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Pinjarra

Resting on the banks of the tranquil Murray River Pinjarra is only a 30min drive from Waroona and is one of the oldest established towns in Western Australia. Although the district has been settled since the early 1830s, large tracts of land remain untouched and have an air of peace and tranquillity.

With its rich grazing lands and thick forests of Jarrah trees the town quickly became known as a centre for dairy, cattle farming and timber. Although today, farms still blanket the surrounding hillsides outside the town, the area is becoming increasingly celebrated as the horse capital of Western Australia. Bridle trails ribbon the nearby forests, and surveying the area on horseback is a remarkable way to get back to nature. If you prefer two legs over four, the Pinjarra Heritage Walk Trail skirting the Murray River is a fascinating way to view the region and is displayed with tiles that explain the significant Aboriginal, pioneer, railway and forest heritage of Pinjarra.

The dignified steam engines of the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway are ready to take visitors on a nostalgic journey through lush farmlands, up the dramatic and beautiful Darling Scarp and into the forest of Dwellingup.

Dwellingup

Looking for an escape back to nature? Or perhaps some action and adventure? What about some history or wildlife? Dwellingup provides all this and more just an hour north of Waroona. Situated in the heart of the majestic jarrah forest, Dwellingup is a town enveloped by earthy and historic charm.

There are brush strokes on the canvas of the landscape that remind visitors of the recent bushfires. These include striking colour contrasts as the lush forest regenerates itself, steam train rail tracks under repair and some sites like the old Marrinup WW11 POW, camp which felt the devastation of January’s fires.

A drop into the Visitor’s Centre to orient yourself in Dwellingup brings to you a mini-museum of Dwellingup history where you can also discover the ghosts of bushfires past.

Only 2 minutes drive to the Forest Heritage Centre on Acacia Street brings more information about Dwellingup’s fiery past, and a deep immersion into the world of forest history, wood and the fine arts of wood-turning and furniture making. There is even a walk trail here that takes you through a Noongar Aboriginal explanation of the forest and its elements, and loops around a remade wood cutters camp used as late as the 1930s.

With a minimal fee to access the museum and walk, this is definitely one of the essential must-do visits. It is also a place where you can also take home some of the world’s best jarrah carefully worked into a piece of art or a finely crafted furniture. Dwellingup is a place for those who like the outdoors. Lane Poole Reserve has got to be one of the best freshwater activity sites in Australia. Drop into Dwellingup Adventures to hire equipment and get advice on where to go. The Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Bike Trail both wind through Dwellingup, and can be accessed easily for part-day activities.

So too can the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway which took some hard knocks from the bushfires, yet remains operational and open for business and is a definite must-do for all West Australians. Each Saturday the historic steam and diesel trains take an 8km run from the station at the rear of the Visitor’s Centre to Etmilyn at 11am and again at 2pm. Once there, travellers can disembark and take a nature walk that immerses them in the heart of jarrah country while receiving information on the area’s saw milling past, and a viewing of  the ghost town of Holyoake.

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