John Forrest Waterfall & Walk Trail – Part 1

The Photo Walk – Part 1 (read part 2)

Environment ~ Photo Tips ~ Shop ~ Links ~ Directions

About 6 months ago we were at John Forrest National Park to see if the waterfall was as lively as Lesmurdie Falls had been and to enjoy a day out in one of Perth’s most beautiful and oldest National Parks.

Water Ribbon, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Water Ribbon, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

First, A Little History

Forest Path, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Forest Path, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

John Forrest National Park was the first area to be given National Park status in Western Australia in 1900 though it was originally named Greenmount National Park until it was renamed in later years to honor Lord John Forrest, the first Premier of Western Australia.

During the Great Depression sustenance worker’s built gardens, picnic shelters & even swimming areas which can still be seen around the visitor area. Sadly most of the bridges built across Jane Brook are in need of repair and not currently usable.

There also used to be a railway line to the Park which was part of the original route of the Eastern Railway that now runs from Freo to Northam. In the early 1900’s visitors regularly traveled out to the Park from Perth by rail for a day out in the forest. Sadly this is no longer possible as the rail link was rebuilt through the Avon Valley but you can now walk much of the abandoned railway line by following the 59km Railway Reserves Heritage Trail which passes through the Park.

Before heading out on any of the trails it’s worth having a look around the picnic area and seeing the landscaping that was done, it is a unique piece of history and an interesting place to explore with some amazing photo opportunities.

The Trails

If you walk 800m to the east, along the banks of Jane Brook you will come to Hovea Falls where you can see the water cascading over a large granite sheet similar to the Cascades at Lesmurdie National Park. There are also several cute little picnic huts along the path providing a great spot for lunch.

After having our packed lunch under the trees beside Jane Brook we set out on the National Park Falls Trail, which is clearly signposted (as are all the trails) with a waterfall trail marker. As you can see from the images above and below the trails are well maintained and surrounded by lush green forest.

Forest Path, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Forest Path, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

There are plenty of opportunities for great photos as you walk through the forest, spring flowers are starting to bloom and the colours are amazing with the sun filtering through the trees. Plus, you never know when a furry little creature might hop out in front of you, sadly we had no such experiences on this walk!

I always have trouble deciding what lens to use in these forest scenarios so I generally have my wide angle out for half the walk and my 70-200 for the other half but I still end up doing a few extra lens swaps as various photo opportunities arise.

Local Flora, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Local Flora, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Red Tipped Leaves, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Red Tipped Leaves, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Grass & Rocks, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Grass & Rocks, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

As we approached the top of the Darling Scarp we started to see some white water as the river becomes more rocky, a great place to try out some long exposure shots 🙂

Start of the Rapids, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Start of the Rapids, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Start of the Rapids, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Start of the Rapids, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Shortly after the rapids begin the trail crosses over the river and on to the old railway track which forms part of the 59km Railway Reserves Heritage Trail that I mentioned earlier.

Heritage Railway Trail, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Heritage Railway Trail, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Shortly after joining the Railway Trail we were directed to a small trail on the right where the top of the National Falls can be viewed along with the amazing vista’s that the Darling Scarp always offers. It is also possible to get some nice views of the top of the Falls by continuing along the Railway trail for a few mins and looking back.

Although the river seemed to be running fairly well there was not an abundance of water flowing over the top of the Falls but the views were spectacular none the less.

Top of the Falls, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Top of the Falls, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
View from the Top, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
View from the Top, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
View from the Top, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
View from the Top, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

From the top of the falls we saw that there is a viewing platform at the foot of the falls and there was a fair bit more movement in the water down the bottom.

We couldn’t see any signs that indicated the path to the foot of the Falls but it looked pretty clear that if we followed the Eagle’s View Trail signs that we should end up where we wanted to be. The trail was a bit narrow through the bushes at times and there were a few rocks to clamber over but that just adds to the fun and adventure 🙂

At the bottom I the scenery is just as amazing and I spotted this amazing shadow of a tree silhouetted on a large granite slab which made for a very interesting shot.

Tree Shadow, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Tree Shadow, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

We were also greeted by a very inquisitive Magpie who seemed to want to hang around us for most of our time at the foot of the Falls, see if you can spot him in the photo below.

Spot the Magpie, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Spot the Magpie, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

I think he liked Maggie …

Maggie Made a Friend, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia
Maggie Made a Friend, John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Continue on to Part 2 of this blog to see what was happening at the foot of the falls and some kangaroo goodness back at the car park …

Cheers,
Dave

 

Environmental Issues

When visiting natural environments such as this please be respectful of the flora and fauna, take your litter home and treat the environment with respect.

Leave No Trace
Take Nothing but Pictures
Leave Nothing but Footprints
Kill Nothing but Time
Keep Nothing But Memories
Burn Nothing but Calories

Original Quotes
“Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”
~ Quote: Chief Seattle (Dkhw’Duw’Absh chief, c. 1786 – June 7, 1866)
“This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.”
~ Quote: Chief Seattle (Dkhw’Duw’Absh chief, c. 1786 – June 7, 1866)
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.”
~ Australian Aboriginal Proverb

 

Photo Tips

All images in this article were either taken on an iPhone 6s or with Dave’s Canon 5D MKII with an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens or an EF 70-200mm f4L USM Lens and processed in Lightroom CC & ON1 Photo 10.5 & Photoshop CC.

Get Good Photo Editing Software
You will need to post process your images to get the most out of them. Software tools such as Adobe Lightroom & On1 Photo 10.5 are affordable and essential for getting the best out of your photos.

Free trials or licensed products are available for Adobe LightroomAdobe Photoshop & ON1 Photo 10.5 at the following links:

 

Related Clothing & Photo Products

As usual we’re planning a whole range of clothing & products featuring our “John Forrest” images. More details in Part 2 of this blog series.

Meanwhile you can take a look at all of the amazing images and products that we currently have available in our shop, all based on Dave’s photography.

Moonscape, Bunker Bay, Margaret River - Round Beach Towel
Moonscape, Bunker Bay, Margaret River – Round Beach Towel

 

Parking & Facilities:

There is a very large amount of parking around the visitor area as well as a many barbecue & picnic areas, toilets information boards and a Tavern. This is also the starting point for all of the walk trails in the area.

Walk Trails:

There are numerous walk trails that you can follow from the visitor area including the popular Eagle View Walk Trail:

  • Eagle’s View Walk Trail. 15km return, Class 4, allow 5hrs
  • John Forrest Heritage Trail. 10.5km return, Class 3, allow 3hrs
  • Wildflower Walk Trail. 4km return, Class 2, allow 1.5hrs
  • Glen Brook Trail. 2.2km return, Class 2, allow 45mins
  • National Park Falls Trail. 2km return, Class 2, allow 1hr
  • Jane Brook Promenande. 1km return, Class 1, allow 30mins

Check out the links below for more information about John Forrest 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.

 

Directions

John Forrest National Park is located in Hovea in the Shire of Mundaring, Western Australia.

Like Lesmurdie Falls it is also situated on the Darling Scarp, one of Australia’s largest geological fault lines and the iconic entrance to the region known as Perth Hills.

To get into the Park take one of the 3 junctions off Great Eastern Highway onto Park Road.

The first turning onto Park Road will take you on a longer scenic drive through the beautiful forest, whilst the second turning onto Park Road is the fastest way to get to the visitor area and car park.

There is a fee for entering the visitor area which usually works on a trust system and costs $12 per car unless you have an Annual All Park Pass (as we do) which costs $55.

 

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