Alongside Serpentine Falls, it’s fair to say Bells Rapids is one of Perth’s favourite short trips out of the city.
And fair enough too – the walk itself isn’t too hectic, the scenery is glorious (particularly once those rapids start er… rapiding), and you’re allowed to take your doggo!
And once you’ve conquered Bells Rapids, keen adventurers may be want to find its (somewhat) hidden gem of a waterfall – Bells Falls.
Remember, especially when it comes to places that are a little off the beaten path, utmost care and caution should be taken – in 2019 a young hiker was severely injured while exploring Bells Falls. City of Swan and Arc Infrastructure have also issued a Safety Alert for people straying off designated walking paths, in particular the private level crossing 250m from the Bells Rapids carpark (more info below).
What is it?
About 45km from Perth, Bells Rapids is a series of streams and waterfalls that make up part of the Avon River, with Bells Falls is best accessed from the lookout.
Where is it?
About 45 minutes northeast of Perth in Brigadoon. You can access the falls by walking down from the (tiny) Bells Lookout carpark, from there you should be able to catch a glimpse of it. As always make sure you take the utmost care while hiking through such areas, climbing up the side of the falls is very unsafe.
What to do:
Bring ya walkin’ boots and a sandwich!
Along with the Falls hike, Bells Rapids features a couple of leisurely nature walks that run along the banks of the Avon River, and across it with a walk bridge over the rapids. There’s the 2.5km River Walk and 3km Goat Walk, both offering spectacular views of the Swan Coastal Plain below, along with the rolling countryside of the Swan Valley.
During winter is when the waterways begin to fill up, but if you want to see some proper white water action it’s recommended to head there deeper into winter and spring (the Avon Descent usually takes place early August).
Western Grey Kangaroos are abundant in the area, along with spectacular wildflowers in Spring, and plenty of other flora and fauna if you keep your eyes peeled. Some areas of the trail are also wheelchair accessible, and there is a picnic area and public toilet at the beginning of the trail.
What Not To Do:
Trespassing: City of Swan and Arc Infrastructure have issued a Safety Alert for people straying off designated walking paths, in particular the private level crossing 250m from the Bells Rapids carpark. It’s important to stick to marked walking trails, for your own safety along with the safety of “people who are working on the rail infrastructure, train drivers and the surrounding community.”
Fly drones: This is area is a no-fly zone, so resist the temptation and just enjoy the view from where you stand (or go up to the lookout).
Annoy the goats: There are a few goats in the area using some of the trails, so make sure you give right of way seen as it is their territory!
As this is an area that is yet to be laid out as a specific hiking trail, please take care to leave no trace and stick to the trails you find.
Keep your eyes peeled for a couple of swings along one of the tracks near the Falls, they make for a pretty darn cute photo opportunity.
Learn more about Bells Rapids here.