Roaming by any means, I’m a traveller by nature who loves to share a tale or two. Motorbike rider, hiker, photographer and hand-crafter who loves history and the great outdoors. Follow my adventures at https://www.facebook.com/theroamingbanshee
Published October 28th 2019
A hidden bushland gem in the Perth Hills
FR Berry Reserve is a hidden gem in the Perth Hills. This pristine bushland is rich with wildflowers and birdlife. Winding through the reserve is the Wooroloo Brook, leading to a wide waterfall in the centre. The granite rock that makes up the ground creates steep valleys, interesting boulder outcrops and is a smooth, rich red where the waterfall flows.
The largest of the City of Swan's bushland reserves, FR Berry Reserve is 214 hectares (529 acres) of stunning eucalpyt woodland with paperbark swamp along the river edges. Its natural values were recognised back in 1963, when the land was granted to the City by Mt Lawley Pty Ltd. The reserve was named after Mr FR Berry, a former company manager.
Admire the hula-skirts of the grasstree, Xanthorrhoea acanthostachya, found only in WA
The reserve is rich in plant and animal life. Several unique and rare plant species, including the Vanilla Sun Orchid, can be seen although are tricky to find. It's not uncommon to see and hear WA's threatened cockatoo species, Carnaby's and Baudin's Black Cockatoos (with the white tails) and the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. You may spot an Echidna too! Less easy to find are the tiny Honey Possums that live on nectar from wildflowers.
Walk quietly and you never know what wildlife you'll find
This makes a beautiful picnic and swimming spot in the warmer days of spring (unless you're a brave winter swimmer!). The area is full of wildflowers through winter and spring and is worth visiting any time of year.
Some of the many wildflowers you can find in FR Berry Reserve
Make a full day of your visit from Perth to get the best of the Hills. Combine a trip to the reserve with a longer drive in the area to visit Paruna Sanctuary, Nobel Falls and Walyunga National Park and Lookout on the Gidgegannup Scenic Wildflower Drive (brochure available from www.experienceperth.com/page/swan-valley-wildflower-trails)
Walking Trail A 2.7 km walking trail sets out from the main car park to the Wooroloo Brook and on to the waterfall. Information signs show some of the plants and wildlife found within the reserve, like the tiny Weebill bird and the One-sided Calothamnus bush found thickly across the site. You will pass through areas of Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo woodland. At the edges of the Wooroloo Brook, you'll find Melaleuca paperbark trees and associated swampland plants. A downloadable trail map is available at www.swan.wa.gov.au/Parks-recreation/FR-Berry-Reserve.
Note the trail can have larger rocks on it and steeper areas can be slippery when very dry or very wet. Otherwise it is relatively easy to walk. The trail is suitable for wheelchairs but may need someone to assist on slopes or in deeper gravel.
Taking a walk on the fire breaks around the reserve will lead you up and down very steep hills to explore the outer reaches of the reserve. But the rewards are beautiful views across the bushland and granite outcroppings to perch on. Make sure you carry plenty of water as a strenuous uphill walk can make you very thirsty, even in winter.
Take a hike on the fire trails for views like this
You first view the falls from above as you approach on the signed walking trail. This large cascade spreads sheet-like across smooth, red granite and down into bubbling pools. The river then winds around huge boulders and into a large pool before continuing through the reserve.
As I've only visited in winter and early spring, I'm looking forward to warmer weather before it gets too dry, so I can sit in one of those bubbling, spa-bath pools at the base of the falls! The larger pool also looks very inviting for swimming. It is calm and the rock surrounding it is completely flat, so there are swimming options for all ages and abilities.
Phytophthora Dieback FR Berry Reserve is one of the few Perth Hills bushland reserves not severely affected by Phytophthora Dieback; however, it is present in areas around the main car park, river and the fire breaks. Help keep the remaining bushland free from this devasting plant disease. Observe the signs and stay on marked trails. Don't deliberately walk in mud as this spreads the disease. Make sure your shoes are clean of dirt when entering and leaving the reserve. You can spray your shoes with a mix of 70% methylated spirits/30% water to kill the disease before leaving or entering the reserve (or other bushland areas or your own garden). You can find out more about Phytophthora Dieback at www.dwg.org.au/about-dieback/phytophthora-dieback.
Flushing toilets are available. There are picnic benches and a fire pit in the main car park. Please observe fire restriction period notices. Dogs are welcome on a leash.
Reen Road, Gidgegannup. Coming from the Roe Highway, follow Toodyay Road to the Reen Road turnoff on your left. Follow Reen Road through the hills and farmlands for 8.5 km. The entry is a bit hidden on your left, coming after several steep downhill curves in the road.
I too visit this lovely tranquil spot many times, especially spring, BUT would not recommend that anyone swim in the brook, as there are many slippery rocks, stones, muddy spots underfoot that would make a firm foothold when trying to leave the water, (in my opinion) very tricky. A careful paddle at some clear edges maybe OK, but then that could lead to some erosion. Enjoy the flowers, walks & peacefulness, but.........