There's something about waterfalls that draws us – the rush of water over rocks, the boiling motion as it twists and tumbles on its way downstream, the soothing sounds of its journey.
Search the internet for Perth's best waterfalls and you'll usually find the same five locations – Lesmurdie, Serpentine, Sixty Foot, Noble and those in John Forest National Park (see this article on Perth's Waterfall Walks
). Impressive as these are, tucked into the back streets of the Perth Hills you'll find some spectacular small falls.
Here are six small but beautiful falls worth seeking on your next day trip to the Hills. They are all accessible from short walks on good to moderately challenging gravel tracks. Most will flow from May to mid-November, depending on the winter rains. The best time to see them is from June to October, when the water is rushing and the wildflowers are in bloom. I like to visit at either end of the season when the cascades are less strong, access around and across them is easier and the water is clearer.
Pack up a picnic, the family and the dog and enjoy all the Hills have to offer!
Falls Road Reserve, Parkerville
This small cascade makes its way across a large natural rock wall, through a narrow channel, before bursting out between two large boulders and fanning out over smooth red granite. These falls are at their most impressive after rainy weather, when they spread across a larger area and fill the Clutterbuck Creek below. However, they are still enjoyable later in spring and easier to explore when the water is lower.
Falls Roads waterfall, Parkerville/Photos by author
Wander around the bushland and find small wildflowers, including orchids, during spring. Please respect private property when exploring the falls. I'm extremely jealous of the property that backs onto this amazing little cascade!
Falls Roads waterfall, Parkerville/Photos by author
Location: Falls Road, Parkerville. Parking is best on Falls Road just after you turn off from Victoria Road. Walk up the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail to reach the falls from above. Access is a little tricky on this side, but you get a good view over the falls. There are one or two squeezy parking spots on Falls Road on the opposite of the creek. A staircase leads you down to the water.
FR Berry Reserve, Gidgegannup
This large cascade spreads sheet-like across smooth, red granite and forms bubbling spa-bath-like pools. Wooroloo Brook then winds around enormous boulders and into a large pond before continuing through the reserve.
FR Berry Reserve waterfall, Gidgegannup/Photos by author
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 a visit any time of year. The signed walking trail to the falls points out local wildlife and wildflower specialities. Other trails spread through the reserve.
Find out more about FR Berry Reserve in my full article
Location: Reen Road, Gidgegannup. Coming from the Roe Highway, follow Toodyay Road to the Reen Road turnoff on your left. After 8.5 km, the entry sign is a bit hidden on your left, coming after several steep downhill curves on the road. Formal car park and picnic area with toilets are inside the reserve. The falls are approximately 2.5 km from the car park along a signposted nature trail.
Stinton Cascades, Karragullen
Hard to find, but so worth the trek! Stinton Cascades are tucked into a hidden creek valley that leads down to the Araluen Botanic Park.
From Gardiner Road, follow the property fence line steeply downhill for about 800 m. Once you reach the valley bottom, the creek bubbles through runs and riffles on an easy 1.5 km walk. At the end, the water spreads out in a shallow fan across a wide, flat rock face before spilling into the green pool below. Difficult to photograph, but beautiful to visit!
Stinton Cascades, Karagullen/Photos by author
Stinton Cascades is best at the height of the wildflower season in September–October. I was stunned by the sheer diversity of plant life spread along the banks of the creek. If WA wildflowers are your thing, you can't beat this reserve.
See this article for more about Stinton Cascades
Fields of wildflowers at Stinton Cascades, Karagullen/Photos by author
Location: Gardiner Road, Karragullen. Follow the Brookton Highway from Armadale past the Karagullen Puma service station, then turn right onto Gardiner Road. Just past the second house on the right, look for the signpost for Stinton Cascades Nature Reserve. Park at the sign.
Nyaania Creek between Darlington and Helena Valley
This is a well-hidden gem lying in a deep gully just before Nyaania Creek reaches the Helena River. I'll probably be hunted down for sharing the location of this one – it took some map-scouring and web-trawling to find its location, and I live nearby!
The falls start about 200 m up a small dirt track from the parking area. The first fall is the biggest, spilling into a large, swimmable pool. Five smaller falls and pools connect the creek as it passes through a steep gully of granite rock.
Nyaania Falls, Helena Valley/Photos by author
It's worth exploring past the first falls, as each cascade is unique. The surrounding banks are home to native orchids, flowering sundews and other wildflowers. The track is thin and sometimes steep past the first falls, and the area is very slippery when wet. Crossing over and around each fall is easiest earlier or later in the season. Only explore upstream in non-slip footwear and if you're up for a challenge!
Location: Victor Road, between Boya, Helena Valley and Darlington. Take Clayton Road from Boya, turning right onto Victor Road at the sharp uphill bend. Small parking areas on either side of the road around the bridge and creek. Look for the signpost for Nyaania Creek Rehabilitation Area.
Whistlepipe Gully, Kalamunda
A stunning spot in the middle of suburbia. A moderately easy gravel trail leads you past multiple small falls on this top walk in the Mundy Regional Park. Several cascades are a decent size and have large pools at the bottom. Some are skinny, some spread wide over rock faces, and some are just beautiful river riffles. We found ourselves oohing and ahhing at every turn on our first visit!
Whistlepipe Gully falls and house ruins, Forrestfield/Photos by author
Add to this, you can explore the wildflowers growing on every bank in season and the site of a ruined house that once spanned the creek in the 60s. History and nature rolled into one!
The full walk trail up and back is about 3.5 km long. You can walk on either side of the creek and add an extra loop into the surrounding bushland. Find out more about this walk on the Shire of Kalamunda website
Location: Lewis Road, Forrestfield. Heading for Kalamunda on Welshpool Road, turn left into Lewis and drive for 3 km. Limited parking is available at the furthest end of Lewis Road. Please respect residents' access and properties.
Nyaania Creek between Glen Forrest and Darlington
These small falls are about halfway between Glen Forrest and Darlington on the historic Railway Reserves Heritage Trail. They are at their best during winter and early spring when rainfall has been good and Nyaania Creek is flowing strongly.
Nyaania Creek falls, Glen Forrest–Darlington/Photos by author
The falls drop a few metres over many rocks and so produce a very pleasant fall. There is a picnic bench available for your viewing and listening pleasure. You can also explore the old raceway and rock walls above the falls – a legacy of the Eastern Railway, which closed in 1966.
Being right in my backyard, you'd think I'd have a decent photo of these falls! But I'm rarely on this trail with my camera – maybe next season...
The walk between Glen Forrest and Darlington is a pleasant 2.5 km through bushland along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail and provides a lovely view towards the Swan Coastal Plain. See this article to learn more about the rail trail
Location: Walking, horse or cycling access only on the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail. Parking is available at either end of this trail section on Harold Road, Glen Forrest, or Brook Road, Darlington.