A photographic record of a visit to the South of Western Australia

My wife and I had about 12 days in the south of Western Australia in late August and early September of 2022. We had visited on a number of other occasions, it is my favourite part of Western Australia.

Of particular interest are the Karri forests, the wildflowers, the coast and the two mountain ranges, the small Porongurups and the more extensive Stirling Range.

The highest mountain in the southern half of WA is Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range. The peak of Bluff Knoll is, I believe, one of the very few places in WA that snow falls, at least occasionally, in some winters. It happens to be very close to the same height as St Mary Peak, the highest mountain in the southern 90% of SA.

This page was created 2022/10/02, substantially completed 2022/10/09, last edited 2024/05/26
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©


Bunbury Big Swamp
The Big Swamp Reserve was the most attractive of the park lands that we found in Bunbury.

The area was once used as a land-fill dump. Like so many of the parks and reserves in Australia, this area has been saved from development because it was considered to have no value.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/08/27

Bunbury Big Swamp
Another view of the Big Swamp Reserve.

The purple flowering plant is Hardenbergia comptoniana. It is very widespread across southern Western Australia, and the very similar Hardenbergia violacea is common in the coastal areas of the eastern states. They have a number of common names.

Signs indicated that the area has been intensively replanted with natives since the time it was used as a waste dump.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/27

Bunbury Big Swamp shelter
One of the two boardwalks going out into the swamp. The shelter was on the end of the boardwalk.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/27

Anti fluoridation sign
A sign placed by idiots adjacent to the Bunbury Big Swamp Reserve.

Opposition to things like fluoridation of drinking water and vaccination against contagious diseases is foolish and shows a lack of understanding of science and history. And probably a lack of common sense too.

Fluoridation of drinking water has made millions of childrens' teeth more resistant to decay and done no harm. Low levels of fluoride occur naturally in some water, it is only quite high levels that can cause problems.

Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury

Dolphin Discovery Centre
I would strongly recommend a visit to the Dolphin Discovery Centre for anyone going to Bunbury.

It is full of interesting displays and information on sea life, particularly dolphins.

Perhaps the feature that struck me the most strongly was a video showing the lead-up to, the birth, and the immediate aftercare of a baby dolphin in the centre's 360 degree theatre.

Our visit was on 2022/08/27

Fish tank
The main aquarium tank. There were many other tanks with a huge variety of sea life.

The lady who did the fish feeding session was very informative.

Bunbury Art Gallery

An art work reminiscent of one of the Bruegels.

Unfortunately it was behind glass and the viewing area was a bit cramped so the photo doesn't do it justice.

The artist is Adam Hisham Ismail of Perth

Wooden sculpture
One of several magnificent wooden sculptures by Jeannette Rein, dated 2017. The timber is elm.

There were many other interesting pieces.

The Bunbury Art Gallery's exhibits are far better than those I've seen in the Perth Art Gallery for several years. The Perth gallery has some excellent art, but for some reason the administration doesn't display them.

On the subject of art galleries, several provincial cities in Victoria have very good ones: Ballarat, Bendigo and Warrnambool; and Adelaide's is far, far better than the Perth gallery.

I've written a page on Who are the art experts?.

Shipping from Bunbury

Ship entering Bunbury Port

Bunbury has a port that, judging by the number of ships that were waiting to enter, was quite busy. All the ships that I saw were apparently all bulk carriers like the one in the photo above.

This ship happened to be entering the port while my wife and I were having a coffee at the Dolphin Discovery Centre, it was photographed from there.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/08/27

There is no public access at all to the Bunbury port area. There is a tall steel fence along much of the road that runs adjacent to the port area; this is the best view I was able to get of anything inside the port precinct.

The heap on the left (and shown in more detail on the high definition image - click on this image to see it) is wood chips.

It is almost as if the Bunbury authorities are ashamed of their reliance on the export of the wood chips that are the fate of many thousands of beautiful trees that have been, and are continuing to be, cut from the forests.

I believe that alumina (aluminium oxide) is also exported from Bunbury.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/08/27

Karri Forest area

Gloucester Tree
The Gloucester Tree is within walking distance of the Forest Lodge Resort, just outside of Pemberton in the karri country where we spent two nights.

It is one of the two trees that were made into fire lookouts many years ago that the general public is allowed to climb. People are allowed to climb to the lower of the two observation boxes that can be seen at the top of the tree. I suppose the upper one is still used as a fire lookout.

There are steel rods attached to the tree in a spiral (see the high definition version of the photo). They are connected together with wires, that also could help stop someone falling all the way to the ground if they lost their footing on the climb.

There is not much of a view from the public viewing box as many of the nearby trees are taller.

The lake at Forest Lodge Resort, where we stayed, on the eastern side of Pemberton.

Beedelup Falls
We took a scenic drive through the forests north and west of Pemberton.

This is Beedelup Falls in Beedelup National Park, west of Pemberton and not far from the Vass Highway. There was a loop walk which included a suspension bridge below the falls.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/08/29

Hardenbergia comptoniana near Beedelup Falls.

This climbing Hardenbergia is very common through the SW of Western Australia but is inconspicuous when it is not flowering. (It is also fairly common in natural scrub in the Clare hills of SA.)

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/29

Karri trees
The South Western Highway passes through Shannon National Park. We did a run through a scenic loop drive on our way from Pemberton to Walpole.

The tall, straight trees are karris. Karri forest is typically open (that is, the canopy lets through a lot of sunlight at least to the shrub level below).

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/30


Moss on a karri tree at the same viewing area as in the above photo.

I've recorded a number of mosses, lichens and other small lifeforms in my page on macro photos.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/30

Moss on Eucalypt tree
This is the tree on which the moss on the above photo was growing in Shannon National Park. Most of the moss is on the southern side of the tree.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/30

Karri trees
Karri trees in Shannon National Park - this was still on the scenic drive detour that we took off the South Western Highway.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/08/30

Looking up at karri trees
Another view of the karri trees in Shannon National Park, this time looking almost straight up.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/08/30

Walpole area

Tree top walk

Tree top walk

This was one of the first tree top walks that I went on, perhaps about late 1996. It is in what has been named the Valley of the Giants, the giants being tingle trees.

On this visit I took many photos, but none of them seem to be particularly outstanding.

There is a Web site.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/08/31

The Cattle Hill trail through the forest on the north side of Walpole. An easy walk through a beautiful section of the Walpole-Nanup National Park.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/08/31



Some of the ferns beside the Cattle Hill path on the edge of Walpole. I can't decide whether there are two or three species here.

The specimen in the upper left is Pteridium esculentum, commonly known as bracken fern, Austral bracken, or simply bracken.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/08/31

Walpole inlet
The inlet to the outer lagoon at Walpole

We did the WOW Wilderness day cruise with Gary Muir and his niece. Gary is a wealth of knowledge and a character who has to be experienced to be believed. I'd greatly recommend the day cruise to any visitor to the south of WA.

It was far more Gary's narrative that made the cruise a hit than what we saw, but that was interesting too.

We stayed on in Walpole a day longer than our original intention because the first cruise of the year was scheduled for the first day of Spring.

While in Walpole we stayed in Anna’s Cottage, Boronia Avenue (street?). We found it through AirBnB. The owner attracted several species of native birds that had become very tame. We'd strongly recommend the place.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/01

Giant tingle tree

Giant tingle loop trail

The Giant Tingle Tree Loop, north east of Walpole, is worth a visit.

It is in the hills and there is a place along to road to the Loop where a great many trees have been cut down where you can enjoy the view over the coast to the south. Whether the view justified cutting down all those trees is questionable.

However, the Loop walk is very good and there certainly are a number of very impressive tingle trees along the way.

There are two species of Eucalypt that bare the common name tingle; the yellow tingle is Eucalyptus guilfoylei and the red tingle is Eucalyptus jacksonii.

The biggest trees are protected by boardwalks. Signs inform visitors that the tingle trees are shallow rooted and if the soil near the trees is compacted by too much foot traffic it can harm the tree's health.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/01

After Walpole we moved to Cockatoo Cottage, a farmstay between Denmark and Albany. It is entirely out in the country, on a large property that is partly used for the owner's horses and about half under natural bush. While the accommodation was a little basic, it had everything we needed, the host was very friendly and helpful. As with the place in Walpole, we'd strongly recommend Cockatoo Cottage.

This and the following few photos were taken on this property. I don't know the species of the flower, but suspect that it is one of the Grevillea's.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/02

The flowers could be Isopogon formosus.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/02

Spanish moss and lichen, near Cockatoo Cottage

I had never seen so called Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) in Australia previously, so far as I can recall. There was a lot of it hanging from twigs in this area.

There is lichen in this photo as well as the Spanish moss.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/04

This photo gives a better idea of how widespread the Spanish moss was in this little patch of the bush at Cockatoo Cottage.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/04

Stirling Range

Stirling Range
Following our stay at Cockatoo Cottage we moved to another farmstay, this one about 10km northeast of Mount Barker, Bluff Knoll House.

Beautiful views of the Stirling Range were to be seen in changing weather and lighting conditions from Bluff Knoll Cottage (which was actually a full modern house) I don't think we did actually see Bluff Knoll itself from Bluff Knoll Cottage; it is on the eastern end of the range and most likely hidden behind the nearer mountains.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/05

In the Stirling Range
My wife and I did a drive through the Stirling Range, starting at the western end of the Stirling Range Scenic Drive and going to the Bluff Knoll viewing area and then south toward the Porongurups.

This view shows fairly typical bush of the lower areas and some of the hills of the more western part of the range. I was impressed by how rounded most of the hills in the western part of the range were; toward the eastern end many were more rugged and rocky.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/05

Flowers in the Stirling Range
Possibly Isopogon anemonifolius, one of an enormous number of wildflower species to be seen in the Stirling Range in early spring - when we visited.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

Rounded hills of the Stirling Range
The rounded hills of the western Stirling Range, Xanthorrhoea preissii in the foreground. Taken from the path up to the Central Lookout looking roughly east.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

Rounded hills of the Stirling Range
Again, from the path to the central lookout, this time looking roughly NW. My wife Denece in the foreground.

The hills are mostly rounded here too. They become more craggy toward the east.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

Rounded hills of the Stirling Range
Looking south, the Porongurups in the far distance. Note the many dead trees in the middle distance, the result of a fire.

Again, from the path to the central lookout.

Perfect weather for the visit, enough clouds to add a bit of interest.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/09/05

More hills of the Stirling Range
Looking east from the central lookout.

Bluff Knoll, the highest in the range, might be hidden behind the mountain in the centre, which may or may not be Mount Toolbrunup (thought for some time to be the highest in the range).

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/05

Possibly Melaleuca nemophila, growing on the side of the trail to the central lookout.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

One of the more rugged hills
One of the more rugged hills of the ranges.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

Bluff Knoll and lookout area

Bluff Knoll
Bluff Knoll, the highest peak of the Stirling Range.

I have some other images of Bluff Knoll taken during a previous visit, in 2018.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/09/05

Bluff Knoll
This photo, like the one above, was taken from the Bluff Knoll lookout/car park. This one was looking to the north west. Note the less rounded peaks of these hills compared to those further west in the range.


The remarkable Kingia Australis is the plant that looks like a Xanthorrhoea, but is not related, in the foreground. Apart from the very distinctive seed heads Kingia leaves are pale blue-green while Xanthorrhoea leaves are deep green. Both species are common in the Stirling Range.

I have more images of Kingia australis on another page on this site.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/05

Acacia wildflowers
I was quite unsure of even what genus this was for a start. I am very familiar with wattles (Acacias), but this one wasn't obviously a wattle.

In the end I decided it was a wattle, but which species I have no idea.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/05

Kingia and mountains
Kingia Australis, on the left, against the backdrop of the ranges to the east of Bluff Knoll.

Taken, again, from the Bluff Knoll car park and viewing area.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/05

Stirling Range

Not far from where we stayed at Bluff Knoll house there was a very gently sloping hill up which I rode my bike on our last morning there. This was the view of the Stirling Range from the top.

The canola crops, which seemed to be one of the most common of the crops in the area, were flowering while we were there. Some were quite spectacular.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/06


We stopped overnight in Wagin on our way home to Erskine (in Mandurah). One of the nicest parts of Wagin was the park where the 'famous' giant ram is. It would seem that Wagin's claim to fame is the production of quality merino sheep.

Grevillia? in the giant ram park, Wagin

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/07

Giant ram and alyogyne
An Alyogyne huegelii shrub in flower in the gardens in front of the Giant Ram at Wagin.

Most Australian wildflowers tend to be quite small, Alyogyne is one of the exceptions. It seems to be widespread in nature at least from South Australia's Eyre Peninsula to southern WA.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/07

Giant ram gardens
Another part of the gardens near the Giant Ram in Wagin

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/07

Bauxite mining

The scar left by the strip mining of bauxite. Click on the image for a more detailed view of the hillside (from the same image).

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/07

Quoting from a web page of the Institute of Foresters of Australia...

"[Bauxite] Mining commenced near Jarrahdale in 1965. Fast forward 53 years and we now have four large refineries and an annual clearing rate of 800 ha. More than 29,000 ha of jarrah forest have been cleared and 21,000 ha "revegetated". More recently, direct export of bauxite was approved and has commenced."
Unsurprisingly there is serious concern among anyone interested in the preservation of the environmentally important jarrah forests of WA over the damage to this irreplaceable ecological asset.

Rehabilitation of vegetation following bauxite mining

On 2023/05/24 I took part in a tour of Alcoa's Pinjarra mines and alumina refinery, including a look at some of the rehabilitated bush. I must admit to being impressed at how seriously they seemed to take bush rehabilitation. They mainly relied on replacing the surface soil, with the natural level of seeds in it, and later went over the land planting tube stock of what they termed 'recalcitrant' plants - those less likely to regenerate from the seed in the replaced soil.

For some reason we were not allowed to take any photos on the tour.

Clearing of jarrah forest
This was across the road from the point where I took the above photo. We could hear heavy machinery working in the opposite direction, out of sight over a hill.

I suspect that the area was being prepared for the strip mining of the bauxite.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/07

Wildflower in the jarrah forest
One of the flowering shrubs on the roadside adjacent to the above devastated forest.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/07

Wildflower in the jarrah forest
Another of the flowering shrubs on the roadside adjacent to the above devastated forest.

These are just a couple of the great many beautiful plants that will be destroyed by the bauxite strip mining.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 4.25mm (standard) lens, 2022/09/07

Bauxite conveyor
On the road from Wagin to Dwellingup, somewhere roughly south of Bodington, we crossed this conveyor belt.

I read on the Internet that:

"Bauxite mined at Boddington is delivered by a 51km overland conveyor belt to the Worsley refinery, where it is processed into alumina before being delivered 55km by rail to Bunbury port. Ships then export the Boddington alumina to be smelted into aluminium."
From what I have read on the Internet the conversion of alumina to aluminium is the most energy intensive part of aluminium production.

All this devastation would once have been jarrah forest with shrub understory like that whose flowers I have recorded on this page.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm (telephoto) lens, 2022/09/07

Inglehope Arboretum

Inglehope Arboretum
Inglehope arboretum is a few kilometres southeast of Dwellingup.

The trees there are very interesting, but the labelling that may have been done once is now a mess, with few labels remaining and some of them on what are obviously the wrong trees.

It's a pity that it has been allowed to come to this when I would think a forestry specialist would be able to correctly identify the trees, produce and place labels correctly with a very few days work.

I think these were labelled Sydney Bluegumsl.

Photo iPhone 11 Pro, 1.54mm (extra wide angle) lens, 2022/09/07