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Top 10

1. Take a bushwalk to see the wildflowers

2. Ride the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail

3. Enjoy an outdoor movie

4. Hire a canoe at Lake Leschenaultia

5. Tour the cellar doors

6. Conquer the hills section of the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail

7. Book a cosy weekend at a B&B

8. See the tulips at Araluen during spring

9. Go mountain-bike riding

10. Take a look at the local art galleries

Things To Do

Camping

Camping at Lake Leschenaultia, with its sandy beaches, shaded lawns, barbecues and shelters, playground and cycle paths, is especially popular with families. The campsite is open every day of the year. This campground is often filled well in advance, so bookings are recommended. The camp facilities are excellent and include 22 powered sites suitable for tends and/or camper trailers, with ablution area, laundry and camp kitchen. Each site has a fire pit for those chilly winter nights (seasonal fire restrictions apply).

Canoes are available for hire between 10am and 3pm on the weekends, public holidays and school holidays. There is also a kiosk offering light meals and refreshments. Novice campers are well catered for at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre. The educational facilities are spread among wooden cottages arranged around landscaped gardens. The campground is located next door and has 12 (unpowered) sites, with flushing toilets, hot-water showers, and an undercover kitchen with gas barbecues, a fridge and kettle, and sinks with hot and cold water.

The Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail both pass very close by, and an outdoor cinema is held in the vicinity during the summer months. The campground can be hired on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and every day during the school holidays.

Hiking

The Bibbulum Track starts in the Shire of Kalamunda, and carries down the coast for almost 1000km to Albany. It’s suitable for walkers of all fitness levels and there are numerous access points (the northern terminus is on the north-east side of the roundabout at Mead Street, Railway Road and Mundaring Weir Road). The track’s entire length takes six to eight weeks to complete, and the most challenging terrain can be found early on in the Perth Hills. The Eagle View Walk is a very popular 15km-loop around John Forrest National Park, offering spectacular views across the plain to the city skyline and ocean in the distance. The walk, which is of moderate difficult, takes five to six hours to complete. Hovea Falls is a lovely spot to enjoy a picnic when the creeks are full of water.

The Lesmurdie Falls Bush Walk is also of moderate difficult, but is much shorter at just 2km, and hikers are also rewarded with stunning water views. The two-hour walk is located in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park; it follows Lesmurdie Brook to a bridge at the top of the falls, where a lookout provides a wonderful vista over the waterway and to the city on clear days.

Panoramic views can be enjoyed along the Mount Dale Walk in Helena National Park. The 2.5km loop, of moderate difficulty, follows the contours of Mount Dale until it reaches its peak where walkers can rest their weary feet and take in the view across the Darling Ranges. The walk also has a wildlife-viewing hide and picnic area at its base. For a walk that is a little shorter and less demanding, try the 1.2km Aboriginal Heritage Trail in Walyunga National Park, a popular area for whitewater rafting.

Wildflowers

The best roadside displays are found along Mundaring Weir Road close to Kalamunda and Coulston Road in Darlington. If you’re happy to go searching on foot, grab a map from the Armadale visitor centre, which also conducts spring family bushwalks each weekend during September and October. For the best view of kangaroo paws, park at the corner of Gooseberry Hill and Watsonia roads, and head along Watsonia.

You can leave your car in Kalamunda and walk down Mundaring Weir Road, then take a stroll along the Heritage Trail for more varieties of blooms. You’ll need a car to travel to Darlington, but once there again leave it behind and explore wildflower hotspots such as the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail from Owen Road. The best part of this section of trail is that you can stop off at the cafes at each end. For an organised tour of Jarrahdale’s unique wildflowers and forest orchids, check with the local visitor centre for details on the walks led by guides from the Jarrahdale Heritage Society.

Lesmurdie Falls and Jorgensen Park also have a great display of wildflowers. Although they aren’t wildflowers as such, the tulips and exotic flowers at Araluen Botanic Park are a sight to behold in spring (the barbecues and facilities make it great for a picnic).

Cycling

If you’re after a bit of a challenge, try some of the routes through the beautiful Perth Hills (though the steep ascents might cause you to focus more on your burning legs than the scenery!).

You can join the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail at a few different points throughout the Perth Hills (walkers and horseriders can also enjoy it). An old railway track, it loops through Greenmount, Darlington, and up to Mundaring. The ride is a great one to do with families – riding through the pitch darkness in the old railway tunnel is good fun (and a bit scary!).

The Kep Track isn’t just for cyclists – you can ride a horse along it, too. Built mainly on rail reserve, the trail has a low gradient and compacted gravel surface. You can’t go past the Munda Biddi if you don’t mind the distance (1000km). The world-class track runs from Mundaring to Albany, is easily accessible by car, and there are campsites on the route. The trail features vast areas of unspoiled bushland – keep your eyes peeled for rarely sighted, native wildlife. Some mountain-biking hot spots include Kalamunda Circuit in Beelu National Park, Shake Rattle n Roll in Pauls Valley, Lake Leschenaultia in Chidlow, Langford Park in Jarrahdale, The Goat Farm in Greenmont and Forsyth’s Mill in Sawyers Valley.

Rock Climbing

Mountain Quarry in Greenmount National Park is considered the best climbing spot near Perth, thanks to an effort to rebolt and clean up the routes. There are several classic ‘face’ climbs and hard-bolted sport routes. These climbs are for the more experienced but it’s fun to head out there and watch the experts.

You’ll find the car park on the northern side of Coulston Road (the entrance is on the left-hand side if you’re heading east away from Perth). It’s about a five-minute walk from the car park to the quarry; don’t forget to bring all your valuables with you. The entry to the quarry is locked; you’ll need to call the District office on (08) 9290 6100 for the padlock combination, which is changed every few months. If it’s views you’re after, Darlington Boulders are a good choice.

The granite boulders are located near the Darlington Estate Winery, 30km east of Perth in a side valley of the Helena River. The short and technical climbs provide great views of the valley. The boulders heat up during summer so it’s best to climb on the slabs in Upper Darlington in the morning and the boulders in the main area in the afternoon. Navigating your way to the boulders can be a bit difficult, you’ll find in-depth directions on the Climbers Association of WA (CAWA) forum.

Churchman Brook is known as a great picnic spot, but it’s also well-liked by rock climbers. The cliff is located down a well-used dirt track off Soldiers Road, just before it heads downhill going east. The cliff is broken up into two parts, with a small beginners slope to the west and the main climbing area to the east. There are lots of loose pebbles at the top – bring a helmet to avoid a nasty knock to your noggin. The best time to climb at Churchman Brook is mid-afternoon onwards when the cliff is shaded – even in the very early morning the direct sunlight makes the cliff incredibly hot.

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