Location: Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, Gidgegannup
Distance: 2.3km loop
Trail Marker: Beige Triangle with Possum
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $5, bookings must be made in advance. Please call 08 9572 3169
Toilet Facilities: Yes, at start/finish
Dog Friendly: No
Date Hiked: 27th September 2018
For those not keen on tackling the challenging 12km Numbat Trail, or the 6.5km Quenda Trail, Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary offers a third option, the 2.3km Possum Trail taking in the highlights of Paruna. The estimated time to do this hike varies but the Sanctuary recommends allowing 1 - 2 hours so that's what I have written. Like the start of all 3 trails within the sanctuary the trail starts making your way along a beautiful boardwalk that runs along a granite outcrop to protect the fragile habitat below. The trail then continues on pass a small dam which is always interesting to photograph especially on a cold morning when the fog sits just above the water making it a little mystical.
Crossing over a small bridge, the trail winds its way through the thick vegetation with plenty of signs of little mammals, possibly Quendas dig marks along the edge of the trail. Some beautiful granite outcrops can be seen on the left as you head towards the junction. On approach of the first trail junction turn left and continue down the slope to a bridge over the creek where there is a good view of the Avon River Valley. Walking up past the bridge, there are a number of rare orchids and plantsinteresting plants including a rare grass tree, Xanthorrhoea acanthostachya, which is distinguished by the distinct separation of the brown skirt from the green crown.
Walking on we arrived at an old bird smugglers camp that apparently ceased operation 20-30 years ago. There are still examples of cages, feeding trays, incubators and watering systems in the area. I didn't see the old gassing chamber mentioned in the brochure so maybe have a better look around this area. The Possum Trail links up with the other two trails out to the carpark following the same path back up on a slight incline passing through rich woodlands and vegetation abundant with flora and fauna. We saw a kangaroo, quenda and a few birds but only managed to snap the Kangaroo who was quite happily munching away on his fresh leaves.
Follow a beautifully maintained wooden boardwalk out to out to the massive granite outcrop called 'Pink Rock' named after a pink feather flower that flowers in late spring. Enjoy awe inspiring views at the viewing platform where the Avon and Blackwood Rivers can be seen. The granite in places is cracked to form sheets which is a natural process of weathering caused by the heating and cooling of the rock. Take the trail back along the boardwalk to the junction sign and turn left to walk along the fence for a short distance to another beautiful spring wildflower display as you make your way back to the carpark.