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14 April 2012 / leggypeggy

Discovery Trail—a road less travelled

Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail

After taking an introductory stroll on the Woodlands Walk in Western Australia, we headed west on the Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail. We were surprised and pleased to find that we were virtually the only traffic on this gravel track that runs from Norseman to Hyden (and Wave Rock).

According to the information boards, nowhere else in the world do so many different tall trees grow in such an arid zone. The Wilderness Society says the Great Western Woodlands ‘is the biggest and most intact remaining wilderness area of its type in the world.’ More than 50 kinds of eucalyptus grow in the Kalgoorlie region alone, and 80 of Australia’s 500 species of eucalyptus grow there.

Overall, the woodlands cover more than 250,000 square kilometres (about 100,000 square miles and larger than England). The geology and rainfall vary across the woodlands with Norseman, for example, receiving an annual average rainfall of just 250mm (less than 10 inches).

Sixteen stops (with explanatory panels) have been placed along the 300-kilometre-long trail, with Disappointment Rock being the largest stop. We spent most of an afternoon travelling the trail and exploring various stops. In the two weeks or so we spent in the Perth area, I didn’t meet anyone who had been along the trail, so it really is a road less travelled.

Be sure to check out what’s cooking on page 32.

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