Waroona is a small town some 113 Km south of Perth in Western Australia. It’s a town that we’ve not previously had much to do with. We stayed at the Lake Navarino campsite about 25 years ago for one night when we cycle toured the region. Other than that we’ve just driven through it on the way to somewhere else.
Again this time we arranged to stay at the Lake Navarino Holiday Park, but this time rather than camp for just one night we booked a cabin. Lake Navarino itself is the body of water behind Waroona Dam and it is very popular for water skiing and freshwater fishing. What makes it a bit confusing is that there are two Waroona Dams – the other is also referred to as the Drakesbrook Dam. The Drakesbrook Dam is a delightful little spot with a a swimming beach, BBQ and toilet facilities, and a nature trail that takes you in search of the Noisy Scrub bird. Good luck with that as they are incredibly elusive and are more likely to be heard rather than seen. I did catch a glimpse of one in the understory along the walk trail but it was impossible to photograph.
Another nature trail in the locality is the Hamel Wetland Walk Trail in the small hamlet of Hemel just outside of Waroona. The wetland only stays wet over winter and spring and then dries out over summer. It is home to numerous species of frog including the Quacking Frog, Motorbike Frog, Slender Tree Frog, Clicking Froglet, Lea’s Froglet, Moaning Frog and the Banjo Frog. If fogs aren’t your jam then the wetland hosts a variety of bird species such as white Ibis, straw neck ibis Black Swans, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Musk Duck, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Black Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, and Black-shouldered Kites. Unfortunately the wetland had dried out for our visit and there wasn’t much bird activity about – just some rufous whistlers and red-tailed black cockatoos.
If you’re willing to travel a bit further then heading out to Preston Beach and Yalgorup National Park is worth it. The wetlands in the park are home to 67 species of water bird and have been listed as a Ramsar site. The forest within the park contains fauna including western grey kangaroos, emus, brush wallabies, brush-tailed possums, echidnas and bandicoots.
So if you find your self driving down the South Western Highway take some time to stop in Waroona and explore what it has to offer.