Thomsons Lake Walk (Walk #2)


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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see Photo Galleries)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references


 Walk map  Photo
Click on map for large version.

Among Swamp Paperbarks,  banksias,

and Flooded Gum on northern fringe

of Thomsons Lake,  Dec. 2005.

Click on photo for larger version.

More photos.

 3D map view



 Google Map

Using this map.



 Additional Satellite Imagery

Click here

for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area. -Use zoom bar

for road details.

For Google Earth  users

Step 1: Left Click here

For fly-in to waypoints and route

 on image of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Step 2: Left Click here

For fly-in to 3D view

 of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

in Google Earth to "3" (via 'Tools' menu, 'Options' & 'View' tab).


   Route profile



 Walk description  
Location :

25 kms south of Perth. 

Length :

9 field kms (all on-track).

Degree of difficulty :

EASY    (What does this mean?)

Also suitable for Nordic Walking.

Amount of uphill walking : 80m (cumulative ascent)
GPS-required :


Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

Kwinana Fwy south to Russell Road exit (next exit after Armadale Road exit), then west on Russell Road for 3 kms to reach an off-road unsealed parking area on the right at the entrance gate to the Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve. The reserve is protected on all sides by a 2m high vermin fence . 

Escape route/s :

Not applicable. 

Main features


This walk is not a 'serious' bushwalk but more an easy stroll around Thomsons Lake (also known as Jilbup Lake), with short diversions into the surrounding woodlands, and perhaps a chance to test your GPS navigation skills if you are new to GPS. 

The Lake is just one  of several in the two chains of  lakes and swamps along the Swan Coastal Plain which together form the Beeliar Wetlands.  More than 75% of these wetlands have now been filled or drained for urban development. The small Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve covers an area of only 551ha but is one of the few remaining good wetland environments. It is a Class 'A' reserve and is listed as an internationally important conservation reserve for migratory birds. Early summer mornings are a good time for the walk (especially for keen birdspotters) as the Lake attracts more than 10,000 waterbirds in early to mid-summer before it almost dries out each year. 

Although the Lake is surrounded by a narrow belt of rushes and grasses, there are also areas of various different vegetation types, including jarrah-banksia woodlands on the surrounding higher ground and a zone of Flooded Gums and Swamp Paperbarks on the lower ground. About 3 kms of the walk passes through the higher, shaded woodland areas and the remainder is close to the lake and exposed. 

Aside from the birdlife, there is also a range of other wildlife including the Western Grey kangaroo (which  became over-abundant in the past but is currently under control through DEC's reserve management programme), plus echidnas, and several reptile species including tiger snakes which you are unlikely to see, but take care!

Additional maps :

WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.

Other:   Fremantle 1:25,000 2033-I, SW sheet (Dept. of Lands & Survey, 1979; Series R811) -available on DVD.

Other background references :

"Thomsons Lake" from Wikipedia - includes a useful brief summary of the flora and fauna and geomorphology.

Travellers guide to the Parks & Reserves of Western Australia by Simon Nevill, 2001, p. 31 (Simon Nevill Publications), includes a brief summary of the Reserve. 

Visit Frank O'Connors website for a bird spotter's summary.

Family Walks in Perth Outdoors, CALM, rev. edn. 2000, pp.166-167, includes a mud map and description for the Thomsons Lake Trail, a 5.7 km on-track loop walk around the lake.

"Beeliar Regional Park Final Management Plan" by Dept. of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), 2006. See pdf version provides a regional perspective on the significance of the Reserve.

"Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve  Management Plan" by Dept. of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), May 2005. - Provides some good background on the Reserve management issues.

"Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands: Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes"  by Dept. of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), Nov. 2003.

Route notes :


The route is entirely on existing tracks.   Although GPS is certainly not required to navigate around the lake, you will probably still find it useful in the northern woodland area because i) markers for the 'official' trails through the Reserve have not been well maintained, and ii) the route does not follow any particular single existing 'trail'.

Start north toward the Lake from the Russell Road park entrance ('START') and at waypt '2' turn right to follow a foot-track  via '3' through pleasant banksia-dominated woodland. You can make short off-track diversions to the left of the track  to obtain views of the Lake through the trees.  At 'TRN' the track turns left and downhill, passing through Swamp Paperbarks  to reach (at '4') a wider  track close to the Lake. Turn right and follow the track around the eastern side of the Lake past Flooded Gums, Melaleucas and rushes for just over 2 kms to reach a T-junction at waypt '9' in the north. (Note: During winter and spring the track often becomes quite waterlogged in places between waypts '6' and '8', so be ready to get your footwear soaked at that time of year!).  Turn left at '9' and walk about 200m toward the Lake, past the rushes, to get a closer view of the waterbirds (more than 50 species visit the Lake). You are also likely to see raptors (Swamp Harrier and Little Eagle) circling overhead. Then  retrace your steps and continue north on the track past '9'.  Turn sharp left at '11' to follow a track gently uphill through mixed banksia forest and past some large old Swamp Paperbarks. On reaching a track intersection at '13' turn right (NW) and follow the foot-track steadily uphill through jarrah-banksia woodland (and occasional large Tuart trees). A few metres before the track meets the Reserve boundary fence, turn left at '14' and follow an old track which runs parallel to the fence (due south) for almost 500m.  Veer SE (toward your left) at '15', cross another vehicle track at 'TRK' and follow a foot-track downhill via '15A', '15B' to get back to the track around the lake at '16'.   Follow the lakeside track to waypt '20', then turn right (south) to get back to the Start point.



 Waypoint listing


Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..."  if you wish  to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX  file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software.  If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk Map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)


Route list :

Projection : UTM       Datum : Australian Geodetic 1984      Zone :  50

Waypt name         Easting      Northing            Comments

START       389309  6441034    Start at Reserve entrance on Russell Rd.

2           389394  6441206

3           389567  6441093

TRN         390006  6441233    Track turns sharp left.

4           389856  6441446

5           390124  6441636

6           390257  6442223

7           390142  6442630

8           389762  6443009

9           389474  6443103

10          389398  6442918

11          389549  6443362   

12          389066  6443313    Turn left into side track.

13          388648  6443128    Track intersection. Turn right.

14          388298  6443459    Just before reaching bdy fence. Turn left(sth).

15          388314  6443024    Veer left.

TRK         388350  6442990    Cross old vehicle track.

15A         388459  6442782    On foot-track.

15B         388468  6442665

16          388598  6442615

17          388535  6442030

18          388670  6441572

19          388999  6441292

20          389387  6441308    Turn right(south).

END         389309  6441034


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This page was last updated  :   24 March, 2017

 Site authored by David Osborne.  Photographs and text are copyright  2003-2013 David Osborne.