opinion

What I See with Peter Fiorenza: Memories flow of a fun childhood playing along the Chapman River

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Clarrie the dog enjoys the Chapman River Regional Park.
Camera IconClarrie the dog enjoys the Chapman River Regional Park. Credit: Supplied, James Thompson

The Chapman River played a significant role in my childhood. And not just mine.

Growing up, I and many others spent time along its banks, either riding our bikes, building cubby houses in the trees or creating makeshift rafts straight out of the pages of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

Well, maybe that’s stretching the imagination, but the little river does evoke some fond memories.

Now, it certainly is no great water system, but I reckon it is a wonderful gem in our part of the world.

Now, it certainly is no great water system, but I reckon it is a wonderful gem in our part of the world.

The Chapman River is no Yarra, Torrens or Swan, however along with the Greenough River, it creates a unique fresh-water experience in this part of WA. In recent times, I have come to appreciate some of the terrific recreational options there are around Geraldton in respect to open space.

My two dogs and I regularly visit the acres of parkland north and south of the city like Eadon Clarke Reserve, along with Greenough Oval and the Recreation Ground.

Lately the dogs and I have discovered the Chapman Regional Park Trail.

If you venture to a little carpark just behind the Brigades Football Club oval, you will find a sign-posted entrance and a gate. Beyond is a bitumen track that stops under a bridge.

From here, there is an option right, heading inland or left, heading under the bridge and towards the ocean.

The inland option gives you the choice of a wide track for running or cycling, or a more subtle, overgrown version along the grassy banks.

And before you know it, the sounds of traffic disappear and are replaced by the trickle of the muddy soup that is the Chapman.

Right now, the river is fuller than it has been for some time, and, in parts, the water is racing through.

The Mid West has experienced some wonderful winter rains, coupled with days of brilliant sunshine that has created such a fresh environment.

The regional parkland is not just a great place to take your dogs, but also for walking, hiking, mountain biking and so much more.

Get out and see the beautiful wildflowers, but remember there are also some unique opportunities literally in our backyard.

And our little Chapman River is certainly one of those.

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