Start Point: End of Stocker Rd, Roleystone
Distance: 9kms* dependant on which trails you take
Duration: 2-3 hours
Exploring the unknown is one of the things I really love about hiking! With very limited information available about trails in Roleystone, I was intrigued by The Life of Py’s ‘Roleystone Adventure’ and set out for my own.
Now, I can’t be sure exactly which trail I did as we got lost numerous times and even did a couple of short stints Off The Beaten Track but it was awesome and lots of fun!
Arriving at the start point at the end of Stocker Rd, we were greeted with an old farm shed, which was such a treat to explore. Setting off on what I thought was the ‘Echidna Trail’, we took the muddy track to the left along the fence line which lead us to a big water pipeline crossing a creek; this was mistake number 1. Rather than head back to the start point (which was uphill) we decided to follow the creek and cut across the bush land, before long we found a dirt path that lead us to a gravel track (actual Echidna Trail). Not too far up the track, the tranquil sound of water flowing caught my attention so I took a short detour down to the creek to explore, which was such a scenic highlight! Continuing on we were faced with a steep uphill section, a friendly mob of Kangaroos nearby were a welcomed distraction from the climb and eventually we reached the first orange Echidna Trail marker pointing right onto a whimsical bush path. The Karri Hazel lined dirt path will take you on a journey through Yarri trees, Banksias and Sally Ferns making it such a unique climb, becoming even more special when you reach a 30m solid granite rock face. Legend has it this is where Moondyne Joe’s cave is, despite my best exploring efforts I didn’t find it, but did manage a short scale up the rock face which really added to my Roleystone Experience!
Setting off in a Northerly direction (mistake number 2) a series of wooden steps took us to the top of the cliff, taking caution we were forced to scrambled back over the granite ledge until we spotted a trail, following this uphill through another series of Karri Hazel lined steps we finally came to a 4×4 track and car park used by rock climbers. From here we decided to take the ‘Botanical Walk Trail’, so set off down a gravel track that had a large open clearing on the left and Yarri and Marri woodlands to the right. Before long we arrived at an open meadow/abandoned air strip, another interesting feature of this hike, but with the multiple Y junctions along this part of the trail we were no longer sure which trail we were actually on. Our instincts told us we were heading in the wrong direction, so with our fingers crossed but big smiles on our face, we used Satellite & GPS and headed off track downhill through the bush land.
Although this is breaking the golden rule of hiking ‘always stick to the trail’ it was the right move and before long we found another trail (Emu Trail) which lead us along a fence line then back to the old farm shed, which was a welcomed sight!
My 9km Roleystone Experience was such a fun and interesting hike albeit quite random! With so much effort put into creating parts of this trail and its many features I do wonder why it is a bit of a secret. I highly recommend experiencing this for yourself but be prepared to improvise when the trail becomes unclear!
*A map of this area is available at www.roleybushcare.com.au but it isn’t the easiest to follow.