Location: Hardinge Rd, Bickley
Distance: 3.2km loop
Trail Marker: Pink Triangle
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Date Hiked: 17th June 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
So today this walk was not on the cards, the plans initially were to do a section of the Bibbulmun but darling daughter didn't feel up to a long 12km hike so we opted for a shorter 3.2km hike instead. I may have forgotten to tell both her and hubby that the grade would be much harder though....ooops I wonder why on earth that slipped my mind:)
I had been wanting to check this one out again as it felt like decades ago when I last walked it and I had recently put my hand up to help load some new trails on to the Trails WA website so it needed to be done soon anyway. I have done others in the area quite often, like the Mason & Bird Heritage Trail and the Victoria Dam loop but keen to explore the other side of Bickley Brook again so we got our packs together, laced up our boots and head out to Hardinge Park which is where the start of the trail begins.
Upon arrival we actually found the carpark to be very full. Thankfully the City of Gosnells have placed a few carparks outside of the gate entrance which no-one had claimed as yet so we snapped one of those up and made our way down to the carpark to start the walk.
Unfortunately there is absolutely no signage to indicate the start of the trail but the City of Kalamunda have trip notes for the trail which told us that it was basically at the playground. I highly recommend downloading the KML file from the link provided above.
Once we got our bearings we began the walk, making our way past the playground, along the path which goes by the right hand side of the Bickley Reservoir.
Bickley Reservoir was originally constructed in 1920 with the purpose of supplementing Perth’s water supply. In 1936, the Reservoir was taken out of service and the water used for irrigation until 1944. Following, Bickley Reservoir and the surrounding catchment area was set aside for recreational purposes.
Now located alongside the picturesque Bickley Reservoir, is the Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp which is ideal for an outdoor experience in a picturesque bush setting. Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp is ideal for field studies, music camps, retreats, leadership and professional development camps. They offer dormitory accommodation for up to 70 people, tent camping for 40 people and a day use area for up to 100 people.
Ok, so carrying on with the walk, following the path to Hardinge Rd, the road we came in on, we turned left and walked to the end culdesac past the outdoor recreation camp and walked through the white gate to the edge of the fence on the left. From here we turned left and followed the fence line down to Bickley Brook, turning right and crossing the brook via the old wooden bridge.
We were lucky to see Bickley Brook flowing beautifully, I can only imagine it will get better throughout Winter. It got a little confusing once we crossed the bridge purely because I didn't read all of the instructions that say to follow the water course upstream and we weren't sure whether to turn left or right here. Upon re-reading the trail notes I saw my error and we turned right and walked upstream where we came across a beautiful granite outcrop providing a place to stop and soak up the views.
A nice little cascade of waterfalls spilled over the granite outcrop forming a small pool at the bottom. If only that was around when the warmer weather hit, I imagine it would be a beautiful place to sit in, cool off and immerse yourself in nature.
Once we managed to drag ourselves away from this beautiful spot we continued upstream along a very narrow trail which was quite overgrown. It didn't seem like much trail maintenance gets done around this area. Once we got to the wide 4wd road we turned left and began the first ascent up the badly eroded track. I'll just mention now that this isn't even the worst of this and I do advise strongly not to be tackling this one in or straight after the rain as I am sure it would be dangerously slippery. Make sure you turn around as you are climbing up, to take in the views of the valley behind you. It's rather pretty. Continuing on we came across the first trail sign, (see bottom right pic) a Shire of Kalamunda one nailed to the tree at what could be a left hand turn here. I stupidly didn't even pay attention to this sign properly and turned left. (Don't be like Chelle, Chelle really needs to take more notice sometimes). Turning left does take you initially on a well used trail but then comes to a dead end. It was then that I got my phone out as I knew it shows up on Google Maps and I saw that we were too early for the turnoff so we backtracked to the 4wd track and turned left. Dave had to kindly point to me that 'oh look Chelle, there is actually an arrow on that sign telling you to go straight'....whooops again:)
Sure enough it wasn't long before we reached the turnoff which was very poorly marked with a triangle walk trail marker hidden in a tree that I am sure most people would not see. It's a slight ascent up a rocky section so be sure to watch your footing here as you could easily roll an ankle. We weren't walking long before we got our first glimpses of the valley and Bickley Reservoir below.
A little further around we stumbled across a nice granite outcrop covered with Sheok. I marked this location on the Kml file map. The Sheok trees block any wide panorama view but it was nice all the same and provided a lot of shade, so a great spot to stop for morning tea. As we were looking around we found a small tree that we initially thought was a Quandong but the seeds looked a little unusual. I haven't found out what it is as yet but I will update accordingly.
Not much further up is the granite outcrop marked by a beautiful Wandoo tree with sweeping views of the valley towards the city and coastal plain. The trip notes made it seem like there was a Wandoo forest here so we weren't 100% sure we were in the right spot and got the trusty map out again and it appeared so. It is a really beautiful lookout and another ideal morning tea spot.
Sophie recently learnt that the inner stems of a Grass-tree are edible so she helped herself to some Bush-tucker whilst taking the views in. Please don't do this without making sure you know exactly what part is the edible part.
This tree has over 150 uses in Noongar culture, and totally amazes me every time I do more research about it.
Leaving the Wandoo lookout we had our first major descent down into the valley and around passing through varied terrain. It was nice to be walking on flat ground for awhile but I knew it wouldn't be too long before our next ascent and boy was it a good one. This is where the main grumbles started because honestly it was a never-ending climb and not really much to see in way of beauty, which would usually be a distraction from the sore legs. It was simply a case of head down and just keep on trekking up.
Hooray!!!! We reached the summit, a nice open area with plenty of small rocks to park our butt on and rest after the climb. Haha check out the 'thank god that's over' smiles in the middle pic. This was the first time I saw any decent trail markers too.
The summit is a bit of a conjunction point for several other trails in the area. I could see that from this point you could actually turn left and head further up to the Lions Lookout Trail. I really love the PDF that the City of Kalamunda have created that show an overall picture of their trail network. You can check it out here. The summit was the first spot I got to see those beautiful city views. A gorgeous lookout and well worth the huffing and panting to get up to.
From the summit we began our descent down by taking the 3rd exit which is on the right when you first get to the top. Now be prepared! Remember when I said before the erosion gets worse, this is what I believe to be the worst part of the walk, definitely the grade 4 component of the trail, one that I would much prefer to be going up although it probably wouldn't make too much of a difference. I would definitely not be doing this part in the wet, it was slippery enough as it was and we pretty much had to sidestep most of the way.
Once we managed to make our way down to a section of level ground we saw that it linked up with the other track we had come up on so followed the loop around and proceeded down that final descent, but this time right to the bottom where Bickley Brook was flowing past. There is no bridge here, instead just a collection of well placed rocks we used to get across. I don't think it would rain enough to pose a problem for crossing at any stage of the year so you should be fine here.
Once we crossed the stream (after darling daughter tried a nature meditation lol) it was a small ascent up the track which then joins on the Mason and Bird Heritage Trail.
Once we joined trails it was a simple right turn which led us to the culdesac we came in on. Super easy loop to follow, once you read the signs of course, but don't underestimate the challenge of his walk or the danger of the eroded path. I had hiking poles which really helped me on the downhill, If you have them I recommend taking them.
Overall I enjoyed the challenge of this trail, it has it's beautiful views and I love Wandoo so I am easily pleased. The ideal time to visit would be now winter, (but not in the rain) through to early spring when the brook is cascading and wildflowers are out in abundance.
Hopefully this post inspires you to visit and if so, we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.