The John Forrest National Park, which was originally declared a conservation reserve in 1898, is Western Australia’s oldest national park.
Located around 30 minutes drive from Perth, the John Forrest National Park is an easy day out for city visitors.
Measuring around 2,600 hectares in size, the park provides ample opportunity to see Australian native wildlife, observe the area’s waterfalls and explore some of the local bushwalking and hiking tracks.
Things to see and do at John Forrest National Park
The main activity that bring visitors to the John Forrest National Park are the walking trails in the area.
There are a number of walks in the national park, including:
- the Glen Brook Trail, a 2km walk with views over Glen Brook Dam.
- the Eagle View Walk Trail, a 15km trek through the natural habitats of the park.
- the Glen Brook Dam Walk Trail, a 2.2 kilometre walk around the Glen Brook Dam.
- the John Forrest Heritage Trail, a small section of the 82 kilometre Railway Reserve Heritage Trail, featuring Australia’s only ‘true’ railway tunnel, Swan View Tunnel.
Please note that if you’re planning on undertaking the Eagle View Walk Trail you will need to register yourself at the ranger’s office, and remember to sign back out on your return.
This is for your own safety.
The John Forrest National Park is home to two waterfalls, which can be found flowing during the winter and spring months.
The falls are called the Hovea Falls and the National Park Falls.
The Hovea Falls make their way down a sizeable granite sheet, while the National Park Falls drop very suddenly down a sheer rock face of around 20 metres.
Visitors should be aware that swimming is not permitted at any time in or around these falls.
The falls are located close to the main picnic area of the John Forrest National Park, with Hovea Falls situated around 800 metres east of the main picnic area.
The John Forrest National Park area is home to a variety of interesting an unique Australian native wildlife.
Officially, the park is listed as being home to ten species of native mammal (one being rare), 91 species of bird (with two considered under special protection), 23 reptile species and 10 frog species.
Visitors to the park can expect to see large numbers of grey kangaroos, as well as echidnas, honey possums and western pygmy possums.
Bird watching enthusiasts can expect to spot the ‘twenty-eight’ parrots, the red-capped parrots and New Holland honeyeaters.
When To Visit
The John Forrest National Park is best visited in autumn, spring and winter.
These are the seasons during which the park is best enjoyed, as in the summer seasons it can be unbearably hot, leaving the waterfalls dry and the treks dangerous to undertake.
In order to undertake the Eagle View Walk, an absolute minimum 2 litres of water is recommended per person.
There are creeks along the way, but these cannot be relied on for clean, consumable water.
The walk can be challenging for those out of shape, and of course appropriate hiking footwear is required.
Facilities At The Park
There are full facilities available to visitors at the John Forrest National Park, including toilets, BBQs, picnic area, and a small tavern that serves snacks.
No fires are allowed at any time within the John Forrest National Park area.
How to get to John Forrest National Park
The best way to go to John Forrest National Park is by car.
John Forrest National Park is located around 30 minutes from Perth via the Great Eastern Highway.
The park is well signed, and located to the north of the highway.
There are three possible entrances from the highway, but the scenic drive gates on Park Road are locked at 4pm.
The John Forrest National Park was reserved for conservation as early as 1898, and a few years later was named the Greenmount National Park.
Following this, and to commemorate the first Premier of Western Australia Sir John Forrest, the park was renamed.
The John Forrest National Park was split by the Easter Railway when it was first built in the 1890s, and rail traffic continued to pass through until 1966 when it was replaced by the Avon Valley route.
During this time, the national park area was a popular weekend destination for local Perth residents.
In fact, many of the main buildings around the park were constructed in the Great Depression in the 1930s, as relief employment.
Evidence of the railway, including the rail tunnel, can still be seen at the park.
In a November 2010, A large section of the John Forrest National Park was destroyed by bushfire, which was the result of arson.