COME SEE Serpentine Falls, Peel. Australia.
As told by Jackie Te-Aroha.
When searching for ‘hidden swimming holes in Perth’ its hard to miss this one. It’s on just about every list and blog on the Internet including So Perth, The Urban List and The Australian Traveler. And whilst we pride ourselves on finding the lesser known gems sometimes it pays off to suss out why some places attract bigger crowds than others.
The first and most obvious reason for its popularity (I think) is due to its locality and distance from the CBD. Serpentine Falls is an hours drive south west of the city and sits right on the edge of the Darling Ranges which means the environment changes dramatically within the hour. From high rise skyscrapers and multi lane highways to small country roads in the mountains. So you see now why we couldn’t bypass this one, even if it is a summer hotspot.
We made Serpentine Falls the first stop on what was about to be a day of exploring a just a few of the many inland swimming holes Perth has to offer. The day was overcast and not as warm as we would have liked but as every traveler knows, once you’ve planned your adventure and are time-limited sometimes you just got to roll with it. What I hadn’t thought about – that turned out to be a blessing in disguise – was that the less than average weather kept all the swimmers at bay. This meant that we could send Frida up to get some shots unpolluted by humans.
Upon arrival on a seemingly dismal morning we parked up amongst the trees in an open area that we weren’t 100% sure was a meant to be parked in but went with it anyway. Not sure if it was going to rain or not we then grabbed a few extra layers of clothes from the boot of the car and set off on foot in the direction we were hoping was the right way. We passed a car park with a picnic area off to the right and then found the entrance walkway. Good start!
From my earlier research I knew it was only a 400m walk from the car park to the falls so onward we went. The ground was still wet and the air a little brisk but we wern’t going to let Perths unusally cold summer weather deter us. As we got further along the well-kept path it opened up to a boardwalk with metal hand railings either side that led us directly to the waterfall!
It was just as beautiful as the images I had seen online if not, better. There wasn’t a person in sight and after a few minutes of taking it all in and mentally composing the environment for our ‘couple photos’, we dumped our bags under the canopy of the tree and began to set Frida up. We sent her up and immediately began exploring the area… and damn were we glad we decided to come. The colour of the rock was an incredible contrast to the teal-blue of the water and the few scattered shrubs in amongst the granite rock.
As we had Frida in the air two strange men showed up at the Falls. I call them strange because they weren’t the type of people you normally see at this kind of place, especially this early on an overcast Thursday morning. They definitely were not touristing like we were as they had no bags, cameras or bottles of water nor did they look like they were out to enjoy the walking trails of Serpentine National Park because they had those thick unfitted country Australian male jeans on. I mean they actually looked like they had just stumbled out of the pub at 6am on Sunday morning after a long week working the mines and happened to find a refreshing water hole to wash away their sins. But strange is the name we’ll give them for ease of description. Back to Frida, she was still whirling high above the swimming hole when one of the strange men took his shirt and boots off and dove straight into the water. Gross! I was no longer interested in taking pics.
We bought Frida down and began to pack her away. I then got straight back to mentally composing shots, which was a lot more difficult now that I had to try and avoid the strange two. I really wanted the waterfall in the back with some of the swimming hole in the foreground and Zade and I perched one of the rocks somewhere but Zade felt uncomfortable with the strange men being there. I tried to assure her it would be fine and that we could cross over the water and go to the other side of the swimming hole. But I knew that wasn’t the vantage point I wanted and it still wouldn’t have settled her nerves so we called it a day and went back to the car. Although we didn’t swim this time we still walked away with some AMAZING photos wouldn’t you agree?
Tips before visiting Serpentine Falls.
- There’s a $12 entrance fee that needs to be paid in cash. And don’t whinge about it, yes it’s a natural attraction but the picnic area doesn’t maintain itself nor do the toilets or pathways.
- The opening hours are 5.30am – 5.00 but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit outside those times it just means the car park is opened between those times.
- Apparently the Rangers close the gates when the park reaches capacity but I cant see anywhere online that says what that capacity is. They say in summer plan to arrive before 11am and you should be safe.
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