Day trip to the Avon Valley
Toodyay Travel Blog› entry 59 of 59 › view all entries
September 27th, 2009 – by: sshaunaa
The plan for the day was to drive to the Avon Valley, find Emu Falls (and some emus that must hang out there) and spend the day lounging by the river, doing not much of anything for the afternoon.
The plan was good, but the execution was a little off, or at least took a bit extra time to pull off. The first problem was that we were using maps found on the internet that were for the Avon Descent, a weekend long kayak race that had happened a few months ago. The second problem is that the park has very limited signage and the signs that were in place, aren't very helpful.
Before arriving at the park, we made a 5 minute stopover to see Noble Falls. I think the picture shows the awesome-ness which are the falls. There were lots of families there enjoying the river.
When we arrived in the park, there was a small unmanned kiosk where you pay a fee and then keep a receipt to show you made the appropriate payment. At the kiosk there are holders for information but no information, not even a map showing the roads within the park. Thinking we'd see a sign for Emu Falls, we drove into the park. The first Y intersection had a sign for visitor information and campsites one way and campsites in the other direction. Thinking visitor information would be helpful, we went that way. We then came across another intersection, this time with more place names but no visitor information.
We came across a place named Drummonds which was deadend that had a few cars and make shift camping area. We turned around and went to Bald's Hill, which Dave thought was the starting point for a hike. Once again we drove to a dead end with cars, tents and lots of camping chairs. After checking out the "look out" which was a very nice view of the surrounding hills and where the river was waaaaay down below, we found a path and started walking towards the river. The path started turning more narrow and more narrow and then was sort off a path, sort of small spaces where there was nothing growing. Once we realized the "path" would mean pretty much scaling down the side of a cliff on a 90 degree angle (and we might need abseiling gear), we decided to turn back.
After returning to one of the intersections we saw (from this direction only) the sign that pointed us in the direction we had originally meant to go. Basically, the only way to know how to get to where you want to go, is to get lost first. Once again we arrived at a dead end which was a big loop, with lots of campers. We found a road heading towards the direction we thought the river was but was blocked to traffic. On our way down we saw people returning who confirmed that it was the way to the river; however, there are railroad tracks between us and the river with a "no trespassing" sign meaning no going over the tracks.
(For some strange reason) we decided to follow the advice of an Aussie family and "kept to the right" instead of just walking over the tracks.
Once over on the other side, we found the river and started walking back in the direction from where we came from. Low and behold, we found a random sign that said "Emu Falls". About an hour and a half after entering the park, we found it!
The next few hours were spent trekking along the rocks, stopping to find a grassy patch, eating fruit covered in chocolate sauce (YUM!!) and relaxing. It may have taken awhile to find the place, but it was definitely worth it.
Awhile late, we regretfully packed up and started back for the car. I thought it would be fun to walk along the tracks and then a train came by. We had plenty of time to get out of the way but it still reminded me of the 1980s movie "Stand By Me".
We arrived back at the original spot with the "no trespassing sign" and this time just walked over the tracks. Next time, we'll ignore the signs from the start :)
I was a little disappointed that I hadn't seen a kangaroo or an emu and all of a sudden a huge kangaroo jumped out in front of the car and we almost hit him. That was a bit scary but since everyone involved was unscathed it was fun to see the 'roo!
By this time it was close to 6pm and we drove away from Perth another 20km to find a place to eat in a town called Toodyay (I pronounce it Tood-yay, but apparently the locals call it too-jay.
The town is one street and has a petrol station, a couple restaurants, some gift shops and a few other small town busnesses. We were too late to do any shopping but we found an italian restaurant that looked pretty busy. It ended up being quite good and inexpensive by Perth standards. We had a small (but would normally be called medium) pizza, chicken parmagiana with spag bol, lamb shank and mash and a drink for $54. Not too shabby of a way to spend a day out in the country.
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