Upper Murray River, Dwellingup Trip

Upper Murray River, Dwellingup Trip

Dwellingup, Lane Pool Reserve and the Murray River which runs through the middle have been a favourite haunt of mine since I first got into the world of off-road vehicles and camping. Problem is, I’m not the only one! And a few unpleasant experiences in a row involving drunken rowdy teenagers ripping skids next to my swag at night has seen me steer clear of the place for a while (blasting off my truck horn off in their camp the next morning was extremely satisfying by the way). But a recent mission to follow the Murray River from it’s upper reaches right down to the entry station unveiled a world of new campsites, and nearly took it’s toll on my vehicle.


The Long Gully bridge (Now burned to a crisp by a bushfire as of March 2015)

On a sneaky mid-week trip I returned to the Upper Murray with Tony; who is also a keen 4wd adventurer and camper, with a bit of fisherman in the mix too. We were on a mission: to make this blog post, catch some Redfin and create the first ever Video for Intents Offroad! (embedded in the bottom of this post).

We tackled the journey by heading through Boddington which is around 130km from the Perth city centre via Albany Hwy. From Boddington, follow the Bannister Marradong rd which will change to Pinjarra Williams rd (yep, we did get lost a lot). From there you’ll hang a left onto Lower Hotham rd and turn right at the end onto Harvey Quindanning rd which will become gravel after a while and run right alongside the river.

The long gully bridge used to mark the start of your journey down the river, until it burned down in early 2015. It has since been replaced, but is only a foot bridge.

Back track onto the gravel road and you might be lucky enough to spot a piece of scrap tin saying “Tumlo Tank”. This is where you need to turn to get back to the river, and to the Tumlo Crossing if you fancy driving through the river, and a few established campsites around the place too. We had our first shot at fishing here, and unlike last time, I took 5 casts of the lure and didn’t immediately catch a Redfin! Tony did end up in the river though. HA!

Tony lines up the Tumlo Crossing

We moved on following whichever track kept us closest to the river, which often meant lots of screeching of sticks along paintwork and many a dead end. That’s all part of the adventure game though, and it also lead to unexpected bog holes, hill climbs, campsites and potential fishing spots. We stopped many times on our journey downstream to wet a line at some promising looking fishing spots, and that’s about as far as it got. No fish! Tony still ended up on his arse every time he stepped out of his vehicle though. It’s like every time that bloke looks at mud he just gets weak at the knee’s a collapses into it. Maybe that’s linked to his love of driving bog holes?

Tony punts through another cess-pit.

Eventually we pulled up at one of probably hundreds of riverside campsites where hidden snags took most of my lures and we started our fire like real men with my Bear Grylls knife and flint. Seeing as catching fish for dinner was my entire plan, I was left eating a tin of baked beans that night. I took the sting out of that failure by cooking up a chocolate damper from a packet mix, better than I expected it to be given that it was a year past it’s best before….

camping-dwellingup-murray-river-nissan-patrol-intents-offroadAs this was only a one night trip for us, we took it easy the next morning until the flies roared in and gave us hell. Aerogard helped a little, throwing some green branches on the fire helped more and we both ate our breakfast in the smoke, chasing it around the fire rather than trying to escape it like you normally would. Once you meet up with Howse Drive you can make an exit via the little causeway over the river. The tracks become a well established gravel road, corrugated badly in some parts and there were a few tree’s down when we went through; but mostly in good shape. This will take you back to Pinjarra Williams Rd, where turning left takes you right into the heart of Dwellingup.

Right. So you wanna see this new video? Whoop! There it is! Right below here.

Stay tuned for a future multiple-day adventure to follow the river as far along as possible!


Alex Garner



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    • Alex Garner
      November 21, 19:36 Reply
      Thanks a bunch mate :) I can't believe you haven't been out there yet! Great spot if you've just got a quick night to get away. And I swear you can actually catch fish there haha.
    • Alex Garner
      November 21, 19:37 Reply
      Thanks Linda, you keep reading and I'll keep providing :)
  1. Rhys Maylam
    November 21, 23:38 Reply
    Fantastic first video, Alex. I have driven past Dwellingup so many times on the way to Harvey, Brunswick, or just down south in general it's not funny! Can't wait to head out and check it out. As for your videos, you'll be the next Graham Cahill in no time ;-)
  2. Julia
    November 22, 07:06 Reply
    Really well done and interesting tips too
  3. Steve H
    May 24, 07:59 Reply
    Hi Alex Just came across your web site by accident today and was pleasantly surprised to find such a professional site being produced here in W.A. Instead of constantly reading about Fraser bleeding island or Morton here was a site I could relate to. Awesome!!! Keep up the good work hope to see you out on the tracks some time. Just out of curiosity do you still live in the Byford area as I live in Cardup
    • Alex Garner
      May 24, 12:08 Reply
      Thanks for that Steve! I greatly appreciate comments like yours, and you're damn right; there's heaps of stuff coming out of the east and not enough of the west! I'm no longer in Byford, I'm 10 minutes north of there now but I'm down that way quite often. Give me a wave if you see me out and about, I'll do my best to wave back! :)
  4. Great post mate i love the Dwellingup area, i head down there a bit i usually head straight past the ranger station / Lane Poole reserve entry then take driver road and then a few lets say very unused tracks to get to my little getaway or home away from home.... however just downloaded your files as i think i'll give your trip a go nextime im down that way im only here in Armadale so easy as.... Usually take my father with me to get him outta the house lol
    • Alex Garner
      May 28, 19:51 Reply
      It's one of my favourite areas too mate! I used to frequent the Baden Powel campground which I think might be day use only now? That was until the couple of bad experiences there with rowdy campers. And now you have to book everything, and sites are laid out for caravans, tents, groups or motorhomes. I've got in trouble before when my roof top tent setup didn't conform to one of those categories! Now I do as you do and head further out the back to find my own slice of peace and quiet.
  5. Steve H
    June 07, 07:40 Reply
    Hi Alex Just got back from three days down that way following a number of the tracks in your video. Man the fires really did some damage to a huge area and sadly as you mentioned the big wooden train bridge is no more. Really interesting how the forest regenerates so quickly. The river crossing featured is flowing nicely and although I chose a spot to camp a little further up the river the camp area there is really nice. For anyone heading that way shortly its quite muddy and very slippery parts of roads are washed out and the South Junction Form is currently closed; major rain in that area (read major bog holes on track) Will sure give you a wave if I see you out and about. My D40's easy to spot it's got bigezi written on it's nose and a pile of dive stickers on it's butt.
    • Alex Garner
      June 08, 08:38 Reply
      Yeah it's really sad that the rail bridge burned down, it was beautiful! I'll hopefully get down there again this winter and wouldn't mind seeing how the forest has regenerated as you said. Pretty amazing how nature can recover! Sounds like you really enjoyed your trip though mate, such a quiet back to nature getaway eh?
  6. nic
    June 10, 19:20 Reply
    Hey wana do this trip the weekend but it says your download links have expired?
  7. rolly
    October 24, 09:14 Reply
    another top trip and some great water crossings, great work guys
  8. Gavin
    April 07, 17:52 Reply
    Hi Alex, Have enjoyed reading and watching your series of videos. I was hoping to get some help from you getting your waypoints and GPS tracks into either Google Earth or Hema 4WD ipad app. Ive been struggling to get the two programs to talk to each other. Any help you could offer would be great. Thanks in advance. Gavin
  9. Don
    May 03, 16:30 Reply
    Hi Alex :) Sorry mate, but can you please put some of the GPS locations (or directions) in your post above.... as I tried downloading the waypoints, but its in Hema "Logic", so I can't easily see where your waypoints/directions are. From Harvey Quindanning rd, I assume you took the turnoff right onto Long Gully Road, but where do you go from there? Cheers :) Don
  10. Cos
    July 11, 07:04 Reply
    Hi Alex Great work with your blog very impressed mate. We have a convoy of vehicles heading down to Dwellingup this weekend , and would love to do your track. Our Vehicles are not extreme and in most cases are just stock. Would you recommend your track and if so can you give us some pointers on where we should start and where we can camp. We need an area big enough for 5 Vehicles
    • Alex Garner
      July 11, 12:35 Reply
      Thanks Cos! Yeah good option doing that track, it's mostly very easy driving, a few bog holes about the place which can be avoided if you like, and tough hill climbs are few and far between. As for a campsite that would accommodate 5 vehicles, this shouldn't be too hard. The one spot that I am aware of which could certainly fit 5 vehicles is near tumlo crossing, not far from where the rail bridge burned down. GPS 33° 0'38.23"S, 116°15'20.52"E Have an awesome time!
  11. Cos
    July 17, 16:24 Reply
    Alex Great weekend thanks for your advice Couple of deep mud holes but all good fun.
  12. Ian
    September 13, 18:02 Reply
    Hello alex. Really enjoyed video again.!! I wached several times already. But i can't dowload or open this file on my tablet and pc. Would you be able to send me waypoints?? Thank you very much.

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