When Julie and I think of Lane-Poole Falls, what comes to mind was a very relaxing experience punctuated with tall karri trees, a relatively easy hike, and a pleasant 10m waterfall at the end of the trail. Given that the flow of the waterfall was low during our June 2006 visit (a theme that was very apparent for all the waterfalls we had seen throughout Southwestern Australia), we came into the hike with the mindset that the waterfall was merely the excuse to enjoy the Naturesque experience while momentarily freeing outselves of the waterfall-bagging mentality that we had adopted for much of our visit to the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The falls was situated between the township of Northcliffe and Shannon National Park. It turned out that on the morning of our visit (which started at 10am), we were the only ones on the trail throughout the entire time we did the hike so that kind of further added to our relaxed mindset. We weren’t sure if the lack of people here was a reflection of the threatening rain, or that the falls itself was obscure, or if it just was the wrong time of year to come here, or if our visit happened to be during a prolonged drought. This relative solitude allowed some of the subtler aspects of the environment sink into us given our very open state of mind.
Our hike began at the car park (see directions below), which immediately started off with a giant tree called the Boorara Tree (I’ve also seen it called the Boolara Tree). There was some signage and fencing surrounding the tree so it was pretty obvious that we should give special attention to it. The tree was so big that we had to stand some distance back from it in order to take a photo of its entirety. In any case, we didn’t expect to see it going into this hike, and it was a very nice bonus.
Next, we followed along a mostly flat forested path towered over by more tall but thin karri trees. There were interpretive signs throughout the walk to help us mentally break up the hike while also broadening our understanding of how these magnificent trees came to be. The signs also explained about the flora and fauna as well as other aspects about the environment here. This relaxing stretch of trail (which was more like a stroll than a hike) persisted for about 30 minutes.
Then, we encountered a 200m downhill stretch where a handrail assisted us with our balance. Given the rains from the previous day, the downhill slope was actually a little muddy and slippery so metal handrail was appreciated. We carefully and slowly made our way down to the bottom where the path ultimately terminated at a hexagonal platform right in front of Lane-Poole Falls. The lookout platform was quite close to the waterfall, and we’d imagine that under higher flow (like in some photos we had seen in the literature prior to our visit), the platform might get a bit of the waterfall’s mist.
By the time we returned to the car park, we had spent about an hour and 45 minutes away from the car. At least 30 minutes of that time was spent admiring the Boorara Tree, and the pace that we were walking at was such that we probably could’ve done the 3km return trail in even less time.
To get to the car park for Lane-Poole Falls, we first drove from Pemberton to Northcliffe, which took about 30 minutes (34km). The route started off on the Vasse Hwy (Route 259) for about 2km before turning left onto the Pemberton-Northcliffe Road (Route 10). We headed south on Route 10 for another 28km where we then continued heading south from Northcliffe (you need to turn right at the 4-way intersection if you’re heading south) until you see a well-signed turnoff heading east onto Boorara Road. From there, we followed the signs along the unsealed road for another 45 minutes or so (to go 19km). At the car park, there was the giant Boorara Tree (I’ve also seen it called the Boolara Tree) so that kind of helped assure us that we were in the right place.
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