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Published August 21st 2017
After having so many consecutive days of rain, it was just wonderful to be out in the sunshine, getting back to nature. Along with my husband and a friend, we put on our hiking boots and headed up to the hills to John Forrest National Park.
Did you know this is one of Australia's oldest conservation parks as well as WA's first national park? It has always been a great place to visit and has so much to offer for everyone. I remember coming here as a child and having picnics with the family, playing in the water and the cute little "Fairy Huts", exploring the waterfalls and experiencing the wildlife. Today not much has changed as it still offers all that and more.
It was great to see the park updating the grounds with new signage on the walking trails and new bridges to cross Jane Brook. As an adult, I love to come and explore the hiking trails in the park, always finishing up the day with a beer and lunch at the tavern.
John Forrest National Park is up off Great Eastern Highway in Hovea, approximately 25km east of Perth, straight up Great Eastern Highway turning onto Park Rd. in Hovea. The park has a National Park entry fee of $12 per vehicle, $6 per vehicle for concession holders and $6 per motorcycle. To see more about the fees, check out parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au. The picnic area offers barbecue facilities and picnic tables and there are toilet facilities.
The tavern which is great for a cold drink and if you don't fancy having a picnic, the food here is great and quite affordable. This is also a fantastic place to take the kids and overseas visitors as they have two courtyards that you can sit in and enjoy the entertainment provided by the wildlife as the kangaroos roam freely and there is a multitude of birds. They do also have live entertainment - on the day I visited, they had a talented Irish musician playing his guitar and singing. The tavern is open daily from 12pm.
What was so wonderful to see was the amount of people at the park enjoying and exploring. You had the Oxfam training groups, families and tourists - just everyone enjoying the day. The wildflowers are starting to pop out their heads out to say 'hello' for another season and I would suspect by September it will be a glorious site to see. Jane Brooke was in full flow, so the falls were just spectacular.
The walk trails are-
The Eagle View Trail- 15km loop. This can be challenging but if you like bushwalking, then you are certainly in for a treat especially in the Spring time. This trail is also part of the- Christmas Tree walk Trail – 10.5km loop. Again, quite challenging but very rewarding. National Parks Falls Walk – 2,5km loop. Easy stroll. The Glen Brook Trail – 2.2km return. A little unsteady under foot but comfortable. Wildflower Walk – 4.5km loop. Can be a bit of work but not too bad, worth the effort in Spring time. Jane Brook Promenade – 300m. Easy comfortable stroll. Railway Reserves Heritage Trail – 41km loop. Long but can be achieved in sections if one desires.
With all these walks, they are fully sign posted but I recommend you check the maps that the park office provides and if you are doing one of the longer ones, please do sign in the register book so the park rangers know who may be out on the trails.