I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published August 15th 2011
Lots of people, locals and visitors alike, do not realise that there are many national parks located close to the city of Perth. They may not be large like the Stirling Ranges National Park, but what they lack in size, they make up for in their uniqueness and attractiveness. Besides, there is something to be said about visiting a small national park, as without having to go bushwalking or 4WD-ing for hours, you already have the feeling (and the brag right) of being really outdoor.
One such park is the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. Located 22km--about half an hour drive--east of the City of Perth, it is still so much part of the suburbia that it has houses right across the road from the carpark, and 2 schools within the radius of 2.5km. What is so good about it? In short: waterfall and sweeping view of the city and beyond. More about these later.
The easiest way to approach the park is to drive east on Welshpool Rd, turn left into Lesmurdie Rd, and then after you pass the St. Brigid's College, turn left again into Falls Rd. The carpark is located on the right hand side of Falls Rd, about 2km from the turn off. It's almost impossible to miss it, but if you somehow manage to achieve the almost impossible and do miss it, don't worry. It's a No Through Road, so you'll be bound to turn around before you're too far away.
The national park is so small that even the carpark is located outside of it. The carpark is officially part of the Mundy Regional Park which surrounds the national park. Adjacent to the carpark, you would find facilities such as public toilets, information display (with a map marked with various walks available) and picnic tables under shelter. As there are only two tables provided, it is a good idea to bring your own rugs if you plan a picnic in case you arrive too late and somebody else has claimed the honour of using them.
The most popular walk in the park is the Head of the Fall (about 350m one way). The path is mostly paved and the part that isn't is gravel. You can walk this even in your heels or flip-flops, so no excuse, gals and guys. Once you reach the platform at the Head of the Fall, you could see the stream tumbling 50m over granite bedrock. One caveat here is that the reward will be much higher if you come after a winter deluge as the waterfall will be in full force. In the height of summer, Lesmurdie Brooks dies down to a mere trickle.
Head of the Fall After Winter Rains
Head of the Fall at Summertime
The sweeping view to the west--to the flat land of the coastal plain that is the City of Perth and the ocean beyond it--would still be there though. So if there hasn't been any rain lately but you feel like heading out there, go for it. Note that there are two platforms at the Head of the Fall. One is directly on top of the waterfall (it is kind of cool to stand on the mesh steel and see the water rushing under your feet). The second one is a bit further down, built on the sheer face of the cliff. This is where the city view is at its best.
Platform built on the cliff to maximise view
The other short walk you could easily do at anytime is the Cascade. It is only about 200m one way from the carpark and brings you to the part where the brook "trips and falls over stones on its way." You don't get to view the city, but the water is more approachable here and would be more exciting for the boys and girls who are ready to dip their toes.
If you're feeling adventurous and come prepared, do go one better and walk down to the Foot of the Fall. It is not as strenuous as it sounds as even families with young toddlers could be seen frolicking along the way (and yes, they do reach the foot of the waterfall and walk back to the top).
The walk down from the Head of the Fall
There are two ways to reach the Foot, you can either go straight down from the Head, or you can go around to the Shoulder of the Fall first. The paths are signed, so as long as you pay attention, it's not easy to get lost.
Foot of the Fall
As a final note, you'd probably like to know that you could also cheat your way to the Foot of the Fall by approaching the park from Lewis Rd. It's already at the same level with the Foot, so no climbing up and down stairs involved. However if it's your first time, I'd strongly recommend entering the park from Falls Rd as the view from the top is really worth it.
Great article! I used the tips here, and did my own day trip. I hope you don't mind me putting a link to my photos here, my blog is private and non commercial in nature. Thanks again for the info! www.yomadic.com/lesmurdie-falls/