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, 9 April 2018

Camping out in the Western Australian wheatbelt - Kwolyin free camp

The Western Australian Wheatbelt has very few opportunities for bush camping, but one I can recommend is the Kwolyin campground located on the Bruce Rock-Quairading Road, only seven kilometres west of Shackleton, and 229kms (about 3 hours) east of Perth. And the added bonus is that it is FREE to camp here!

We camped at Kwolyin over the Easter weekend with our family and thoroughly enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle of Easter in the city.  We hadn't camped here before, but it is a favourite with our son and grandsons as it is close to the rock climbs of Kokerbin Rock.

 The Kwolyin campground was created by the Shire of Bruce Rock on the site of the old Kwolyin townsite in the last few years to replace the former Kokerbin Rock campsite, nine kilometres to the north, which, as locals put it, had been “loved to death”. Since then it has become a very popular campsite particularly on long weekends and school holidays. 

The town was originally named Koarin, but being similar to the pronunciation of another town, Kauring, the name was changed to Kwolyin. Wheat farming began in the area in 1908, the first store in Kwolyin was opened by JB Harris in 1912, and the first town lots were sold in 1913. Lack of water caused growth problems for the town. Its demise was sealed in 1992 when the Kwolyin Hotel was destroyed by fire.  All that remains today is the Catholic Church opened in 1955.

The campsites are scattered through the scrubby bushland on the site of the old football and cricket grounds, and are suitable for tents, caravans and camper trailers. 

There is a large picnic shelter with gas BBQ adjacent to a camp kitchen which is closed in on three sides sheltering gas hotplates, benches and sink with water. The flushing toilets have hand basins and are wheelchair friendly.

The tent area has a picnic shelter, tables, and a wood fired BBQ built by the Bruce Rock Men’s Shed.  Please be aware there are fire bans October to March.  

LOL - just realised this sign below here has the wrong spelling! Should be Kwolyin - yes I checked to be sure! 

 There are also areas suitable for group camping scattered under salmon gums over the former townsite. This is where we chose to camp when we visited at Easter as we were camping with three families, and although we were further away from the facilities, we were very happy with our quiet camp away from the crowded main campsite. 

I love these wheatbelt trees you can see below here - they are a mixture of tall Salmon Gums and the shorter Gimlets. 

 There are four relatively easy loop walks accessible from the campsite:
  • 1.2km Granite Garden walk (allow 1 hour), 
  • 2km Cathedral Rocks walk (allow 2 hours), 
  • 2.2km Railway walk (allow 2 hours) which includes a walk along the old railway line and across nearby Coarin Rock. 
  • You can also take a stroll around the old town site and learn more of its history from the interpretive signage. Make sure you check out the remains of the old 1930s cricket pitch.
 Please refer to signage about the walks, wear sturdy boots, a hat and sunscreen and carry water with you.  Depending on when you visit, insect repellent and a fly net could be a must!
Walkers are asked to keep to the marked trails to protect the fragile plant communities. An excellent photo board identifying 99 local wildflowers, including orchids, is located at the main BBQ area - a fantastic inclusion for those wanting to identify local wildflowers. During spring you may see fruiting Sandalwood and Quandong trees which were an important food source to early inhabitants. 

If you tackle the rocks you will be rewarded with views like you see below over the surrounding grain paddocks.

From Kwolyin it is an easy day trip to Kokerbin Rock, only nine kilometres to the north. Covering nine hectares, Kokerbin Rock is the third largest monolith in Australia and was described in 1863 by early explorer Henry Maxwell Lefroy during his search for agricultural land east of York. Bush walkers will enjoy exploring this 122 metre high rock, caves, woodland and historic sites. A track skirts the base of the rock and it is worth walking to the top to enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding grain and sheep country. 

 Granite outcrops, like Kokerbin, are a feature of the central Wheatbelt. Kokerbin and nearby Mt Sterling and Mt Caroline were important cultural traditional sites for the Noongar aboriginal people both ceremonially and as a resource for food, water and stone. They believe that the granite outcrops in this area were created by the coils of the great serpent, Moulack. Granite outcrops were used by early explorers, surveyors and sandalwood cutters to camp, take their bearings and water their horses.  Granite from the rocks provided building materials and the rocks were often the site of social events. A community annual Boxing Day picnic commencing in 1911 was held at Kokerbin Rock. These rocks are still popular for picnics and rock exploring. 

Kokerbin Rock
 With less than 10% of the Wheatbelt’s original native vegetation remaining, nature reserves and granite outcrops like Kokerbin and Coarin Rock provide a valuable habitat for wildlife and flora.  Their boulder formations, sheoak, sandalwood and eucalypt woodlands are home to a rich diversity of plant species and wildlife including echidnas and the threatened black-flanked rock wallaby - Petrogale lateralis
The sixty kilometre Granite Way drive trail makes a good day trip from Kwolyin and includes Kokerbin Rock, Mt Stirling and Mt Caroline, all of which have picnic areas. Mt Stirling and Mt Caroline were named by explorer Ensign Dale in 1830. 

There was time also on our long weekend for a little bush cricket and an Easter egg hunt.

 Basic supplies can be purchased at Shackleton, where you can see Australia’s smallest bank. Operating between the 1930s and 1997, this three by four metre weatherboard building was used as an aircraft observation post during World War 2.  For a great meal at reasonable prices visit the Shackleton District Club, open Tuesday to Sunday 5pm till 8pm. 

Free camping at Kwolyin makes this a great spot to stop if you are travelling through the central Wheatbelt. Kwolyin is a part of the Granite Way self drive tour - you can click here for a brochure - Australia's Golden Outback

Where is it?: 7kms west of Shackleton on the Bruce Rock-Quairading Road, 39km east of Quairading, 33km south of Kellerberrin and the Great Eastern Highway, and 229kms east of Perth.
Facilities: Flushing toilet with wash basin (recommend you bring your own toilet paper), camp kitchen with gas hotplates and sink, picnic tables and shelter, gas BBQ, rubbish bins, information shelter.
Rates: Free
Pets: Dogs allowed on leash.
Campfires: Prohibited October to March. Please bring your own firewood.
Best time to visit: Autumn, winter and spring.

Walks: Please refer to the information board for distances, estimated walk times and degree of difficulty. 
For more information on the area:  www.brucerock.wa.gov.au

 My campsite report was published in On The Road magazine - July/August 2018 edition.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.  

You might also like:
Western Australian central wheatbelt 
Camp food - camping at WA's granite outcrops 
Exploring the Western Australian wheatbelt 
Bruce Rock Caravan Park 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Acorn Banksia
All Seasons
Mosaic Monday 
Life in Reflection

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  1. Looks like an ideal spot for camping, with several options to hike! That's what we loved to do with our (then) teens on a holiday!

  2. Almost forgot - thank you for showing the wheatbelt trees (I think I may have seen them here in Calif. and the Acorn Banksia - interesting discoveries - thank you for sharing with All Seasons and have a lovely week!

    1. yes I believe imported eucalyptus are quite wide spread around the world.

  3. Jill - together with the warm sun shining today, your post has gotten me in a camping mood ... we are getting there, weather-wise!

    I love the trees ... very iconic, especially when viewed from a distance.

    Thanks for these lovely shots!

    1. autumn and spring are the best times for camping here.

  4. What a fun adventure! Lovely shots.

  5. Haven't been camping in a while. Looks like everyone had a good time! Have a lovely week.

    1. it was great camping with family - and the young cousins enjoyed getting together.

  6. Jill, Looks like a great place to be with family. Glad you had a great weekend. Love the big trees. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  7. 99 local wildflowers and yet so many species are extinct. How wonderful this area must have been in full bloom!
    A late friend of mine was from western Australia, but I have only visited the east coast...the usual touristy east coast places from Sydney on up. I'd love to return to Australia, as a friend from my school days is still there, but we're not as young as we used to be, so I may have to content myself with wonderful photos such as yours.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

    1. 99 wildflowers is only a small percentage of what varieties there actually are. If you want to see wildflowers, Western Australia is the place to be in spring!

  8. Gosh I'd love to visit Australia - a fascinating place.
    Thanks for sharing with us at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/bedtime-at-biltmore.html

    1. it is rather special - but then I am a tiny bit biased

  9. How many of us give a little high five of joy to know that the campsite is free? There is not so much in our "loved to death" world which is free, healthy and soooo good for the soul. I have loved this post today Jill and very happy to be here for a lungful of Aussie fresh air from my Bangkok life!
    Wren x

    1. yes free campsites are far and few between, and this one is fabulous. Just being out their under the trees and stars was renewing for the soul.

  10. Camping and hiking away from crowds with time to think and space to stare - our type of getaway - and free camping is always welcome too. Loved the information you provided :)

    1. give me a quiet bush camp away from the crowds any day.

  11. Ideal place for camping....away from crowds and scenery and history and a store for whatever you run out of (or forgot ...not that I’ve had anything like that happen on a camping trip or anything of course ;)). Loved the tour, thanks!

  12. When I moved to Western Australia in 1984 (from Tasmania via South Australia) I never thought I could learn to love the (often flat and dry) areas like the wheatbelt, the Pilbara and the Kimberley. I was so wrong! I fell in love with the vast open spaces, the amazing colours, the granite outcrops (not too big to climb), the wildflowers and native fauna, and the peace and quiet. Who knew? Thanks for sharing Jill.

  13. That little bank building is adorable. How great that camping is free there. I don't know of many free campsites around here, except for the desert, which can be so hot during spring and summer. Looks like you had a great time!

  14. Bushcamping at its best! These type of camping experiences are so fantastic with family and friends. #TeamLovinLife

  15. It looks like a relaxing place for a holiday but it's so sad about the town.

  16. That little cabin is so cute! #teamlovinlife

  17. For a free campsite, it is one of the cleanest and best kept. There was a nice walk with history of the area on information boards.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.