Just an hour outside of Perth, you’ll find the Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary: nestled in the Avon Valley, the sanctuary is home to picturesque trails, and is an essential wildlife corridor that links its two neighbouring national parks. Filled with a dramatic variety of flora across its varied landscapes, there are hikes for just about every ability level.
What is it?
A wildlife sanctuary, Paruna is managed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy – Australia’s largest private land owners and managers for conservation. With a diverse range of habitats within the 1,941 hectare sanctuary, it’s been the site of several translocations of species, as well as establishing successful wild, self-sustaining populations of Black-flanked Rock-wallabies and Tammar Wallabies. The managed area also supports a number of endangered species, like the Chuditch (Western Quoll), and the Honey Possum.
Across the Sanctuary you’ll see majestic Jarrah and Marri forests, ridges of Powderbark, and Flooded Gum and Melaleuca Paperbarks along the riverbanks. Steep slopes, exposed granite and numerous streams and creeks characterise the spectacular landscape.
Photo by @kimmybobs
Photo by @hannahjst
Where is it?
The Sanctuary is in the Avon Valley, about an hour from the CBD. Running alongside the Avon-Swan River, the property sits between the Walyunga and Avon Valley National Parks.
Photo by @scvawser
What to do?
Book ahead! It may seem counterintuitive, but by booking ahead online, Paruna closely monitors the number of visitors to the Sanctuary. There’s a $10 entry fee, which helps keep trails well-maintained, as well as contributing to the conservation efforts of the organisation (you can also donate to them directly HERE).
You can explore the Sanctuary through three trails – the Possum Loop, Quenda Circuit and the Numbat Walking Track. The easiest of the three, the Possum Loop is suitable for most hikers, taking 1-2 hours to complete the 2.3km walk. On the loop, you’ll see waterfalls (and you know we love a waterfall), creeks, wildflowers and some spectacular vistas. The Quenda is slightly more difficult, taking around 3 to 6 hours to complete the 6.5km trail, and taking in historic monuments and views of the Paruna Gorge. The most difficult of the three is the Numbat Walking Track – taking 6 to 9 hours to complete, it traverses hundreds of steps along its 12 km route, and is only recommended for serious hikers and endurance trainers. Make sure you pick the trail that is best suited to your abilities, and bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Photo by @kimmybobs
Photo by @khanhsphotos
What not to do:
As with all trails that visit 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 trail. There’s a year-round fire ban, so no barbecues or smoking of any kind. Pets aren’t allowed – they’re dangerous to the wildlife and are at risk from the baiting programs in place at the Sanctuary.
Photo by W Lawler via Australian Wildlife Conservancy
Header image: Australian Wildlife Conservancy