Dwellingup is a small town with a population of 350 people an hour south of Perth in Western Australia. It may be small, but it punches above its weight in adventure.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Nyoongar people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

About Dwellingup

Surrounded by Jarrah forest, Dwellingup is situated near the Murray River in the Darling Ranges south of Perth. The scenery is stunning, varying from steep heavily forested valleys to fast flowing water with lengthy flat sections. There’s abundant wildlife and beautiful springtime wildflowers.


Dwellingup History

Dwellingup is a Noongar word for place of nearby water in the local Pinjarup language. The history of Dwellingup revolves around the timber and fruit growing industries. It’s also near one of the biggest bauxite mines in the world. In 1961, a bushfire burnt through the town destroying 135 houses, but no lives were lost.


The tall trees used for timber

How to Get to Dwellingup

Dwellingup is just over an hour from Perth in the Darling Ranges. To get there, most people drive south of Perth along the South Western Highway and turn left onto Del Park Rd or Pinjarra Williams Rd.

Things to do at Dwellingup

Dwellingup’s catch phrase is ’Where Trails Meet’, and that is so true. Whether you like to be on two feet, two wheels or paddling, there’s much adventure to choose from.


Murray River rapid paddling


It’s all about variety when it comes to Dwellingup’s trails. Whatever your fitness levels or experience, there’s something to suit you. There are three main areas that attract active outdoor types:

  • Lane Poole Reserve is 50,000 acres of Jarrah forest plantation where the Murray River winds its way downhill to the coast
  • Marrinup is an old timber town that became a POW camp during WWII for Italians and Germans brought to Australia as a farming workforce
  • Turner Hill off Del Park Road to Dwellingup is where you’ll find mountain bike country

Dwellingup Hiking Trails

The Bibbulmun Track (1000km), from Kalamunda to Albany passes through Dwellingup. The nearest Bibbulmun shelters are Chadoora (20.7km) to the north and Swamp Oak (13.3km) to the south.

The King Jarrah Walk (18km) starts at Nanga Mill Campsite in Lane Poole Reserve follows the Murray River and then loops back through the Jarrah forest. Around halfway is an amazing specimen of old growth Jarrah tree which is over 250 years old.

The Chuditch Walk Trail in Lane Poole Reserve has three loop options, a short 6km, medium 7km, and long 9km. It can be walked either direction from the Chuditch Camping Ground to Nanga Mill or vice versa.

The Marrinyup POW camp is a fascinating 4.5km loop in an area once used as a POW camp during WWII. Prisoners of war were brought from Libya and India to help with the Australian workforce. You can find info about the camp on the panels at the trailhead.


Entrance to the Marrinyup POW camp


Nanga Brook Walk Trail is 4km return from Nanga townsite to Nanga Mill alongside a picturesque brook that runs into the Murray River.

Island Pool Walk Trail is a 2km loop walk from Island Pool Day Use Area. It’s a fairly easy hike, although half of it is uphill.

Marrinup Falls Walk is a quite and enjoyable 1.6km bush walk, just up from the old Marrinup Town site.

Read more: What to Pack in Your Hiking First Aid Kit

Dwellingup Mountain Bike Trails

The Munda Biddi which translates as path through the forest in the local Noongar language, is a long-distance mountain bike trail of 1000km. It starts at Mundaring in the Perth Hills and winds its way south to Albany. The Dandalup Hut is 42km north of Dwellingup and Bidjar Ngoulin Hut is 30.7km south.


Getting air on the trails


The Waterous Trail through Lane Poole Reserve is a 70km mountain bike ride, utilising the Bidjar Ngoulin, Nanga Mill, and Waroona Dam camps.

Murray Valley Mountain Bike network is a series of trails on the southside of the Murray River. There are 16 individual trails totalling 35km ranging from green, blue, and black gradings. A Shuttle Road caters for those who want to avoid the uphills but still ride the heart pumping downhills. Trails are purpose built with large tabletops, step ups and downs, rollers, and berms. The trail names are amusing, Busted Nuts being my favourite.


Murray trails


Go Loco (18km) is an easy trail along the railway line to Etmilyn Station. Just watch out for the train on the weekend.

Dwellingup Mountain Bike Trails are in the forest between Dwellingup and the old townsite of Marrinup. 11 trails add up to 17km with gradings of white, green, and blue, which can also be joined together to create a much longer trail.

Turner Hill Trail (11km) is a spur off Munda Biddi and is rated intermediate. There’s a 5km shortcut and a 1km green loop for kids as well.

Dwellingup River Trails

Yarrigal to Nanga Bridge is an 11.5km Upper Murray paddle, best tackled in the summer months before the rain arrives. Yarrigal to Bobs Crossing during late winter is another great self-guided white-water paddle.

If you’re keen to paddle but don’t own your own watercraft, equipment can be hired at Dwellingup Adventures.


Canoeing the Murray River

Dwellingup Bridle Trails

Dwellingup even has a trail for the horse lovers amongst us! The Les Couzens Bridle Trail is a moderately rated 18.5km horse trail that begins at the town oval in Dwellingup and loops through Lane Poole Reserve back to town, taking you and your pony pal through Jarrah forest and pine plantations.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Hotham Valley Tourist Railway

For a change of pace and mode of transport, Dwellingup is the home for Hotham Valley Tourist Railway. The pride and joy is a beautifully restored steam locomotive that travels 14km into the forest to Etmilyn.

There’s a 1km Forest Walk next to the Etmilyn train siding. The Steam Ranger as it’s called, runs on Sundays between May and October when the weather is cooler and wetter. The Forest Train and Restaurant Train run all year.


Etmilyn Station

Places to Stay in Dwellingup

Like its trails, Dwellingup has accommodation options for all styles and budgets. Whether it’s pitching your tent, bedding down in hiker’s rooms or lashing out on a cottage or retreat, the choice is yours.

Lane Poole Reserve is the hub of all things camping. There are nine campgrounds within the reserve, ranging from peaceful tent sites to campgrounds for large groups and caravans. Make sure you book online before driving in as there isn’t any phone coverage in the park.


Nanga Camp


The Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi trails feature regularly spaced shelters to accommodate hikers and mountain bikers. The shelters are not accessible by car and facilities are limited to rainwater tanks and drop toilets. Be aware that the Bibbulmun is a hikers only trail.


Camping on the Bibbulmun track


Dwellingup Chalets and Caravan Park has a lovely forest setting and doesn’t feel like a busy caravan park. The camping and caravan sites are situated in the Jarrah trees. The caravan park also has cabins and hikers’ rooms. When you have been out on the long trails, these rooms are basic but perfect for being in town.

Dwellingup has its fair share of country cabins to share with friends. They’re usually on farm properties or in town and include places like Nobel River Estate, Dwellingup Retreat, and Dwellingup Forest Lodge.

Another option is the Dwellingup Hotel and Motel or the Dwelly Pub, which is also a great place for an after trail meal.

Skill Level

The best thing about Dwellingup’s trails is there’s something for everyone, from short flat walks to long distance (1000km) trails. There are kid-friendly MTB trails and black grade MTB to challenge experienced riders.


Activities for any skill level

Essential Gear for Dwellingup

  • Water
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Mountain bike (or hire from Dwellingup Adventures)
  • Bike helmet (if mountain biking)
  • First aid kit
  • Personal floatation device (if kayaking)

Tips For Visiting Dwellingup

Dwellingup is an year-round destination. Summer can be hot and dry and winter is often very wet and freezing on clear nights.

Weekends and school holidays are busy, so book accommodation and camping well in advance.

Dwellingup FAQs

Where is Dwellingup located?

Dwellingup is 108km south of Perth in the Darling Ranges.

How do you get to Dwellingup?

Drive south from Perth, on the South Western Highway. Turn left onto Del Park Road or Pinjarra Williams Road.

Are Dwellingup trails good for beginners?

Yes! There are a range of trails that are good for beginners and others for experienced hikers and riders.

Can you swim at Dwellingup?

You can swim at Dwellingup in the Murray River which is located in Lane Poole Reserve.

Do you need a 4WD to get to Dwellingup?

You don’t need a 4WD in Dwellingup however some roads are gravel and there are 4WD tracks around.