Published: February 8th 2012January 28th 2012
Blackwood River at our campsite
Alexandra Bridge Camping Site and the Blackwood River
The Blackwood River is a major river and catchment in the South West of Western Australia. The river begins at the junction of the Arthur and Balgarup Rivers near Quelarup and travels in a south westerly direction through the town of Bridgetown then through Nannup until it discharges into the Southern Ocean at Hardy Inlet near the town of Augusta. Hardy Inlet has a number of islands - namely Molloy Island and Thomas Island. The mouth of the river has attracted interest in its various points of opening and closing over the last 100 years, Duke Head at the west side being a benchmark location for the shifting mouth.
The river has 41 tributaries including Dinninup Brook, Balingup Brook, St John Brook, Boyup Brook, Tweed River, Ti Tree Gully, Christmas Creek and Tanjannerup Creek. The upper catchment area of the river is in agricultural areas, while the middle catchment area passes through forest areas, and the lower portion of the river passes into mixed forest, agricultural and residential lands.
It was first discovered by Captain (later Admiral Sir) James Stirling in 1827
our waterfront property....
and named in honour of Henry Blackwood, under whom Stirling had served as a youngster.
Alexandra Bridge, near Augusta, where the Brockman Highway crosses the Blackwood River is a great little camping area, complete with boat ramp and flushing toilet (and outside cold shower). Just 26 klms from the small coastal town of Augusta and just 12 Klm from Karridale where there was a general store, fuel and a pub. This was a great spot to camp and see the surrounding areas and enjoy the river, and importantly, a spot to relax after the excitement of Bunbury the previous week.
Most of our time here was spent swimming; it was extremely hot whilst we were here, way over the average for the region, with most of the locals complaining. The river was just great, being far enough inland to only have a hint of salt from the influence of the sea, although I noticed that the tidal influence was still quite strong with a rise and fall at our campsite of about 300mm. We were surprised to see Dolphins late one night in the river at the campsite, not sure what would bring them this far inland; possibly
Our 'fellow' Victorian neighbours..Johann and Stephanie in pic.
chasing schools of bait fish, or, maybe ridding themselves of parasites in the brackish water, it was a great sight. Speaking of fish, the river was full of Black Bream and we enjoyed them for dinner on a few occasions over our week here. Over the week we became friends with another Victorian family doing the ‘big trip’, Johann and Maria and their two lovely young girls had also left Vic around the same time that we had, visiting many spots we had also been. I went fishing with Johann in his boat and enjoyed the beauty of the river downstream towards Augusta whilst attempting to beat Maria’s record of a 410mm Bream…no chance although we did catch good sized fish.
But it was the swimming which was the main attraction for us and even though we were here during a record hot spell, the swimming would be great here anytime. We could go in where we were camped at our ‘riverside property,’ or there were some specific swimming spots near the day area of the camp ground that provided easy access. It was at one of these spots that one day whilst swimming there was a splash behind
Trish relaxing and enjoying the 'serenity'
us and upon turning back to the bank we saw Jackie swimming out to us,she had dived in, she has never done that before! Yes, it was hot, and yes she loves the water, but never has she dived in or gone of her own accord where she could not touch the bottom. From that day on when we dived in we had to turn around to see if Jackie was following us! We all had lots of fun swimming here and enjoying the river.
Whilst here we did a couple of trips to Augusta and Hamlin Bay. One day we went in to Augusta & it was that hot we headed straight for the beach at Flinders Bay, a scenic and safe swimming beach and dog friendly too! I think every one of the locals were there that day!
Hamelin Bay on the southwest coast is a serene open sandy bay, famous for the abundance of stingrays which frequent the bay. Lots of people who visit here snorkel around the bay to enjoy a personal interaction with these remarkable sting rays and see them close up in their natural habitat. Measuring up to two metres across, the
Neil the Duck went fishing on Johann's boat for Black Bream...he had seen everyone else catching them!!
friendly stingrays will swim around you. They can also be seen close to the shore feeding off the scraps left by fishermen, this alone was enough to keep me out of the water as all I could think of is the warning signs at many beaches around here that says “Offal Attracts” with a picture of a large fin below these words!
Alexandra Bridge was a great stop and we enjoyed a fantastic week here as well as meeting some new friends that we feel sure we will come across again in our travels up the west coast.
There are more photos below