Quinninup Falls, Wilyabrup – Western Australia, Australia

Some waterfalls are easy to find.

Others, like Quinninup Falls, you stumble across when you’re sweaty and exhausted, trekking on the Cape to Cape track in Yallingup, Western Australia.

Finding the Quinninup Falls was on the top of my “To Do” list when I took a camping road trip to the South-West of WA. My friend Morgan and I were determined to find them – despite a complete lack of directions on Google, and absolutely no idea how or where to find them.

These falls are actually the reason I was inspired to make my Chasing Waterfalls blog. Well, they sparked the idea. With just our mobile phones as aid, it was really difficult to source information on where we needed to go and what we needed to do in order to get to these falls. I wanted to make it my life’s mission to make it easy for people like me, so that time wasn’t wasted driving up and down the wrong streets, or coming to an unsealed road with a shock. Things like that which would really help a budding traveller.

You see, these falls are tucked away on a segment of the Cape to Cape hiking trail along the Cape Naturalist Region – Leeuwin. Hence, we had to actually hike to find them, but which beach did we need to go to? Did we go left or right at the crossroads? That was dilemma number 1.

We started off in the complete wrong direction – at the end of Moses Rock Road, we went left and after a long dusty road, wound up in a very small carpark that backed onto huge sand dunes. We consequently thought we needed to get to higher ground in order to find the waterfall, because, well, water has to flow from up high, right?

So we hiked an unbelievably steep sand dune (photos do not do it justice but hopefully gives you some sort of idea) and aside from some pretty awesome views, we achieved nothing but losing our breath.

We aborted that mission, and decided to try the next beach (back the way we had come). See there are carparks left and right of the dusty roads, so it’s a bit of a gamble if you don’t know where you are going. (Don’t worry, I will help you out).

We followed the road we had come from and eventually pulled into another carpark – packed-full, might I add (this is Moses Rock  Road Car Park on Google Maps). We stared out to the beach and argued for a second about which one of us were going to ask the local-looking surfers and oldies if we were in the right place. In the end it had to be me, so I manned up and asked, “Which way do we have to go to get to the falls on the Cape to Cape?” trying my best not to sound like a typical tourist.

They kindly gave us directions to drive right to the next carpark, and trek along that section of the Cape to Cape which was apparently clearly marked.

Road Map, Moses Rock Road Carpark, Wilyabup. Google Maps (2016).

So, to sum up. Drive to Moses Rock Road (which comes off Caves Road in Wilyabup) until you hit a fork in the road. Turn right along the white dusty gravel and park your car the first small carpark you come across. Get out, find the sign to the right of the road that says Cape to Cape, and begin the journey.

Because, a journey it is. We trekked through a thin track with barren shrub, and those small plants that smell like urine. Some sections were wet, and we got excited. But we were far from flowing water.

Which way, which way?

Word of advice – don’t get excited until you reach parts that are sandy. A steep sandy hill (which you walk down – thank the lord) winds around a curve until you find rich, red/orange Earth.

Once you walk around the corner, the falls suddenly appear, as if out of nowhere. They are small, but beautiful. Smack bang in the middle of nowhere.

There’s not a big area to admire the falls, so it can be a bit packed with people. Be patient and share the space with everyone. Also be mindful and respectful of the history this treasure bodes with the traditional owners of the land, the Nyoongar people.

We were game enough to get in – though it was absolutely freezing and the sliminess of the floor and debris, I would not recommend.

And yet.

You’ve travelled such a fair way, most likely in blistering Australian heat, so you may as well cool off under the fresh, clean water.

The walk back is hot enough, so a refreshing dip might be just what you need to help aid the hike. I’ll definitely be back here in the winter time, as I’ve heard the falls get much heavier than they were during this time (September).

Looking for other adventurous, waterfall-y things to do in the area? Try Injidup Natural Spa at Wyadup Rocks nearby, or Yarlgadup Falls a little further in Margaret River.

And if you’re heading towards Perth, there’s an abundance of hiking trails and waterfalls in to choose from! Simply head here. 

Quick Facts

Last visit September 2015 
Best Time June/July
Start / FinishMoses Rock Rd Carpark 
Unsealed Roads Yes but in great condition
Walking distance 1.5km one way
Time 45 minutes one way
Difficulty Moderate
Facilities Toilets
Lat & Long 33.7463° S, 114.9953° E
Nearby Injidup Beach, Yallingup Maze, Margaret River Chocolate Factory
Watercourse unknown

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BLACK DIAMOND LAKE, COLLIE – WESTERN AUSTRALIA

HOW TO FIND BLACK DIAMOND LAKE & TIPS BEFORE YOU GO

Ever since I saw a photograph of the pristine, bright crystal-blue water of Black Diamond Lake, I wanted to go there.

I mean, look at it.

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Friends and I talked about it, throwing around ideas about road trips and camping trips and the works, but of course, they never actually got put into motion.

And it’s only now, because I’m leaving Perth soon (I’m going to live in Melbourne), that I realised there’s so much I want to do, and so little time to do it. (Of course, it’s not like I’m leaving Perth forever, but to be fair I also don’t know when I’ll be back, so it makes sense to try and tick off as much as I can from my list).

So when I was down south, I sent my friend Morgan the message – something along the lines of “WE STILL HAVE TO GO TO BLACK DIAMOND – BEFORE I GO!!!” And Morgz, being the enthusiastic person that she is, said ‘Yep, what about Thursday?’ And that was that.

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Black Diamond Lake is located in Allanson, a community only 5km or so from the town known as Collie, roughly 190km from Perth.

Morgan drove down from Perth, and I drove up from Busselton. My trip was an hour and a half, while hers 2 hours or so. Either way, the lake isn’t too difficult to get to – Ferguson Road, the road the lake resides by, comes directly off Coalfields Highway, so there’s not a lot of fluffing about in small country-town roads.

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Road Map. Black Diamond Lake, Allanson. Google Maps (2017).

I actually visited Black Diamond on the same day I did Barrabup Pool, so I won’t go into the details of the way I went. But if you’re traveling from Perth, take Kwinana Freeway South until it turns into Forrest Highway and eventually continue onto Old Coast Road. Then turn left onto Raymond Road, which you follow until you hit South Western Highway, at which point turn left and then a quick right into Coalfields – and then you’re on your way to Ferguson!

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Road Map. Raymond Road to Coalfields Highway. Google Maps (2017).

Once you’ve turned into Ferguson (a right turn onto an unsealed road), keep following for about 600m and you’ll see the first glimpse of the lake. Continue until you come to the first carpark on the right (it will be very obvious). There is lots of parking space there and easy access into the lake.

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For those that don’t know, Black Diamond was formerly an open cut mine site that ceased operation in the 1950s and has since been filled with water.

Now it is probably at this point that I should mention the danger of the presence of amoeba in the water. There have been a few warnings issued about the water quality at Black Diamond – all the information you need can be found on the council’s report and also an article by WA today. (FYI, I put my head under the water and I’m still here kicking).
However, it is best to have all the info and make your own educated decision before you go.

I would recommend going on a really sunny, cloudless day, because this is when the water will look its best, shining the beautiful azure blue colour.

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On the opposite side of the lake to the carpark, there’s a rope swing tied to a big tree. We couldn’t help ourselves – we had to have a turn. Though I would advise to jump directly straight and land on your feet, as it is very shallow on either side of this bank (and only if you’re willing to put your head under).

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In terms of picnicking, the best idea I’ve seen was those who took tarps to use as shades between two cars (generally utes, but you could make do), or small tents, picnic rugs and tables and chairs. There’s not a lot of shade space at the lake, so get creative with your choice of gear and remember to Slip, Slop, Slap!

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We made a full day-trip out of being at the lake. Eskies, rugs, you name it. It was such a beautiful setting, even just to sit and observe.

We found a limestone rock to set up our stuff on, rather than being down on the bank with everyone else around us. The rock gave us a higher view of the lake, but not so high that we couldn’t easily enter the water. It was the perfect setting.

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It was a scorching 37 degrees (probably more in direct sunlight) on the day that we went, so we escaped into the cool water, lounging around on blow-up mattresses, watermelons, pineapples and various birds for most of the time.

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Would you believe me if  I said that photos don’t even do this place justice?

It is another one of this world’s wonders that is worth seeing – especially when we don’t know how long we will be able to continue to visit, swim and enjoy the lake for.

I’m glad we made the trip.

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Quick Facts

Last visitDecember 2018
Best TimeSeptember – March
Start / FinishFerguson Road
Unsealed RoadsYes, good condition can be managed in 2WD.
Walking distanceless than 100m from carpark
Time3hr drive from Perth
DifficultyEasy
FacilitiesNone
Lat & Longn/a
NearbyBarrabup Pool, Collie town
Watercoursen/a
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Kathmandu

BARRABUP POOL, NANNUP – WESTERN AUSTRALIA

My obsession with waterholes and pools had me try and cram as much as I could into my recent trip in WA’s South West.

I was staying in Siesta Park Holiday Resort – half way between Busselton and Dunsborough – when I came across an article on SoPerth“Perth’s Top Unique Swimming Spots: Beaches, Swimming Holes, Lakes and Rivers.” (which is ultimately misleading because most of them are not actually in Perth at all). But anyway. I did find a few places I’d never heard of, Barrabup Pool being one of them.

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Located in Nannup, a small country town located inland, though still in the shire of the South West region (and according to Google, about 280km from Perth), Barrabup pool was a mere hour away from where I was staying.

So I thought, what the hell.

I visited the pool with my sister and her boyfriend, and we set out along Caves Road heading towards Busselton, avoiding the town centre by turning right into Bussell Highway instead of going straight ahead, and then left onto the Busselton Bypass. We followed that until Vasse Highway came up on the right.

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Road Map. Bussell Highway to Vasse Highway. Google Maps (2017).

From Vasse Highway we turned right onto Sues Road and then left into Mowen Road when it came up (which used to be gravel, but has now been transformed into smooth bitumen).

Brook Road is the road you’re after to find the pool – which comes off to the left of Mowen Road (or right if you continued to follow Vasse Highway instead). Brook Road is a gravel road, though we managed perfectly fine in a Honda Accord.

If you’re coming from Perth (straight down the Kwinana Freeway which then turns into Forest Highway), it’s virtually the same route – though you’ll turn left into Vasse Highway from Busselton Bypass instead of right. Simple!

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Road Map. Barrabup Pool. Google Maps (2017).

You’ll also notice some signs on your way down Brook Road that point out “Workmans Pool” off to the left. This is because the area was used for saw-milling in the nineteenth century as part of The Old Timberline Trail.

For some reason, the workers weren’t allowed to swim in the Barrabup Pool and so Workman’s Pool was given its name.  Make sure to read all the signs and info when you’re there to gain some knowledge of the history!

Barrabup pool itself is naturally formed, with surrounding trees and shrub making it a very secluded and peaceful spot. We only basked in the pool for a short time, though if you did want to stay longer there is a camping spot nearby with minimalistic facilities (tables, fire pits and drop toilets). If you want more info on camping, visit Park Stay.

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The wooden platform (pictured in the cover photo) has steps on either side allowing you to enter the pool, which at the time that we visited (January), was a bit chilly but not too cold. In fact, it was probably the perfect temperature in hindsight, even at 10am in the morning.

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There are also a few other entry points around the pool, though they are slimy so be careful.

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Once submerged, you can glide through the pool with ease and a very strong sense of being within nature – there is nothing but the sound of the trees, birds, cicadas and the buzz of dragonflies whizzing past (or, you know, landing on your hand while you’re sitting on a log).

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The water may look a tad dirty, but it is actually quite fresh and pristine. We giggled because our arms and legs looked bright orange when under the water – much like Georgia’s botched fake tan in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (which is still a classic film and I must remind myself to watch it again soon).

And here’s me laying in the fresh water!

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I would highly recommend making the trip to this pool, though if you’re travelling from Perth perhaps try to fit in a few others along the way to make the trip worthwhile.