Perth is lucky enough to be home to some stunning national parks featuring waterfalls and swimming holes. With winter being the prime season for waterfalls, now’s the time to plan your visit. There are a variety of hiking trails at each site, suitable for hikers of all abilities, so pack a picnic, bring a friend or the family and make a day of it.
Travel 30 minutes to the Hills east of Perth and you’ll find Lesmurdie Falls located on the Darling Range escarpment in Mundy Regional Park. A particularly popular attraction from June through to September, there are numerous walking trails and it’s dog-friendly, so you can even bring your furry friends along – just make sure they’re kept on a leash!
For an easier walk, complete the Foot of the Falls Trail, which is a 2km return. Take the Falls Trail to the lookout, continue down the scarp and walk along the Brook to the foot of the Falls (hence the name!).
For a longer trek, the Valley Loop Trail is a 3km / 2 hour return-trail that incorporates all the smaller trails in Lesmurdie Falls National Park. Whichever trail you choose, you’ll have an excellent vantage point to take in stunning views across the Swan Coastal Plain to the city skyline and Rottnest.
To get there, take Welshpool Rd East, turn off at Lewis Rd, drive up the hill and turn onto Lesmurdie Rd. Follow until you reach Falls Rd, turn left and keep going to the car park.
Car park: 140 Palm Terrace, Lesmurdie
Location: Lesmurdie Falls National Park (-31.9959, 116.034)
Hovea Falls & National Park Falls
John Forest National Park, WA’s first national park and one of Australia’s oldest conservation areas, is home to both Hovea Falls and National Park Falls. It’s one of the most popular hiking destinations close to Perth with multiple trails from easy to moderate. Barbecue and picnic facilities also make it popular for families and post-hike picnics. Western grey kangaroos are common visitors and there are often 20 or more lounging around the carpark. If you’re lucky, you might even see an echidna.
To see National Park Falls, take the easy 2.5km National Park Falls loop following the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail and running along the Jane Brook.
Hovea Falls can be reached by following a short 1.9km trail leading from the car park to the waterfall. Alternatively, you can take the longer 2.3km Eagle View loop trail past the falls.
For wildflower lovers, a slow drive along the full length of Park Rd in the Spring will reveal around 500 species of wildflowers. Or, if you’re up for a walk, complete the 4.5km Wildflower Walk loop, which is of moderate difficulty with some short steep sections and slippery surfaces.
There are three entrances to the park off Great Eastern Hwy. These can be accessed at all times opposite the Glen Forrest Shopping Centre.
Location: Park Rd, Hovea (31.8803° S, 116.0999° E)
Situated in Serpentine National Park, Serpentine Falls holds a special place in WA’s history as a home to the local Indigenous Noongar community who relied on the park for camping, hunting and other food sources.
A popular swimming spot during summer, rainfall transforms the site in winter where you can expect to see a rush of white waters cascading 15m down the fall’s rock face into the pool below. To see the falls, take the Falls Walk Trail from Serpentine Picnic car park, an easy walk that takes less than 15 minutes.
Alternatively, for a fun family walk, complete the 7.4km Kitty’s Gorge Walk where you have the chance of spotting echidnas, quenda, brushtail possums and wallabies. The trail begins at the Falls car park and follows the Serpentine River through the national park. The peak walking period is during spring due to the wildflowers display.
To get there, travel south on South Western Highway until Falls Rd where you’ll find the entry point. The gates to the national park open at 8.30am and close at 5pm and note that national park entrance fees apply.
Location: Falls Rd, Serpentine National Park (-32.3693, 116.007)
Whistlepipe Gully, Kalamunda
One of the lesser known waterfalls in Perth, Whistlepipe Gully is a short distance from Lesmurdie Falls. Located in Mundy Regional Park, the ideal time to visit is in spring due to the bloom of prolific wildflowers. Feel free to bring your dog along as the park is dog friendly.
For walkers, there is an easy 3.5km hike with small waterfalls to see along the way. Notably, while most hikes on the Darling Scarp have views of the city skyline, the views at Whistlepipe Gully showcase the natural beauty of the region, hiding the industrial area of the city with forest canopy.
To get there, take the first left on to Lewis Rd after the intersection of Welshpool Rd East and Tonkin Hwy, and follow the road to the end until you reach the carpark.
Location: northern end of Lewis Rd, Forrestfield
Marrinup Falls, Dwellingup
As the only waterfall in Marrinup, Marrinup Falls is a must-visit if looking for a day trip out of Perth. Tucked away in the bush surrounding the old Marrinup Townsite, the entrance is marked by a small sign to a Prisoner War camp, the only prisoner camp in WA.
The Marrinup Falls Walk Trail is a relatively easy 2.6km bush walk and a great one for the kids! Make a day of it and check out the Lane Poole Reserve which is nearby.
From Pinjarra-Williams Rd take Grey Rd north and follow this over the railway. Your falls adventure begins at Grey Road, Marrinup.
Location: Grey Rd, Marrinup
Although not technically a waterfall, Bells Rapids is still a great spot if looking for a serene hike amongst some of the region’s waterways. With a bridge to take you across the rapids, rocks to jump across and riverbanks to explore, the spot is ideal for kids, and dogs are also welcome. However, if you’re thinking of packing a picnic, note that there are no picnic tables or public barbecues.
Bells Rapids offers two unique walking trails, perfect for building up an appetite for lunch at one of the local wineries! The first is the 2.5km River walk, which is known for one of the best vantage points on the Swan River for the annual Avon Descent. The second trail option is the 3km Goat walk.
Find the rapids located at the end of Cathedral Avenue, off Great Northern Highway in Brigadoon.
Location: Cathedral Avenue, Brigadoon
Sixty Foot Falls, Ellis Brook Valley
Holding a reputation as one of the most temperamental of Perth’s waterfalls, Sixty Footy Falls supposedly runs dry or only mildly for most of the year. With more luck in winter, take advantage of a trip to Ellis Brook Valley and choose one of the four scenic walk trails.
The walk to the top of the Falls is a steep 2.1km loop with views of the city along the way. The trail descends past the old Barrington Quarry and you may even sight some orchids, one of the Park’s many flowering species. If you’re up for a challenge, do the Sixty Foot Falls walk. It’s the most difficult trail but has the most rewarding views!
To get to Banyowla Regional Park (where Ellis Brook Valley is located), take Tonkin Highway. The entry is located at the end of Rushton Rd, near Gosnells Rd.
Location: Ellis Brook Valley, Gosnells
Noble Falls, Gidgegannup
One of the first falls to start flowing in winter, Noble Falls is only a 50minute drive from the Perth CBD. The drive there offers great city views before transforming into a scenic landscape of dense jarrah, marri and blackbutt bushland which makes the trip all the worthwhile. Take advantage of the site’s free barbecues or stop for lunch in the Hills to sample the region’s fresh produce.
To see the falls, follow the 3.5km trail beginning at Noble Falls Car Park opposite Noble Falls Tavern, which will take you along Wooroloo Brook to your destination. From August to October look out for yellow wattles, rich blue Leschenaultia, orchids as well as an abundance of birds!
Location: Toodyay Rd, Gidgegannup