Tag: Perth

Palm Terrace Walk: A different side of the Lesmurdie Falls

Lesmurdie Falls Palm terrace

Don’t go chasing waterfalls, when you have them and more on the Palm Terrace Walk.

Need to know info

Distance: 6.5km + extra to see the falls
Where: Forrestfield/Lesmurdie, 35 minutes from Perth
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water & sturdy enclosed shoes


Why do this

If you’ve never been to the Lesmurdie Falls, you should. It’s arguably Perth’s best waterfall, and thanks to this year’s wet winter, it’s looking more magnificent than ever.

The only downside to this natural wonder is that its official walk is little more than a quick 2km climb from top to bottom. Sure, it’s a beautiful 2 kilometres with incredible views, but if you’re a keen walker, it’s not enough to get that wonderful ‘I’ve-been-on-a-hike’ feeling you get from a longer walk. Plus, if you head out on the weekend, your two kilometres are shared with the families, tourists and locals vying for the best Instagram shot ( We’ve all been that person.)

Luckily there is a solution – The Palm Terrace Walk.

The trail begins in the Falls carpark located the end of Palm Terrace.  It feels wrong, but the trail starts by walking away from the bush, between the four large rocks on the far side of carpark.

Take the left fork and walk until you reach a t-junction, turn left to follow the edge of private property. From here on you’ll need to keep an eye out for beige triangle trail markers. The little triangles are not in the most obvious positions and are often hidden by shrubs or trees. It can be frustrating but think of it as a chance to use your nature adventurer direction skills.

Palm Terrace Walk

Catch a glimpse of a tiny Perth city and beyond.

As a general rule, the first half of the trail leads you up a hill towards the escarpment.  This stretch of the trail is a constant incline, so be prepared to work up a sweat. Luckily there are excellent views of the falls and coastal plain to take your mind off the climb. Once you reach the top, you’ll skirt along some more private properties and then reach a road. At this point, the little beige triangles almost disappear completely. (Nice one Kalamunda Shire!)

Palm Terrace Walk flood

Be warned, parts of the trail are a bit damp…to say the least!

Don’t worry; just follow this road until you reach a carpark. Once you’re here, head down the stairs, past the picnic area and turn right along the brook towards what are known as the cascades. (Alternatively, at this point you can sneak in a quick look of the falls by turning left and then retracing your steps to join the trail again – Choose your own adventure!)

When the water level is high, these cascades make a pretty spot to stop for rest, but if you’re in a rush, cross the bridge, head straight up the hill and turn right to climb the last incline of the walk – at this point you’ll understand why I used this walk as practice for the Inca Trail.

Remains of a mystery building.

Remains of a mystery building.

After this last climb, you’ll reach a communications tower and the ruins of an old building. I’m not sure what the purpose of this little building was, but today it’s functioning as a garden bed for grass trees and orchids. From this point of the walk, it’s all downhill, with glorious coastal plain views and hillsides covered in colourful hovea, hibertia, myrtle and coneflowers.

 

Once you’ve made your way back to Palm Terrace Road, you can take that enticing trail along the creek to the base of the falls. Even if you’re tired from the walk, you’ll want to explore the waterfall, maybe even going as far as climbing up to touch it as it cascades down the granite rock face.

Wildflowers Palm Terrace Walk

Coneflowers adding splashes of pink to the hillside.

Along with the views, the flexibility is one of my favourite things about the Palm Terrace Walk – you can tailor it to your mood. You can take the full trail. You can cut it short at the halfway mark and head to the waterfall. Or you can even lengthen it with the interconnecting Lewis Road Walk. Even with the dodgy of signage, it’s pretty hard to get too lost, just listen for the thundering sound of the falls and you’ll find yourself heading in the right direction.

So, if you like your waterfalls to come with a few extra kilometres of hill climbs, make sure you check out the Palm Terrace Walk.

Palm Terrace Walk

This hill of grasstrees is sure to be joined by wildflowers in the next few weeks.


Map & Directions

The trail begins in the lower carpark of Lesmurdie Falls National Park, located on Palm Terrace in Forrestfield.

One of the more easy to spot trail markers.

One of the more easy to spot trail markers.

Look for the 4 large gravel boulders which mark the entry of the trail. Take the left fork; and then turn left at the T junction. From here on, look for the beige-ish trail markers.

 

Exploring Bells Rapids

View of Bells Rapids

With plenty of winter rain, now is the time to visit Bells Rapids

Need to know info

Distance: 2km or 3.5km
Where: Brigadoon, 45 minutes from Perth
Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, water & sturdy enclosed shoes that you’re not afraid to get dirty.


Why do this


Nothing says winter more than the rumble of a flowing river – and there is nowhere in Perth better to see this than Bells Rapids.

Bells Rapids

The well and truly running rapids.

Located in the Swan Valley, Bells Rapids is a stretch of the Swan River that thunders over boulders, churning up masses of white foam. It’s a popular spot to watch the Avon Descent; and if our recent visit is anything to go by, a popular spot for walkers and their four legged friends.

Foam at Bells Rapids

The kind of foam a cappuccino lover can only dream of.

There are two official walking trails on offer at Bells Rapids:
1. The River walk is a 2.5km trail that follows the river. To begin the trail, follow the left path once you cross the bridge.
2. The Goat Walk is a 3km trail that leads you to the top of a hill for some sweeping views over the Swan Valley. To begin the trail, follow the right path once you cross the bridge.

Having explored the Goat Walk in the past, we decided upon the River Walk. While the official trail only takes you downstream, there is a small path upstream that you can follow before you cross the bridge. Always keen to explore more, we ventured along this extra path and it rewarded us with a peaceful river setting and some glimpses of Spoonbills and red-chested Scarlet Robins.

Swan River Brigadoon

The calm before the rapids.

After this little detour, we turned back to join the offical trail, along with the other walkers and their dogs. If you’re looking for a dog-friendly day out, Bells Rapids is a great choice – just as long as you’re not bothered by muddy fur and paws on the car ride home.We saw several very happy yet very dirty dogs having the time of their lives while playing along the river’s edge.

bells 2

The rocks and puddles of the River Walk Trail at Bells Rapids

It’s not just the dogs who are at risk on getting messy though. Due to the winter rain, the trail is quite muddy, so this is probably not the walk to wear your fancy new trainers. Instead, embrace your inner child and commit to climbing over the smooth rocks and through the puddles until you reach the end of the trail.  From here you can turn back, or easily continue uphill and connect to the Goat Walk trail and catch those coastal plain views.

While I know I have been talking up the wintery-ness of Bells Rapids, it does make for an interesting summer adventure too. Earlier this year, we visited when the rapids were nothing more than a trickle. The smooth river stones that are usually hidden by the water were exposed, providing a whole new to landscape to explore. I don’t have a photo so you’ll just have trust me when I say that the dry river bed, with its metres of water-worn black rock, looked like the setting for a spooky sci-fi film. Wonderful in a weird kind of way.

To wrap up, Bells Rapids is worth adding to your winter adventure list. It’s not really the place for a lengthy hike, but it’s a nice, leisurely day adventure. My sweet toothed tip is to check out the rapids and then stop at the House of Honey on Great Northern Highway. Here you can grab a delicious honey ice cream or slab of honey cake and and reclaim any of the calories you might have lost walking. Definitely worth it.


Map & Directions

The Bells Rapids carpark is located at the end of Cathedral Avenue, Brigadoon.
From here the rapids are pretty easy to find, just listen out for roar.

Abyssinia Rock Walk

Abyssinia Rock

A walk with a whole lotta rock.

Distance:
10.3km return.
Where: Ashendon, 40 minutes from Perth
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, water, sturdy enclosed shoes.


Why do this:

Most of my ideas for walks and rides come from blogs or websites – yes, Trails WA and The Life of Py – I’m talking about you. However, this week’s adventure to Abyssinia Rock was discovered in a hiking guidebook – how retro is that!

According to ‘Perth’s Best Bush, Coast and City Walks’; the trail to Abyssinia Rock is one of Perth’s most popular walks, yet there is little evidence of this online. That’s probably because this trail is actually a small section of the much better known Bibbulmun Track. The trail begins where the Bibbulmun crosses Brookton Highway, about 20km after the Canning Road turn off to Karragullen. It’s easy to spot, look out for the red Bibbulmum track sign located on the right just before a power line.

Abyssinia Rock

The Darling Ranges peeking through some recently burnt bush.

Once you’ve parked, look for the familiar yellow Wagyl snake triangles and off you go. The trail starts in what would be dense Jarrah forest. This area has been recently burnt so it isn’t the usual scene of brown and greens. Instead, it’s a vivid colour palette of burnt black tree trunks, ashy white soil and rust coloured leaves. While you might not find it traditionally beautiful, it does make for an interesting change of scenery.

The trail takes you uphill through the burnt forest and then narrows down to a single track that winds across a ridge. Along the way, you’ll pass a number of big, old felled jarrahs. Even in their fallen state, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer size of these mighty trees. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself heading downhill and arriving at the star of the show, Abyssinia Rock.

Be warned, when you first arrive at Abyssinia Rock you will be disappointed. It looks like a largish granite outcrop, not overly different from any other you’d see in the Darling Ranges.
However, hold your judgement until you climb to the top.

Abyssinia Rock

Climbing to the top of the rock.

Once you’re there, you’ll see that the rock is actually a lot bigger than it looks, running all the way down the other side of the hill. Plus, there are thick carpets of vibrant green moss, rock pools to explore and excellent views of what I think are Mt Cuthbert and Mt Vincent. (Don’t quote me; my knowledge of geography is terrible.)

Abyssinina 5

A rock pool mirroring the sky. (Sorry to the moss we stood on.)

 

Abyssinia Rock fungi

A loofah-like fungus –  one of the little details of Abyssinia Rock.

The Bibbulmun Track Foundation has captured the area on video, but it’s actually a whole lot more impressive in real life. In my opinion, a camera can never truly depict the depth of sweeping views or the tiny details that make an area special. That’s why you’ve got to get out there an experience it yourself!

In particular, keep an eye out for the range of interesting fungi on the rock. Some look like orange noodles, while others are like tiny pieces of coral. If rocks are more your thing, look for the almost geometric shaped slabs of granite. It will have you questioning if it was the work of natural weathering or someone handy with a circular saw.

While you’re exploring Abyssinia Rock, try not to trample the moss, as these plants are fragile and take years to grow. Even more importantly, avoid the shiny black areas of the rock. These parts are EXTREMELY slippery – I don’t want a walk from my blog to be the reason you break your leg.

Once you’ve had enough rock exploration, turn back and retrace your steps to the start. The Abyssinia Rock walk is a medium grade walk that you can easily slip into a morning or afternoon. It’s also a chance to explore some distinctly West Australian scenery, which is something every Perth dweller should do.

Abyssinia Rock

Abyssinia Rock conquered!


Map & Directions

Coming from Perth, the trail begins 20km past the Canning Road turn off on Brookton Highway. Look out for the red Bibbulmum track sign located on the right just before a power line – this is where you can park to begin the trail.

Facing south in carpark you’ll see 2 trails. One on the left that runs next to power lines and one on the right that leads into the bush. Take the one on the right and follow the yellow Bibbulmun track markers from here on.

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!

Kitty’s Gorge Walk

bushwalking Perth

Distance: Approx 7kms one way or 14km return.
Where: Serpentine. About a 1-hour drive from Perth.
Time: 2 hours one way. 5 hours return.
Difficulty: Moderate. A few steep bits, here and there.
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, snacks, water (2L minimum), sturdy enclosed shoes.

Why Do This


Kitty’s Gorge Trail is a bushwalk that ticks all the boxes.
You want beautiful valley and treetop views? You got it.
An abandoned heritage building to peek through? Sure thing.
An amazing natural pool complete with running waterfall to swim in. Done.
The best part is that these are just the things you’re guaranteed to see regardless of weather, time of day or season. In fact, it’s highly likely you’ll get to see a whole a lot more; starting with native wildlife.

West Australian frog

One of the many little frogs we spotted in the mud.

While walking, we saw a whole range of native birds including black tailed cockatoos, robins and blue wrens, but the list doesn’t stop there. In the dry creek beds, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the hundreds of little frogs hopping out from the cracks in the mud. Circling above, electric blue dragonflies and orange butterflies floated from flower to flower. In the scrub, we came across a pair of wild pigs.
Yes, wild pigs. And yes, it was awesome while being simultaneously terrifying.

Adult wild pigs are huge and can be dangerous. Thankfully, the ones we saw were small and just as scared of us, as we were of them. Encountering a wild pig is rare, so don’t let the thought of them deter you from checking out this excellent trail. If you do spot one, just move away quietly and slowly, instead of screaming and running, which is what I did.

Enough about animals, let’s move on to that amazing natural pool I mentioned – Serpentine Falls. Fed by a waterfall and wide enough to do laps in, this beautiful turquoise pool is located at the end of the one-way Kitty Gorge Trail, making it the perfect place to cool off after a long walk.

bushwalk perth

The beautiful Serpentine Falls

bushwalks perth

A gigantic grasstree we spotted on the trail. These grow 1cm a year, so this one is nearly 500 years old!

Let me explain what I mean by one-way trail. As the Kitty’s Gorge Walk Trail leads to a single point and then back again, you choose to do a one-way or return trip. If you’re a bushwalk beginner, I’d recommend you make Serpentine Falls your endpoint and only do the one-way Kitty’s Gorge walk. You get to see all the sites, plus you finish with a refreshing swim. The only catch is that you’ll need to bring two cars. You need to park one car at the Serpentine Falls carpark, and then drive the other car up to the start of the Kitty’s Gorge trail, about 15km away opposite Jarrahdale cemetery.

If you want to do the return walk or only have one car, just turn back when you reach Serpentine Falls and follow the trail back to the start. Whether you choose to do the one-way or the return walk, the Kitty’s Gorge Trail is one of Perth’s must-do nature experiences.

Map & Directions 


One way trail: Park one car at Serpentine Car Park.
Park the other at the carpark opposite the Jarrahdale cemetery. The trail begins here.
Note: the Serpentine Falls car park shuts at 5:00pm, so make sure you finish the walk before then.
Return trail: Park at the carpark opposite the Jarrahdale cemetery. The trail begins here.

The Kitty’s Gorge Walk trail is very well marked. All you need to do is follow these green boot print signs and you’ll find you way without any hassles.

bushwalking perth

Follow these markers to keep on the right track.

There is one point early on in the trail that is confusing. You begin by walking downhill through dense trees. Soon enough you’ll reach an open clearing with gravel, a run down toilet block and not very obvious signage. Don’t stress, just walk on a diagonal to the left of the clearing and you’ll soon see the green boot print sign you’re looking for.

 

 

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!