Walking the Bush to Beach Walk in the Wrong Direction and Without the Beach Part, Perth, Australia
15th of March 2014
A very dry walk today, dry foliage, dry lakes, dry soil, but the vistas from the Bold Park lookouts refreshed the senses.
- Location: Perth Western Suburbs, Perth, Australia
- Start or End: Start or end at either Claremont Train Station or Elizabeth Quay Train Station.
- Length: 19.4km (12.1mi)
- Grade: Medium to Hard. Paved and dirt tracks. Some hills, especially around Bold Park. Long. Several public transport options available along the way.
It is the weekend, the weather is perfect and there is no housework or TV shows to divert my attention from a good walk. So where shall I walk today? After a Google search on "walking perth" I come across the Bush to Beach Walk, a walk that stretches from the Grant Marine Park (on Grant Street, Cottesloe), up to Bold Park, through the Shenton Bushlands and then to Rosalie Park (on the north western edge of Kings Park). The beach isn't really of interest to me today so I decide to start at Lake Claremont instead, which is close to Claremont train station. So I won't be walking the Bush to Beach walk, I will be walking the Lake to Bush walk, shorter than the Bush to Beach walk and in the opposite direction. I can never make things easy can I?
From Claremont train station it is a short walk through the suburbs to Lake Claremont. Like most lakes in Perth at this time of year it isn't so much a lake but a dried out pan of dirt, with green grasses sucking up the last remnants of water from the cracking soil of the lake bottom. So todays walk isn't the Lake to Bush walk it is the Large Dirt Pan to Bush Walk.
Lake Claremont was a disappointment but I would like to come back after the rains to see it full of water and hopefully life. From Lake Claremont I join the official Bush to Beach walk route and head through the suburbs north towards Bold Park.
I think to best way to describe Bold Park is dry, even drier than a Perth Lake in early autumn.
So what is there to do in Bold Park? Apart from quiet walks amongst dry foliage there are some killer lookouts. How about this one at the northern end of the Zamia Trail looking out towards the Indian Ocean?
Is this not the perfect spot for a rest? I needed it after the climb in the hot sun required to get here.
Or how about the lookout at Reabold Hill, with brilliant views towards the city?
I also had a rest at Reabold Hill to apply some sunscreen and eat some nuts. From the heights of Reabold Hill the walk descends south along the Camel Lake Heritage Trail.
Bold Park is an absolutely brilliant place to walk and I intend to visit again after some rain has livened up the place a bit. However, that is enough for Bold Park today and soon enough I am following the Bush to Beach Walk east along Underwood Avenue and then south along Brockway Road. Brockway Road is definitely not a highlight of the walk. There is a cycleway next to the road but I don't feel safe walking along it, so I stick to the dry grass on the curb. The only sight along Brockway Road is the Subiaco Waste Water Treatment Plant, that is, there is shit all to see here. Can't wait until this section is over.
A dedicated pedestrian pathway greets me as I hit Lemnos Street and from here I walk east until I divert south into the Shenton Bushland. Finally, a bit of peace and quiet! It feels like forever since the enjoyable walking of Bold Park. Time to enjoy walking again.
Like Bold Park, Shenton Bushland is extremely dry. If you enjoy "Blackboys", or the more politically correct term "Grasstrees" (botanical name Xanthorrhoea), Shenton Bushland is the place to go. They are everywhere.
The now offensive common name "Blackboy" used to describe Xanthorrhoea is based on the supposed similarity of the tree to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. The "spear" refers to the flower of the Grasstree, which protrudes from the top of the tree as a large spike meters in length. It's the wrong time of year to see the spike, so the offensive name doesn't really make as much sense. I think the term Grasstree is probably more apt anyway.
The disappearance of the term Blackboy was made more apparent after some research on Bold Park trail names. Above I have a picture of the Bulga Walk in Bold Park, I knew the name of the trail as I had a look on the Bold Park website, but interestingly the same track on Google maps is referred to as the Blackboy Walk. I guess Blackboy was the original name but the Bold Park authorities thought better of it. So why are you so racist Google Maps?
Ok, that's enough about racist plant names. There are plenty more paths around Shenton Bushland to explore, but I continue along the Bush to Beach Walk out of bush and into the suburbs where I find Lake Jualbup. And I thought Lake Claremont was bad, take a look at "Lake" Jualbup.
At least Lake Claremont had some green grass, Lake Jualbup is just a muddy puddle and absolutely horrible looking. I feel sorry for the poor ducks who have to fight over an increasingly dwindling puddle to paddle in.
Ok, so the lakes have been a bit of a disappointment, but that's my fault. I really should have walked this trail at a more appropriate time of year, like the spring. From the muddy puddle of Lake Jualbup it is east along Onslow Road, past Rosalie Park, the official start of the Bush to Beach walk and into Kings Park.
What can I say about Kings Park, it is personally one of the best spots in Perth for walkers. However, I have had enough walking today so I quickly take in some of Kings Parks highlights on my way to Esplanade train station, like the Bushland Nature Trail, the stunning CBD views of the Cliff Walk and down (the easiest direction) Jacob's Ladder.
Despite some really crappy sections along busy roads I would recommend the Bush to Beach walk as it takes in the best natural bushland in Perth city. It would be even better with the beach section.
Just a note before I sign off. The Bush to Beach walk is well signposted if you go in the correct direction, that is, west from Kings Park towards the beach. I never found myself seriously lost, but all the markers for the walk appeared to be set for the opposite direction. Additionally, if you need some more information on the walk please visit the Bush to Beach blog, the Whadjuk Walking Trails website (which has more walks around the area) or the local council website.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Have you taken this walk? Any suggestions or errors? Please comment below.