Day 17 – Fernhook Falls to Walpole

It rained all night and was pretty cold in the cabin. We thought we’d hit the road early and get to Walpole by lunch time, but it rained until about 9:00am. The weather seems to change quite quickly around here and within about 20min of the rain stopping, it was sunny and hot.

  

We knew that Matt, Di and Shaun would be through here tomorrow or the day after, so we left them a little message in the hut, written in gravel on the bench top. We’re missing travelling with those guys…it was nice to have a crew in towns and at huts.

  

We checked out Fernhook Falls on the way out of the campsite, then diverted back onto the Munda Biddi.

  

The trail zig-zags alongside the main road for about 8km. The surface is nice, but a little sandy in parts. The plants are different around here, lots of ferns and grasses which overhang the trail which (given the rain last night) wet your arms and legs as you brush past them.

  

Once you crest the river catchment range you drop down into a swampy marshland. The trail is fine, but the landscape is very different. The larger trees around here only really thrive in well drained soils, so these low-lying areas tend to look a bit barren.

  

The trail heads back up into the hills, and back into the forest. We met a local lady who suggested we take a diversion off the trail to check out the Thurlby Herb Farm. It was a bit of a hike to get there, but the coffee and scones were delicious. These guys even make their own organic soap; we treated ourselves to a few bars for the end of the trip!

   
 
There’s a steep and long climb about 7km out of Walpole which hurt after our scone break, but we were rewarded at the top of it with our first views of the Southern Ocean. It was a great feeling seeing the ocean after so long in the bush; it marks the start of the last part of our trip along the coastal ranges between Walpole and Albany.

  
  

The roll into Walpole was easy and fun. We stocked up on provisions, then headed for the campsite at Coalmine Beach, about 3km out of town.

  

Coalmine beach is rad – I think these photos say it all.

   
 
The campsite is also really nice, we grabbed a spot right near the beach. We watched the sunset with a couple of beers, then whipped up a Trangia laksa in the camp kitchen.  Great day. 

  
 

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