Shannon National Park
Shannon National Park is set in some of the most magnificent karri country in Western Australia's southern forest. The park covers the entire basin of the Shannon River, from its headwaters to the Southern Ocean. The park covers 53,500 hectares, including old growth and regrowth karri forests and biologically-rich heathlands and wetlands.
Information shelters tell the story of the Shannon, or you can listen on your radio to the park broadcasts at signposted stops around the Great Forest Trees Drive. There are also camping and walking opportunities within the park.
Shannon was one of the last areas in the South-West to be opened up for logging, due to its inaccessibility. The Shannon area was largely untouched until the 1940s, when an acute shortage of timber after World War Two prompted the State government to establish a timber mill there. Timber cutting began in the Shannon basin in the mid-1940s and the town and timber mill were established in the late 1940s.
The information shelter at Shannon Recreation Area is near the site of the old mill. The town was built across the highway where the camping ground now stands. The settlement was designed for 90 mill houses in a double horseshoe surrounding the area, which eventually included a hall, church, store, post office and nurse station. A dam was built upstream from the mill site in 1949 to ensure summer supplies. The picturesque location meant it also became a popular swimming and marroning place.
After Shannon mill closed, the houses from the old townsite were sold and taken away. Today, only traces of the mill town and former forestry settlement can be seen, such as the fruit trees still growing in cleared areas of the Shannon camping ground. You can also see the remains of old buildings and railway lines along the Shannon Dam walktrail. Old logging tramways and roads are now used for walktrails and scenic drives. The area was gazetted as a national park in December 1988.
Great Forest Trees Drive
The Great Forest Trees Drive was established in 1996. This 48-kilometre drive takes in spectacular old growth karri forest, and is punctuated with six picnic and information stops, and two walks. It has its own radio broadcasts and takes in stunning examples of marri and jarrah forest, sedgeland, heath and granite outcrops. The Drive starts north of the South Western Highway, just beyond the shingled roof information shelter and the turn off to the covered barbecue areas and walktrails. Before proceeding, visitors often stop and read the information at the shelter, walk to the dam or have a barbecue lunch.
The roads for the drive are not sealed but are suitable for conventional vehicles and small coaches. Great Forest Trees Drive signs show the way from the information shelter onto Upper Shannon Road and indicate where visitors should tune in their car radios to hear broadcasts about the area on a special park radio circuit.
After following the one-way northern loop for 23 kilometres, the Drive crosses the highway into the lower Shannon area, where the roads are once again two way. After visiting Snake Gully lookout and Big Tree Grove, where you can see karri giants, the drive returns along the river to the old Shannon townsite. The loop ends where it begins, on South Western Highway.
Great Forest Trees Drive Guide and Map
This full colour, illustrated map and guide takes you along each stage of a unique forest trees drive. There are detailed maps, route descriptions, colour photographs and fascinating features on some of the plants and animals you might see along the way. The guide is essential if you want to get the best out of your trip. Buy it from our on-line bookshop, price $12.95.
Where is it?
53 km south-east of Manjimup.
45 minutes from Manjimup and Walpole and 30 minutes from Pemberton.
What to do:
Camping, bushwalking, picnicking, canoeing, fishing.
GREAT FORESTS TREES DRIVE - This 48-kilometre drive through spectacular old growth karri forest. It starts north of the South Western Highway.
THE ROCKS WALKTRAIL - Medium 5.5 km, 2 hours, trail through tall forest to a granite outcrop overlooking the old Shannon townsite.
SHANNON DAM TRAIL - Easy 3.5 km, 1-1½ hour return walk. The first 1.5 km is suitable for wheelchairs.
GREAT FOREST TREES WALK - Medium 8 km, 3 hour return walk connects the arms of the one-way northern loop of the Great Forest Trees Drive. The walk follows old forestry track and is steep in places, particularly where the trail crosses the Shannon River. In winter, the Shannon may burst its banks, and sometimes cut the track. Begins at the trailhead sign, 3.9 km north of the Shannon campsite.
Barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and information panels.
All year. Chances are that apart from the peak times (January and Easter) you can pick and choose the campsite that suits you best.
Nearest CALM office:
Pemberton District Office, Kennedy St, Pemberton, tel. (08) 9776 1207.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management