The West

4WD: Relaxing bush break
Use the jetty to launch a canoe on Cranebrake's peaceful waters. Picture:  Copyright GBTW 

Pleasant bush camping spots are a treat, and finding one that is particularly well maintained is worth a mention.

Canebrake Pool is formed by a gentle loop of the upper reaches of the Margaret River in Rapids Conservation Park, 25km south of Busselton. Access is via Chapman Hill Road and Canebrake Road along an unsealed but well- maintained and graded road.

Tucked in to the banks of the sheltered pool is a delightful day- use picnic spot and long-drop sealed-vault toilets are provided.

Woodchip-covered paths are considerately provided around the sites to keep your feet clean and encourage campers to avoid the destruction of bush in the area.

There are seven designated camping sites, with most suitable for a small van or camper-trailer. We had no trouble staying within our designated bay, complete with large four-wheel-drive and full-size camper.

Each site is equipped with a solid picnic table and that mandatory essential in this brisk weather - a permanent fire ring.

We were delighted to find a well-stocked woodpile with plenty of timber to keep the chill at bay, although at this time of year we were grateful to have solid fibreglass rather than canvas walls in the morning snap.

Snoozing by the peaceful waters in the wintry afternoon sun after a brisk walk was the perfect way to spend the weekend. The Rapids picnic area 2km upstream is popular with day-trippers or walkers of the historic Augusta- Busselton Heritage Trail established in the 1830s.

In addition to bushwalking through the surrounding jarrah-marri forest, camping at Canebrake Pool provides the option for gentle canoeing and, in warmer months, swimming.

Fishing and marroning are also popular pursuits. Margaret River is home to the hairy marron, unique to the region. Before trying to catch your dinner, you'll need to obtain a licence and be aware that restricted seasons and bag limits apply.

It's a bonus to be able to take along your dog to enjoy the weekend away - although they must be on a leash at all times.

For those who like to camp peacefully by night and explore by day, Canebrake is a pleasant country drive 26km north-east of Margaret River.

With so many wineries, breweries and restaurants offering lunch there's no need to do more for dinner than open the cheese, unpack the pate, add olives and bikkies and graze over a local red.

Department of Environment and Conservation bush sites are budget-friendly at $7/adult or $2/child per night. Payment is by self-registration on site. Sites cannot be booked in advance.

Contact details are available at

The West Australian

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