11 Great Forest Adventures on Perth’s Doorstep
There is no better time to start enjoying our natural landscape. In celebration of the UN’s International Day of Forests (21st day of March), we have put together a list of activities you might like to enjoy with your friends and family in some of Perth’s closest and most amazing forests and parks.
- Mountain Biking – Munda Biddi Trail
Meaning ‘path through the forest’, Munda Biddi Trail travels between Mundaring and Albany through 1,000km of unspoiled forest and bushland, showcasing a vast array of Western Australia’s terrain. As this trail is predominately off-road you will be able to enjoy picturesque towering forests, ancient bushland, and unique flora and fauna along the way. This is a great way to discover the unique natural features, local heritage and Aboriginal
culture of the states South West. With wineries and charming country towns along the way to explore, or camping shelters along the trail for the adventurous, there really is something for everyone. From an independent day trip between Mundaring and Jarrahdale, to a group cycling adventure all the way to Albany, you can plan your mountain biking ride to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure.
- Canoeing and Kayaking – Walyunga National Park
Believed to roughly translate as ‘happy place’ the Walyunga National Park covers 1,800ha of the Darling Ranges. The park has a rich Indigenous history as one of the largest and most recently used campsites around Perth, believed to be used by Aboriginal people for over 6,000 years. With the Swan River flowing through the park it makes for the perfect place to canoe or kayak while taking in the rugged valley scenery, its vast woodlands, wealth of native animals, and sensational wildflowers. Since it is only about an hour drive (30km) north east of Perth, it also makes for the perfect day trip.
Situated in the Darling Ranges, the John Forrest National Park is the oldest National Park in Western Australia. The 15km Eagle View trail is a spectacular hike, with open woodlands, lush forest, flowing waterfalls, incredible views and natural flora in abundance. This trail has easy to follow signage to let you know the distance left and the distance already covered. Suitable for hikers with all levels of experience and only 40 minutes east of Perth, this hike makes for the perfect weekend adventure.
- Rock Climbing/Abseiling – Greenmount State Forest
Not for the fainthearted, rock climbing and abseiling can be terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. For those adventure seekers looking for the perfect place to bolt in and enjoy sweeping views of their surroundings from a unique perspective, Greenmount is the place for you. The Mountain Quarry is one of several blue stone quarries located within the park and is popular with rock climbers and walkers. Of course safety is paramount, so only try this one if you have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to participate safely. Greenmount has significance in Aboriginal folklore, and stunning views of the Swan Coastal Plain and Perth City can be enjoyed via the Greenmount Lookout. Located 22km east of Perth, it is also a component of the Darling Ranges.
- Camping – Avon Valley National Park
Covering approximately 4,800ha of bush reserve and forest, the valley is remote and has limited development making it ideal for those looking for a wilderness experience. The Avon River, which runs through the centre of the park, is named Golguler by the Noongar people of the Darling Range.
The forests of the Avon Valley National Park are constantly changing with the seasons and area you choose to explore, so makes for a unique trip whichever time of year you go. A camping fee is required and self-registration station established at the parks entry. With bushwalking, wildlife and panoramic views over the Avon Valley this really is an amazing spot to escape the concrete jungle and reconnect with nature at its finest, and is only an hour from Perth.
- Long Distance Walking – Dwellingup State Forest
For those ready for a long distance walking adventure, Dwellingup State Forest makes up a part of the Bibbulmun Track. If starting from the tracks beginning in the Perth Hills, Dwellingup is the first ‘Track Town’, approximately 12 days walk. It is a popular resting spot for those venturing the 6-8 week end-to-end adventure or an ideal place to access the track for day walks or shorter overnight hikes. Dwellingup means ‘place near water’ and follows the Murray River through the stunning valley and forests, with a choice of walks and picnic spots for those doing day trips and camping facilities for those doing an overnight adventure. You can discover these tranquil surroundings located only 40 minutes from Mandurah, while meeting fellow bushwalkers and nature lovers on this popular part of the track.
- Wildflower Spotting – Kings Park and Botanic Garden
With more than 12,000 species of wildflowers in Western Australia it is no surprise that wildflower season brings many tourists to the state. Perth is lucky enough to be home to one of the world’s most spectacular inner city parks, covering 400 hectares and showcasing 1,700 of our unique native species of wildflowers. Perched high on Mt Eliza it has spectacular views of Perth City and the Swan River. It has walkways, picnic areas, playgrounds, cafes, and signs with information about the flora and fauna and local culture.
Wildflower season begins in June and ends in November; however the best time to view this amazing carpet of colourful blooms is September to October, making it a great activity to put in the diary and check out later in the year.
- Family Trail Walking – Baldivis Children’s Forest
This family friendly forest is 20ha of amazing woodland trails, with interesting facts and hidden surprises to be discovered along the way. With a focus on ‘conservation through education’ this community initiative has seen the area created and maintained by children since 2000. As the heart of the Baldivis community, locals volunteer to help educate, protect and enrich this stunning forest. Workshops and events are held weekly in the forest for everyone to enjoy and is a great way to teach the kids about sustainable use of forests, Western Australia’s cultural heritage, and about community involvement. With walking trails, BBQ and picnic areas it makes for a great family day out amongst nature.
- Picnicking – Beelu National Park
This pristine park boasts 3,000 hectares of sensational forest, and offers many popular recreation sites including Fred Jacoby Park, which is home to one of WA’s largest living oak trees. With its panoramic views over Lake CY O’Connor and Mundaring Weir, the Beelu National Park offers a variety of activity options including an amazing lookout deck and walking trails, along with picnic and toilet facilities. For those wanting to stay a little longer than just a picnic lunch, camping under the stars is also available at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre campground.
- Caving – Yanchep National Park
For a fun family day out you can’t go past the Yanchep National Park. With over 400 caves recorded in the park there are many different experiences you can have. Guided tours through the main Crystal Cave allow you to experience an amazing natural wonderland and discover how it was created.
For those with appropriate knowledge and skills adventure caving is also an option as you crawl and climb your way through this underground world. Importantly this park has amazing picnic locations, wildlife, walking trails, visitors centre and cultural experiences to suit everyone. For an encounter with a koala in its natural habitat there is a 240m boardwalk and grey kangaroos roam free in abundance throughout the park. Located 50km north of Perth it is another day out the kids will love.
- Bird Watching – Araluen Botanic Park
With its variety of habitats the Araluen Botanic Park is home to a range of bird species, some of which reside while others pass through seasonally. For the avid bird watching enthusiast this is the place to see water birds, birds of prey, and honeyeaters amongst others. The park provides shelter and water for the birds with little disturbance to them as they are in their natural surroundings of jarrah-marri forests and bushland. You will also find an abundance of marsupials, reptiles and water creatures, along with amazing flora.