Right on the city’s doorstep, Beelu National Park is a treasure trove of nature – home to woodland landscapes, winding rivers, native fauna and wildflowers, as well as where you’ll get some of the best views of WA’s very own “Scheme of Madness”, Mundaring Weir.
Photo by @karinapreston
What is it?
Formerly known as Mundaring National Park, Beelu National Park was renamed in 2008 to acknowledge the Beelu Whadjuk Noongar people, on whose traditional lands the park is found. Beelu is related to the Noongar name for river or stream; aptly named as the Helena River flows into the park and is dammed by the Mundaring Weir. Occupying 3000 hectares, the park is filled with jarrah and marri woodland and grasstrees, and home to wildlife that includes threatened Carnaby’s cockatoos, as well as splendid fairy wrens, western warblers, quendas, western brush wallabies and western grey kangaroos. It also explodes in the springtime with a range of colourful wildflowers, which alongside its range of picnic facilities, makes it a great destination for a daytrip.
Photo by @ready4adventurewa
Where is it?
Beelu National Park is just under an hour’s drive from the Perth CBD. 40km east of the city, the park is nestled between Mundaring and Kalamunda in the Darling Range.
Photo by @waytoomuchcoffee
What to do?
At less than an hour’s drive from the city, Beelu’s a great destination for a cheeky little day trip. There are heaps of picturesque picnic spots throughout the park, with South Ledge also home to the Golden View Lookout – where you’ll get a pretty speccy view out to the Helena River Valley over Mundaring Weir and Lake CY O’Connor. The North Ledge is attached to a 15 minute scenic loop if you want to explore on your feet without straying too far, and there’s also Farrell Grove, The Dell, Pimelia Mycumbene and Grevillea Mycumbene picnic areas.
You can explore the park on some of the trails that loop through – including a 5km return of the Bibbulmun Track that runs between Camel Farm and Hewett’s Hill, or a larger 12.4km return that links the Perth Hills Discovery Centre and the Golden View Lookout. Between the Dell and South Ledge is a 9km loop that takes you through the heart of the park, with beautiful jarrah forests and spring wildflowers. The Helena Pipehead Walk takes you through 5.2km of wandoo forest, with wildflowers (particularly orchids) during spring and views over the Lower Helena Pipehead Dam, plus there’s the Portagabra Track – a 3.5km loop that starts at Fred Jacoby Park.
If you need to take things up a notch, you can also explore the park on two wheels, with oodles of mountain bike trails in the park. The northernmost portion of the Munda Biddi trail is within Beelu, the off-road track travels a whopping 1060km between Mundaring and Albany. There are heaps of trails within the park to check out though, ranging from beginner-friendly right up to black diamond faves. We recommend checking out the Kalamunda Mountain Bike Collective for more detailed information, and you can check out our favourite mountain biking trails around Perth HERE.
If you want to make a weekend of it, you can camp at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre. With hot showers and a camp kitchen, you’ll practically feel like you’re at a five star hotel. The Centre is operated by Nearer to Nature, who provide hands-on, nature-based learning for every age.
And of course, the Weir itself is a destination all of its own! Providing fresh water to Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields, the Weir and its pipeline is a feat of engineering that was so ambitious, engineer CY O’Connor was subject to huge public scrutiny and criticism. The No. 1 Pump Station at the foot of the Weir is now heritage listed, and you can visit to see the historic engines and learn about the project.
And to round your visit out, you can even pay a visit to the Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema. Next door to the Discovery Centre, the cinema’s season runs from November to April, with screenings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Make sure to pack a picnic, and arrive early to nab a spot under the picturesque jacarandas and eucalypts.
Photo by @kookaburracinema
What not to do:
Don’t bring your pets, unless you’re visiting the Fred Jacoby park’s signposted dog exercise area. The nearby Portagabra Track is not dog friendly, so don’t take your four-legged friends beyond the designated area!
As with all visits to our natural spaces, adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles: meaning don’t leave any rubbish out there, don’t pick wildflowers and try your best to look after the surrounding area. Make sure you also adhere to any fire restrictions or bans that might be in place.
Photo by @dianaoutdoorsy
Photo by @exploring-with-natalie_
Photo by @shaunyc
Photo by @skyworkswa
Header image: Shutterstock.com/ciwoa