Perth Accommodation

The Perth Hills

To Perth people ‘the Hills’ are a welcome retreat from the city bustle, and many live in Kalamunda or Armadale and commute to the city. Not high by any standard, the escarpment nevertheless presents a break from Perth’s flat coastal plain and promises a different kind of environment. The Darling Scarp (www.calm.wa.gov.au) is actually the tipped-up edge of an enormous ancient plateau. Its very ancientness makes the environment: mountains have been eroded over multi-millennia and soils washed and blown away. As a counterfoil to the beach, the Hills are a haven of quiet beauty. Walking trails through ancient forests and the delight of the exclusive wildflowers in spring, together with the extraordinary wildlife make a visit here a unique experience.

Mundaring Weir is the site of C.Y. O’Connor’s great engineering feat: the dam and the start of the pipeline that carries water over more than 900km to the goldfields of Kalgoorlie. Water was the key to survival in this driest of environments, and without the pipeline the development of the inland towns, and indeed the whole gold rush, would have been severely curtailed.

Just behind the Scarp is the Walyunga National Park, a lovely wilderness of walks and trails of all grades. Bird-watching, canoeing and bushwalking are the main activities here. Take an Aboriginal heritage trail to learn of the original inhabitants of this area, the Nyoongar, who lived here until around 100 years ago. You can camp with permission from CALM (www.calm.gov.wa.au), a delightful experience in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.

The Scarp is the beginning of two very special nature trails, the Munda Biddi (www.mundabiddi.org.au) mountain bike track, which is yet to be finished, and the Bibbulmun (www.bibbulmun.org.au) walking trail. Both tracks lead south from the Hills, through the wheat country to the tall karri and jarrah forests, and eventually along the south coast to Albany, a distance of over 900km. Visit the websites for more details and for information on upgrades, new sections and proposed developments of the tracks.

The Hills have been established as a wine-growing area for some thirty years, and include the Packing Shed, Brookside, the family-owned wineries of Piesse Brook and Cosham, and WA’s highest vineyard, Hainault. These wineries produce a variety of whites, reds and sparkling wines, all of which perfectly complement the fresh, innovative cuisine characteristic of the area.

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