In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve had a lot of rain this winter. Which despite less sunshine and the occasional flooding has been a great boon.
This is especially noticeable and most easily verifiable in the healthy flow of the many beautiful water falls within easy driving distance of Perth.
As most are in regional or national parks, they make the perfect excuse for a family daytrip. Driving, hiking, sightseeing, picnicking, photography, playing: what’s not to like?
Here are three favourites we visited just last week. So you can rest assured they’re pumping. Lesmurdie Falls, Hovea Falls and Serpentine Falls: each has their own special qualities.
You head past the picnic area and toilets. Suddenly you’re walking through lush vegetation punctuated by granite and along a swift-flowing brook. The air is cool, fresh and clean. You reach a fork in the path. Where to first?
This is Lesmurdie Falls National Park, in the Perth Hills. It’s around a 30-minute drive from the city. The surrounding Mundy Regional Park stretches north and south along the Darling Scarp.
Take the Falls Trail. Follow the sound of roaring water and you’ll find the brook’s apotheosis: Lesmurdie Falls, tumbling 40m into the valley.
There are plenty of other trails to try, all relatively easy. For the best view overlooking the Swan Coastal Plain, try the Shoulder Trail. But the view from the head of the falls is good, too.
We needn’t dwell on the excellent facilities at John Forrest National Park’s main visitor area (also roughly a 30min. drive from Perth). Except to say you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place for a family picnic. Just try not to feed the kangaroos.
Walk less than one kilometre to the east of the visitor area and you arrive at Hovea Falls, the waters rushing over a massive expanse of coloured granite. Had you walked in the opposite direction, you would have found the National Park Falls, which features a steeper drop.
There are a multitude of walking and bike trails to enjoy in the park, reminders of WA’s early history and stunningly diverse flora and fauna (even in winter: already wildflowers are lifting their sleepy heads).
Once you’re off the freeway, it’s really a pleasant country drive to Serpentine, an hour or so south from Perth by car, and hence to Serpentine National Park. Even before you enter the park, you’re greeted by breakfasting kangaroos and a cheeky scarlet robin on a fencepost.
Inside the park — again, the barbecue, picnic facilities and other amenities are excellent — you find a park and take the short walk between granite outcrops, running water and delicate ferns to the splendidly secluded Serpentine Falls, modest in their majesty.
It’s raining. So you can’t enjoy the rest of what the park has to offer — and that’s a lot. But you don’t care. You just enjoy this rare idyllic moment, worth the drive alone.
Also worth visiting right now are Noble Falls (Gidgegannup), Bells Falls (Brigadoon) and Sixty Foot Falls (Ellis Brook Valley).
For more information on these and other parks and falls near Perth, visit parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au
Note that most parks charge an entry fee. For best value, purchase an Annual All Parks Pass ($120/$75).
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