abounds here, with river wildlife cruises, zip lining, kayaking, horse riding treks and even 4 wheel drive safaris, just to name a few. After visiting this hidden gem, you may not want to go home!

Tasmania

Tasmania is an island approximately 150 miles southeast of the mainland. This is a fabulous hidden treasure and due to its location, most tourists miss it. There are 5 different regions on this little island and wildlife galore. You can get here by either a quick flight from the main cities (Sydney, Brisbane or Melborne) or you can take an overnight ferry.

This area is amazing for wilderness and nature with 40 percent of the island being protected reserves, parks and sanctuaries. Get up close to dozens of bird species, wallabies, wombats and of course, the famous Tasmanian devil.

Whether you’re looking for fine wine and chocolates, rafting the waterways, hiking the wilderness or relaxing at a B&B, Tasmania is the perfect secret destination.

There are so many hidden adventures of Australia, it would take years to explore them all. Traveling off the beaten path is exciting, and it gives a new perspective that most tourist will never get to experience. Now YOU can live from that heart-felt place and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Mudgee Australia Has Everything You Need for Outdoor Adventure

Mudgee is an important town in the Australian state of New South Wales. Its name was taken from ‘moothi’ which is the Aboriginal word for ‘nest in the hills’. The name is very apt because the town lies in the pretty and fertile Cudgegon River Valley and has many attractive historic buildings.

Mudgee is 470m above sea level and is surrounded by scenic hills. At present, the population is about 8,500. The town earns much of its prosperity from sheep, wool, beef, wine, honey, cereal crops, coal mining, and lucerne. It also has numerous horse, sheep and cattle stud farms, a large export abattoir, and a livestock exchange.

Mudgee was gazetted in 1838. By 1841, it boasted a hospital, 36 dwellings, two stores, three hotels, a post office, and an Anglican Church. The first school started in a slab-built hut during the 1840s.

Growth was slow however and, by 1851, there were only 200 residents. Then, when a huge gold nugget was found in the nearby Hargraves area, a gold rush began. The town became an important center and it grew rapidly and reaped the benefits of continual passing traffic. New gold finds in the 1870s increased its prosperity.

There is much for tourists to enjoy in this region. There are 34 wine cellars and over 150 wineries in the north east section. Platt’s Wines is a favorite with tourists. Built in 1895, it has been fully restored, and also houses a distillery. Platt’s wines of note are Saxa Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer. There is a cafe, an art exhibition area, and a guest house. Visitors are free are welcome to stop at any of the other wine cellars.

There are a host of outdoor recreational activities on offer at Windamere Dam. This is an ideal venue for fishing, water-skiing, and sailing. At the end of the dam, you will find Cudgegong Waters Park with a boat ramp, barbecue areas, mobile homes, cabins, and a kiosk selling petrol, ice, groceries, fishing lures, and bait. The dam is home to Murray cod, catfish, silver perch, and golden perch.

Goulburn River National Park is also in the north eastern region. It spreads across 70,000 hectares of countryside next to a river which wends through gorges, caves, and sandstone cliffs. The 250 Aboriginal sites provide evidence that the area was once an active trading route between the coast and western plains. This national park is home to lots of plant life, birds, and animals.

Follow the picturesque creeks from Ringwood Road to the river. An easily accessible trail will take you to Lees Pinch Lookout. The distance is not too long and, once you reach the lookout, there are some stunning elevated views.

There are many other outdoor activities to be enjoyed, and the area is great for canoeing, swimming, wildlife, and photography. When it comes to accommodation Mudgee, you can choose from numerous options. There are camp grounds, hotels, guest houses, caravan parks, backpacker’s lodges, self-catering apartments, cottages, holiday homes, and motels. This is a perfect destination for holidaymakers who enjoy the great outdoors, gourmet food, wine, and history.

Adventure Travel In Australia

Adventure travel developed as a segment of the tourism market during the latter half of the 20th century out of the more general traditional notion of outdoor recreation. Adventure travel differs from from earlier forms of outdoor recreation, however, in that it offers travelers greater opportunities to experience specific physical activities (eg. rock climbing, diving, snow-boarding, kayaking, abseiling) that involve greater levels of skill and, within acceptable limits, risk. With traditional outdoor recreation, the primary attraction is the specific setting: with adventure travel, however, travelers are attracted primarily by the activities offered. Adventure travel is therefore primarily associated with travel products where the primary purpose is to engage in activity and participatory experience rather than the more passive sightseeing associated with traditional outdoor tourism.

The travel industry has evolved considerably since the 1970s. Changes include sociodemographic shifts which have seen a growth both the disposable income and available leisure time of many travelers. Travelers generally have become more discerning, have more travel experience, and have come to enjoy the benefits of cheaper, more convenient transport and other technological advances. As a result, substantial changes occurred in the demand for international travel products. The 1990s saw rapid growth in the evolution of specific segments of the tourism market including ecotourism, nature tourism and other special interest tourism which catered for the new breed of sophisticated traveler with both the means and the will to travel.

While travel costs will always remain a significant factor in decision-making for most travelers, the notion of tourist satisfaction is today of increasing importance. Increasingly, travel products must provide something other than simple value for money to attract tourists pursuing deeper, more satisfying purposes. In short, new patterns in travel choices have emerged to accommodate a much greater spectrum of travel interests, activities and experiences. Adventure travel today is increasingly the travel mode of choice for sophisticated travellers seeking to experience a holiday rather than simply sit in a tour bus passively sightseeing.

The increasing interest of many travellers in actively experiencing their holiday has also been matched with a rapid expansion in the range and quality of travel-related equipment available, extending the capability of tour operators to deliver more diversified adventure travel products. Australia has been at the forefront of these developments, and adventure travel is now one of the fastest-growing travel market segments in that country. Continuing to grow in their scope and appeal, it appears today that the variety and availability of adventure travel products for a broad spectrum of abilities and interests and abilities is almost limitless.

In Australia, the notion of adventure in travel is inextricably linked to that of the Outback. This means that true adventure travel is more likely to be found away from the comfortable, urban east coast, and in particular away from the area located south of the Brisbane-Adelaide line where over 80% of Australians live in urban and suburban settings oblivious to the geographic, climatic and cultural realities of the majority of the Australian continent. High on the list of authentic Australian outback adventure travel destinations therefore are Central Australia and the Northern Territory, far north and western Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. The island of Tasmania also provides many exciting opportunities for adventure travel in unique wilderness areas.

Quality outback adventure tours in Australia are characterized by many factors, including the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles rather than buses, access to spectacular remote sites, provision of challenging adventure activities, and active hands-on participation in daily routines. The use of 4×4 vehicles typically allows tour operators to access more remote, difficult and spectacular country. By encouraging active participation in daily routines such as cooking, cleaning, setting camp and packing up, adventure tours engage travelers in the complete outdoor adventure experience rather than simply waiting on passive participants hand and foot.

But the real adventure element provided by the best quality tours takes the form of specific adventure activities ranging from bushwalking, rock climbing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, through to more extreme activities such as diving, canoing, abseiling, jet-skiing, quad riding, white water rafting and hot air ballooning.