The Rails to Trails track (formerly the Wadandi Track Trail) is 37km from Busselton. It starts in Cowaramup and finishes in Witchcliffe with 23km in length. Wadandi Noongar used to be the traditional landowners of the Western Australian South West and Wadandi means ‘People of the Sea’. There is evidence of their occupation dating back over 50,000 years.
A business man M.C. Davies opened the railway in 1885 to export wood from his mills to jetties at Hamelin Bay and Flinders Bay. The railway was bought by the WA Government in 1916 due to international market requirements for Jarrah wood instead of Australian local Karri wood. The railway was eventually closed in 1957 and now as Rails to Trails is open to walkers and cyclists who can enjoy the track through forests, plantations, vineyards, agricultural land and granite outcrops. Remains of the railway infrastructure can still be spotted such as beautiful wooden bridges, although many of them have been reinforced with a steel structure.
Parking is available in:
- Cowaramup (next to the Cowaramup Volunteer Fire Brigade). Coming from Busselton turn right into Memorial Dr and drive until the end; the carpark is situated between the Fire Brigade and public toilets. From Cowaramup it is 11km to Carters Road.
- Carters Road (formal car park). Carters Road is 3.4km to Margaret River.
- Margaret River (off Clarke Road next to former Goods Shed). Margaret River is 4.1km to Gnaraway.
- Gnarawary Road (formal car park). Gnaraway is 4.6km to Witchcliffe.
Tip: The Rail to Trails track goes past Margaret River townsite, not through it, so if you feel like a break, follow Carter Road or turn left into the single trail tracks past Carter Road and enjoy a beer at Brewhouse Margaret River or a coffee in The Hairy Marron – Mountain Bike Café. Also, there is a nice weir just south west of the corner of Carter Road and Bussell Highway.