If you are looking for the best bang for buck bush location close to Perth that’s jam packed full of opportunity for adventure, you need to head to Lane Poole Reserve. We’ve been visiting for many years at any time of the year, and cannot recommend it more for a quiet break, or a trip full of adventure.
Where is Lane Poole Reserve?
You’ll find Lane Poole Reserve not too far from Dwellingup, in the beautiful forest, surrounding the Murray River. At an hour and 22 minutes south of Perth city centre, its easily achievable for a day trip, a weekend or even longer. From the entrance to Lane Poole Reserve to Dwellingup its only 7 minutes drive, giving you plenty of options for accommodation, groceries and food.
Lane Poole Reserve entry fee
Up until around a year ago, it was free to enter Lane Poole Reserve. After a fairly substantial upgrade by the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation, you have to pay a national park fee to enter. This is $12 per vehicle or $6 for concession unless you have a park pass already. If you are going to visit a few of these, consider getting an annual parks pass. If you are with RAC, you can get the passes for half price, which is a great deal. Find our more here – RAC National Parks Pass.
At the moment, that takes it down to $44 for the year. Alternatively, you can get an annual parks pass to just Lane Poole Reserve and Serpentine National Park for $22 (not with RAC).
What are the camping costs, and can you book?
All of the camp sites in Lane Poole Reserve are paid, and range from $10 per adult to $13 per adult depending on where you stay. This cost is on top of the national park entry fee, and for what you get is pretty reasonable.
All sites require booking, except for Nanga Mill and Nanga Townsite, which are first come first serve. To book, head to the DBCA website, and pay through them. If you don’t book, you will not be able to get a camp site.
Dwellingup Camping amenities
All camp sites in Lane Poole Reserve have large rubbish bins, picnic tables, fire rings and long drop toilets. Some have gas BBQ facilities, camp kitchens, untreated rainwater tanks and benches.
There are no powered sites, and no showers available.
What are the roads like?
Almost all of the roads through Lane Poole Reserve are gravel, with exception of a small section at the entry near the ranger station, and a tiny section going into Nanga Brook (from the other entry). The roads are generally kept in good condition, and can be done by most 2WD vehicles, but it does get dusty when its dry, and the road can be corrugated from time to time. There are plans to make this bitumen, which will make it much more accessible to others.
When is the best time to visit?
Lane Poole Reserve is an amazing place to visit any time of year. It’s rare to find a spot like this, but as the seasons change, so does your opportunity. If you go in the middle of summer, its hot and dry during the day, and its the perfect place to find a creek to laze in, or kick back in the river.
If you go in winter, its often freezing, but you can make use of the high water levels in a white water raft or canoe, or just kick back next to a warm fire.
Lane Poole Reserve Temperatures
I mentioned above that you can visit any time of year and you’ll have fun, and that’s very true. However, you need to pack accordingly, as it gets extremely cold, and extremely hot depending on when you visit. In summer, it comfortably hits 40 degrees from time to time, and in winter we’ve woken a number of times to ice. Make sure you take warm clothing, and you stay dry, or it can be rather unpleasant!
What can you do there?
Honestly, what can you not do there?! Lane Poole Reserve is perfect for anyone who wants to see a bit of Australian bush, or wants to have a nice swim, or get the adrenaline pumping with a heap of different adventure activities.
Canoeing and white water rafting
In winter time, Lane Poole Reserve is hugely popular for long distance canoeing, and going down the various rapids. This needs to be done with some care as they can be dangerous, and some rapids are off limits. In the past, we’ve spent 3 – 4 days canoeing down a huge length of the river, and camping on the side of the river.
In summer, you can still canoe, but the water levels only allow you to go so far before you need to get out and carry the canoe.
Downhill Mountain Biking
Lane Poole Reserve has some of the best public Downhill Mountain Bike tracks in WA, and is hugely popular all year round. If you want something a bit more sedate, the Munda Biddi Trail is an amazing track running from Perth to Albany.
If you own a 4WD, you have even more option when it comes to exploring this amazing place. There are all sorts of tracks throughout the National Park including the Captain Fawcett, River Road and plenty more. Take a GPS, another vehicle and make a day of exploring.
If you’ve never done any freshwater fishing before, its a lot of fun. Trout are the prized catch here, with Redfin being regularly caught (and they are decent eating too). You must have a fresh water fishing license to wet a line here.
Swimming and splashing
If its warm enough, there’s no better place to swim than the river at Dwellingup. There’s a huge number of places you can swim from. Island Pool, Stringers, Yarragil and the natural water slides are all worth a dip.
Bird watching and animal spotting
Escaping the big smoke to kick back and listen to the sounds of nature, and appreciate the animal life is something everyone should do once in a while. There’s plenty of Kangaroo’s around the place, along with Blue Wrens, Kookaburras and other bird species.
Hiking and Walking
If you like using your own two feet to explore, there’s more walk trails and long distance hikes around Dwellingup than you can poke a stick at. The Bibbulmun track covers a huge chunk of Dwellingup (a 1000km walking track from Perth to Albany), but there are plenty of shorter walks in the reserve too.
High Ropes Adventure Course
If you want to test your fitness, get the heart pumping and have a rush of adventure at the same time, an Adventure high ropes course opened in Dwellingup a few years ago. This is not far from Nanga Mill, and is hugely popular. We’ve done the one at Yanchep National park and had an absolute ball, and this one is supposed to be taller, and even better.
There really isn’t many places better than Lane Poole Reserve to kick back around a fire, sit under the tree’s or float the day away down the river. When you get tired of all of the adventure activities, kick back and relax!
Where’s the best sites?
If you don’t have a camper trailer or caravan, our favourite site is Yarragil. It’s limited to two groups, is right next to the water and has a lot more peace and quiet than the others. If you are camping in a large group, or with young kids, we like Nanga Mill. Stringers is another beautiful camp site, but realistically you won’t go wrong with any of them.
What should you take?
You need to take camping gear that suits the climate. It gets seriously cold, and seriously hot through the different seasons. Sunscreen is a must if you are going outside of the shade of the forests, and fly deterrent is a good idea as the March flies (and normal ones) can be annoying! Take swimming gear, a kayak if you have one, bikes and a sense of adventure!
When are fires permitted?
Fires are not permitted during the prohibited burning period, which is usually around October through to May. There are total fire bans in place occasionally, and if this happens you cannot cook outdoors using any form of flame (this includes webers and gas burners).
Can you take dogs?
Dogs are permitted in Lane Poole Reserve, but with a caveat. There is a lot of 1080 baiting going on still (to kill fox’s and cats) and it is recommended you do not take your dog outside of the designated recreational and camping areas. There is always the possibility of baits being spread around by animals, so a muzzle is good insurance if you have them in the park.
If you don’t want to camp in Lane Poole Reserve, there are plenty of accommodation options in Dwellingup itself, or not far away. You have the Dwellingup Forest Lodge, Dwellingup Hotel, Dwellingup Chalet and Caravan Park and then the usual deals on Airbnb and Stayz (and others!)
Visit Lane Poole Reserve
If you haven’t been to this amazing place before, do yourself a favour and head down for the day, or for a weekend. It is truly magic.