The Murray river is the only continuously flowing river in the northern Jarrah forests of Western Australia. With its origin in the hills of the Darling Scarp beyond the former milling town of Dwellingup the river features still pools and flowing rapids edged by forest. The river drops 200 metres to the sandy plateau, passing farmland, parks, private jetty’s, and homes. This broad, shallow body of water forms part of one of the South West’s most significant ecological systems, the Peel-Yalgorup, which is partially listed under the Ramsar wetland convention.
The pamphlets available in the useful links will guide you around the estuary to the most easily accessed land based places where you may simply walk and view the surrounds. Hides are available in some locations to watch the local, nomadic and migratory birds or simply enjoy the natural environment.
The waters of the Peel Inlet, Harvey Estuary and surrounding rivers and lakes are world renowned. Its not only people who find these waterways wonderful so do the vast array of animals and birds which inhabit them. It’s a breeding ground and nursery for crabs, fish, prawns and birds for who thrive on the small shellfish, snails, worms and insects that breed throughout the estuary.
One of the most astounding aspects of the bird life here is the presence of migratory shorebirds (waders). It is these shorebirds that bird enthusiasts from all over Australia and the world come to see. Some of these birds are no bigger than a willie wagtail, and they fly up to 25,000 km each year to breed in the Northern Hemisphere, mostly in the Arctic Tundra. They migrate here in their thousands in spring and leave again in autumn.
Wildflowers and Native Plants
The southwest region of Western Australia is renowned for having one of the richest and most diverse floras in the world. In Spring the bushland comes alive with blue leshenaultias, red and green kangaroo paws and masses of small but colourful orchids. The Murray region hosts a huge variety of indigenous species which make this area both botanically and historically unique.
Lake McLarty Nature Reserve
Lake McLarty Nature Reserve is a internationally renowned wetland. As part of the Peel-Yalgorup System, the nature reserve was designated to the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Convention on Wetlands in 1990. It is the perfect place for bird watching and nature appreciation. The lake supports a high diversity of invertebrate fauna, which are an important food source for the waterbirds that use it.
The southern and western sides are the most accessible points for birdwatching. Access to the reserve for pedestrians, including birdwatchers, is currently restricted to two points: a gate located on the western side of the lake and another gate to the south of the lake off Mills Road. A total of 160 bird species have been recorded within the nature reserve, including 81 species of waders and other waterbirds. Lake McLarty is known to be an excellent place to observe waders in the summer and is one of the best sites in southern Western Australia.
Lane Poole Reserve
Lane Poole Reserve is a nature lover’s paradise. With its extensive network of bushwalking tracks along the Murray River, it is a favourite recreation spot for Western Australians. Day visits to the area are free and the many campsites offer a variety of overnight stay options. Camp fees apply. Further information is available at www.dpaw.wa.gov.au.
There are numerous opportunities for swimming, fishing, canoeing and rafting with hire equipment and organised tours available from the nearby town of Dwellingup. Enjoy abundant wildlife and a diversity of ever changing landscapes.
The reserve covers nearly 55,000 hectares comprising of rock rimmed pools, rapids and small waterfalls which span out to steeply forested valley and undulating woodlands. In winter, the Murray River flows like a raging torrent, and in summer it dwindles down to a gentle stream. In spring, the forest fills with wonderful Western Australian wildflowers and in autumn you can hear bird calls echoing through the early morning mist. Stay overnight in one of the many camping and recreation areas, or pack a picnic and enjoy a day trip.
Lane Poole is just two hours south of Perth near the town of Dwellingup. Camping in Western Australia’s natural areas is a special experience. Selected campgrounds from across the state are now bookable online for a trial period. Spend time with the native wildlife and reconnect with nature and leave the hustle and bustle behind.