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 November 2nd 2014
Pretty picnic areas, river pools to play in, and walktrails
Walyunga National Park is a gem I re-discovered recently. I visited it once before but sort of brushed it off as inconsequential until my recent re-visit completely changed my opinion.
Walyunga National Park
So, why is it a gem? First reason: its location which is quite close to Perth, only about 40km away in fact. To get there, turn right into Walyunga Road where it's signposted on Great Northern Highway (just north of Swan Valley). This road will take you to the national park gate, beyond which is the little hut where we stop to pay the $12,- per car entry fee. It's manned in peak periods (for example spring weekends and during the Avon Descent), however at other times we should stop and do the right thing by them, regardless of whether or not rangers will be around to check. After all, the money will go back into our national parks. If you plan to visit one or more national park many times in a month or a year, you can purchase one of the extended period passes issued by the Department of Park and Wildlife.
The second reason has to do with the nice setting of the main day-use area, namely the Walyunga Pool: Plenty of parking, gas barbecues, and shaded picnic tables set out under the gum trees with excellent river view. The river pool itself is simply a great place for us to launch our little boat, paddle around, and enjoy a relaxing time on the water. In or near winter time, the river current would be stronger, so be extra careful in the water at this time. The only complaint I might have of this day-use area (and it's a minor one) is that the toilet is located at opposite end of the large parking area from the picnic area. So for little ones with short legs, it's quite a hike when they're 'busting.'
The river widens into Walyunga Pool here
Walyunga Heritage Trail is a pleasant walk between the two day-use areas
And speaking of day-use area, this national park also has a second day-use area further in from the gate, namely Boorangup Pool. It has similar facilities as Walyunga Pool: carpark, toilet, barbecues, and picnic area, but to us at least seems less inviting than the one at Walyunga Pool.
The third reason we love this place is the abundance of walking trails within the national park. As shown on the park map which you can download from this page, there are at least 5 different trails with different distances and difficulty levels. The shortest is the Walyunga Heritage Trail, which is an easy 1.6km, 1-hour return walk between the two day-use areas. The longest is Echidna Trail, a moderately difficult 11km, 5-hour loop trail. And there's also another walk trail which link this location to Bell's Rapid, another river pool along the Avon/ Swan River. Whichever walk trail you choose though, remember that the park opens daily from 8am to 5pm only, so plan to complete your walk within these hours.
Some of the wildflowers in Walyunga National Park
The fourth and last reason I'm going to mention in this article is the beauty of nature shown everywhere while we're in the park: at the picnic area, but even more so while we're on the walktrail. There's an abundance of wildflower in spring, and birdlife is also quite active here.
The birds love flowers here
With all these good qualities, it's quite embarrassing really, that I didn't appreciate this national park before. However, now that I've found and love it, I'd easily go back again and again, much like my repeat visits to another place my family love which I think has quite a lot of similarities with this one: the Lane Poole Reserve in Dwellingup. I hope by sharing these places, you'll get to love them too.