After three long months of lockdown it’s been lovely to meet with friends for coffee or dinner – all socially distanced of course. And we decided that some exercise was in order to try and shift the lockdown pounds. What better place to go for a long walk than the Perth Hills?
So our seniors walking group set off on a Sunday morning to go around the Victoria Reservoir and Mason Bird Heritage Loop Trail. There was a massive storm in our area, about 5am, followed by torrential rain but the walk was still on!
Luckily the sun was shining in a bright blue sky near Kalamunda where we turned off to Victoria Dam. Disappointingly a huge notice informed us that the Dam was closed on weekends and public holidays. However the almost full car park outside the gates and the people milling around with walking poles gave the group confidence to do the walk anyway.
Part of the Korung National Park, The Victoria Dam Loop Trail is 7.2kms long and is suitable for people with a reasonable level of fitness. There are not many places to sit along the trail although there are a number of fallen trees that make good chairs. Make sure to have sturdy footwear, as there is a good amount of loose gravel and small rocks on the way. Our group opted to include the Mason Bird Heritage Trail that made the walk 13.2 kms long and took about four hours – which included a short stop for tea and muffins!
Leaving from the car park next to the gates, our group decided to do the walk in an anti-clockwise direction thereby avoiding climbing a very steep hill just after a longish stretch of bitumen.
The majority of the walk is through bush land and Jarrah forest. There were stunning views from the actual Dam area, but not a lot to see otherwise. The walk is very poorly signposted. Our group had been looking forward to seeing quite a bit of wildlife in this area but maybe the animals were still in lockdown. And only a few birds came to say hello.
What was interesting though was an old wooden bridge, reputedly the oldest all-wooden bridge in Australia. The bridge was part of the route of a wooden-railed horse-drawn tramway, which was built by convicts under the supervision of the Mason Bird Company.
After studying the plaque giving some history, the viewing platform was the group’s next objective. To get to the platform involves climbing up wooden stairs. There are handrails and landings to give seniors the chance to catch their breath! But climbers are rewarded with spectacular views over the reservoir and the coastal plain.
Next to the platform is the main car park, covered picnic tables and public toilets. There is a ramp for wheelchair users to reach the picnic tables from the car park. A nearby pumping station is off limits to the general public.
The final part of the walk is from the main car park to the car park outside the gates, mainly on a bitumen road and it is quite tedious.
It was a good way to spend a Sunday morning but clear signposting is needed. Our leader’s phone battery gave up the ghost and our map and it was not easy to find the proper route.
Although originally constructed to provide water for the Perth Hills area in 1891, the Victoria Dam eventually became the main source of drinking water for Perth and Fremantle. A newer dam was built in 1991 and a section of the Loop Trail goes past a preserved section of the old dam wall.
No vehicles are allowed access to the Dam.
The Victoria Reservoir is about a 45 minute drive from Perth CBD and 50 minutes from the northern suburbs.
Opening hours: Weekdays, 8am to 4pm. The trails can be accessed on weekends and public holidays but the facilities are about 1km from the car park next to the gates.
Facilities: Car parks, picnic tables, bbq’s and public toilets.
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