Start - Reabold Hill Scenic Drive
Length - <1km up to 10km+
Grade - Green to Orange
Terrain - Single Track
Dog Friendly - Yes
Vertical Climb - 101m (Zamia Trail)
Time - 1-3 Hours
Signed - Yes, Wooden Boards
Date Hiked - 11th October 2015
Best Time - All Year Round
Traditional Custodians - Wajuk People
Directions - The car park is located at the top of the hill on Scenic Drive that comes off Oceanic Drive. During peak times it may be difficult to get a park so there is another car park located near the corner of Perry Lakes Drive and Oceanic Drive.
The Hike - Bold Park was a place I knew of but had never really investigated before. I had passed the Reabold Hill turnoff countless times while on my way to nearby Wembley Golf Course but had never thought to check what was at the top of the hill or in the surrounding bushland. Like most of the Western Suburbs, I figured behind the bushland seen from the road was a golf course or university land. With the mercury rising around Perth given the onset of spring, I added it to my list of places I wanted to visit more thoroughly a couple of months ago. Situated just off Oceanic Drive and a very short drive from City Beach, Bold Park is a 437 hectare piece of conservation land that was given protection status in 1998. Since then plenty of rehabilitation work has gone on and the results are spectacular.
The park itself has a maze of trails that are all linked so it really is a choose your own adventure style of walking. You could come here dozens of times and never walk the exact trail, which means there is always something new to discover. The motivation to visit Bold Park came when my planned visit out to the bush to photograph the Milky Way was thwarted by thunderstorms in the hills. I had already promised Mrs Life of Py a picnic dinner so had to think quick about location once it became obvious that the location I had chosen was going to involve staring at a cloud filled sky. Thus plans were adjusted to visit Bold Park with the dog and said picnic. I had wanted to try and get the full Zamia Trail in (5.5km loop) but Mrs Life of Py was not so keen so we settled on just the Reabold Hill Lookout after the 800m uphill climb from the car park at the Western Australian Ecology Centre.
So as the sun was setting over a hazy Indian Ocean we enjoyed some spicy jalapeno dip, leftover Cypriot Grain Salad and a cupcake. At 83m above sea level, the lookout provides sweeping views of the Indian Ocean and back towards the Perth CBD and Darling Scarp. It really is a magical place at sunset with no wind and the shade shelter has been built to resemble eucalyptus leaves, which is a cool design feature. With the sun not quite set and the dog keen to move on we went to have a look at the start of the Zamia Trail. We walked a short distance to the Ocean Lookout, which is a couple of park benches providing million dollar views across the Indian Ocean. Here I snapped away at the sinking sun surrounded by a pinky/orange haze thanks to some smoke provided by recent burn offs.
Having not photographed a sunset since I was in Albany in June, it was a luxury to be able to stand there on a still night just basking in the peacefulness. When the sun was right on the horizon we turned around and headed up to Reabold Hill and back to the car at the Ecology Centre. With the dog needing a walk before it got hot on Sunday (and also before we left her to go out for breakfast), I was up early and back at Reabold Hill ready to tackle the Zamia Trail. At 5.5km in length, the Zamia Trail does a big loop around the park with all the smaller trails linked to it. The name really is a reflection of what to expect, the trail is chocked full of some of the biggest Zamia Palms I have seen in WA and they are around every turn. Heading in an anti-clockwise direction I was passed by several trail runners getting in some kilometres before the heat got serious and also there to keep me company was a large host of buzzing flies.
With the dog lead in one hand and my camera in the other, I had to admit defeat early on and forget about trying to wave them off my face. The trail undulates and twists all throughout and provides several opportunities to view the ocean on the west side and the city/hills on the east side. The other trails (Pine Walk, Sheoak Walk, Banksia Walk and more) are well sign-posted and if you download the map linked at the top of the page then you can easily see where you will end up if you take a turn. A mix of compacted limestone paths with the occasional bit of soft sand will provide a solid walking surface as you marvel at the surrounding scenery. Finishing the walk with a big uphill increased the heart rate a bit and both myself and the dog were satisfied with our walk around Bold Park.
Final Thoughts – I can see why Bold Park is a popular fitness destination in Perth with a little slice of the bush right next to the beach/suburbs. With a wide variety of trails in the park and a bit of planning, you can keep coming back dozens of times and never do the exact same route.
With walks ranging from less than a kilometre (Reabold Hill Summit Boardwalk) to over 10kms if you get inventive, there is something here for everyone. Having a park this size in the Western Suburbs is a treat and if you don’t want to travel a long distance for your hiking fix then this is the place for you. A cooling dip or coffee at City Beach afterwards is always a nice option and after plenty of hills, you deserve it.
If you haven’t already visited Bold Park then you should put it on your list of things to do. I will be coming back here plenty of times over the summer with Sadie to explore the other trails and keep my fitness up.
Get out there and experience it!
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