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Avon Valley National Park - Perth Australia

Introduction: From summer to winter, from north to south, and from high outcrops to deep river and stream valleys, the forests of Avon Valley National Park are constantly changing. The Avon River flows in winter and spring when the river churns over spectacular rapids. During summer and autumn the river diminishes to a series of pools in a bed of granite boulders and tea-tree thickets. The park features forests and granite outcrops, panoramic views over the Avon Valley and the chance to see a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Visiting the Park: Avon Valley National Park is open from 8am to 4pm every day. Gates are locked outside of these times. The roads within the park are all unsealed. The nearest telephone, petrol and food outlets are at Gidgegannup or Toodyay, 30 kilometres from the park. There are some picnic facilities and basic camping sites. The small amount of development means much of the park has wilderness qualities. The best time to visit is during the cooler months. Camping: Note: There is no camping allowed in the park during gazetted Fire Season (usually 1 December to 31 May) The camping grounds have wood barbecues, picnic tables and pit toilets. Water is available at Bald Hill, Drummonds, Homestead, Valley Camp and the Cec Barrow camping areas. A fee is charged for camping in the park. A self registration station is established at the park entry on Quarry Road at the Junction of Morangup. Visitors are required to pay a single entry fee and camping fees for the number of days they wish to camp. Walk Trails: If you intend to walk off the marked tracks or camp away from the camping grounds, please let the ranger know beforehand. It is suggested that you bring plenty of water and avoid strenuous walking on hot days. Make sure you have a topographic map and compass if you plan to go on the longer tracks. Bring binoculars and a camera for the views and wildlife. The Avon River can be run by experienced canoeists in winter and is made famous by the Avon Descent each August. In summer the river slows to a trickle, becoming a series of shallow pools unsuitable for swimming. Avon Valley National Park is at the northern limit of the jarrah forests. Here, the jarrah and marri mingle with wandoo woodland. This mix of trees, or 'transitional forest', creates diverse habitats for plants and animals. More than 90 species of bird have been seen in the park, including grey fantails, rufous treecreepers, western yellow robins and several types of honeyeaters. Rainbow bee-eaters and sacred kingfishers arrive to breed in the spring and can often be heard calling. Plants and Animals: Wandoo and powderbark trees tend to grow on heavier soils underlain with clay. The smooth trunks of wandoo change colour from white to creamy grey in autumn, while the bark of powderbark turns orange and is covered with a fine powder. Jarrah grows on the higher slopes and ridges with shallow, well drained soils. Marri grows further downslope, where the soil is deeper and more moist. Flooded gum and swamp paperbark grow along the river. A variety of plants make up the understorey. Blue leschenaultias, dryandras and donkey orchids are just a few that flower in spring. Among the understorey, chuditch may still occasionally be found. These small native mammals were common in the area until foxes and cats reduced their numbers to the present low levels. DEC has programs to reduce fox numbers and to reintroduce small mammals to natural habitats such as Avon Valley National Park. Granite outcrops add to the diversity of the park. A variety of low shrubs and small lichens and mosses cling to the rocks. Lizards such as bobtail skinks and rock dragons sun themselves on the rocks to warm their blood. Sure-footed euros, adapted to life in rocky areas, and western grey kangaroos, come out to graze in the evening and on rainy days.

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