Head for the Hills in Perth
- Category: Day Trips
- Published: Wednesday, 09 May 2012 10:35
- Written by Vicki Sly
Let’s face it; Perth is a very flat city in what you would consider a relatively flat state so we tend to get a bit excited about any type of bump in the landscape.
The Perth Hills along the Darling Range make a welcome change from the coastal plain and for visitors; they offer the opportunity to see the city from a slightly different perspective.
While Perth is a large sprawling city of suburbs, the hills are all about bushland, orchards, wineries, restaurants and art galleries with small semi-rural villages nestled in between, each with its own unique character.
The hills area is only about 25 km from the centre of Perth and stretches from Serpentine in the south through to Jarrahdale, Armadale, Roleystone, Lesmurdie, Kalamunda, Pickering Brook, Mundaring and Hovea.
The highest parts of the region range from 300 to 400 metres above sea level making the temperatures slightly cooler than the coast and a welcome relief in the summer months. The best time to visit though is in spring when the area is still green from the winter rains.
Mundaring Weir in the Darling Range, Perth, WA
Photo Credit: Wikimedia/SeanMack
For lovers of the outdoors and nature, the Perth Hills has enough national parks and walking trails to keep you busy throughout the year. It boasts some of the state’s top walking and cycle trails with scenic breathers along the way.
National parks include: John Forrest (which is Western Australia’s oldest national park), Greenmount, Gooseberry Hill, Kalamunda, Beelu (formerly Mundaring), Helena, Lesmurdie Falls and Korung.
If you are not sure where you want to start, take a visit to the Perth Hills Centre which is an interpretive centre located in the heart of the Beelu National Park (Allen Road, Mundaring, just off the Mundaring Weir Road). Open every day of the year from 10.00am to 4.00pm except Christmas Day, the centre has all the information, maps and advice you will need on where to next. If you are visiting the area for the first time and you are unfamiliar with the plants and animals you may come across, you can also pick up some information here on what to expect.
WA is synonymous with wildflowers and with over 12,000 species found within the state, the hills are a good place to start with July to November being the best time. The national parks listed above promise some beautiful blooming landscapes so make sure you take a look if time permits.
In terms of walking trails, the hills is where you will find the northern point of the states well-renowned Bibbulmun track - one of the world’s greatest long-distance walking tracks stretching approximately 1000 km from Mundaring in the Perth Hills to Albany on the bottom coast of WA.
If food, wine and art are more your bent, the Perth Hills is definitely the place for you. It almost seems like the landscape breeds creativity with a large number of Perth artists calling the hills home. November is normally the time the hills comes alive with the Mundaring and Darlington Arts festivals.
For the foodies, there are numerous cafes, restaurants, country pubs and wineries to try but that would also mean you would have to take a long walk afterwards. What a great combination! Also not to be missed is the Mundaring Truffle Festival that draws large crowds each year.
Kalamunda Road, Kalamunda
Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Mark Ryan
And for the shoppers after a bargain, the Kalamunda Farmers Market is on every Sunday in the Central Mall from 8:00am till noon. The market has a huge choice of local and fresh produce. The Mundaring Markets are also on every second Sunday of the month between 9.00am and noon in Nichol Street, Mundaring. Here you will find a large variety of hand-crafted arts and crafts, along with all the market regulars.
The Perth Hills region has a growing range of accommodation options for those who want to stay beyond a Sunday drive. Choose from bed and breakfast facilities through to boutique guest houses, retreats and eco-lodges.
Getting to the hills
The easiest way to get to the hills area from Perth is to take the Great Eastern Highway, then Kalamunda Road to reach the Kalamunda town centre. From here you can get your bearings to head either north or south depending on your plans for the day.
If you have a favourite place or thing that you like to do in the Perth Hills, then please feel free to share it with us here at Perth Walkabout.
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