‘Les lieux caches’ – Perth’s Hidden Places

My favourite spots to visit.

(All images taken by me)

Most people who live in Perth, or are visiting the city, are often trying to find new places to visit and experience. However, when seeking new sites, the same places always come up. The likes of Scarborough, Cottesloe, and Kings Park haunt our itineraries. By no means, am I saying that these places are bad to visit – they’re actually really nice. But if you’re like me and are not a big fan of

repetitiveness, constant noise and clumps of people around you, then it’s fair to say those places don’t exactly tickle your fancy. So, what I’ve done for my fellow friends that are seeking new places to explore is I’ve compiled a list of my favourite locations in Perth that are under the radar, and that I’d be happy going to on any given day. Here I’ll be sharing my list of ‘the hidden places’ of Perth.

1). Point Peron

Frankly, Point Peron is one of my favourite places to go during the late afternoon, when the bushes and coastline are swallowed with a golden tint. It is a ‘popular’ place for snorkelling, fishing and the casual evening commute. The place is undefiled by man (or seems it). The coastline is raw, composed of sharp and interesting rocks, where a lot of the time, the waves crash against. There are also other interesting things such as random small beaches, rocks to climb and some caves to explore. I’m always very happy to visit this place. It has a ‘down south’ feel to it, while only being 50 mins south of Perth CBD – less if you live south of the river. I cannot recommend this place more. It always inspires me, hence why I never go there without my camera in bag. Go see it for yourself.

2). Ellis Brook Valley

I did not expect this place to be what it is when I first visited. To me, this place is so interesting. Lying just off of Tonkin Highway, you enter Banyowla Regional Park into Ellis Brook Valley. The main trail (which is not very long) takes you up the hill, past river streams and man-sized shrubs, toward and on-top of a waterfall. Walking up and looking back, you’re greeted with an ethereal scene of the valley, and in the far distance, you can see the city skylines. Another bonus is that there is a quarry there, providing a choice to swim if you wish to. The main trail that takes you to all these places is a loop, so don’t be afraid to keep walking forward. I honestly love this place (aside from that one time Melody’s car got broken into). You get to walk, witness waterfalls, jump over streams, stand on the edge of a quarry, etc. I enjoyed my time there so much that I went for a wander and took some Milky Way shots there at midnight. See one of them below.

3). Bells Rapids

The first time I went to this place, it really stunned me. Bells Rapids is located in the Swan Valley Region, just 20-25 mins East of Perth. The town is country-like, with vines stationed on both sides of the road, and lots of open space – no tall buildings and conglomerated housings. If I were to wake up in Swan Valley for the first time, having no previous experience of the place, I’d think I’d be somewhere like France.

Moving onto bells rapids; it is just life-giving. Upon arrival, you can hear the water streams gushing past and around rock and underneath a bridge, continuing its course to wherever its end is – if there is an end. If you visit during winter, the rapids flow with an abundance of water, and the place turns into a huge backyard, with green green grass underneath your feet; making for a sweet promenade in nature.

Somewhere off one of the paths at Bells Rapids, there is a giant tree with branches waving out of its trunk in all sorts of directions, as if it wasn’t quite sure which way to grow, so it tried every possible way. I came across this tree by accident while gallivanting and running around the hills like a mad kid one afternoon. It is very climbable (kind of), and whenever I visit the place, it is my favourite thing to do (along with rock hopping over the rapids) – seriously though, it’s a treat. Not only that, you also get a good view of the hills in the back, and in front, amongst the haze, you see a little clump of tall grey buildings – that’s the city. Aside from climbing the tree, there are swings attached to some of the branches, making for a good secret hide out to have a little bit of fun in nature.

4). Mount Cooke / Serpentine Falls

I remember the early rise for a hike up Mt. Cooke during Easter last year. If you’re up for a wander, then this place is great, especially once you start hiking up some elevation. You get some really nice views of the ranges, as well as being surrounded by a jarrah forest. But if trekking isn’t your forte, you might be interested in the forest of pines that lies at the very start of the trail.

If it’s a very warm day, you might even consider taking a half an hour drive East of Mt. Cooke to the renowned Serpentine Falls. Serpentine Falls is a natural swimming hole, created and sustained by a waterfall flowing into the pool. It is quite popular during the summer season, so you might want to keep that into consideration. There are also really nice trails (e.g. Kitty’s Gorge Trail) in the area that are worth checking out if you’re willing to go for little venture, seeing waterfalls and other kinds of good things. Serpentine Falls is also great for a picnic. There are tables available, as well as BBQ facilities.

5). Bibra Lake / North Lake

Often frequented in the late afternoon and evening by families and walkers, these places revolve around their respective lakes, and they are right next to each other. The special thing about North Lake is that during the winter and spring season, multitudes of lilies burst into life from the ground. It makes a great place to be engulfed and surrounded by lilies everywhere. If you do decide to go for a wander there, just be careful of the snakes, although chances are you most likely won’t encounter one.

Bibra Lake, its neighbour, is a much bigger lake, and is frequented much more due to its family friendly facilities and concrete tracks. This does not take away from the beauty of the place. On the far east side, where there is basically no one, there are boardwalks weaving through green bushlands, leading out to a couple of bird watching sheds that extend into the lake, making for a quiet and picturesque place for photos and enjoying the view at sunset.

6). John Forrest National Park

This place is special. Found in Hovea, just off Great Eastern Highway, John Forrest is a great place to explore, especially as it is where the Swan View Tunnel resides. The tunnel previously used to be part of a railway trail, but was then closed in the 60’s as it was no longer needed. However, it is now part of the trail at John Forrest, where the public can walk and explore the tunnel as they wish. Do keep in mind that the track inside tunnel is made of gravel, so riding a bike in a very dark place does not exactly proclaim the word ‘safety’. If you’ve never seen or walked the tunnel, and if you feel daring, give the 340m stretch of darkness a go.

If there is no one else walking the tunnel apart from you, all you can hear are your footsteps rubbing against and moving the gravel underneath your feet, and occasionally, droplets of water dripping down from the ceiling. Everything else is silent like the dead of night.

 

Important note: I’ve given this information free of will, hoping that some people may enjoy exploring somewhere new, so please abstain from littering in these places. It’d mean a lot to me, and others who also go to those places for enjoyment, and have made some pretty grandiose memories there.

 

Other places I enjoy visiting:

  • The Jarrahdale area – Very open and foresty.
  • Swanbourne – Beautiful reserve and view of the ocean.
  • Yanchep National Park – Great place for a day trip not too far from the city.
  • Henderson Cliffs – Rugged coastline cliffs.
  • Lesmurdie – A bit more common, but very beautiful – Huge waterfall there.
  • Woodman’s point reserve – Good for a casual afternoon stroll near a more secluded beach.

P.S. I am also considering doing a journal entry on ‘places to visit in the South-West’, so keep yourself updated for that if you’re interested.

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