The next time you drive up the Great Eastern Highway towards Mundaring, take a quick detour to see Parkerville's secret waterfall.
The name of Falls Road is a giveaway that something special is nearby. Not visible from the road, this lovely and variable waterfall is a treat to discover no matter what time of year you visit.
Falls Road Reserve waterfall from the rail trail/Photo by author
At the top, the waterfall on quirkily named Clutterbuck Creek emerges from several houses into a lovely cascade over a large natural rock wall. When the water is really flowing, it turns into a frothy bubble bath.
A frothy waterfall bubble bath when the waters are raging/Photo by author
Next, the creek turns into a raging torrent flowing through a jumble of jagged rocks.
Rushing waters over the broken boulders at Falls Road waterfall/Photo by author
The creek then bursts out through a waterspout carved over time into a tall wall of grey granite rock.
Water rushes out through the waterspout at Falls Road waterfall/Photo by author
Finally, the water fans out across the sheet of the orange-red granite on its way downstream to John Forrest National Park.
Water fanning over granite below the Falls Road waterfall/Photo by author
Like many waterfalls, this one changes with the season. It is worth visiting at different times during the rainy season from May to mid-November. Make sure you visit immediately after heavy rains to see it in its full glory. However, I find it best two or so days after heavy rains when the water is clearer and the different stages of the falls are more defined.
Falls Road waterfall two days after heavy rain/Photo by author
Because the water levels change throughout the rainy season, I see something new every time I visit this waterfall. It could be a different flow to the water across the lower rock sheet or how it tumbles through the upper cascade. It might be the way the sunlight hits the water at a certain time of day and light sparkles through the crystal-clear water. It could be a new wildflower on the banks or the colours glowing up from the rock sheet. Different channels and patterns also form across the granite sheet and through, over and around the various rock formations.
Light plays on the water flowing across the granite sheet//Photo by author
The upper cascade is still beautiful when the water levels are lower/Photo by author
You will find it easier to explore early or late in the season. Crossing between sides becomes possible. You can walk and boulder jump across the top of the falls, or carefully pick your way across the granite sheet. The granite has become very smooth after many years of flowing water. Step carefully as algae build up down here, especially late in the season, and it gets very slippery.
Stunning colours and patterns in the granite sheet when water levels are low, but watch out for the slippery black algae!/Photo by author
During spring, the surrounding bushland is alive with small wildflowers, including orchids. Please respect the private properties when exploring the falls.
Respect the landowners who are so lucky to have this beauty in their backyard while you explore the waterfall/Photo by author
Combine a visit to these falls with other great sites in the Perth Hills (visit the Experience Perth Hills Mundaring website
). The wonderful Parkerville Tavern
makes a great stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they often have live music.
You could also spend the day exploring other waterfalls in the area – see this article on Perth's Waterfall Walks
and my article showing you five other hidden Perth Hills waterfalls
. Hovea Falls is about 40 minutes (2.9 km) down the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
inside John Forrest National Park.
There are no facilities available at the falls. Dogs are welcome on a leash.
Falls Road, Parkerville. Parking is best on Falls Road just after you turn off Victoria Road. There is a small parking area on the left. Walk left down the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail to reach the falls. Look for a small sign on the right about 500 m down the track. Access is a little tricky on this side because you need to boulder-hop, but you get a beautiful view over the whole falls from here.
There are some squeezy parking spots on Falls Road on the opposite side of the creek. Look for the sign on the left reading 'Falls Park Restored & Maintained by HRRA'. A steep staircase leads you down to the water. There is also a rough gravel path here.
You can also walk down from the parking area opposite the Parkerville Tavern (approximately 900 m) or walk up from John Forest National Park along the rail trail (approximately 3.9 km).