Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 21 October 2013

Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia

Welcome back. Last week I told you briefly about our recent trip to South Australia (please click here if you missed it - On the Road through South Australia   

and as promised today I am bringing you the first part of our trip - the Granite and Woodlines Discovery Trail which stretches 300 kilometres between Hyden and Norseman in Western Australia.   We travelled on this road twice in the last couple of months - on our first day of our trip to South Australia on 1st September, and then again on our return on 7-8 October.  The wildflowers were just starting to bloom in September.

248km of the Hyden to Norseman Road is a good gravel road, although as we experienced on our return trip in early October, the middle section, which has more of a clay base, can be muddy, boggy and slippery in the wet (in some places we were down to 40km per hour), so it is important to drive for the conditions and take notice of “road closure” signs.  There are several mines in this area, so please be aware that large haul trucks use this road.  You can see the road in the dry and in the wet here -we got covered in a "bit" of mud!

  However in good weather the trail is a very interesting short cut across to Norseman and the start of the Eyre Highway to South Australia.  There are a couple of good campsites along the road, so I recommend that those who have a little more time should consider camping out and stopping at the 16 interpretive sites along the way to learn more about the ecology and history of the area and experience all that the trail has to offer. There is a great little guide booklet available from the Shire of Dundas - you can click here to get the brief pdf - or email them for the full brochure - Granite & Woodlands Trail

This is part of the Great Western Woodlands, which covers sixteen million hectares of southern Western Australia, and is the is the largest and healthiest remaining Mediterranean climate woodland left on earth.  
You can see our approximate route along the Hyden to Norseman Road shown in blue here -

There are three designated campsites – the Breakaways, McDermid Rock and Lake Johnson. McDermid is our favourite – we have camped here twice. There is something comforting about going back to a favourite campsite and finding it the same as the last time you were there.   Below, clockwise from top left, you can see McDermid Rock camp, Breakaways camp, Disappointment Rock and Lake Johnson.

The campsites at McDermid Rock are attractively located amongst the trees, and the 1150 metre rock trail features 18 interpretive panels.  The first part of the trail goes up to the highest point of the rock. I love seeing the rock dwelling plants, and the 360 degree views.

The Breakaways is also a good  place to camp as it is away from the road, protected from the wind and there is plenty of room, whereas Lake Johnson, part of a series of salt pans that run through this area, has a great view of the lake but is more exposed and close to the road.  Disappointment Rock also has an interpretive walk but you cannot camp here.

In the pictures below you can see some of McDermid Rock, rock gardens, and a remarkable rugged survivor. 

During a good spring season the wildflowers can be magnificent as they were when we travelled across in early October.   The sandplain kwongan heathlands supports a remarkable diversity of species. Although deficient in trace elements and unsuitable for farming, the wild species thrive on it.   This image really doesn't come close to showing you what we saw....

If you stop the car along here you will be amazed by the variety of wildflowers you will see. Botanists have suggested that in any given 1000 square metres there could be close to a hundred different species.   Here is the Flame Grevillea, Grevillea excelsior, a tall spindly but showy plant which thrives along here, particularly in the disturbed road verges.

The wildflowers were certainly out in full bloom when in travelled along here in mid October - actually the best I have ever seen them. Disappointingly though the heavy rain and conditions did not make for good photography, but I managed to snap a few.

 And the delicious Native Peach - the Quandong - I'll be back to tell you more about the Quandong in another post....

  Not far from Wave Rock, east of Hyden, you cross the Holland Track, forged by John Holland and his party in 1893 as a route to the goldfields between Broomehill to Coolgardie, and the 1,837 kilometres long State Vermin Proof Barrier Fence, which marks the eastern edge of the wheatbelt, and initially constructed to keep the rabbits from invading Western Australia from the east. 


You can read about our trip along the Holland Track last April - by clicking here -  Holland Track

 I hope you have enjoyed the first part of our South Australia trip. Next week we start to travel across the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor into South Australia.  

Have a great week, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Road is a good quality gravel road suitable for all vehicles, including those towing a caravan or camper, however please take note of “road closure” signs and drive for conditions when wet.
Watch out for wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk.
There are no facilities or towns between Hyden and Norseman. so carry adequate fuel, provisions and water. 

Location:  Perth to Hyden - 340km, Hyden to McDermid Rock - 192km, Hyden to Norseman - 300km.
Ideal time to travel: April and October when the weather is cooler (generally 20-25C) Night temperatures can be very cold- so be prepared with warm clothing. Temperatures in summer months vary between 30 and 40C
Facilities:  Picnic tables, fire rings, long drop bush toilets at some sites.  Be aware of camp fire bans, and use a gas stove.  Take your rubbish out with you.

A Guide to the Granite and Woodlands Discover Trail booklet – Shire of Dundas
Shire of Dundas - www.dundas.wa.gov.au – Tel: 08 9039 1205
Main Roads WA for road conditions – Tel: 1800 013 314

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been
You might also like - 
Cave Hill, Burra Rock and Woodlines 
 Western Australian wildflowers


  1. I salute writers like you for doing a great job!
    buy flowers online

  2. Such useful information Jill, and your pics of wildflowers are delightful. The campsites on this stretch of road look incredible, remote and not at all busy, and actually made me want to get out and camp (!) while your photos of the road conditions are really informing. Can quite imagine how in the wet you'd need to slow right down on that clay based road. Can't wait for the next bit ....

  3. Love all your wildflowers growing in the brush, especially the flame plant. The sandy hills are so pretty there. Stopping in from Mosaic Monday!

  4. Hello Jill
    Oh what an interesting post and amazing photography!
    We lived across the ditch for a while many years back and I've always wanted to drive around Australia.
    Our friends have done it in 4 wheel drive convoy.
    Those wild flowers are beautiful - I've seen a documentary about the desert coming to life with wildflowers after the rain.
    I would love to see it.
    Thank you for visiting my blog.
    have a happy week

    1. I hope you get to see the WA wildflowers for your self some time. Western Australia is the queen of Australian wildflower country.

  5. Beautiful collection of the wild flowers!! such nice captures of the landscapes..

  6. What the great varieties of the wildflowers!
    such nice post..

  7. The wildflower mosaics are amazing. What beautiful pictures of the area. You make me want to hop a plane and come for a visit. genie

  8. Wonderful spring wild flowers and a fabulous place to camp! That would be so fun. Thanks for sharing this trip.

  9. The fabulous wildflowers you photographed are making my day in here in CO. (Altho, I'll forego the mud!)

  10. What an abundance of gorgeous wildflowers!!!

  11. Great shots from your outing. The flowers are very lovely.

  12. So very gorgeous! And so many lovely flowers!

  13. Love the wildflowers and the country when it is dry. The contrast of red soil and flowers is magical.
    What a great trip!!!

  14. Wowza...wish I was there! Stunning photos, Jill.

  15. Jill, I've driven on roads like that here in Nevada and when they get wet they can get really dicey! And there were not big trucks coming at us from the other direction. The photos of all of the wildflowers are amazing. So, beautiful! :)

  16. So neat to see faraway places through your images.

  17. You have make beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  18. Oh WOW! You are making miss this time of year in the bush. Oh the flowers. What a lucky person you are. What a beautiful land we live in. We have some on the same nave/ bush flowers over here in QLD.

  19. Great varieties of wildflowers!! all the photos looking fantastic.
    such sounds remarkable tour.

  20. HI Jilli, what a wonderful road trip. I love the expanse and openness of the land. I can't believe the variety of wildflowers you've see n along your way. They're incredible. I think the photos came out lovely despite the rainy conidition.

  21. Beautiful collection of wildflowers, Jill.
    Thanks for the intro to another amazing part of Australia. Sixteen million hectares? Jamaica could fit into the Great Western Woodlands a gazillion times over.

  22. I love the wildflowers! I wouldn't have expected to see anything so colorful.

  23. I am blown away bu the wildflowers. Many of them look very exotic to my eyes.
    What an adventure. You must be very comfortable driving remote roads. How are your car repair skills?

  24. The variety of beautiful wildflowers you have displayed here is astounding. What a great part of Australia I've barely seen anywhere else. I love that Flame Grevillea. Looking forward to learning more about the Quandong

  25. The native flowers are so breathtaking, I try plants but I don't think they ever look as effortless as these. Australia is a beautiful country. Would LOVE to visit.

  26. Great pictures and lots of info. Thanks for posting. We are trying to decide if our next trip will be Alaska or Australia.

  27. Australia is so vast and lovely. Your photos of the flowers that grow there are exquisite.

  28. I am so glad you visited my blog because now I found you and this wonderful look at your beautiful country. Australia is one place I want to visit and so this is such a great glimpse into how it all looks!

  29. I really enjoyed your post! It brought back some great memories of camping in the southwestern U.S. That's an incredible array of wildflowers! What a riot of color to enjoy. Looking forward to your further adventures.

  30. Such lovely photos and such a lovely country. We are in Sydney as I write this comment and are on such sensor overload we've been saying maybe the 16 hour plane ride home will give our senses a bit of a rest! Wonderful post - I definitely want to go west the next time we come, and there WILL BE a next time!

  31. Lovely country, scenery and photos but I must say those purple wildflowers are just stunning...your photo of them is wonderful.

  32. Thanks for opening up my world to beauty untold.

  33. Nice place for visited, wonderfull fauna, best regard from Belgium
    Hugs !

  34. Have a nice new week fall, here weather bad, storm Wind arriving.

  35. thank you wonderful dear readers. I am glad you enjoyed the first part of our trip. I will be back this afternoon with the next installment. See you then.

  36. This is a wonderfully informative post, Jill. I love all of the flower shots.

  37. Absolutely outstanding and amazing. What glorious colours and textures! We see flowers as we travel, but usually from a fast moving car. We have very little time to see this close, unless we stop to walk the dogs. I love this and I am so glad that I got to view them!

  38. Thanks for your blog, Jill. We are just about to head off to northern Victoria via the Hyden to Norseman road & happy to have your experience to take with us! Gel & Frank

  39. Going accross from Melb in th next 3 or 4 weeks have done the road b4 but this time towing a van exelent senery and no people


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