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Short Perth Hikes With City Views

perth city view from top of short hike

Sometimes you have to step back to get a better perspective. That is never more true that when searching for amazing city views! In the Western Australia capital, there are plenty of ways to do just that. These short Perth hikes with city views will have you reaping the rewards of getting your sweat on when you see the amazing cityscape!

When we moved to Perth we vowed to spend more time outdoors. In the spirit of Australian life we were excited to reconnect with nature that can be found right on our doorstep!

Here are a handful of short Perth hikes with city views to wow you!

woman smiles atop viewpoint overlooking nature reserve and perth city

Kings Park

The easiest and most common way to get a sweeping view of Perth city is from Kings Park. There are a couple of great spots to enjoy views over Perth (and beyond!), and in a 990 acre park sitting atop Mount Eliza you won’t feel crowded in doing so.

Not only is the park a great place to view the city, but within the park there is a beautiful Botanical Garden. The walk around the park itself is as much a rewarding experience as walking to the park.

Take an afternoon or couple of hours spare to escape the city and watch from afar in an oasis of nature.

view of perth city from kings park with pink flowers in foreground

Lotterywest Federation Walkway Glass Arched Bridge

View score: 7/10

A pretty unique Perth hike with city views is from the treetop walk over the Lotterywest Federation Walkway!

This 620m bridges stretches over the botanical gardens. While you’re walking among the trees catch a glimpse of the skyline across the Swan River. As you walk over the 52m high bridge you’ll get a birdseye view of natural and urban beauty below.

I gave this a lower score because the actual view of the city isn’t the best. The angle of the bridge means the city view is partially blocked by trees, but it’s still pretty great!

view over swan river from kings park

DNA Tower

View score: 6/10

The DNA Tower is the highest point from which to view the city in Kings Park. Named for its distinctive shape (the double helix of DNA), climb the stairs of this 15m structure for 360 views over the park and beyond.

spiral staircases of dna tower kings park

From the viewing platform you’ll look across the treetops and just about see at city view ahead. To the west you can occasionally see as far as the Indian Ocean on a clear day!

State War Memorial

View score: 9/10

The area around the State War Memorial in Kings Park is a reflective space with the Cenotaph, Court of Contemplation, Flame of Remembrance and Pool of Reflection. Not only is this a good chance to learn about the various battles and wars fought by Western Australians, but the location within the park is the perfect vantage point to see the city of Perth.

I’d highly recommend a short walk around the area as you can appreciate all the natural flora carefully maintained within the park as well as the views.

view of perth cbd from kings park

No matter where you explore in Kings Park you’ll be sure to find a spot that resonates with you. Whether you delve deep into the trees to find a quiet nook for yourself or choose to be amongst the hustle and bustle of Fraser Avenue, it’s a great spot and one that every visitor to Perth should explore.

How to get there:

You can walk to Kings Park from the CBD or Elizabeth Quay within 30 minutes.

There are a few ways to get to Kings Park, but the easiest and most direct is by walking along St George’s Terrace and up the hill at Malcolm Street (taking you on the freeway overpass). From there you’ll see a sign directing you to Kings Park. Turn left down Fraser Avenue and you’ll be inside the park grounds. Walk down the treelined street until you find a spot that you like. Or, continue walking through the park until you reach the DNA tower in the middle of the park.

An alternative route takes you up Jacob’s Ladder, a steep staircase that goes from Mounts Bay Road at the bottom to Cliff Street in the park.

Another route would be from Elizabeth Quay. Follow the Swan River around Riverside Drive until you’re able to safely cross the road at the Point Lewis Rotary onto the park’s side of the road. Walk along the bottom edge of the park until you reach the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. Take the stairs up through the woodland and you’ll reach Kings Park.

Note that as Kings Park is on a hill all routes will involve a steep incline.

You can also drive to Kings Park where there is ample space at several carparks to start your Perth hike with city views.

view over treetops with skyscrapers in distance

Heirisson Island

View score: 10/10

For a moment of tranquility while you observe the twinkling lights of the city visit Heirisson Island for Perth city views.

This island right in the middle of the Swan River may seem unassuming but has a few surprises for visitors. On the western side of the island is a kangaroo sanctuary which is home to a handful of Western Grey kangaroos. Around the 2km walking track is a landscaped nature reserve with grassy fields, a large pond (where seemingly millions of pelicans live!), all surrounded by trees.

Walk around the island and find the best vantage point to view the city. You might need to go off the path and into the trees to find the best spots! There are a couple of well-positioned benches to pause at too.

I’d highly recommend visiting Heirisson Island at sunset for the best views of Perth on this short hike. The colours of a Western Australian sunset are unlike anywhere else. And from this location you’ll see the hues melt into the skyline and bounce off the glistening waters below.

sunset view of perth from heirisson island

Plus, visiting later in the afternoon gives you the best chance to see the kangaroos on the island!

This is my favourite place to get a great view of Perth on a short walk. It’s a real treat and always surprises first-time visitors. It’s much quieter than Kings Park but the views are just as good, if not better.

How to get there:

It takes around 40 minutes to walk from Elizabeth Quay to Heirisson Island along Riverside Drive.

Walk from the CBD down to Langley Park and Riverside Drive. Walk east along the river until you reach Point Fraser and continue around the riverside footpath. Walk across The Causeway bridge and turn right onto  the western side of the island. Follow the footpath and head into the kangaroo sanctuary where you’ll find great spots to see the city.

view of perth city from heirisson island

South Foreshore

View score: 9/10

Another short hike in Perth with city views is right across the Swan River.

The South Foreshore gives unrivalled views of the city straight over the water. There’s plenty of space around the area to enjoy a gentle walk, or if you prefer to catch your views from the comforts of a cafe or bar you can do so too.

The whole way along the South Foreshore there are small beaches with free volleyball, picnic benches, BBQ stations, and a handful of cafes.

Basically, I can’t fault the views from south of the river. The only reason I knocked a point off was because I felt Heirisson Island gives the same perspective but as it’s a little quieter and more isolated gives it an edge.

view of perth skyline from south foreshore across river

How to get there:

Catch the ferry from Elizabeth Quay over to Mends St Jetty. The ferry takes just 10 minutes and from there you can walk along the South Perth Esplanade around Sir James Mitchell Park. If you purchase a zone 1 ticket for the ferry you can take a return ride within 2 hours for free! Ferry tickets with Transperth cost $3.20 per adult.

If you choose to walk from the South Foreshore back to the city you can cross over Heirisson Island and walk back to the CBD via Riverside Drive. This walk will take around 1.5 hours in total, but there are plenty of places to stop along the way.

Herdsman Lake

View score: 4/10

Herdsman Lake is 8km north west of the Perth, and is made up of an oval park surrounded by water.

Visitors can walk the circumference of the lake,  and get views of the city across the tall reeds and treetops. You might need to stretch your neck out for a better look!

The views of the city from Herdsman aren’t spectacular. However, the reserve is a great place for a relaxed and easy walk. There is plenty of wildlife to spot too. On our first visit in the middle of winter we came across 2 tiger snakes, the second most deadly in Australia!!

The downside to Herdsman is its height. Without being raised above the city your views of Perth are a little bit flat.

river and grassy banks with perth skyline in background

How to get there:

Driving to Herdsman Lake takes 15 minutes from Perth. 

Drive on Mitchell Freeway/State Route 2 from the city and come off at Powis Street onto Jon Sanders Drive. Drive anticlockwise around the lake until you see the signs for the carpark.

Ellis Brook Valley Reserve

View score: 10/10

A short drive from Perth will take you to a part of the outer suburbs with amazing short hikes to enjoy.

Ellis Brook Valley Reserve is a popular spot in the foothills of the Darling Range that’s perfect for a short but steep 2km hike that takes around 1 hour.

man walks down footpath in nature reserve

When you begin at the bottom the hill you are faced with 2 options: Walk via the quarry or the waterfall. I’d suggest starting with the waterfall to get the steep steps out the way! You’ll climb 80m up in the first 500m, but once you reach the viewing platform it will all be worth it.

If you take this short hike in cooler months you will likely hear and see the Sixty Foot Falls straight away. For us, we visited in summer when not a trickle was pouring.

The walk continues up to the top of the falls and THIS is where the magic happens. From the top of the falls (which I imagine are stunning in winter) you can see all the way to Perth CBD. The skyscrapers poke out from the ground in the distance in an otherwise pretty flat landscape.

view over ellis brook valley nature reserve with perth city view in distance

Bonus Stop: An Abandoned Quarry

On the descent you’ll zigzag your way down dirt paths and face the cityscape views until you reach the Old Barrington Quarry. It may not sound the most attractive place, but the sheer cliffs and the marbled rock faces look just as you’d imagine the outback of Australia to be. In another world this could be a gorge or valley somewhere in the desert, but nope, it’s just an abandoned hole in the ground.

It’s worth noting that the hike can feel busy. We often found others passing by, hikers with dogs (it’s a pet friendly reserve), and groups of friends enjoying a picnic. While this doesn’t detract from the amazing views, it’s not the best place to go if you’re after peace and quiet.

woman walks through abandoned quarry

How to get there:

Driving to Ellis Brook Valley Reserve takes 30 minutes from Perth. 

Head south east on State Route 8 until you join Tonkin Highway/State Route 4. Follow signs to turn off at Ellis Brook Valley Reserve and drive through residential streets until you enter the reserve. Follow the road until you reach the carpark.

start of ellis brook valley walk

Bells Rapids

View score: 7/10

If you’re after a short hike in Perth with stunning city views then look no further than Bells Rapids (download the map here). Not only does this hike give you a view across the skyline, you’ll challenge yourself with a steep rolling track and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

There are 2 tracks to choose from at Bells Rapids; the 2.5km return River Walk or the 3km Goat Walk loop. Either walk takes around 1.5 hours. The River Walk is significantly easier as it doesn’t tackle the same inclines as the Goat Walk. However, to see the city view you’ll have to get up high so if you can you should choose the Goat Walk! Plus, the Goat Walk includes the River Walk in the loop so it’s worth the effort to enjoy all the park has to offer.

start of walking trail in bells rapids park

The beauty of the Bells Rapids hike is that it encompasses all the best bits of a Perth suburban hike. You’ve got city views, coastal plains and countryside, and enough peace and quiet to feel you’ve truly escaped busy city life.

The park gets busy at weekends as it’s a popular place for families to enjoy a day out. We passed a handful of other walkers, and you might come across horse riders too. Nonetheless, the tranquility of the walk makes it a very enjoyable short hike.

Goat Walk Track

Start the walk by crossing over the bridge as the gushing water flows down the rocks. You’ll see a signpost directing you either left on the the River Walk (follow the R markers) or right to the Goat Walk (G markers).

You’ll start off with the hardest incline. It’s steep and feels long, but it’ll be over quickly! From there you’ll already get amazing views over the rolling hills all around. Keep a close eye out for the freight trains that run along the hillside here! If you look closely on the opposite hill you might see a small waterfall too.

steep red dirt track in bells rapids park perth

Carry on down the red dirt tracks and keep an eye out for any wildlife around. You’ll soon reach another peak where the city views come into their own.

view over treetops and smoke to see faint outline of perth city

As you turn a corner and begin your descent, you’ll come across a very special boulder… Buttock Boulder! This particularly-shaped rock is as eye-catching as it is funny. A bit of harmless humour to spur you on to the end!

man poses next to rock that looks like a buttock

As you reach the bottom of the hill you’ll rejoin the river. There are beautiful fields with wildflowers here, it’s amazing just how much diverse flora can be found in the park. The last section of the hike takes you along what is also the River Walk. The bubbling water flows alongside you as you finally reach the bridge once again.

Cool off from your hike with a paddle in the river and a gulp or two of water. You’ll need it! Some visitors will even go for a swim in areas where it’s safe to do so.

How to get there:

The drive from Perth to Bells Rapids Park takes around 40 minutes. 

Take Tonkin Highway/State Route 4 north east before turning onto Gnangara Road/State Route 84 heading east. Drive up to Upper Swan and turn right onto Copley Road then again onto St Albans Road. Follow the road until you reach the park.

 

Lesmurdie Falls

View score: TBC!

Ok, I have a confession. We haven’t yet seen the city view from Lesmurdie Falls… BUT we did walk up to the falls themselves!

At Lesmurdie Falls in Mundy Regional Park there are a handful of short walks with varying length and difficulty:

  • Falls Trail. 640m return, Class 2, allow 30 min.
  • Shoulder Trail. 1.5km return, Class 3, allow 1hr.
  • Cascade Trail. 300m return, Class 3, allow 30 min.
  • Foot of the Falls Trail. 2km return, Class 3, allow 1hr.
  • Valley Loop Trail. 3km return, Class 3, allow 2hrs.

The last two, Foot of the Falls and the Valley Loop are the two main tracks at Lesmurdie Falls. For the hike with city views, you’ll want to visit the head of the falls via the Valley Loop. If you’re not up for the 3km hike you should start at the upper carpark (access via Falls Road).

When you arrive, take a moment to check the information board with the different route options and map before you start.

small black lizard hides between leaves

Foot of the Falls Trail

We took on the Foot of the Falls Trail from the lower carpark as we’d already exerted some energy on the Sixty Foot Falls trail earlier that day. The path is quite hard to actually see at times, with no clear markers to guide you. Be sure to stick to the trickle of water running downstream and you’ll eventually pass a wooden bench (Lion Lookout). Continue from there along the brook beneath the beautiful forest and you’ll reach the foot of the falls within around 15 minutes or less.

We visited in summer which as you can guess meant we saw barely a trickle of water at the falls… Ooops! This is usually the largest waterfall in Perth, so well worth a visit while you’re here.

From there, you can see the lookout at the head of the falls, it’s here that you can get some awesome city views! Take care with the paths getting up there. There are only a few signposts along the way and a couple of bright orange signs at the start. There are often misleading paths that you might think are the right track but aren’t so keep your wits about you. Get some gorgeous photographic inspo of the tracks here.

looking up at dried waterfall in perth

There is a picnic area at Lesmurdie Falls Lower Carpark with a small food van that offer a diverse range of drinks and snacks. But please be sure to throw away your rubbish before you leave!

No matter which track you take around Lesmurdie Falls, take good care as the rocks can get slippery when wet. There are regular accidents so remaining vigilant with your safety is a priority.

Along the way you’ll probably come across some local wildlife. We saw multiple reptiles along the way, but they left us alone as us them!

lizard shedding its skil on footpath

How to get there:

The drive from Perth to Lesmurdie Falls lower carpark takes around 30 minutes. 

Head south east on State Route 8. Take a slight left off the highway onto Lewis Road. Drive straight until you see signs to the Lower Lesmurdie Falls carpark and turn right on Palm Terrace.

You can also access the park from Falls Road which will take you to the upper car park.


As you can see, there are more than enough ways to get an amazing view with these Perth hikes with city views! Whether you want to walk from the city itself or would like to explore one of Perth’s parks you’re sure to get a sense of the gorgeous natural scenery intertwined with the city’s skyscrapers.

Which short hike in Perth is your favourite?

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    josypheen
    05/07/2020 at 4:31 pm

    What gorgeous views! I quite like the easy mini trails that give you fab city views like this I didn’t realize that Perth has so many good’uns.

    Are you back in the UK again now? I hope you can find some of the fantastic city trails in London!

    • Reply
      suzystories
      05/08/2020 at 10:53 am

      Not bad are they! Me too, it’s so rewarding and I love the juxtaposition of nature and urban life! I am back in the UK now, I wish I could be going on these hikes instead… But yes, I’ll have to go looking for some similar ones at home 🙂

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