Open to walkers and cyclists, the beautiful Wadandi Track (formally known as the Rails to Trails) showcases the heritage of the former Busselton to Flinders Bay Railway.
The track offers the opportunity to experience the Margaret River region through its natural environment, Aboriginal heritage and the rich history of the industries and communities served by the railway from 1884 to 1957.
Located in one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, the track is an excellent place to see some of the rare and significant flora and fauna of Australia’s South West. Spectacular sights and sounds are offered by pristine forests, plantations, vineyards, agricultural land and granite outcrops.)
The railway line was built in the 1880s by prominent timber businessman M. C. Davies, who laid a number of lines to take timber from his mills to jetties at Hamelin Bay and Flinders Bay for export.
By 1916 the timber industry had declined and the railway from Augusta to Margaret River was bought by the WA Government.
It was extended to Busselton by 1925 to service the remaining timber industry, the original group settlements, farming and domestic passengers.
As the road network improved, more of the cartage was done by trucks and the Busselton to Flinders Bay branch railway eventually closed in 1957, after which most of the rail line and sleepers were salvaged for other uses. A handful of sleepers and rail line can still be spotted today and some major elements of the railway infrastructure remain in place. These include the original railway formation; cuttings; embankments; and many of the bridges and culverts.
Since the closure of the railway, several roads and some public facilities have been constructed on the trail reserve.
Some parts of the reserve were leased to adjoining landowners. While all of these leases have lapsed or were terminated, some of the activities that were permitted under the conditions of these leases are still taking place within the reserve – including grazing, plantations, dams and quarrying of local resources.
TRAIL SECTIONS AND DISTANCES
Construction of the Wadandi Track between Cowaramup and Witchcliffe is now complete.. Construction was undertaken entirely by the Shire, except for the section from Gnarawary Road to Redgate Road, which was constructed by volunteers from the Witchcliffe Progress Association. There are four discrete sections that can be traversed:
Cowaramup-Carters Road 11.0km
Carters Road-Margaret River 3.4km
Margaret River-Gnarawary Road 4.1km
Gnarawary Road-Witchcliffe 4.6km
FACILITIES Parking is available at the following locations:
• Cowaramup – next to the Fire Station
• Carters Road – formal car park
• Margaret River – off Clarke Road next to former Goods Shed
• Gnarawary Road – formal car park
Public toilets are located at the following locations:
• Cowaramup - next to the Fire Station, in Pioneer Park and Cowaramup Hall
• Margaret River – Rotary park, Old Settlement, Memorial Park, Fearn Avenue
• Witchcliffe – Bussell Hwy