Fancy experiencing a small section of the famous 1000km Bibbulmun Track followed by a dip in the scenic Rocky Pools, a popular pre-1930's swimming hole? If so, then the Rocky Pool Walk is for you. Along the way, you can also experience bountiful wildflowers (at the right time of year of course), wildlife and valley views. But a word of warning, the Rocky Pool Walk is also rather rocky and steep in sections, but the effort is well worth it.
The Kalamunda local government has done a great job marking trails around the local area. One of my favourites would have to be the Rocky Pool Walk, a loop walk in Kalamunda National Park. For more information on the trail please visit Kalamunda.wa.gov.au, which provides a map and trail details in .pdf format.
As the name implies the trail passes by the Rocky Pools (i.e. pools of water amongst rocks), a scenic spot easily accessed from the path. The Rocky Pool Walk is also aptly named as the trail can be rather rocky and the gradient of some sections will leave you in pools of sweat.
Officially the walk starts at the carpark at the end of Spring Street, Kalamunda. If you don't have a car the best public transport access is via the Kalamunda Bus Station on Mead Street. From Kalamunda Bus Station, walk east along Mead Street until you hit a round-a-bout at Railway Road. Here you will see the northern terminus of the Bibbulmun Track, a 1000km hiking trail which makes its way down to Albany on Western Australia's southern coastline.
Follow the Bibbulmun Track through a small section of bushland, down Spring Street and into Jorgenson Park. The yellow and black trail markers with a Waugal (the rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dreaming) will lead the way.
The Bibbulmun Track passes through Jorgenson Park and then into Kalamunda National Park.
If you are here at the right time of the year (late winter and spring) there will be wildflowers in abundance and you may be able to hear the rushing of water in the distance. Once you reach the source of the sound you have found the Rocky Pool Walk, which is indicated by blue trail markers. However, if you are here in the summer or autumn you will find a dried-up creek bed and not many wildflowers at all.
Being a loop walk you can either take a left (upstream) or right (downstream). Officially the Rocky Pool Walk loops in a clockwise direction, which is probably the best option as it gets the harder climbs out of the way first and ends with the best part of the walk, the Rocky Pools. So, take a left, cross the stream and head uphill. Soon enough you will find yourself at the official start of the Rocky Pool Walk at the end of Spring Street.
From here it is up into the hills via some steep rocky paths.
After a little puffing and panting the path soon flattens out (though still a little rocky in places), making way for a pleasant bushwalk along a hillside with great views to the east over Kalamunda National Park.
After completing the western section of the Rocky Pool Walk loop the path heads south-east along Schipp Road (not an actual road, road, but a rocky steep 4WD track).
As you can see it does get rather steep and rocky along Schipp Road so watch your footing and take your time.
At the bottom of the hill, you will find a blue trail marker directing you into the bush. You don't have to take this bushland section but can continue to follow the obvious wide track. The diversion into the bush is only needed after heavy rains when the main track can get flooded.
Either way, you will soon find yourself under high-tension power lines.
At this point, the path heads in a southerly direction towards Rocky Pools. If you opt to take the Rocky Pools Walk trail during the drier months you will find Rocky Pools like this ...
very rocky, but not much pool.
If you opt to take the Rocky Pools Walk trail during the wetter months you will find Rocky Pools like this ...
Ahhhh ... how much nicer is that. After all that hiking you may want to take a dip, but be warned the water can be mighty cold. Rocky Pools was a popular swimming hole in the 1930's (as per the signage at the entrance to the pools) but has become less so with the construction of public swimming pools in Kalamunda and Mundaring. I have never taken the dip, but some people still do swim here.
Heading south along the trail from Rocky Pools you again join the Bibbulmun Track, which you can follow back to Kalamunda.