Bells Rapids Walk Trail
Directions - Located a 45 minute drive from Perth, jump on the Great Northern Hwy until you reach Cathedral Rd and follow that until it turns into the Orlov Trail. Watch for the signs and find a space in the big gravel car park.
The Hike - With the September long weekend in Western Australia bringing sunny weather, plans were made with the Gus's (Tom & Mel from my Roleystone hike) to visit the Swan Valley with the puppies (Gus the French Bulldog & Sadie). The trail they suggested was Bells Rapids, a popular location for families, especially when the Avon River is flowing like it was today. From Fremantle it's a bit of a drive but once you are off Roe Hwy the scenery is pleasant and the rolling hills make for a nice drive. When we reached the gravel car park it was rather windy but we all climbed out and with the dogs raring to go we departed towards the main bridge over the river.
Being spring, the river was flowing nicely and the rapids were churning as we slowly meandered our way over to the north side. We started off the loop by going right at the end of bridge (anti-clockwise) and this is where the climbing begins. The first of the two 50m climbs starts on a 4x4 track and is a fairly steep ascent. The views over the valley and across to the train line are worth it and if you need a breather on your way up then just pretend to be looking back at the towards the river. We stopped at the top for a bit of a drink (Gus was very thirsty) before soldiering on downhill for a short while. The short while didn't last and soon it was time to begin the second 50m climb up to the highest point (91m) of the hike. The views from up here are amazing as you get the river valley to the east and the Swan Coastal Plain to the west, including views all the way to the city.
There is a tree that has grown slightly horizontal next to the trail and it provided a nice place to have a rest. The humans had some cookies while the dogs had carrots (only after they had been manoeuvred into better lighting for photos). Just as we were about to get going, one of the long freight trains roared by and I tried to get as many shots as I could but the results weren't as cool as being there. The descent back down to river level is a bit steep to start and with loose rocks on the trail you need to watch your step. Intrigued by a granite outcrop next to the path I climbed my way onto the formation and was soon joined by the dogs.