Hewett's Hill to Ball Creek
The Hike - As the morning mist gathers in the Jarrah forest, Hewett's Hill is one of those places where it's best to be up at sunrise and catch the magical display as a shroud envelopes the rolling hills. Pry yourself from your sleeping bag, make a hot drink and find a seat to be in awe of the morning spectacle. Once you've enjoyed a lazy morning around camp and gathered all your hiking possessions, the 10.6km walk to the next campsite at Ball Creek is ready to be tackled. Given the short distances between campsites most hikers will elect to do Kalamunda to Ball Creek in one day but for the purpose of these posts I will be doing a campsite to campsite reflection based on my time in the area.
The first section out of Hewett's Hill brings you back down the hill and along the carved valleys of the nearby waterways (mostly dry throughout the year, except after heavy or continual rains). Because of the close proximity to the seasonal water supply the forest here is very lush and on a dark winters day, this section has a very "deep forest" kind of feel. After a short walk you reach the first of many intersections of the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi as both trails snake their way on different paths all the way to Albany. Take a right onto the wide gravel road and travel down the hill towards the meeting of even more trails. Throughout the years there have been numerous named trails run through here and one tree shows about 4-5 different markers for the Dell to South Ledge loop, bike trails and even signs for the Winjan Track, which has very limited information on it. Back in my younger days I would take the Munda Biddi down to a granite platform a few hundred metres from this intersection, have lunch and then walk back to Kalamunda.
These days I continue on the Bibbulmun as it says goodbye to the Munda Biddi (for now) and heads up a fairly steep hill. Recently this area has seen prescribed burns rip through it so the landscape will keep changing as the forest recovers from the burning. I've been lucky to see it either side of the burns and I know which one I prefer but hopefully they leave it alone for a while now and it can recover. You follow the wide 4x4 track up the hill and past what used to be lockout gates (the barrier has since been removed and not replaced). At the top of the hill you are treated to the expansive views over the Helena River Valley that will become home for the next few kilometres. With little tree cover along this stretch, the payoff being some great views to your left as you catch occasional glimpses of Mundaring Weir in the distance.
As you reach the forest section the track departs the wide path and heads onto single track down into the valley and then back up towards South Ledge and the Golden Lookout. Keep an eye out for wildflowers in this section as they flourish in winter/spring along here. Reaching the South Ledge car park, it can get confusing here so as soon as you see the road take a sharp left and follow the single trail as it takes you the scenic route around the contours. Some of the best views of the Helena River Valley can be found here with rolling hills of forest blanketing the landscape. Down the well manicured path is the Golden Lookout, a famous spot in the Perth Hills where you can marvel at Mundaring Weir in the distance and take in the excellent views. If you're lucky to be up here at sunrise then the sight is glorious, even more so if there is mist rolling through the valley.
Moving along from the Golden Lookout, a single track paths takes you to another 4x4 track that is redeemed by the excellent forest that surrounds it. There is a single golden trunked tree here that stands out in the middle of the track that is a good metaphor for being an individual and not caring about others perception. Leaving the 4x4 track you are directed onto some lovely single track that runs through the excellent forest that I mentioned previously. I love this section in the late afternoon or early morning as you get the light streaming through the lush canopy and it creates an amazing feeling of calm as you walk through. I've also spotted many great wildflowers and orchids on my many passages through this section so keep an eye out on the forest floor.