Having experienced a few Queensland waterfalls recently we decided to check out some waterfalls nearby to Perth. Whilst Perth isn’t known for it’s spectacular waterfalls we still have a few that stand out and are great spots to visit and photograph.
Strangely Maggie & I have never visited Lesmurdie Falls, but it’s been on the short list for a while now and definitely qualifies as our tallest waterfall in the Perth area (correct me if I’m wrong).
As you can see from the above image the falls are in full flow this time of year and a very spectacular sight!
There are 4 signs at the entrance to the picnic area at the Falls Road car park which I highly recommend reading as they provide some very interesting information on the local flora and fauna, the nearby walk trails and the geological history of the region.
From the picnic area we first headed east along the “Cascade Trail” and immediately noticed the sound of rushing water along Lesmurdie Brook although it was not yet visible at this point being hidden among the reeds. This part of the trail is quite narrow, rocky and a bit damp underfoot but nothing that couldn’t be handled with an average pair of walking shoes. The rocks can be slippery though so watch out for kids doing what kids do or they’ll be doing it on their backsides 🙂
There are two main areas where we saw plenty of water cascading over the flat rocks so make sure you keep going if you want to see it all.
Beyond the cascades you can follow the brook for a way to where there is some rehabilitation work being carried out, nothing much to see here so we headed back the way we came to the Falls Trail.
After returning from the “Cascades Trail” we headed out west following the “Foot of the Falls Trail” which also takes us past the top of the falls. After a very short distance our son rings us from Queensland and while Maggie is talking to him we spot a Southern Brown Bandicoot, or Quenda, on the path right in front of us.
So Maggie has the camera bag on her back and is intently talking to our son (as mum’s do), I’m trying to get the bag off Maggie’s back so I can swap my wide angle lens for the telephoto and someone else appears on the path, walking straight past the Bandicoot. At this point I’m thinking that’s the last we’ll see of him but no, to our amazement, he just sits there as the hiker walks past.
Of course I’m still getting my lens swapped and for no apparent reason the Bandicoot suddenly runs into the bush, I’m pretty sure I could hear him chuckling as I finally got the lens changed and inspected the dense undergrowth he’d entered.
Had I been a little quicker changing lenses this is the shot I probably would have got, which, coincidentally is what I told Maggie my brain felt like just now when she did an information dump on me of all the things she wants me to do today 😯
We carried on along the path which was well maintained and completely different to the route to the Cascades. Suddenly we emerged from enclosed bushland to the top of the Darling Scarp with amazing views over Lesmurdie Falls National Park and the coastal plains all the way to Perth City.
As you can see from these two photos Maggie was wearing one of our new Queensland Rainforest Scarves while walking the trails, the perfect look for nature lovers 🙂
There are two lookouts at the top of the Falls as you can see in the image below and the paths to these lookouts are very safe and have a rail along the edge. The views from these lookouts are outstanding but if, like me, you want to avoid man made objects in your waterfall images then you’ll have to head on down the trail.
From the lookouts it was just under 1km to the foot of the Falls, which is where the real action is. The walk was relatively steep as you descend down the scarp (of more concern coming back up) but nothing that required mountain goat reflexes 😆 The path down was well maintained however there are no more rails once you pass the lookouts so I suggest you refrain from walking and taking photos at the same time 😉
Once at the foot of the scarp the trails open up to be more like 4WD tracks and this was the one area where the trail signs were a bit lacking. From memory & looking at the map the first trail to the right was a dead end and at the next fork in the trail to the right is just a bit of a short cut (that’s the way we went) or to the left you can continue on and get to the Palm Terrace car park that way. You’re not likely to get lost but it is a bit confusing.
Once you get to the Palm Terrace car park you’ll see the signs telling you how to get to the foot of the Falls by following the path along Lesmurdie Brook.
As you approach the foot of Lesmurdie Falls you’ll start to hear the sound of the waterfall again and feel the humidity in the air start to rise, on a hot day I would imagine this area nicely air-conditioned 🙂
When you first get to the Falls a quick look up will show you where you came from and the visible lookout shows how high the falls are. You’ll also notice that you can’t see the very top of the Falls from down here at the bottom.
The foot of the Falls is very rocky and a bit of climbing over the rocks is required to get to a good spot but well worth the effort and no need to get your feet wet. Below is the amazing view of the Falls that you will see by going a little bit further in than the average tourist.
Did I mention this is Perth’s most amazing waterfall!
Of course having your trusty tripod with you will allow for some alternative long exposure shots but don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of shutter speeds. Needless to say my trusty tripod was in the boot of the car (doh!) back up at the top of the waterfall but I managed to get this shot with a bit of motion in the water by resting the camera on a rock. It always pays to be a bit creative with tripod alternatives if the need arises 🙂
There’s also plenty of opportunity for a bit of abstract imagery …
or a close-up with a faster shutter speed capturing a frozen snapshot of the water as it cascades over the rocks …
The flora is also starting to get colourful this time of year 🙂
So we decided to head back up to the car and Maggie noticed a narrow trail heading up past a small lookout. Thinking this might be a shortcut back to the top of the waterfall we started climbing up. After a few minuets we realised that this was less of a walking trail and more of a trail created by rain water cascading down the side of the scarp!
None the less the going looked fairly easy so we kept climbing and as we progressed the track got steeper and steeper and steeper. By now we were so far up we were committed but some of the rocks we were climbing over were getting more and more vertical, not an easy job considering I still had my DSLR in my hand …. Luckily we made it safely to the top and clambered up onto the “official” trail looking back down and the “shortcut” we had taken with amazement!
Beware of shortcuts, they often aren’t … Nothing like a bit of added adventure though, especially when it’s exhilarating and works out fine 🙂
On returning to the enclosed bush we started wondering about our friendly but elusive little Bandicoot that scooted off into the undergrowth just as I got my lens changed. Seconds later we nearly leaped out of our skins as the very same Bandicoot was startled by our approach and launched himself across the track in front of us and made us leap out of our skins! Ironically he then proceeded to sniff around the path and tease us with his complete lack of concern for our proximity.
Thanks for the shock, and thanks for the piccy, love our wildlife 🙂
We had a great day out at Lesmurdie Falls and can heartily recommend it to everyone. There are some amazing scenes to be photographed here or to simply enjoy in the moment and access is as easy as you need it to be.
Location: Lesmurdie Falls is located in Lesmurdie Falls National Park, which is located in Mundy Regional Park in Kalamunda. Ironically Lesmurdie Falls is not actually in the Suburb of Lesmurdie but in Forrestfield!
To start with I got a bit confused as to whether “Lesmurdie Falls National Park” officially existed as there is no mention of it on the Parks & Wildlife web site, simply a reference to Lesmurdie Falls Picnic Area, even though their own sign at the entrance references it on the map. So I asked the question on the Explore Parks WA Facebook Page and got the following answer:
“Hi Dave Catley – I understand your confusion! Lesmurdie Falls National Park does exist and it is part of Mundy Regional Park. Regional Parks are a designation that can cover a range of different land tenures including national park, conservation park and local government managed reserves (and some other land tenures). In this instance we have grouped Lesmurdie Falls site under Mundy Regional Park on our explore parks website. We will update the info on that page to make it all a bit clearer. Thanks for your enquiry and let me know if you have more questions smile emoticon“
I’m pretty sure I understand all that and I’m very impressed how helpful they were.
Parking: There are two car parks with access to the falls, one near the end of Falls Road & one at the end of Palm Terrace. Falls Road has the best access to the top of the falls, the picnic area and all the walk trails whilst Palm Terrace is nearer the foot of the falls. I recommend parking at Falls Road unless you specifically want to get to the foot of the falls with the minimum of walking.
There are 5 walk trails around Lesmurdie Falls, though in reality there is one big loop called The Valley Loop Trail, 3 other shorter return trails along the southern section of the The Valley Loop Trail and The Shoulder Trail which cuts straight up to The Shoulder lookout and back again. There is a slight detour from The Valley Loop Trail at the Lewis Road car park that takes you to the foot of the falls.
- The Falls Trail. 640m return, Class 2, allow 30 min
- The Shoulder Trail. 1.5km return, Class 3, allow 1hr
- The Cascade Trail. 300m return, Class 3, allow 30 min
- The Foot of the Falls Trail. 2km return, Class 3, allow 1hr
- The Valley Loop Trail. 3km return, Class 3, allow 2hrs
Check out the links below for more information about Lesmurdie Falls National Park and it’s walk trails,
If you’re looking for more interesting walk trails around Perth then make sure to check out “The Life of Py” Hiking, Photography & Travel Blog he’s done a great job of documenting a lot of our local walk trails which we will be working our way through.
- Perth Hills Visitor Centre
- Lesmurdie Falls at Trails WA
- Department of Parks & Wildlife
- Lesmurdie Falls at “The Life of Py” Hiking Blog
- Experience Perth Top Walking Trails
- Atlas of Living Australia