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The granite boulders are located near the Darlington
Estate Winery 30km east of Perth in a side valley of
the Helena River. The short and technical climbs
provide great views of the surrounding valley.
The boulders heat up during summer so it’s best
to climb on the slabs in Upper Darlington in the
morning and the boulders in the main area in the
afternoon. Navigating your way to the boulders can
be a bit difficult; you’ll find in-depth directions on
the Climbers Association of WA (CAWA) forum.
Mountain Quarry in Greenmount National Park is
considered the best climbing spot near Perth, thanks
to an effort to rebolt and clean up the routes. There
are a number of classic ‘face’ climbs and hard-bolted
sport routes. These climbs are for the more experienced
but it’s fun to head out there and watch the experts.
You’ll find the car park on the northern side of
Coulston Road. The entrance is on the left-hand side
if you’re heading east away from Perth, and it’s about
a five-minute walk from the car park to the quarry. Don’t
forget to bring all your valuables with you. The entry to
the quarry is locked, so you’ll need to call the District
Office ((08) 9290 6100) for the padlock combination,
which is changed every few months.
The cliff is located down a well-used dirt track
off Soldiers Road, just before it heads downhill
going east. It is broken up in two parts, with a small
beginners’ slope to the west and the main climbing
area to the east. There are lots of loose pebbles at the
top – bring a helmet to avoid a nasty knock to your
noggin. The best time to climb at Churchman Brook
is from mid-afternoon onwards when the cliff is shaded
– even in the very early morning the direct sunlight
makes the rockface and surrounds incredibly hot.
The popular Churchman Brook Dam in Armadale
is known to have one of the prettiest picnic spots
in the state. There are picnic areas with tables
and shelters, free gas barbecues and a children’s
playground, not to mention signed walk trails
through the adjoining bushland. The large grassed
areas are great for a social game of cricket – don’t
forget to bring stumps, bats and balls. Other facilities
include two accessible parking bays, located at either
end of the park, and an accessible toilet.
The dam was completed in 1961, and is one of the
biggest dams supplying the Perth metropolitan area.
Along with fantastic views, the well-kept picnic area has
barbecues, a playground, and toilets. At the refurbished
cafe there is also a woodcraft gallery. Nearby
Serpentine Falls is also a great location for a picnic.
The 400m return walk is accessible to wheelchairs and
prams, and weaves past vegetation and rock pools to
the falls. The entry fee to the falls is $11 per car.
The main entry to the dam is a right-hand turn into
Admiral Road. The area is great for families and has
parking, barbecues, picnic tables and a large grassed
area near the entrance. The recreation lake is suitable
for model-boat sailing and perfect for wading.
If you’re keen for a quieter location head to the
lesser known side of the dam off Springfield Road.
Note that unfortunately there aren’t any accessible
parking bays at either entrance.
NEARER TO NATURE
Book your kids into a Nearer to Nature class for
fun, hands-on programs that teach your brood
about the native flora and fauna. The courses are
run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and
there are a plenty of options for kids of all ages,
from campouts with bush cooking to scavenger
hunts. The Creature Feature class at the Perth Hills
Discovery Centre is a favourite – kids aged 4-7 get
to cuddle a joey and make animal art to take home.
Stathams Quarry (photography Allison Low).
Lake Leschenaultia, at the north-eastern tip of the
hills, is a great spot for an outing with the kids or
a family overnight camping adventure. It has calm
beaches perfect for children, there’s canoeing
equipment for hire on site, and a recreation set-up
that makes the lake a local favourite. Facilities include
shaded areas, lawns, barbecues and playground
equipment. Bring the binoculars so you can spot
the native birds and appreciate the surrounding flora.
SANCTUARY NIGHT WALKS
The sanctuary in Chidlow offers two-hour guided
spotlight tours to older kids (seven and above)
and adults. The tour leaves at dusk and weaves
along a 3km bush track – you’ll need a good pair
of shoes and moderate fitness. During the walk
you’re likely to spot nocturnal animals including
woylies, wallabies, quenda and brush-tailed possums.
Check the website for prices and bookings.
Wungong Dam (photography The Water Corporation).
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