The national parks in Perth are abundant in stunning scenery and unique natural landmarks that you’ll never find elsewhere. Explore ancient gorges, take a dip in emerald coloured pools and come face to face with wildlife, all within 2 hours of Perth’s CBD!
Escaping into nature for the day is one of my favourite things to do in Perth when I have some free time. Spending the day surrounded by peaceful nature and beautiful scenery is sometimes all we need to clear the mind and reset the soul.
The national parks that surround Perth offer the perfect opportunity to get out of the city and reconnect with nature. Read on to discover 8 amazing national parks in Perth and get some inspiration for your next day trip from the city.
I’ve also included some additional national parks in Western Australia that are located outside of Perth. If you’re planning to do a Western Australian road trip, you’ll want to add some of these parks to your itinerary!
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8 Amazing National Parks In Perth – Ideal for a Day Trip
Before we dive into the best national parks in Perth, here are some useful tips and practical information that will help you plan your visit.
National Park Fees: $15 per vehicle, $8 per motorcycle
National Parks Pass: If you’re planning to visit many national parks around Western Australia, it is well worth it to buy the annual pass. For $120 the “All Parks Pass” will cover you for unlimited visits to national parks around the state for the entire year.
This is the option I have always gone with as I’ve found that having one pass is much more convenient than paying $15 for each park visit. Click here to view different pass options and get your national parks pass online.
AllTrails App: Download the AllTrails App to search for hikes and navigate the trails in the following national parks. Be sure to read my post on the best hikes in Perth to help you decide which trails to choose.
General Park Rules:
- Dogs are generally not permitted in the national parks of Western Australia, however there are a few exceptions. View this website for more info.
- Some of the national parks allow camping in basic campgrounds but not all of them can be booked online. See this complete list of campgrounds in WA to find out whether booking online is possible.
- Before visiting any of these national parks in Perth (or anywhere in WA) you should check the official WA Parks website for more detailed info about each park. You’ll find useful things such as visitor guides, maps and more.
John Forrest National Park
Distance from Perth: 30km (30 min)
Highlights: Scenic hiking trails, wildlife encounters, wildflowers (spring), great facilities.
Located in the Perth Hills about 30 minutes from the CBD, this fantastic national park is the oldest in Western Australia! Set among a beautiful jarrah forest, John Forrest National Park features waterfalls, stunning viewpoints and great facilities for BBQs and picnics.
Since I first moved to the city back in 2012, John Forrest has always been my favourite national park in Perth. I love the hiking trails and the fact that you’re pretty much guaranteed to see several wild kangaroos at every visit.
The park is also home to a huge variety of native bird species such as Australian ringnecks, kookaburras, pink and grey galahs, red-tailed back cockatoos and many more. During the spring, John Forrest National Park comes to life with a blanket of colourful wildflowers.
The hike that I would recommend doing here is the Eagle View Walk. The entire length of the hike is 15km which takes a full day. I usually hike the 5km loop to the viewpoint and then back. The shorter version takes around 2 hours to complete and the view looking out over the city is simply epic!
Yanchep National Park
Distance from Perth: 50km (45 min)
Highlights: Limestone cave open to the public, koala boardwalk, historic pub, wildlife sightings, walking trails.
Count koalas in the trees, venture into a magical cave full of limestone formations, and picnic among the kangaroos and birds. These are just a few of the exciting things that you’ll get to experience when you visit Yanchep National Park.
Start your visit by taking a stroll along the boardwalk to view the adorable koalas. Choose from one of the great walking trails in the park and then take a tour of the amazing Crystal Cave.
If you didn’t bring your own picnic lunch, pop into the Yanchep Inn for a delicious meal on their outdoor patio which is often surrounded by wildlife.
On your way back to Perth, be sure to stop for a dip at the gorgeous Yanchep Lagoon. The calm, clear water makes this a perfect spot for a swim. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Perth!
Combine a visit to Yanchep and Lancelin for the ultimate day trip from Perth. Located 50 minutes north of Yanchep, Lancelin is home to the iconic white sand dunes where you’ll get the chance to try out sandboarding!
Kalamunda National Park
Distance from Perth: 30km (35 min)
Highlights: Scenic hiking trails, rock pools, views of Perth city skyline, wildflowers (spring), beginning of Bibbulmun Track.
Kalamunda National Park is nestled within the scenic Perth Hills on the eastern outskirts of the city. This is actually where you will find the starting point for the famous Bibbulmun Track. If you follow this track for the entire 1000km, you will wind up down south in Albany!
Kalamunda National Park is known for its choice of hiking trails that boast panoramic views over Perth’s city skyline. The Rocky Pool Walk is a good option if you’re after a day hike in Perth. It will take under 2 hours to complete and lead you to a lovely rock pool where you can jump in to cool down.
When I’m in the area, I also love to go and check out the incredible Lesmurdie Falls. This awesome waterfall is not located within Kalamunda National Park however it is only a 15 minute drive away. It’s easily the best waterfall in Perth so don’t miss out!
Walyunga National Park
Distance from Perth: 37km (40 min)
Highlights: Aboriginal history, canoeing, picnicking, hiking, camping, swimming, fishing.
Travel 40 minutes north east from Perth’s CBD and you will find yourself in one of Perth’s best hidden gems, Walyunga National Park. It’s located in the Darling Ranges, not far from the popular Swan Valley wine region.
This peaceful national park is great for bushwalks, canoeing/kayaking on the Swan River, swimming in the Walyuga Pool and wilderness camping in a tranquil setting in the forest.
Thanks to its prime location near the river and abundance of food, this area has been home to Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Evidence of this can be seen at an ancient campsite that is said to be the largest historic Aboriginal campground near Perth.
Depending on the length or difficulty, there is a walk to suit everyone in this national park. Learn more about the history of Walyunga National Park and the people who once called it home by following the Aboriginal Heritage Trail.
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Serpentine National Park
Distance from Perth: 65km (1 hr)
Highlights: Waterfalls, hiking trails, wild kangaroos, great picnic facilities, swimming, birdwatching.
Taking a day trip to Serpentine National Park from Perth is the perfect way to spend a day enjoying the outdoors. The park is located one hour south of Perth and offers a great variety of activities to keep you busy.
Kitty’s Gorge is one of the most popular hikes in Perth which takes you through the national park beginning at the Jarrahdale cemetery and ending at Serpentine Falls. The hike is 14km and winds through dense jarrah forest and passes by pretty waterfalls and creeks.
If a shorter hike is what you’re after, then Stacey’s Loop is the better choice. Once you finish your hike for the day, make your way to the picturesque Serpentine Falls to reward yourself with a refreshing swim. Be warned though, it’s a super popular hot spot during the summer so aim to arrive early!
The picnic area at Serpentine Falls is yet another reason why this national park is so great. Be sure to pack a lunch or bring your BBQ supplies to take advantage of one of Perth’s best picnic spots. Pull up a spot at one of the picnic tables under the trees to enjoy your meal surrounded by wild kangaroos!
Avon Valley National Park
Distance from Perth: 65km (1 hr)
Highlights: Hiking trails, panoramic viewpoints, pristine jarrah forest, wildlife sightings, wilderness camping.
This lesser known national park near Perth offers visitors a range of stunning landscapes. From jarrah forests filled with wildlife to granite outcrops boasting breathtaking valley views, you’ll find a bit of everything in Avon Valley National Park.
With a choice of four wilderness campgrounds, Avon Valley is the place to go if you’re looking to escape the city for a weekend getaway. The campsites are fairly basic but feature drop toilets and picnic tables, fires are permitted here on a seasonal basis.
A scenic yet challenging hiking trail in Avon Valley National Park is the Bald Head Loop. Follow an 8.5km loop trail to be rewarded with sweeping views over the forest and valley below. Colourful fields of wildflowers are abundant here during the spring and winter months.
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Yalgorup National Park
Distance from Perth: 120km (1hr 15min)
Highlights: Scenic boardwalk, ancient living rock formations, bushwalks, beautiful lakes, birdwatching.
Not far from the town of Mandurah, Yalgorup National Park is home to a series of lakes, nature walks and several million years worth of history!
The big draw to Yalgorup National Park are the ancient rock-like structures called thrombolites. Located within Lake Clifton, the formations may resemble ordinary rocks but they are actually some of the earliest forms of life on earth. These fascinating living micro-organisms are said to be millions of years old!
The thrombolites are found in very few places in the world and WA is lucky enough to be one of them. Get up close to the thrombolites by taking a walk along the Lake Clifton boardwalk. If you look closely, you will be able to see they are not just rocks.
Aside from the thrombolites there are some lovely walking trails in this national park, the Lake Clifton Loop Trail being among the most popular. See this link for a roundup of the best walking trails in Yalgorup National Park.
Nambung National Park
Distance from Perth: 190km (2h 15min)
Highlights: Unique rock formations, ocean views, walking tracks, animal sightings, Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.
Also known as the gateway to the Coral Coast, Nambung National Park is often the first stop on a road trip along Australia’s west coast. It also makes for a pretty awesome day trip from Perth, however it is located a little further from the city than the other parks on this list.
What makes this national park so special is one of the most iconic natural landmarks of Western Australia, the Pinnacles Desert. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve left this planet once you enter Nambung National Park.
Thousands of limestone rock formations rise from the yellow sands of the Pinnacles Desert resulting in the most unique landscape you’ll ever see. Take a drive around the 5km loop that runs through the park or leave your car at the entrance and explore the desert by foot.
Be sure to stop at one of the viewpoints in the national park for an epic view over the desert with a backdrop of the Indian Ocean. Before you leave, take a look inside the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre to learn a bit about this fascinating landscape and the animals that inhabit it.
6 Incredible National Parks Outside of Perth – Ideal for a WA Road Trip
I thought I’d also include a few of my all-time favourite national parks a little further away from Perth. These WA national parks really have it all, from jaw-dropping formations to the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen.
A visit to any of these parks will be the highlight of your next WA road trip! To help you plan your trip better, I’ve added links to different road trip itineraries in each section below.
Kalbarri National Park
Distance from Perth: 575km (6 hrs)
Highlights: Ancient gorges, sea cliffs, rock formations, great hiking trails.
One of the most popular and well known parks in WA, Kalbarri National Park truly lives up to its name. Featuring spectacular gorges, a natural rock arch, sea cliffs and beautiful beaches, Kalbarri has it all when it comes to natural beauty!
The recent addition of the Kalbarri Skywalk provides a unique experience and the best viewpoint in the national park. Step onto these twin platforms for breathtaking views through the gorge and Murchison River below.
The best part about Kalbarri National Park is that you don’t have to hike or have a 4WD to see any of the park’s highlights. There are sealed roads providing access for all vehicles to the best gorge lookouts and rock formations.
Kalbarri is the ideal destination if you don’t have the time to commit to a longer road trip yet still want to feel far removed from city life. See my five day Perth to Kalbarri road trip itinerary to plan your perfect getaway.
Francois Peron National Park
Distance from Perth: 827km (8hr 30min)
Highlights: Unique landscapes, four-wheel driving, hiking, coastal cliffs, beach access, spotting marine life.
Within the World Heritage listed region of Shark Bay, Francois Peron National Park has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of WA. With minimal facilities and 4WD access, a visit to this stunning national park will have you feeling worlds away from civilisation.
This is the place to go to see the iconic WA landscapes of orange dunes backed by turquoise water. Francois Peron National Park is ideal for wilderness camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking and four-wheel driving. Don’t attempt to enter this park with a 2WD vehicle, the soft sand is pretty unforgiving.
Seeing as it’s over 8 hours from Perth, this is far too much driving for a quick weekend escape. A visit to Shark Bay is best included on a road trip from Perth to Exmouth. Be sure to check out my ten day itinerary so you don’t miss any highlights along the way!
Cape Range National Park
Distance from Perth: 1200km (13hrs)
Highlights: Gorges, stunning beaches, wildlife, marine life, world-class snorkelling, scenic hiking trails, wilderness camping.
Cape Range National Park is home to a range of contrasting landscapes showcasing the best of Western Australia. From rugged limestone cliffs to deep canyons and pristine beaches, there is no shortage of incredible scenery around here.
Take a drive into Charles Knife Canyon Gorge for some jaw-dropping cliff views or enjoy a scenic boat cruise through the Yardie Creek Gorge. For the beach lover, Cape Range National Park features one of the best in the country!
Turquoise Bay is not only stunning to look at but offers word-class snorkelling. Swim with a range of fish, sea turtles and reef sharks only metres from the shore. For an unforgettable day trip, book a whale shark swimming excursion from Exmouth.
This amazing national park is located near the small town of Exmouth. You can either fly there from Perth for an easy getaway or do a road trip along the Coral Coast.
Torndirrup National Park
Distance from Perth: 430km (5hrs 15min)
Highlights: Natural wonders, stunning coastal walks, blowholes, granite cliffs.
Just outside of Albany, Torndirrup National Park is full of impressive sites and epic coastal walking trails. This is where you will find The Gap and The Natural Bridge, a few of WA’s best natural landmarks.
Follow the Bald Head Trail for some awe-inspiring views and plenty of great photo opportunities. Take a walk onto the viewing platform at The Gap to be quite literally blown away by the forceful waves crashing into the cliffs below. The Natural Bridge is a short walk from The Gap.
Marvel at the water spraying up through a natural gap in the rocks at the Blowholes. On your way out of the national park, don’t miss a quick stop at Newell’s Lookout. This is one of my favourite spots in Torndirrup National Park for epic coastal views.
Albany is a 5 hour drive south of Perth and makes a great destination for a long weekend trip. Check out my five day Perth to Albany road trip guide to get inspired for your trip.
Porongurup National Park
Distance from Perth: 390km (4.5hrs)
Highlights: Hiking, camping, wineries, Castle Rock’s Granite Skywalk, picnic areas, wildlife sightings.
If you’re spending some time in Albany, be sure to include this national park on your list of things to do. Porongurup National Park gives you the chance to go for a hike and then reward yourself with a wine tasting at a local winery.
With lush Karri forests backed by towering granite peaks, this park is home to some of prettiest landscapes in the southwest region. The most popular attraction is the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock hike which is one of my favourite hikes in Western Australia.
This challenging 4.5km hike involves scrambling over large boulders and climbing up ladders. Needless to say your fitness ability should be taken into account before attempting it! The panoramic view from the skywalk at the top makes up for your effort and it is particularly beautiful at sunrise/sunset.
Cape Le Grand National Park
Distance from Perth: 741km (8hrs)
Highlights: White sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, kangaroos on the beach, surfing, swimming, wild camping.
Saving the best for last, Cape le Grand National Park is an absolute gem featuring 318 square kms of untouched wilderness and outstanding natural scenery. Located an hour from Esperance town, this national park is the highlight for most people’s visit to the region.
The beaches of Cape le Grand are not only the best beaches in WA but the best in the entire country! Enjoy a picnic on the beach next to a kangaroo at Lucky Bay and drive across the white sands of Wharton Beach in your 4WD.
Take a dip in the inviting waters of Hellfire Bay and then strap on your hiking boots to ascend Frenchman’s Peak for spectacular views over the entire national park. Whether you’re up for an adventure or a relaxing beach holiday, you certainly won’t be bored in Cape le Grand National Park!
The journey to Esperance is quite long but luckily there are many great sights to see along the way. Take in the best of Australia’s south west by following my 11 day Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary.
Plan Your Visit to Perth
- 17 Best Beaches in Perth
- 15 Exciting Day Trips from Perth
- Where to Stay in Perth – A Perth Local’s Guide
- Perth to Rottnest Island Day Trip Itinerary
- 21 Stunning Instagram Spots in Perth
- Top 12 Things to do in Fremantle
- 10 Best Picnic Spots in Perth
- Granite Skywalk – Complete Hiking Guide
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