Perth may bear the brunt of being one of the remotest capital cities anywhere in the world, but for us living on the west coast this is hardly a disadvantage — it just means that we have a vast wilderness waiting to be explored right on our doorstep.
Here are five options for getting out and exploring this weekend. For some, you don’t even need to leave the city lights behind you, it’s right under your nose.
#1 Bibbilmun Track (Kalamunda to Albany)
If a 1000km trek through remote wilderness sounds like your cup of tea, then don’t miss the epic adventure of hiking the Bibbilmun Track. This is one of the world’s great long distance walking trails, stretching all the way from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast. The trail takes in the spectacular scenery of Australia’s south-west, which incidentally also happens to be one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. If you don’t have a spare six weeks up your sleeve to hike the entire track, then there are plenty of shorter options for day and multi-day walks – be warned, though, you may just want to keep going and going!
#2 Numbat Trail (Paruna Wildlife Reserve)
The cat, or should I say, the Numbat is out of the bag. For those in the know, this is Perth’s best hike – just don’t tell anyone I told you. Set in the Paruna Wildlife Reserve, a sanctuary set up to protect threatened plant and animal species, the 12km Numbat Trail will have you panting up and down its winding tracks as you pass powderbark forests, woodlands, gorges, creeks and granite outcrops. The rewards are panoramic views of the Avon Valley and plenty of chances of seeing echidnas, kangaroos and emus. Paruna is a private reserve run by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy who graciously open it to the public from May to October. Don’t just turn up, though, you’ll need to get a code to access the reserve and the daily numbers of walkers are limited.
#3 Wadjemup Bidi Trail (Rottnest Island)
This one involves a ferry ride to beautiful Rottnest Island, but once you’ve glimpsed Rotto’s turquoise water, it will have been well worth the trip (and the price of the ferry ticket). Wadjemup Bidi is a 45km long track that traverses the islands spectacular coastal scenery and pays homage to its cultural and environmental heritage. There’s a good reason why Rottnest is Perth’s favourite getaway, and you won’t disagree once you set foot on this trail. The fifth and final part of the trail is yet to be completed, but the first four sections offer enough rewards to make up for the missing part.
#4 Eagle View Walk (John Forest National Park)
An easy thirty-minute drive gets you to beautiful John Forrest National Park in the Perth Hills and home to one of Perth’s most popular hikes; the 15km Eagle View Walk. Arguably one of the most diverse trails near Perth, the trail offers views of the coastal plain, Perth city and the ocean in the far distance. The track passes through a range of relatively pristine habitat, weaving its way through valleys and along creeks, past waterfalls and large granite boulders. To get the most of the trail, go in August or September when the waterfalls are at their peak and the wildflowers are out. The walk comes with the added bonus that there’s a quaint country pub near the main car park of the National Park. The perfect ending to a great day of hiking.
#5 Bold Park (CBD)
For those days when you need a nature fix but can’t be bothered leaving the city, there’s Bold Park. At 437 hectares, this is the biggest bushland remnant located in the Perth urban area, that makes it even bigger than the more famous Kings Park. Inside Bold Park, there are over 15km of walking trails to discover, offering expansive views of both the ocean and city. It’s also home to more than 1000 species of flora, plenty of birdlife, seasonal wildflowers and Reabold Hill – the highest point in the metro area. Not bad for a piece of bush that’s virtually in the middle of the city. Even better, Bold Park is a skip and a hop away from the coast. Nothing like a refreshing dip in the ocean after a bout of bushwalking.
Photos by Luke Nicholson