The Possum Spotlighting Trail is just outside of the small holiday town of Busselton in Western Australia. This short 1.5km trail goes through the Tuart Forest and is designed to be walked at night. However we did it during the day.
Although it is at the location google maps provided the sign post to the car park just said bird hide. Therefore it wasn’t until after we had parked that we were sure we were in the right place.
The history of the Possum Spotlighting Trail and Tuart Forest
Between the car park and the start of the walk there are a number of information boards. If you take the time to read these boards you will learn how the tuart forest is very old. The tuart trees which give the forest its name are very tall and straight. The tallest tree on record was 30 meters high.
Tuart timber was highly prized shortly after the colonisation of the British. It is long, straight, hard and similar in colour to oak. The timber was used mainly for housing, but many of the local butchers also had tuart chopping boards.
As a result of this love for the timber logging became a major trade in the area. The forest once covered the majority of the southern area of Western Australia but now only 2,000ha remains in a protected park just outside of Busselton.
The Tuart forest is situated next to a wet land. A large bird hide is accessible from the car park via a board walk. The hide sits on the edge of the wetland and provides a good place to watch the 300 individual birds and 80 different species which inhabit or visit the wetland throughout the year.
We were visiting in the end of summer and the middle of the day so the water level was low. There was a large expanse of mud between the hide and the waters edge which meant that the birds were not coming very close. However we did see a few different species of ducks and stalks.
The Possum Walk
The loop walk begins by passing the hide and then ventures into the forest. Again because we were visiting at the end of summer everything seemed dead. Although there was a few tuart trees dotted around the vast majority were different. The trail was scattered with dead trees and large logs all lying in very strange shapes. If we had done this at night I think it would have been rather spooky.
This first part of the trail had very little shade and therefore we got rather hot. Make sure you take plenty of water and sunscreen.
The second half of the trail moves more into the forest and a plantation of pine trees. Here there is more shade and we even managed to spot a couple of kangaroos. Unfortunately there was no possums, they were all sleeping. However there was plenty of information boards on them and we did learn some interesting facts.
Night or Day
I think this walk would be better at night because we did not see much. The dead trees would make the walk interesting at night. The path is well marked with reflectors so it would be easy to follow and there would be more chance of finding some interesting wildlife.
During the day it was just too hot and not very interesting. I would not recommended it.