Words by by Reuben Black.
If you’ve found yourself a clear day after a heavy downpour, the best thing you can do is hop in your car and get yourself to one of these waterfall hikes as soon as possible! Perth has a good collection of waterfalls within its hills, but the best have been narrowed down below for you to explore.
Being arguably the best waterfall Perth has to offer, this popular hike is a must do for those looking for a quick escape from the city. You can start at either car park on the top or bottom, depending on how you want to walk it. There is a defined path which will take you up or down the side of the falls, giving you stunning views the entire way. At the top are multiple trails which take you to vantage points of Perth below and you can even walk to Lions Lookout nearby! As with all of these waterfalls, it is even more spectacular after heavy rainfall.
Distance: Numerous trails starting at 1km
Recommended for: Beginners
Location: Forrestfield, 33 minutes from Perth’s CBD
Ellis Brook Valley (Sixty Foot Falls)
Located under half an hours drive from the CBD, hiking up this short but steep trail will give you beautiful views of the city and valley, as well as the waterfall cascading down the rocky outcrop. The main trail will also take you past Old Barrington Quarry, distinct with its signature bluey green water. If you’re feeling adventurous you can stray away from the beaten path and get closer to the quarry (although swimming is strongly not advised due to the high chance of getting some microbial nasties). If you time it right, you can also get some of the best wildflowers Perth has to offer in spring seasons.
Recommended for: Semi-experienced walkers
Location: Martin, 29 minutes from Perth’s CBD
Bell Rapids Falls
Although Bells Rapids is a beautiful spot in itself, known less is its magnificent little brother a few hundred meters away. If you park at Bells Lookout, look at the rapids and walk at a 45 degree angle, you’ll come across this hidden waterfall with beautiful views over the city and an informal firepit which can be used outside of the fire ban season. After heavy rainfall, this forgotten 25m waterfall can be heard before it’s seen. It is truly a beautiful sight, but getting there without a strictly defined path (at least not until the very end) can be quite daunting, so only go if you are feeling up to it.
Distance: About 1km
Recommended for: The adventurous
Location: Brigadoon, 37 minutes from Perth’s CBD
Situated just over 50 minutes from Perth is this hidden oasis. You can choose from one of 3 walks in the area. An short paved trail will take you from the carpark to the falls, but if you have the time, the Baldwin’s Bluff is highly recommended. It is quite a steep track, but that being said, it is one of my favourite hiking trails in Perth solely for the stunning views over the falls at the end. Serpentine is the only one on this list with an entry fee, but it is definitely worth it for the sights and well maintained facilities including toilets and a barbecue area to make the trip worthwhile.
Photo by @thelife0fpy
Distance: 100m (car park walk) to 6km return (Baldwin’s Bluff)
Recommended for: All
Location: 52 minutes from Perth’s CBD
Noble Falls is a delightful little patch of eastern Perth, offering a serene waterfall setting amongst dense jarrah, marri and blackbutt bushland. Given it’s smaller size and location, it’s one of the first waterfalls to begin filling up with the rains, making it a popular early-winter day trip spot. The surrounding walk trail is pleasant, easily accessible, and dog-friendly! Full guide here.
Recommended for: Everyone
Location: Along Toodyay Road until you get 5kms past Gidgegannup
Hovea / National Park Falls
John Forrest National Park was the first national park designated in Western Australia (and the second in the whole country) and at 2700 hectares, is an important area of bushland in an ever developing city. Many of the famous sites are related to the old railway line that is no longer operational including the Instagram favourite Swan View Tunnel and Old Hovea Train Station, along with two waterfalls close together – Hovea and National Park. Hovea Falls make up part of Jane Brook, and the National Park falls can be found a little further down stream.
Recommended for: Beginners up to experienced for the 15km sections of the trail
Location: John Forrest National Park
The last but not the least, this is one of my favourite hikes in Perth. Situated in Lesmurdie, this walk follows the stream most of the way down until you reach a small waterfall at the end with stunning views of the Swan Coastal Plain and city. You will be treated with smaller waterfalls along the route and can return along the other side allowing for a change of scenery and a beautiful overgrown wonderland at the very end. Interestingly, at the end of this hike you will see the remains of a once existing Japanese styled cottage which you can read more about here.
Distance: 3.5km return walk
Recommended for: Beginners
Location: Lesmurdie, 31 minutes from Perth’s CBD