Exploring the Southern Forest Region

A shot of the motorhome beside a giant Paulownia tree at Nannup

A shot of the motorhome beside a giant Paulownia tree at Nannup

We really are going to have to get some sort of structure back into our lives before we head back home next year. This floating around with no plan and no time constraints might frustrate family and friends. Our journey from Augusta on Wednesday to Windy Harbour actually took us three days instead of the planned one. We kept running across little treasures in the small rural townships that required a stop.

Our first stop for the day was at the forest settlement of Nannup. Located on the banks of the Blackwood River, the village is known as the ‘Garden Village’ because of its’ hosting of an annual flower festival and a number of private gardens available to the public. We spend a couple of hours poking around the village’s curio ships and antique shops before taking a late lunch at the local park.

After lunch we continued south to the township of Manjinup. Like many other towns and villages in the area, Manjinup is also a forest and timber town. Settled in 1856, the area became famous for its jarrah wood. The wood was often called ‘Swan River Mahogany’ such was its quality. By the time we arrived in the town it was after 3pm so we decided to call it a day and made camp at the local camping ground based in the centre of town. After setting up we did a quiet wander around and by the time we arrived back at the motorhome it was wine o’clock. Another strenuous day completed.

Dearne captured a shot of two black cockatoo along the street in Pemberton

Dearne captured a shot of two black cockatoo along the street in Pemberton

On Thursday we had every intention of getting to Windy Harbour by nightfall but it was not to be. After Manjinup, and 37km later, came the township of Pemberton. Pemberton is another timber town and famous for providing jarrah railway sleepers for the construction of the Trans-Australian Railway line. It also provided jarrah sleepers used in the first stage of the London Underground and a great many other railway lines in the UK. There is still a timber mill operating at the end of the main street however it seemed like the timber being milled was being used for the construction of houses rather than railway. We loved the little timber workers cottages that were spread around the town. Some were in excellent condition while others were looking a little sad. If you are considering making Pemberton your home, a little three bedroom timber workers cottage (needing a tidy up), will set you back $39,000. We spent about an hour looking around the town before heading off to our next destination, Northcliffe.

Parked up in the bush at the Rounttu-it Eco Camp

Parked up in the bush at the Roundtu-it Eco Camp

Northcliffe was 27km further on and situated in the middle of the Northcliffe Forest Park. As we were driving, the Navigator was doing a Google search on things to see in Northcliffe and she happened upon an article about an eco camp and animal rescue facility. The decision was made that the eco camp was to be our home for the night. While we love the bush and animal life over here, the captain is always a bit nervous about eco camps as they normally mean unpaved bush roads, trees of various shapes and sizes and normally directly in the driving path. A lot of skill and care is required to weave between the trees and being in hardwood country, the only thing that was ever going to bend was the motorhome. We did the wise thing and before driving to our allocated spot in the forest we walked the route to ensure we were able get through the trees. We made the journey in and out without damage.

Even checking into the Eco Park was a novelty. To get into the office, you firstly had to step over a sleeping kangaroo. With joey in pouch, it did not move an inch. With the camp being an animal rescue centre, most of the wildlife had no fear of humans albeit they were still in their natural environment. Kangaroo, wallaby, parrots and numerous other animals wandered around at will. We had to keep the motorhome security door closed because the magpies would come inside to be feed. The park is also a recognised alpaca rescue centre so there were plenty of those critters around. We had a brilliant over nighter there – if you are in the area and feel like a relaxing night in the bush with rescued wildlife, pop into the Roundtu-it Eco Park at Northcliffe.

A friendly magpie intend on sharing the captain's coffee at the Eco park

A friendly magpie intend on sharing the captain’s coffee at the Eco park

We will definately make Windy Harbour today (Friday). It is only 20 minutes to the coast from Northcliffe and we leave here in about an hour.  Most of our journey is through the D’Entrecasteaux National Park so there is not too much to stop off for on the way. There is no cellphone coverage in Windy Harbour and at this point we are unsure if we will be there one or two days. If you are trying to contact us, just leave a message and we will call you as soon as we have coverage again.

We often get emails from readers asking why a number of towns and villages in Australia end in the word ‘up’. Just for your information, the Aboriginal meaning of ‘up’ in relation to place names means ‘place of’. So when you see the village of Manjimup, the Aboriginal meaning is ‘place of Manjim’. Dwellingup – ‘place of Dwelling’. Here ends the lesson.

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One thought on “Exploring the Southern Forest Region

  1. Just love to look of the two black cockatoo,,, how cute are they.

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