Blackwood River Source to Sea

Wickepin to Bridgetown

The aim of our Road Trip was to follow the Blackwood River from its source near Wickepin to where it discharges into the ocean at Augusta.

The Blackwood River has its named source at the confluence of the Arthur and Balgarup Rivers, 40 kilometres north-east of the township of Boyup Brook. This is about 400 kilometres from the mouth at Hardy Inlet, Augusta.

Hydrologically, however, the watercourse termed the Arthur River is the same as the Blackwood.



Wickepin Caravan Park

Change of season wild weather overnight in Perth threatened to break through to where we were travelling in the Wheatbelt but it never eventuated. In fact, though rain clouds were all around for much of the weekend we had a totally dry weather Road Trip.



Albert Facey House at Wickepin



Cameron at Wickepin


Yilliminning River

Thirteen people in seven vehicles left Wickepin following the Yillimining River to the Arthur River Nature Reserve. While there were lots of turns along numerous farming country dirt roads with a number of dry river crossings, the route entailed no real four wheel driving. More of a back country tour. It is here in the Arthur River Nature Reserve that the Yillimining River joins other watercourses and is termed the Arthur River.

Though it had been a hot, dry and extended summer the country had received a fall of 25 mm of rain a few weeks previously and there was a slight tinge of green in the paddocks.



Derelict bridge near Highbury.


Mid morning stop.


Our route took us along the Great Southern Highway for a short stint as the skies darkened considerably.

We turned west again at the small settlement of Piesseville and then passed by Carberdine Pool before arriving at Albany Highway. The highway took us  south to the small settlement of Arthur River.



Rebuilt historic house at Arthur River.


Historic dry stone well at Arthur River.


After checking out some historical buildings 200 metres south we turned onto Coalfields Road to again follow the Arthur River west. Our route took us to the tiny town of Duranillan where we stopped for lunch. There is a choice of two ways south from Duranillan – across the Duranillan Bridge or, alternatively, past Lake Towerinning to the Boyup Brook Arthur River Road.

The river becomes the ‘Blackwood River’

A few kilometres past Duranillan the Arthur River meets the Balgarup River and from this point the watercourse is termed the Blackwood River.

Despite the presence of long and wide pools of water at many of the bridges, from the dry rocky crossings elsewhere it was clear that the river was not flowing.

Eulin Crossing

Just past Eulin Crossing is a hidden campsite at the top of the large Eulin Pool. In years past this permanent pool was a popular water skiing spot and today it is still used to launch boats.



Eulin Pool

Condinup Crossing

Leaving the Eulin Pool we again met the Boyup Brook Arthur River Road before turning  west to Condinup Crossing. – dry and desolate looking.

Three kilometres along Gibbs Road from the Crossing is the Gregory Survey Tree, an important historical marker for the district.




Boyup Brook

It is a beautiful drive from Condinup into the Flax Mill at Boyup Brook – more so when the country is green.



Paddocks at Condinup were just starting to green up.


The iconic Harvey Dicksons Country Music Centre just outside Boyup Brook, hosts a music Shindig in February and an equally popular rodeo each October.

The Blackwood River is a major part of Boyup Brook. The historic Flax Mill is situated on its bank as are the town’s impressive sports’ facilities.

Flax Mill

The historic WWII era Flax Mill is now run as a caravan park/campground. Information signage at the location provides a fascinating insight into a largely unknown and even forgotten aspect of textile production that was so important to Australia in those dark times.

Wilyungulup Crossing

The Wilyungulup Crossing is at the end of Terry Road just out of town and is a connection to the Jayes, Winnejup, Mayanup, Gnowergerup and Mandalup districts. Should the crossing be closed Stanton Road or Aegers Bridge Road are alternative access routes.

However, it was dry as a teetotaller’s wake and presented no problems for any of the vehicles.

Survey Tree

A Survey Tree similar to the Gregory Tree on Gibbs Road is located on a Terry Road property, just inside the front gate. Like the Gregory Tree, this Survey Tree is important as the datum for the survey of the district’s properties.

Jayes Crossing

Jayes Crossing was just as dry as Wilyungulup. A marked contrast to the roar of water through here when the river is flowing. This low lying point often cuts Terry Road just before Jayes Road. The alternative route is Aegers Bridge Road.

Just south of Jayes Bridge is the site of the historic Jayes Hall, now a free, large, open campground.



Looking upriver from Winnejup Bridge.


The rocks in the above photograph are only ever exposed in extremely low water.

The bridge across the river at Winnejup is an old but sturdy, one lane box girder construction not seen very often today.

The biggest obstacle on the Blackwood River, Winnejup Rapid, is three kilometres downriver from the bridge.

Tweed Road

Tweed Road is one of the most beautiful drives in WA. The road is gravel from Winnejup to Sunnyside and passes through picturesque beef cattle farms. The sealed road from Sunnyside to Bridgetown is more settled but no less appealing.


The South Western and Brockman highways meet at the bridge across the Blackwood River in Bridgetown. Since 1975 the park below the bridge has been the location for the start of the annual Blackwood Classic, a three day day power dinghy race from Bridgetown to Augusta.

This regional centre is 247 kilometres from the river mouth.



Blackwood River at Bridgetown.

Bridgetown to Augusta

Bridgetown has a Sunday morning markets at Blackwood Park by the river that attracted our attention.




We left Bridgetown on Brockman Highway and 12 kilometres out of town turned onto Maranup Ford Road.  This road leads past The Peninsula, a 13 kilometre section of the river that switches back on itself.



Leaving Bridgetown


Just before Maranup Bridge we turned onto Five Gates Road and followed the river to Wrights Bridge.





Our route from Wrights Bridge was along the Balingup-Nannup Road, one of the great drives of WA. Every sweeping bend offers views of forests or farmland. The river is on one side and tall lush slopes are on the other. Popular with motorcycle and driving enthusiasts alike, the 41 kilometres between the two towns has 90 bends. Be aware of the high centre of gravity of your 4WD as you push into those bends.


Top of hill on Radiata Road Southampton.


Nannup has morphed from a timber town to a place to be seen.

The state government’s 2023 ban on native logging led to the closure of the 100-year-old timber mill.



Simple post and rail fence in Nannup


Fallen tree blocked track between Nannup and Jalbarragup.

Sues Bridge


Looking downriver from Sues Bridge.
As with the entire river, the water level was low at Sues Bridge.
Small water at Sues Bridge.

Our route from Sues Bridge was along Denny Road, a good gravel road leading to the sealed Warner Glen Road.

Warner Glen

Two kilometres after the Denny Road intersection is Warner Glen Bridge and Campground (actually on Chapman Brook).

Alexandra Bridge

Though 23 kilometres from the mouth, the waters at Alexandra Bridge are actually tidal. The lower reaches of the Blackwood are, in effect, a long, narrow estuary. The effects of the moon reach all the way to Schroeders Weir, 52 kilometres from the mouth of the river at Augusta.


One of Western Australia oldest settlement sits on the south-west corner of Australia. Settled in 1830 Augusta is at Cape Leeuwin where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. The Blackwood River debouches into the Hardy Inlet here before entering into the Southern Ocean at Flinders Bay.



Lineup of vehicle at the spot where the first settlers of Augusta landed.


Indian Ocean at Cape Leeuwin.


© Cockburn 4WD Club


Tassy Epton
Gary Arcus
Ian Franklim
Warren Peers