The Perth Hills, known locally as ‘the Hills’, are famed for their bush walks, spring wildflowers, plunging waterfalls, quaint villages, epic sunsets, and amazing stargazing opportunities. Part of an ancient escarpment that runs through the Darling Ranges from Shark Bay to Albany, the Hills have some cool geological features and flora unique to the region, and they’re only 30-40 minutes from the city. Read on to find out more about why Culture Trip thinks the Hills are one of the best spots in Perth.
One of the best things to do in the Perth Hills is as simple as going for a hike. Just grab some water, choose a trail, and start walking! With the seasons all bringing their blend of magic to the hills, from spring wildflowers and summer shade to secret swimming holes, autumn colours, ‘pick-your-own’ orchards, and winter waterfalls, there’s always something new to see.
If you prefer your sightseeing a little more fast-paced, hit the trails on a bike or head out to the power lines for a scenic four-wheel drive adventure.
One of the best things about winter in Perth is how the rain brings the bush and the waterfalls to life. Suddenly, everything is green and glorious, and the waterfalls are in full force, cascading from the rocky escarpment to the valleys below. Lesmurdie Falls and Sixty Foot Falls are the most epic, especially at sunset, but Hovea Falls, Noble Falls, and Serpentine Falls are also worth a visit.
During the summer when the waterfalls run dry, head to local favourite Lake Leschenaultia to swim, kayak, paddleboard, or just relax by the water.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like stopping for a drink after a long walk/drive/bike through the hills – especially when it’s hot out! Luckily, the Hills have plenty of options, from wineries and cideries to heritage pubs like the Parkerville Tavern and the Mundaring Weir Hotel.
Alternatively, skip the walk and check out the Bickley Valley Wine and Cider Trail. Surrounded by forests and lush rolling hills, go on a tasting tour or find a good spot to sit and enjoy the view.
It’s not all countryside and bushwalking: the Perth Hills are crammed with award-winning farmers, along with numerous artisan markets that provide plenty of locally grown produce, food, drink, and crafts – a perfect excuse to explore the local towns and stop for brunch or coffee. Don’t miss the weekly Kalamunda Farmers Market, the monthly Kalamunda Artisan Market, or the quarterly Roleystone Markets, which are themed to match the seasons.
During harvest months, you can also go straight to the source, with plenty of farms and orchards selling their produce on-site.
Since European settlement, the Perth Hills have been tied to the development of the region, from sawmills and quarries to farms, dams, and hotels for weary travellers.
From the Mundaring Weir and the Golden Pipeline to the hand-dug Swan View Railway Tunnel in John Forrest National Park, discover for yourself how the settlers used their ingenuity to shape Western Australia. The Kalamunda History Village is also worth a visit, with old houses, photographs, vehicles, and lots of great stories.
After dark, the Perth Hills have a different kind of appeal – from this extraordinary viewpoint you can see distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters, and learn about the secrets of the universe. 40-minutes from the city, the historic Perth Observatory is the perfect place for stargazing and astrophotography workshops.
In a nod to the traditional owners of the land and their heritage, the Perth Observatory is also home to a huge collaborative mural, the Worl Wangkiny, or Sky Stories, celebrating 60,000 years of the Noongar’s celestial storytelling. The world’s first astronomers, the Aboriginal people would use the night sky to navigate, tell the seasons, and explain the stories of creation.