Piesse Brook Walk overview

Piesse Brook flows northward within Kalamunda and Mundaring National Parks and meets the Helena River upstream of the Pipehead Dam in the north. The Parks provide for some excellent bushwalking close to Perth, with lots of good views from the enclosing rugged valley slopes which are covered with open woodlands of jarrah, marri, wandoo and butter gum, interrupted by numerous granite outcrops and some large areas of open heathlands. The heathlands offer superb wildflower displays in late winter and spring. The route passes small waterfalls on Piesse Brook at Rocky Pool and on a side stream. Some of the tracks are quite steep and gravelly but should not be any problem for the reasonably fit and careful.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    The Kalamunda and Mundaring National Parks provide for some excellent bushwalking close to Perth. Piesse Brook flows northward through the area and meets the Helena River upstream from the Pipehead Dam in the north. There are lots of good views from the enclosing rugged valley slopes which are covered with open woodlands of jarrah, marri, wandoo and butter gum, interrupted by numerous granite outcrops and some large areas of open heathlands.  The heathlands offer superb wildflower displays in late winter and spring. The route passes small waterfalls on Piesse Brook at Rocky Pool and on a side stream and also visits the Lower Helena Pipehead Dam reservoir in the Helena River Valley.  The route also includes a 2km section of the Bibbulmun Track which begins in nearby Kalamunda and crosses from SW to east through the area.  The route also uses some of the various other, mainly unmarked tracks. Some  are rough 4WD vehicle tracks which in part follow the high-voltage power transmission lines which unfortunately pass from NW to SE right through the middle of the national park area!

    Some of the tracks are quite steep and gravelly but should not be any problem for the reasonably fit and careful.

    Variations to this walk (using the additional waypoints and map) could include a track along a ridge in the NW which provides good views west over the heathlands of the Darling Scarp and across the Swan Coastal Plain.  Also the walk can be varied to start in Kalamunda and can then include more of the  Bibbulmun Track and also a track from Crescent Road (off Mundaring Weir Road) to Schipps Road through Jorgensen Park .

    Note: The Friends of Piesse Brook carried out a massive weed clean-up program and native plantings along Piesse Brook around 2000-2010. They achieved impressive results in restoring the local habitat within the Park, especially along the banks of the Brook itself, which had previously become severely infested with various introduced plant species including the introduced pink- to red-flowering weed, Watsonia, and blackberries, pampas grass and other weeds, which were choking out the native heathland.

  • Route notes

    The 13km ‘route’ recommended here is entirely on existing tracks.  GPS is not required but most of the tracks are not ‘signposted’.  The waypoints provided here will help you find the correct tracks first time and allow you to test your GPS navigation skills.

    Start from the end of Spring Road and walk north about 70m to a track junction at waypoint  ‘1’. Turn left to climb, initially steeply through jarrah and marri forest. The track soon veers northward and flattens, then (at ‘2’) veers NE and descends for about 300m.  Ignore the sidetrack on the left at ‘3’. The track then crosses a stream gully.  Soon after the gully, locate a minor, but well-used foot-track which leaves the vehicle track on the right (at 4’). Follow the foot-track NE through heathland, soon descending quite steeply into Piesse Gully. After about 500m the foot-track reaches (at ‘5’) a vehicle track which runs along Piesse Gully.  Turn left to walk northward only ~30m along the vehicle track and locate the Bibbulmun Track entry on the right (at ‘6’) just after the vehicle track crosses Piesse Brook over a culvert.  Follow the Bibbulmun Track quite steeply uphill. It soon meets at ‘7’ a track T- junction with an old alignment of the Bibb. Track. Continue on the Bibbulmun Track which crosses a ridge and then descends SE-ward to a stream gully at ‘8’ on the east side. The Track then follows the gully upstream southward, passing through some picturesque wandoo woodland and past granite outcrops.  It veers east at ‘9’ and climbs to a laterite plateau and jarrah forest  and meets a NW-SE vehicle track (at ’10’) which follows the power transmission line.  By this point you have climbed nearly 150m (vertical gain) since crossing Piesse Brook. Turn right to leave the Bibbulmun Track and follow the vehicle track for about 600m SE across the plateau. Then take the first vehicle track on the right (at ’11’) to descend westward from the plateau (via ’12’ and ’13’), then re-cross Piesse Brook at a bridge and meet the Piesse Brook vehicle  track at ‘14’.  Turn right to follow the track northward along Piesse Gully. At ‘15’ you can take a very short (~50m) return diversion down to the bank of Piesse Brook (on your right) to view a small, picturesque cascade. Then continue on the vehicle track (via ‘16’ and ‘17’) partly re-tracing a short section of your earlier steps (between ‘5’ and ‘6’).  At ‘18’ look for a minor foot-track leaving the left side of the vehicle track to view Rocky Pool and a small waterfall (at ‘19’). Then rejoin the vehicle track at about ‘20’ and continue to a track Y-junction near the power line on a broad ridge (at ’21’). Take the main, middle vehicle track which initially curves to the right – passing  under the powerlines –  before continuing NE-ward downhill  for about 200m to cross Piesse Brook at a small slab concrete bridge. (Don’t take the earlier minor tracks on the right which head ~SE.) The track then climbs to a junction with a track to the right at ‘22’;  Ignore  the earlier track on the right ~40m before  ‘22’.  (Note: Unfortunately access to the next section of the walk route from ’22’ to ’26’ may be restricted due to implementation of a Pipehead Dam water catchment management strategy. See “Comments”.)  Turn right to follow the track up and around the hillside via ‘23’ and gain good views eastward up the Helena River valley. The track soon descends quite steeply to reach (at ’24’) a track along the western side of the Lower Helena Valley Pipehead Dam reservoir. (You can make a worthwhile short diversion to the right (south) along the lakeside and then return to ’24’. The Dam was built in 1970-71. Water is pumped from there to the Helena Reservoir upstream. Lower Helena now supplies about 40% of the water stored in the main Helena Reservoir.) Turn left to follow the track NNW along the hillside, with views of the Pipehead Dam below.  Continue down the valley on the track for 1.5 km (via ‘25’), veering NW at ‘26’ to reach a parking area and picnic site at ‘27’. (This possible alternative start point for the walk can also be accessed from the NW by vehicle along Helena Valley Road and a short, but very rough section of vehicle track.)  Walk westward on a vehicle track from the parking area for less than 100m (to ’28’) then turn left to follow a rough vehicle track uphill to soon reach the powerline route (at ’29’) and follow  it more steeply uphill to cross the ridge and head back downhill (via ’30’) to re-cross Piesse Brook  at a bridge. Then head uphill (ignoring the side track on the right at ‘32’ to get back to the track junction at ‘21’ which you previously passed through on the way to the Pipehead Dam. Turn right at ‘21’ to retrace your steps for 0.5km on the vehicle track down Piesse Gully. At ‘33’ turn right, to follow the Bibbulmun Track up the narrow side valley via ‘34’. At the track T- junction at ‘35’, leave the Bibbulmun Track (which turns left) by turning right to cross the stream to a T-junction with a vehicle track at ‘36’. Turn left to head uphill via ‘37’ and back to the Start point at the end of Spring Road.

  • Access / Directions

    Great Eastern Hwy and Kalamunda Road (or Orrong, Welshpool, Lesmurdie and Canning Roads) to Kalamunda. At Kalamunda follow Mead Street (off Canning Road) to the roundabout at the intersection with Railway Road (this is also the start of Mundaring Weir Road. The northern terminus of the Bibbulmun Track is also on the corner). Turn left into Railway Road then first on right into Spring Road.  Follow Spring Road for less than 1.5km to its end and park (the Start point).

    Alternative access points for walks in the area include the Northern Terminus of the Bibbulmun Track or the end of Crescent Road in the SW,  the end of Schipp Road (along Piesse Brook) in the south, or the end of Helena Valley Road (along Helena River) in the north (see map).

    See also water catchment access issue under Alerts / Issues.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    N/A.

  • Escape route/s

    In south: Via Piesse Gully track to Schipp Road, or back to Spring Road start point.

    In  north: Via tracks to Helena Valley Road.

    In west: Via tracks to Goosebery Hill residential area.

    In SE:  Follow power line (and pylons) SE to Fern Road.

  • Other Info.

    “Bibbulmun Track, Guidebook 1, Darling Range”,  2014 edition.

    ‘Kalamunda Bouldering Mini Guide’, Ben Fleming,  Climbers’ Association of W.A. Mar. 2005. – For a climber’s perspective of Perth’s premier ‘bouldering’ area.

    “Rocky Pool Bushwalk”,  on The Sandgropers Blog, Nov. 2008. -Share in the joy (and delightful photos) of a young family’s continuing discovery of Perth’s bushwalking opportunities.  

    “Swan Valley and Perth Hills Trails Discovery Guide”, Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (‘EMRC’). 2005. -This is an excellent booklet summarising 41 mainly short on-track walks in Shires of Kalamunda and Mundaring and City of Swan. It has been withdrawn from public sale but a copy can be viewed at the State Library of WA (book Call Ref. # 919.411 SWA). 

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps,  Greg Harewood & Landgate, 2015. – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tile #320-2134-III-SW for relevant map coverage.

Comments

  1. Anthony Bielawski says:

    Lots of Damage being done by Mountain bikes Recently. They cant seem to make enough new tracks for themselves unfortunately.

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