Tag: Hills

The Victoria Reservoir Ramble

Victoria Reservoir, Bickley – A dam good mini adventure

Distance: Two-ish kms depending on how far you go.
Where: Carmel, 40 minutes from Perth
Time: 1 hour max
Difficulty: Easy
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, water, sturdy enclosed shoes.

Why Do This

Not all nature adventures need to be big. Sometimes, just getting get out of the city and into some fresh air is all you need.

No filter, just the very blue water of the new Victoria Dam

The Victoria Reservoir Ramble is exactly that – a smaller walk with a just enough trees and nice dam and city views to make it feel like you’ve been on an adventure. I’m calling it a ‘ramble’ because we didn’t do the actual Victoria Reservoir Walk. We arrived quite late in the day, so we created our own shorter, more leisurely ramble where we explored the new Victoria dam and the ruins of the old one.

While it was on the small side, our rambling version of the walk still provided a number of great photo ops and would make the perfect place for a picnic, or a nice stop on the way to lunch at the Core Cider House. (Try the lemon cider!)

That’s the beauty of a nature adventure – you can make it as long or a short as you like!

Victoria Reservoir Walk viewing platform

Viewing platform that overlooks the new Victoria Dam.


If you do want to a proper bush walk, there is a 6km trail loop that will take you past the old and new Victoria dams and then to an old bridge. From here, take the rocky path uphill all the way and back to the carpark. If you do go, take some pics and let me know what I missed out on!

Map & Directions.



  1. The walk begins in the car park, which shuts at 5pm, and then heads to your left into the bush. This path leads to a wooden platform (reminiscent of my primary school playground) that overlooks the new Victoria Reservoir.
  2.  Walk down to the dam and marvel at blueness of the water.
  3. Head downhill along the bitumen road towards the pumping station. Here you’ll find the remains of the old Victoria Dam.
  4. Next, follow the signs that say to Bickley Dam and stick to the path. You’ll reach an abandoned information building. This is where we turned back, but if you’re in the mood to walk keep on going!

The Mount Cooke Hike

Mount Cooke

A big walk up a big hill for a big view.

Distance: About 12 km
Where: Monadocks National Reserve. About a 1-hour drive from Perth.
Time: 5-6 hours.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. Lengthy with a few steep bits.
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, snacks, water (2L minimum), sturdy enclosed shoes.

Why Do This
Walking up Mount Cooke is an opportunity to do a real hike. You know, the Boy Scout kind where you wear hiking boots, follow a map, and eat trail mix. Just kidding, there’s never a reason to eat trail mix.

Seriously though, this hike does take a least half a day to complete and will put your hill-climbing ability to the test. Don’t let that deter you though, because when you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with a truly impressive 360-degree view of the Darling Ranges and beyond.

Almost at the top of Mount Cooke

Almost at the top.

Map & Directions

If you’re driving from Perth take Albany Highway to the Sullivan Rock picnic area (9km south of the Jarrahdale Rd turnoff). It’s actually quite tricky to find, as the nearby roads on google maps aren’t visible from the highway. So keep an eye out for the red Bibbulmum Track sign on the left and a bushy picnic area on the right side of the road.

  1. Ok, now cross the road (it’s on a bend so be careful) and follow the Bibbibulmun track sign. You’ll reach Sullivan’s Rock, a large rock home to many a lizard sunbaking.
  2. Walk up the rock and head to the left. You’ll see a thin path entering the bush.
  3. This is the track. From now on keep following the little yellow snake markers nailed to trees.

    Bibbilmun Track marker

    Follow this little guy.

  4. You’ll walk for about 1.5 hours through flat scrubby bush. (This is kind of boring but…. deal with it!)
  5. You’ll notice the surrounding bush will start changing to thicker and greener trees. This means you’re almost at the Mt Cooke campsite. Here you can take a break, eat a muesli bar and sign your name in the Bibbulmun track guest book inside that blue box.
  6. Now the uphill climb begins. Keep an eye out for the Monadocks – the giant pink and white circular boulders that the area is named after.
  7. You’ve reached the top! Ok, ok, so it’s not an obvious pointy mountaintop but there’s still awesome views. Take those photos and congratulate yourself for being a nature hero.
  8. Now walk back to the start, enjoying the fact that the downhill is so much easier.

The Whistlepipe Gully Walk

Whistlepipe Gully: A walk with wildflowers, waterfall and witches…kind of.

Type of activity: Walk
Where: Kalamunda in Mundy NP, About a 35-minute drive from the city.
Distance: 3.5 km
Time: 1-1.5 hours.
Difficulty: Easy. There are a few slippery slopes but I’ve seen fit grandmas tackle this trail with no problems.
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, water, enclosed comfortable shoes.

Whistlepipe Gully Walk

A golden view of one of the many granite rocky outcrops along the Whistlepipe Gully trail.

Why do this:
The Whistlepipe Gully trail is one of my all-time favourite Perth bushwalks. I’ve walked it at least 100 times (seriously, I used to live 5 minutes away as a kid!) and it still hasn’t lost any of its sparkle. There are many reasons why, but one the biggest is that this trail is home to the mysterious ruins of a witch’s house!

Ok…so it’s not really a witch’s house. That’s an urban legend I was told as a kid. The ruins are actually all that is left of a Japanese-style home built by well known architect Wallace Greenham. The home was demolished decades ago due to government planning, or something to that nature.

Whistlepipe Gully

Check out the waterfalls from what used to be a bathroom.

Nonetheless, the ruins are still interesting to see, especially since they’ve now been overtaken with plants, creeks and a small waterfall, which is kind of magical in how-awesome-is-mother-nature sort of way.

To get the most magical bang for your buck, I’d visit Whistlepipe Gully in winter, spring, or very early summer. This is when the creeks and waterfalls are at their best, the wildflowers are in bloom, and that wonderful eucalyptus smell fills the air.


flowers at Whistlepipe Gully

The valley fills with wildflowers during spring.


Map & Directions

This trail is pretty easy to follow – look for the pink triangle markers on the trees or just follow the creek.

  1. To start, park at the cul-de-sac at the end of Orange Valley Road in Kalamunda.
  2. Take the big, obvious path in front of you down the hill.
  3. You’ll reach a small bridge. From then on, just follow the tracks along either side of the creek to the ruins and back.
  4. Enjoy!