Georges Frere purchased 1280 acres of land sight unseen on the Georges river in 1889. He built two homes on the land but it turned out the land was extremely rough sandstone and the soil very poor and not suitable for a vineyard. In 1893 the bridge was contracted to be built with George Longhurst laying the stone approaches to the bridge. The bridge greatly improved communication between the towns on either side of the river until the army acquired all of the land on the east side of the river in 1914.
Address: leave your car at end of Freres Road Kentlyn without blocking the gate.
Distance: There are several interesting walks in the reserve. *Roughly 1km walk to the crossing using any of the three tracks available. The old coach road being an easy, flat, slightly sloped dirt road. The walking track/fire track which you can start either at the old car park or at the actual car park is pretty flat and easy with a somewhat steep and scrabbly decline towards the river. The track following the river is flat and easy, if slightly over grown with some steep stairs at the end leading back up to the abandoned old car park. *Its about another 500 metres to the rapids from the crossing if you try to get there that way but the track is horribly over grown and difficult to push through. A better option is the track just a few metres inside the gate you park at. Continue as straight as you can the whole way till you cross through a barbed wire fence then just take a right and continue down to the river. The last bit down to the river is rather steep though.
Note: I am not a great map maker and have a terrible sense of direction so please use this as a rough guide only!
A short walk down from the gate brings you to what was once the parking lot for the reserve.
It has that cool and creepy vibe that abandoned car parks and unused picnic areas get. There are the remains of an old lookout that the surrounding trees have grown too tall for and if you look hard enough, ancient steps that will take you down to the river.
From here it is a short and easy 1km walk on what was once a coach trail down to the river crossing.
The Crossing in November 2019 when the river was running low & March in 2021 a couple of weeks after we had a very large amount of rain.
The road across the river now just leads to a locked gate keeping people out of the military land behind it. There are still remnants of the homes and vineyards that existed inside prior to the land being reclaimed just after the first world war.
A lovely little beach is situated right near the crossing with some gorgeous views of the river.
If you go back up the road a little, past maybe 3 speed humps, you will see a clear track down to the river on your left. The track follows the river, past the beach pictured below on the other side of the river and continues into some nice rainforestey bushland. Eventually this track connects to and leads up to the riverview road firetrails if you are interested in continuing this way.
Just across the river from this beach and not long before the track continues into the forest there is a barely visible track leading up the cliff that will lead right next to the old lookout up above. It was marked with tape when I was there and hopefully still is now.
The remains of the ancient old stairs are still apparent in some places but in others its just a pile of boulders and stones that looks like nothing so much as an accidental trail created by centuries of water runoff. It is a little steep but a fairly quick and safe route back up.
So.. It is technically possible to find your way from Freres crossing to these gorgeous rapids a few hundred metres down the river by following the trail and the river. I say so coz I did do it.. but it is not fun. Its pretty and there are a couple of nice caves along the way but the going is very rough. It is super overgrown and I would have turned back if I did not hear the enticing sound of the rapids close by.
I was stunned when I finally got here by how amazingly beautiful the place is but also relieved to know there was an easier way out and that I would not have to go back the way I came. The track out was steep with some loose rocks but much easier then the bush bashing walk in 🙂
Buffy had the best time ever here and we spent a lot more time here then I had intended, staying till the late afternoon just to enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of the rapidly running river and the tranquil bush land surrounding it.
Just in case the pictures do not show well enough how stunning this area is.. (Sorry my videoing skills are about as good as my mapping skills)
P.S. A couple of photos of Buffy playing peakaboo in the rapids…because Border collies can be so random and coz she is cute!