John Forrest National Park is the most amazing spot for a family picnic! Located just 30 minutes from Perth City on the Great Eastern Highway, John Forrest National Park is one of Australia’s oldest conservation areas and WA’s first national park. Entry to the park is $13 per car or alternatively, you can purchase a Park Passes online which allows you entry into National Parks all over WA.
There are three entry points into John Forrest National Park, we always deviate from the GPS and take the scenic route. The City views are outstanding and there are plenty of places to stop along the way.
In the visitor area of John Forrest National Park you’ll find an abundance of beautiful spots with BBQs and tables, including adorable wooden huts, as well as toilet facilities. It is also home to the John Forrest Tavern. The rest of the park is largely undeveloped with several walk trail options that cater to different abilities and fitness levels.
Surrounding the centrally located Ranger’s Office and main car park are rock gardens that lead down to Jane Brook where you will find the newly created Nature Playground, the play space enhances and blends with the natural landscape and beauty of the park and offers an imaginative and adventure play for kids. The kids will also love adventuring across the Glen Brook Dam Bridge, jumping in puddles and getting their hands dirty.
A little further down the brook has been dammed to create a pool area but unfortunately, swimming is not recommended as the water is untreated and there lies a risk of harmful bacteria being present.
John Forrest National Park is home to Western Grey Kangaroos, the kangaroos are commonly seen around the picnic areas in the early morning and late afternoon – before parking the car we had already spotted 5 or 6. The kangaroos we saw were fairly small and friendly with many of the females carrying joeys in their pouches. We also spotted plenty of kangaroos while out on the walking trails.
All walks start at the main picnic area. Walks include the Jane Brook Promenade (300m loop), Glen Brook Walk (2.2km), National Parks Falls Walk (2.5km), Wildflower Walk (4.5km), Swan View Tunnel Walk (5km), Christmas Tree Creek Walk (10.5km), John Forrest Bridle Trail (15km) and Eagle View Walk Trail (16km).
Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail is a 41km loop trail that retraces the old Eastern Railway that formerly linked Fremantle to York in the late 1880s. 6km of the trail passes through John Forrest National Park and can be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists.
As the name suggests the trail is full of heritage from wooden trestle bridges, the remains of the National Park Sation to the iconic Swan View Tunnel.
There are also plenty of spots along the way for insta-worthy pics or beautiful family photos!
Make sure you take water bottles and wear a good pair of walking shoes.
National Park Falls
National Park Falls is just over a kilometer from the main picnic area, the top of the fall is stunning, it overlooks Jane Brook and beyond. We visited after heavy rain, the waterfall was gushing! The water tumbles over several large boulders, there are no rails and it is about a 20 meter drop, so you’ll have to keep a close eye on little wonders, having two toddlers we had a quick up-close look than admired the view from the little bridge.
Swan View Tunnel
The highlight of our visit to John Forrest National Park was definitely visiting the Swan View Tunnel, construction on the 340 meter tunnel started in 1894 and opened in 1896. Myth has it the tunnel is haunted by the men who lost their lives during construction. The kids loved the echo of the tunnel and pretending to be ghosts which scared their little friend. The tunnel was far darker than I expected, much to my kids dismay I used the torch on my phone to light the way, mostly to avoid puddles.
Swan View Tunnel is an easy 5km return walk or cycle from the main picnic area, the trail is not a loop, so when you get to the end of the tunnel, you turn around and head back the way you came. If you aren’t interested in doing the trail, it is a short walk from the Pechey Road Carpark (Pechey Rd via Morrison Rd, Swan View).
Hovea Falls is an easy 2km return walk or cycle from the main picnic area, the falls are seasonal and dependent on rainfall it usually flows from the beginning of winter to around the end of October. The water is usually freezing but it is the perfect spot for a cheeky dip or just get your feet a little wet.
The pictures below were taken in May, Hovea Falls was dry as a bone.
The best time to visit John Forrest National Park Autumn, Winter, and Spring. Dogs are not permitted in John Forrest National Park.
John Forrest National Park
Located at Park Road, Hovea.
About Kellie Elliott
Kellie Elliott is a stay at home mum of 4 she enjoys adventuring around Perth with her children and sharing her journeys and experiences on Instagram at Perth Mum Adventures.
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Kellie Elliott is a stay at home mum of 4 she enjoys adventuring around Perth with her children and sharing her journeys and experiences on Instagram.
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Place Category: Walks and Picnic Spots