Hiking in the spectacular Perth Hills on a wonderful winter day
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
On a beautifully sunny (22 degrees Celsius, 71 degrees Fahrenheit) winter morning in August, I joined a group of ten other hikers on a guided 12 km (7.46 mile) hike through the Perth Hills with Off the Beaten Track WA.
This is the Perth Hills Hike, wine and dine tour, organised and guided by the company Off the Beaten Track WA. If you have never hiked in the Australian bush, put it on your bucket list. This landscape of the oldest continent is spectacular, breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
Off the Beaten Track WA, a hiking and guide company, was created by Tracy three years ago. A hiker herself, she wanted to share the beauty of her adventures in her extended WA backyard with others. Tracy was one of the two guides on our hike and the sort of person that you want to become one of your best friends. She refers to her hikers as her extended family, with many people becoming frequent hikers with her. Most of the hikes are sold out. Andrew helps create the tours and is a guide as well. Andrew hung back with me for a little while whilst I was having a spot of difficulty. Both he and Tracy keep you motivated!
Her company now offers more than 50 unique guided tours created by Tracy, varying from a few hours to a few days. There is a tour for most people.
Amongst their tours are:
Thrill Seeking Abseiling hikes
Adreneline rush Treetop and adventure hikes
Endurance training hikes
Acoustic moon hikes
Bike and hikes
Yoga and pilates hikes
Private hikes and group hikes
Or a tailored hike to suit as required
Our 12 km hike started and ended at the beginning portion (the Northern Terminus) of the Bibbulmun track at Kalumunda, 40 minutes east of Perth.
The Bibbulmun track starts at Kalamunda, 40 minutes east of Perth and runs to Albany on the south coast. It is 1003 kilometres (623 mile) long and would take about eight weeks to explore. It is one of the world’s longest long-distance walks. It is rated as hard (Grade 4) and you wind your way through forests, over creeks and rivers, along beaches and up and over granite outcrops.
The track consists of 58 sections, roughly a day per section, and at the end of each section is either a town or a purpose-built campsite. You hike through state forests and national parks.
It is a walker only trail, and there is a parallel long distance cycling track, the Munda Biddi Trail.
The name of the track originates from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people, Indigenous Australians from the Perth area.
On my Sunday adventure, the air is so fresh that you unconsciously breathe deeper, to inhale this pure energy. The fresh smell of the forest is energising. The flora of the forest includes Jarrah and Wandoo trees (both a type of Eucalyptus), Xanthorrhoea (known as grass trees), wildflowers (although the wildflower season typically runs in Spring from September to October) and other native vegetation.
Listen carefully and the only sounds you will hear are the native birds, an occasional frog, and the cascades and babbling of the various creeks and brooks. Our first stop was 1.7 kilometres from the start, for a delicious morning tea and a well deserved rest break at the Rocky Pools of the Piesse Brook. In the 1930s, before public swimming pools at local towns, this was a popular swimming hole.
The morning tea is included in the price of the hike, and included sweet strawberries, cheese, crackers, a nutty energy slice and a cup of refreshing chai tea.
After our rest and photo taking, we set off again. There are some steps that were previously built by prisoners from a nearby prison farm.
Most of the hike is over, up and down rocky paths alongside large granite boulders. Complimentary hiking poles are provided if you want to use them, this made the hiking easier when you had something to lean against. It also offers a greater cardio workout as you move your arms more than you would without them.
Trying to come up with descriptions of how spectacular the scenery is becomes difficult. It is almost beautiful beyond words. The photos I am sharing with you here will speak louder than my words.
Each turn of a path opens to a new vista, whether a view over the treetops into the far distance, the sight of the Helena River or beautiful wildflowers and unique trees.
By the end of the hike, physically exhausted but mentally refreshed, we head off in the bus to the nearby Core Cider House for a two course meal and a cider, beer or coffee.
As with the morning tea, the meal and drink was included in the cost of the hike. The first course was a beautiful shared tasting platter.
There was a lot of food, and we purposefully left some behind, so that there was room for our main course lunch. I ordered the chicken, which was so tender it fell off the bone with just a nudge from my fork and was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
The best part of the lunch was the easy chatter amongst the hikers and hosts. The more experienced hikers gave some great tips and descriptions of previous hikes they had done, and some upcoming hikes they were eagerly anticipating. One of the other hikers offered to do some training with me in Perth, which I was very grateful for, as my fitness level truly needs improving.
Sharing the adventure together brought us close and it was thoroughly enjoyable.
This was the first hike I have done with Off the Beaten Track WA, and definitely not the last.
From my first phone call to the actual event, I felt welcomed and included. The difficulty will be, how many of their 50 hikes I can fit into my calendar? I will write another article about my next hike in the next few weeks…. Stay reading!