We took an armchair tour of all the interesting things to see and do in and around Perth, Australia. It wouldn’t be right to move on if we also didn’t take a look at some of the great national parks in the area.
John Forrest National Park is one of Australia’s oldest conservation areas and is the first national park that opened in Western Australia. The park is located in the Darling Ranges just about a half an hour drive from Perth. Visitors to the park can enjoy bush walking, mountain biking, scenic drives and rock pools that are great for swimming.
Colonial pioneers knew the environmental value of this park and declared it a reserve in 1898. There is so much of wonder to see and explore like trails snaking through rugged wilderness or along some disused railway line that bring you to lovely, quiet pools and fantastic waterfalls. The higher they climb visitors can get wonderful views of the city and metropolitan area.
A popular area to picnic is the Rocky Pool picnic area surrounded by attractive wandoo and paperbark woodland. Once the winter rains have passed you can sit and watch the waters of Jane Brook come tumbling down a series of small rapids into the pool. There is lots of wildlife to observe including lots of native birds, possums and bandicoots. There are colorful wildflowers in the springtime. Tearooms and a tavern are open regularly for refreshments. Altogether the park stretches more than 1,500 hectares and is best accessed from Great Eastern Highway.
If you want to experience a real Aussie environment head for Yanchep National Park. Visitors have the chance to experience Aboriginal culture and participate in a cave tour. You can admire heritage architecture; admire Australian flora and fauna including koalas and kangaroos. Lots of trails to walk along, spots to picnic among the surrounding nature or dine at one of the facilities in the park. Crystal Cave is open daily for tours and the park has a choice of nine interesting walking trails that range in length from 500 meters to 55 kilometers. Such fascinating things to see like collapsed cave systems, gorges, pristine coastal wetlands and haunted historic remains.
If you want a truly unique experience you can book Cabaret Cave for a special occasion. This is Perth’s only cave for hire. This specially modified natural cave is visually amazing, acoustically sensational and naturally air-conditioned. It has been used for functions since the 1930s and has the ability to cater up to 200 people.
For visitors who want to stay overnight there is Yanchep Inn with luxury accommodation and you can get a nighttime view of some of Australia’s fascinating fauna.
Its close proximity to Perth and scenic features has attracted visitors to Serpentine National Park for almost 100 years. The park is a sanctuary for many different plants and animals especially kangaroos. There is a shaded, grassy area that is popular for picnics. The park is located in a naturally beautiful clef at the foot of the scarp and stretches up the steep slopes of the Serpentine River valley, past a sheer face of granite polished smooth by rushing waters. Years of weathering have created distinct landscapes of lateritic uplands, minor and major valleys and abrupt scarps. The woodlands were hunted in and camped in by Nyoongar Aborigines of the Whadjuk and Bindjareb tribes long before the Europeans came. The Serpentine River provided them with fresh water, fish and other food sources such as tortoises, lizards and birds.
Visitors can see colorful wildflowers from July to November with the finest displays being in September, when the hillsides and wooded areas come alive with color. The park is home to about 70 of the 100 bird species that live on the Darling Scarp. Going on a picnic here means you can be joined by western grey kangaroos. Other wildlife to be seen are echnida, mardo, quenda, brushtail possum, western brush-wallaby and the quokka. People have been warned not to climb or jump from the Serpentine Falls and to always be aware of their surroundings and you’ll find hazard warning signs for protection and safety.
Walyunga National Park covers more than 1,800 hectares of the Darling Range. It is located just behind the Darling Scarp and stretches over both sides of a steep valley. To the east of the park, in the picturesque Avon Valley, the Avon River comes together with the Brockman River to form the Swan River then passing through the tree-lined valley. Walyunga has one of the largest known Aboriginal campsites around Perth and was still used by the Nyoongar late last century. The main attraction here is the Swan River, line by smooth granite boulders. This section of the river has rapids followed by deep pools and visitors are drawn by Syd’s Rapids, Walyunga Pool and Boongarup Pool. The valley floor is flooded at the river’s edge and farther up the slopes are wandoo woodlands. In the springtime colorful wildflowers put on quite a show.
For fantastic Australian sea-lion viewing there is Carnac Island. This sea-lion is the rarest in the world and the only one found solely in Australia. All of the sea-lions found on the island are males. Breeding takes place on offshore islands about 200 kilometers north of Perth for four to five months every 17.5 months. Once the breeding season is over, the males migrate south to islands off the Perth metropolitan coast. They might look docile but Australian sea-lions are large, wild animals that at times can get aggressive if they feel threatened. Visitors can view but should stay well clear of them.
Visitors are told not to venture away from the beach because inland on Carnac Island the tiger snakes make their home. This counts as one of the world’s most deadly snake species. This is one of only two islands in Western Australia where these snakes can be found. This island is also an important nesting habitat for seabirds like little penguins, wedge-tailed shearwaters, pied cormorants, pied oystercatchers and Caspian, bridled and crested terns. Visitors should stay clear of nesting areas so as not to disturb the birds.
Signs identify a sanctuary area to which sea-lions can escape when they want to get away from visitors.