The Club’s first trip from York to Cockburn in May 2019 intended to follow a really interesting and challenging course found on the way home from a Holland Track trip. Whether the track has been re-aligned or a turn was missed is uncertain but the trip – although a pleasant-enough drive through the jarrah forest – was a bit of a squib compared to what was expected. In the days that followed Aaron Howell went out and found the tracks that had been missed – plus more! And this was the Route for the Darkin Ridge Day Trip.
We entered the Wandoo National Park at Mt Observation just off the Great Southern Highway, 24 kilometres east of The Lakes.
The drive through the wandoo forest is mostly open parkland right through to Helena Hill. Many groves of grass trees. After a short run on the sealed Talbot West Road, we turned onto Kent Road and drove past the first of two small, isolated stands of radiata pine. Interesting relics in the National Park. The ominously-named Crawler Road wasn’t.
A short time later we stopped at Darkin Swamp. Parks and Wildlife have deemed this to be an Environmentally Sensitive Area.
We left the Swamp and took Warrigal Road, Dog Road and Wotnot Road towards Beraking Pool (not found).
A shady spot at the corner of Wotnot Road and Running Brook Road was a good stop for lunch. Flies were friendly.
Late wildflowers were still out.
Trip Leader Aaron promised some interesting, technical terrain for the rest of the trip. A true statement. We drove through the Helena National Park to Beraking.
A short drive along Qualen Road took us to a hill climb up (and down) a rutted track.
From the hill climb we followed Darkin Ridge to a gravel pit east of Bartons Mill. A barely discernible track led out of the gravel pit, up a hill and returned to the pit between two substantial trees that were too close for the Disco to squeeze through. A re-alignment of the ‘attack angle’ was required before Lee was able to drive his vehicle between the trees with only millimetres to spare.
We headed along Hairpin Bend Road to Dale Road. It was a lot later than we expected to finish the Day Trip and the sun was very low in the sky. Coupled with the ‘ball bearing gravel’, corrugations, and deep potholes it was an uncomfortable drive to Ashendon Road.
Aaron’s intense, all day recce last week assured that Darkin Ridge was an interesting, educational and exciting Day Trip.
© Cockburn 4WD Club 2019
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