Travel

The Cascades
Pemberton, Western Australia

December 17, 2018

When we first contemplated the purchase of a property in Pemberton, one of the positives of the location we ended up buying was its close proximity to the Cascades. The series of limestone shelves on the Lefroy Brook make for spectacular rapids in winter and in summer, a cool and secluded spot to poke around. Other local waterways such as the East Brook and Big Brook flow into the Lefroy Brook catchment that eventually work its way to the Warren River at a point 25km from the river mouth.

One of the many interesting and rare native species that pass up through the Cascades each year to spawn is an eel-like prehistoric creature called a pouched lamprey. Loving smoked eel, I’d imagined experimenting with these lampreys in a similar way but given their small size and protected status this thought has stayed just that. They’re the only surviving species of the genus Geotria and a living example of a group of jawless fish which dominated the oceans long before the evolution of sharks and modern bony fish. In July / August when the waterways are raging after winter storms, thousands of young adult lampreys migrate downstream to the ocean to disappear into the depths, returning in a year or two to repeat the cycle. Quite extraordinary and industrious neighbours best left to go about their business as they’ve done for hundreds of years.

In the early days of forestry, a network of rail lines were built through the forest to transport the felled timber to the Pemberton Mill. The only line still in operation is for a tourist tram that stops at the Cascades, allowing passengers to view this main tourist attraction; the remaining evidence of a now very reduced timber industry slowly being subsumed back into the forest.

 

Lookout platforms and a 1.2 km loop walk trail provide vantage points to view the rapids and surrounding forest at the southern end of the Gloucester National Park. The colourful textures of lichen and fungi in abundance no matter the season.

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