Donnelly River

Donnelly River Village to Pemberton | Distance: 109km

Along The Track

The Donnelly River is a companion for much of this section as the Track wends its way through the river valley. This translates into some very challenging walking on some parts. In fact it has some of the toughest hills on the Track in one area. It is balanced though with riverside campsites, restful swimming holes and some of the best old-growth karri forest in the south west. In late spring this section comes alive with colour and walkers will be amazed at the variety of flowering plants. The challenge of the hills is diminished a little by the easy walks along the old rail formations. Indeed there is much forest railway history along the Donnelly. How many old trestle bridges across the river can you spot along the way? Further south Carey Brook offers a great spot for lunch with its cascading waterfall - a precursor to the larger waterfall at Beedelup Falls. Walkers soon reach Pemberton but not before traversing the crystal clear waters and bird life at Big Brook Dam. Through walkers will need to carry food for five days on this section.

Find out more in Along the Track.


  • Donnelly River Village - an old mill town converted into a holiday village with abundant kangaroos, emus and other birds.
  • The historic One Tree Bridge shows how difficult it was to build a bridge across the Donnelly River.
  • Chappels Bridge - a pleasant picnic spot with vehicle access, table and toilets along the banks of the Donnelly River.
  • Beedelup Falls complete with a lookout and swing bridge.
  • Big Brook Dam - a great spot to start or finish your walk. There is a loop trail from the Bibbulmun Track across the dam wall to the picnic area with tables and toilets.

Interesting Places

  • The Donnelly River Tourist Drive takes you from the historic mill town of Donnelly River Village through the magnificent karri forest to One Tree Bridge where the remains of the old bridge, constructed in 1904 from one fallen Karri Tree, is a testament to the ingenuity of the early pioneers to the region.
  • Beedleup Falls, in the Beedelup National Park is a pleasant 10 metre waterfall nestled within the karri forest featuring towering karri trees. A loop walk will take you through Karri Valley.
  • Pemberton's Big Brook Dam provides a glorious setting for a freshwater swim, canoe or nature walk. Surrounded by karri forest, it’s a great spot to soak in the crystal blue water by a sandy beach.
  • The Big Brook Arboretum features trees from around the world. Meander through the plots that take you through a collection of trees which were initially planted to determine their resilience to the soil conditions and climate.

Day Walks

  1. Donnelly River Village to Twin Bridges via Tom Road campsite one-way (17km). To get to the finish of this walk, travel along Donnelly Drive from the Village until you reach the second set of twin bridges on Panda Rd.
  2. One Tree Bridge to Tom Rd campsite and back (22.1km). From Manjimup take Graphite Rd for 20.9km to One Tree Bridge.
  3. One Tree Bridge to Chappels Bridge and back (21km).
  4. Beedelup Falls to Beedelup campsite and back (3km).  From Pemberton travel west on the Vasse Highway for 21km. Watch for signs to Beedelup Falls after Channybearup Rd.
  5. Beedelup Falls to Big Brook Dam one-way (18.9km).
  6. Pemberton to Beedelup Falls one-way (25.3km). Follow the South Western Highway to Manjimup. Drive another 16km south until you reach the Pemberton turnoff. Drive another 16km along the Vasse Highway to Pemberton.

Overnight Walks

  1. Donnelly River Village to Tom Road campsite and back (32km, two days, one night).
  2. Donnelly River to One Tree Bridge one-way (27.1km, two days, one night).
  3. Donnelly River to Pemberton one-way (101.6km, five days, four nights).
  4. One Tree Bridge to Pemberton one-way (74.5km, four days, three nights).

Getting There

To drive to Donnelly River, take the South Western Highway via Balingup to Bridgetown. Turn right onto the Brockman Highway soon after crossing the Blackwood River Bridge at the south end of the main street in Bridgetown. Turn left into Mokerdillup Rd and follow signs to Donnelly River Village.

There is no public transport to Donnelly River Village. TransWa operate services to Bridgetown and Manjimup daily. A taxi operates from Bridgetown and Manjimup.

Some accommodation providers will transfer you to the Track, provided you are staying with them.

To drive to Pemberton follow the South Western Highway to Manjimup. Drive another 16km south until you reach the Pemberton turnoff. Drive another 16km along the Vasse Highway to Pemberton. TransWA operate services most days to Pemberton via Bridgetown and Manjimup from Perth.

Reflections from the Register

Tom Road campsite

Just the most special walk from DRV to here today. Felt very privileged to be able to see such beauty. This is my first day and if this is any indication of the next few days to Pemberton, I’ll be very happy!
The Plodder 04/05/02

Wow, what a walk! Left Willow Springs this morning. Awesome karri trees. Stopped off at DRV for brunch with the kangaroos and emus then had a nice three and a half hour walk to here. Going to go and rest my feet in the water. What a campsite, hey!
Troy H. 09/09/02

How awesome it is to be in the karri forest! I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. Nice short walk today after resupply at DRV. So to a thought that triggers emotions—as I write this I am about 5km south of the half-way mark. Half-way. This is a daunting thought, not because I have walked half-way, but because I only have half-way to walk. (Ed ???) So now I look forward to more mighty karris, giant tingles and the spectacular south coast—and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Samuel Neil Watts 29/04/04

Nice to be back at Old Tom’s cabin, one of the most beautiful campsites. Our first night out on the Track since our epic trip from Dwellingup to Albany in 2006. The silence, the long green corridors…the sore back…it’s great to be back! Hoping to do a two week walk next winter.
Mountain Tin & Anna 16/11/08

Support bacteria! They are the only culture that some people have!
The Mad Axeman  29/06/10

The chooks at the Donnelly River general store have personality disorders. They are also ugly. Roast chicken on the menu tonight!
Anon 26/10/09

Boarding House campsite

I don’t want to play tomorrow. I have asked my Mum to call the Friends of the Bibbulmun Track and tell them I am sick. I am expecting a magic carpet to arrive soon and whisk me back to a land of  clean sheets and pillows, soft beds and ginormous meals. However if this fails I  will probably hike the “Hills of Death” to Beavis, where I have heard one can view the skeletal remains of hikers who never made it to the top.
Greg 08/11/07

A great walk in—a few pimples to navigate tomorrow, but what could be better than this? What we are finding so interesting is that there is so much history out here. Railway tracks long gone, the ghostly remains of wooden bridges that once traversed the rivers. Hardwood from this part of the south west graced the streets of London and Paris. How is it that this rich and vibrant history has largely not been captured?
Paul & Tris  (end-to-end) 09/11/07

There is nothing you must be
And there is nothing you must become
But it helps to remember
That fire burns and
When the rain falls
The earth gets wet.

No, I don’t know what it means either. I saw it somewhere on a poster. Lots of other walkers write loads of old cobblers in these books so I thought I’d do my bit for the cause.
KMC 18/08/05

Beavis campsite

The section from Boarding House to Beavis may prove to you that it is indeed possible to sweat from your eyeballs. And I never knew it was possible to fit five blisters on one little toe. ’Til Beedelup!
Bitchiker Jodes, 24/11/05

There is a well known Zen quote that says “If a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it, does it make a sound?”
Difficult to answer with authority, but last night we heard a tree fall quite close to the shelter, and it certainly did make a sound. A very loud sound. Luckily I was wearing brown undies. From this experience I would guess that yes, it would make a sound, but more importantly if you were deaf and it fell on you it would definitely hurt.

Ryan 29/12/04

I can’t understand what all the whinging about hills is about. After running up and down about 200 hills between Boarding House and here I still had enough energy to do a pole dance. (I’m lying). Magnificent campsite. I love the big trees.
Trudging Trish 03/01/05

I read this morning in a book by Carlos Castaneda about walking long distances that a good technique is to cross your eyes and look ahead of you just above the horizon. This process is used by the Yaqui Indians in Mexico. It’s kind of like meditation, the aim being to switch off your inner thoughts. I tried it today while walking here and fell flat on my face four times in ten minutes. Maybe something different tomorrow?
Anon  03/04/06

Beedelup campsite

The Pommy Bastards are more than a little sad. Tomorrow is our last day on the Bibbulmun Track. We were to have been end-to-enders but climate and jet-lag combined to curtail stamina and speed in the early days fro Kalamunda. We find we have not enough time left in Oz to complete the walk. We have thoroughly enjoyed our almost five weeks doing our impression of snails (homes on our backs) and we’d like to thank each and everyone involved with the Track—CALM, builders, maintainers, Waugal putter-uppers, and Mayga and Warren for their great support work.
Bill and Audrey (UK)

I have followed my husband for 20 years - this may be the last time! One more wrong turn and he’s out of here! Enjoy the walk, walk, walk, walk…
Colleen S   7/07/00

Track Towns

  • Donnelly River Village

    The half-way point of the Track is the historic mill town of Donnelly River Village (DRV) nestled in the valley of the river from which it was named. DRV is now a holiday village famed for its tame wildlife and tranquil forest setting.

  • Pemberton

    Pemberton is situated in a valley, surrounded by the karri forests of the Gloucester National Park and the Pemberton Forest Park. It is a pretty timber town, which enjoys a cool climate and has a good variety of attractions, so it’s worth planning to stay an extra day or two.


Full weather details available from Donnelly River Villageand Pemberton.

Maps and Guides

Parks and Wildlife Service

Donnelly District

Willow Springs (Gold Gully Rd) to Pingerup Rd
Including Tom Road campsite to Dog Pool campsite

Contact: John McKenzie (
Telephone: (08) 9776 1207

Opening times: 8am - 5pm, Monday to Friday


Kennedy Street

Visitor Information Centres