Lesmurdie Falls, beautiful but dangerous
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Being winched up to a rescue helicopter was not the way that I had planned to end my hike to the Lesmurdie Falls National Park.
Just half an hour's drive east of Perth in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park, the meandering Lesmurdie Brook flows.
In the centre of the park the water tumbles over 50 metre sheer drop of the Darling Scarp, the waterfall spectacularly pouring onto a granite rock base before continuing on its way through lush vegetation.
The foot of the falls is a glorious place to stop and admire nature as well as a popular spot for photography and selfies. There are five sign posted walking trails here from 600 metres to 3 kilometres with varying degrees of difficulty. The Falls Road car park has an informative information board with details of the trails, degree of difficulty, and a map of the area.
At the top of the falls there is a viewing platform that offers 180 degree views west towards Perth city, the ocean and Rottnest Island whilst listening to the falling waters below.
The best time of the year to visit is winter or spring, when the falling rains increase the amount of water flowing.
Having broken my hand 6 weeks previously and having my cast removed the day before, I was keen to drive again and spend some time getting back to nature. I had seen some glorious photos of the bottom of the falls on Instagram, so decided to hike there and take some photos myself. Armed with camera gear, water bottle and a flask of coffee I enjoyed the walk along the creek. Listening to the birds chirping, the water babbling, the smell of the trees, the feel of the rocks beneath my hands as I scrambled over them along the path, it was a pleasant way to enjoy a beautiful spring day.
Finding a perfect rock to sit upon and view the wonderful waterfalls, I also enjoyed drinking a coffee, just doing nothing. Sometimes it is beautiful to sit without interruption and be silently at peace with your surroundings.
After a while, I set up my iphone on a tripod which has a remote and a range of up to ten metres, and got a great photo.
Deciding to climb a bit higher to a flat rock I felt my foot slip and as my foot slipped onto a mossy rock, I fell. Bouncing back and forwards off rocks as I fell 4 metres, I stopped upon reaching the creek botttom. Strangely my camera captured a series of photos of the start of my fall. (Please excuse the photos of my backside).
Pain was shooting throughout my rock battered body. Fortunately for me, there were three girls nearby who saw the accident and helped me out of the water. It became obvious after a few minutes that the severe pain I was in meant that I would not be able to walk out or drive home. The girls rang 000, with one of the girls, Jesse, staying with me the whole time, and the two others went to the car park where they met the St Johns ambulance paramedics and escorted them back to where we were.
Administering pain relief they called for the RAC (Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia) rescue helicopter and I was airlifted out and then taken to Royal Perth Hospital. Exceptional care was taken of me, and my gratitude to the rescuers and medical staff is tremendous. CAT scans and an MRI showed no broken bones, only contusions and bruises. I was later transferred to St John of God hospital at Mt Lawley where I spent the next two weeks recovering. I was able to be discharged when I could walk and bathe without assistance and continuing recovery at home.
The RAC rescue helicopters have flown over 7,500 missions in the 17 years they have been flying. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services manage the RAC helicopters. As in my case, a critical care paramedic is often winched down to assist in the rescue of patients that have been injured in difficult to reach areas.
I am not the first person to have this experience at Lesmurdie, and sadly will not be the last. Children and adults have had to be rescued from the exact same spot in the past. One of my rescuers said it was the third evacuation he had personally attended there in 2020.
Each year there are people who die taking selfies, backing off cliffs etc. I wisely had my phone on a tripod on the other side of the creek, and was not taking photos as I climbed.
Nature is beautiful but can be dangerous. People can take all precautions and then still end up in difficulty.
Take care and Happy Travels!