Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Our Top 10 Day Walks in Western Australia


With The Long Way's Better celebrating its First Anniversary on March 10th, I thought it would be fitting to put together a list of our Top 10 Day Walks in Western Australia!


The criteria was simple - it had to be a dedicated day walk (so no sections of the Bibbulmun Track, Cape to Cape or the Fitzgerald River NP overnight hikes) and it had to have the 'wow' factor to reward walkers for their efforts. While some of these walks are quite challenging, they were selected because I truly believe the scenery along these trails represent some of the best that Western Australia has to offer, and are worth the effort required.

At current, this list focuses strongly on Perth, Australia's South West and the northern extreme of the South West Land Division in Kalbarri. With further exploration of Australia's North West planned for later this year, we look forward to being able to add a few of those for a future second edition of this list.


For more detailed information, click on the title or in-text links for an in depth review of each walk. Happy hiking!


10. Eagle View Walk Trail (John Forrest National Park)


The Eagle View Walk Trail is arguably one of Perth's most loved bushwalks, and a perennial contender for one of Western Australia's best. At its finest from late Winter through to early Spring, the trail's excellent valley views, and close proximity to numerous gullies and impressive waterfalls makes it one of Perth's most scenic, and it is only let down from being higher on the list due to some less interesting forest sections near the Hovea Falls end of the walk. Nevertheless, its decent length, close proximity to Perth and the lovely National Park Falls makes this an essential Western Australian Day Walk.


9. Talyuberlup Peak (Stirling Range National Park)


Climbing Bluff Knoll and being able to say you've reached the highest peak of the South West is something of a West Australian right of passage, however many of the smaller, more challenging and less visited peaks in the Stirling Range are arguably more satisfying. Take Talyuberlup Peak for instance; it is the shortest of the six mountains open to tourists, and although its steep path tackles the mountain head on, the rock scrambling near the summit, its slowly collapsing cave and towering spires makes this one of the park's most thrilling and rugged short walks, surpassed only by the magnificent Toolbrunup Peak.


8. The Loop Walk (Kalbarri National Park)


Starting at the famous Nature's Window, the Loop Walk in Kalbarri National Park explores a bend in the Murchison River Gorge. Initially following the rim, the trail eventually descends down into the gorge, providing wonderfully rugged walking amongst the Tumblagooda Sandstone formations. Even more rugged sections of the gorge further upstream near Four Ways and the Z Bend suggest that an even more spectacular loop walk may be possible, however at present this remains the best and most satisfying gorge walk in the park - and a great way to experience Outback-style red rock formations without leaving the South West Land Division. 



7. Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail (Serpentine National Park)


A sentimental favourite, Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail is a classic Perth day walk in Serpentine National Park. Starting near Jarrahdale via Stacy's Track, the trail follows Gooralong Brook and the Serpentine River as it makes its way to the beautiful Serpentine Falls. Granite outcrops, smaller waterfalls and rapids, and the remains of an old homestead teeming with butterflies make the walk engaging and scenic from start to finish, so much so that you won't resent the need to walk back upstream to your car in Jarrahdale. A strong contender for the best day walk in the Perth region, it is second only to the Numbat Track in Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary.


6. Warren River Loop (Warren National Park)


While the Bibbulmun Track spends almost two weeks immersed in the majestic Karri forests, the convenient Warren River Loop provides a similar experience in a more manageable day walk form. The 10.5 kilometre loop takes walkers through the dense Karri forest of Warren National Park to its beautiful namesake river. Utilising a section of the Old Bibbulmun Track, the trail passes by multiple jetties and river access points, before rising up to the Warren Lookout perched high above the river valley. To cap it all off, walkers with a good head for heights can climb the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree - the tallest lookout tree in the world!


5. Bigurda Trail (Kalbarri National Park)


Kalbarri National Park is almost two parks in one. Beyond the rugged beauty of the Murchison River Gorge, the equally rugged and spectacular coastal cliffs provide some of the best coastal walking in the state. The Bigurda Trail is the best trail of the lot, covering 8 kilometres along the red Tumblagooda Sandstone cliffs as it links major features like Eagle Gorge and the massive Grandstand to Island Rock and Natural Bridge. It requires a  car/bike shuffle (or a longer 16 kilometre return walk), however the  unique views of the wild Indian Ocean makes the Bigurda Trail worth the effort.


4. Numbat Track (Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary)


Although there are sections of the Bibbulmun Track that are worthy contenders for the best bushwalking in the Perth area, the Numbat Track in Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary is the city's best dedicated day walk. No day walk in Perth has better and more detailed trail construction, with lookouts, bridges and even picnic tables at regular intervals. Beyond the infrastructure, the scenery itself is magic - the Wandoo woodlands, mist-filled valleys, flowing gullies and the spectacular Paruna Gorge represent the best of what the Perth Outdoors have to offer. Walkers need to book ahead and pay a small fee to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, but its entirely worth it.


3. Nancy Peak Circuit (Porongurup National Park)


It may be overshadowed by the Castle Rock lookout on the nearby Granite Skywalk, however the Nancy Peak Circuit is arguably the best and most satisfying trail in the Porongurups - and the finest of the Granite peak day walks in the South West. Where the Granite Skywalk spends most of its time ascending deep in Karri forests before emerging above the trees just before the summit, the Nancy Peak Circuit breaks through the Karris early on, with more time spent traversing spectacular granite domes and formations as it leads towards Nancy Peak. A truly terrific walk, the short 5.3 kilometre loop can be extended with a side trip to the Devil's Slide and Marmabup Rock.


2. Toolbrunup Peak (Stirling Range National Park)


The second tallest mountain in the Stirling Range, Toolbrunup Peak lives in the shadow of the more famous Bluff Knoll. Which is a shame - while it is considerably harder to conquer than Bluff Knoll, it is arguably the most fun and exhilarating mountain day walk in the South West. Where Bluff Knoll is almost a continuous series of steps, the journey to Toolbrunup's summit is a much wilder adventure, requiring walkers to clamber up boulder fields and scramble up the steep route to the summit. With its classic mountain peak shape, sweeping 360° views and more intrepid feel, Toolbrunup Peak is an underrated gem. 


1. Bald Head Walk Trail (Torndirrup National Park)


The Bald Head Walk Trail is amazingly even more underrated than Toolbrunup, and yet it would certainly have to be a contender for one of the best coastal day walks in the entire country. Traversing the hilly Flinders Peninsula near Albany, the trail follows a high, rocky ridge of limestone and granite as it leads to the peninsula's easternmost point at Bald Head. The dichotomy of the wild Southern Ocean and the tranquil waters of King George Sound makes this a riveting walk from start to finish, and there is a high chance of seeing whales off the coast if you walk the trail in winter-early spring. While its isolation and wildness means it should not be walked during stormy weather - and casual tourists with little walking experience should stay well away - the Bald Head Walk Trail will be an absolute treat for those prepared for its challenges and rewards. 



The Walks

Bald Head Walk Trail (Torndirrup National Park)

One of the most challenging and spectacular coastal walks in the South West, the Bald Head Walk Trail traverses the hilly Flinders Peninsula in Torndirrup National Park, taking walkers along the high coastal ridge to its easternmost point at Bald Head. This tough walk features beautiful granite rock formations alongside expansive views of the roaring Southern Ocean and tranquil King George Sound. A must do for experienced bushwalkers....

Bigurda Trail (Kalbarri National Park)

One of Trails WA's Top Trails, the Loop Walk follows a natural loop in the Murchison River near the iconic Nature's Window. Initially walking along the cliff top, the trail descends for a rugged and adventurous section along narrow ledges through the gorge before easing off along a sandy stretch back up to Nature's Window. A stunning walk in one of Western Australia's best national parks, this is a must do experience in the Mid-West....

Eagle View Walk Trail (John Forrest National Park)

A much loved Perth bushwalking classic, the Eagle View Walk Trail has long been considered one of the WA's Top Trails. Located in John Forrest National Park, this popular loop walk takes walkers to some of the less visited sections within the park, including the lovely Christmas Tree Creek. With the trail's valley views bookended by the stunning Hovea and National Park Falls, this is a particularly spectacular winter walk. ...

Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail (Serpentine National Park)

Kitty's Gorge is a stunning return walk in the Jarrah Woodlands of the Darling Scarp, leading walkers from the town of Jarrahdale to the beautiful Serpentine Falls via the rocky Gooralong Brook and Serpentine River. Along the way walkers will view small waterfalls and rapids, moss-covered granite outcrops and a particularly magical section filled with butterflies, making it one of the best day walks in Perth and deserving of its status...

The Loop Walk (Kalbarri National Park)

One of Trails WA's Top Trails, the Loop Walk follows a natural loop in the Murchison River near the iconic Nature's Window. Initially walking along the cliff top, the trail descends for a rugged and adventurous section along narrow ledges through the gorge before easing off along a sandy stretch back up to Nature's Window. A stunning walk in one of Western Australia's best national parks, this is a must do experience in the Mid-West....

Nancy Peak Circuit (Porongurup National Park)

A spectacular trail in Porongurup National Park, the Nancy Peak Circuit takes walkers across several granite peaks. Leading to its high point at Nancy Peak, the trail is dominated by incredible views across the Porongurup Range, especially the neighbouring Devil's Slide. Running along a well thought out route, this rewarding trail is one of the best walks in the South West, and a very deserving Top Trail. ...

Numbat Track (Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary)

Arguably the finest day walk in the Perth Outdoors, the Numbat Track is the longest trail within Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary - an important corridor linking Walyunga and Avon Valley National Parks. The well maintained trail takes walkers up, down and through the valleys of the park, and includes superb walking through Wandoo woodlands, the spectacular Paruna Gorge and offering breathtaking valley views. ...

Talyuberlup Peak (Stirling Range National Park)

Aptly described as 'short but uncompromising', the trek to Talyuberlup's peak is one of the more difficult in the Stirling Range. Tackling the mountain head on, the trail is a continual and increasingly steep ascent that requires scrambling in its latter half. Walkers are rewarded with an impressive mountain cave and views of tall, rocky crags on the way to the summit, as well as views across the range - if you are lucky with the weather!...

Toolbrunup Peak (Stirling Range National Park)

A superb but challenging day walk, the trail to Toolbrunup Peak takes walkers to the summit of the second highest mountain in the Stirling Range. Steeper and wilder than Bluff Knoll, the trail's initially moderate ascent passes through forest before a scramble through two boulder fields and steep rocky ledges on the way to the summit. With breathtaking 360° views across the entire range, this is a must do for experienced walkers....

Warren River Loop (Warren National Park)

One of the finest day walks in the Southern Forests, the Warren River Loop Walk takes walkers to many of Warren National Park's best features. Starting at the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree - the tallest lookout tree in the world - the trail heads through pleasant Karri forest, along the lovely Warren River before ascending to the Warren River Lookout on the way back to the Bicentennial Tree. ...

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