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Ellis Brook Reserve

Sixty Foot Falls

Ellis Brook reserve

Directions - Ellis Brook Reserve is located about 30 minutes from the centre of Perth, at the base of the Darling Scarp. Make your way to Tonkin Highway and take the Gosnells Road East turn-off, following the signs for Ellis Brook Reserve as you turn right onto Pitt Road, then right again onto Hayward Road. Take a left onto Quarry Road, then another left onto Rushton Road, following this all the way into the reserve. You can park at the Honeyeater Hollow car park just after entering the gates (Ellis Brook reserve is open 6am to 7pm every day), or follow Rushton Road all the way to the end and the Valley Head car park.


The Hike - Located on the outskirts of Perth suburbia, and exploring a stunning little valley, Ellis Brook Reserve is one of those places you don't really expect to see when you're driving out there. Now a popular location for people to take a short stroll in the wonderful mixed forest, the most frequented trail here takes in the climb up the valley to see Sixty Foot Falls, a seasonal waterfall that really only flows after heavy and sustained winter rainfall. Add in a side quest to Old Barrington Quarry that you've probably seen all over Instagram, and Ellis Brook Reserve has the recipe for a fun afternoon spent exploring the mostly natural world. 

This was a hike I did in the early days of the website, after being invited by a fellow Perthian to join her and a group of parents/dog owners at one of her events (I don't think they still exist). I attended, had a great time and wrote up that experience for this website in my old post. Unfortunately I didn't take too many photos compared to what I do now, and so the photos were mostly from subsequent visits. With the post not really describing the trail in great detail, and not matching up to the photos, this was always a trail that was ripe for a proper refresh. Having hiked the Eagle View Walk Trail the day before, and given that a much needed update, today it was Ellis Brook Reserve's turn. With a Caris agreeing to come, it meant that the doggos could also attend, making it a proper family adventure. Deciding that an afternoon hike would be best, I was hoping that the crowds might have dispersed a little by the time we arrived. Arriving at the Honeyeater Hollow car park around 2:30pm, we had plenty of time to get in the hike before the light disappeared.


The reason I picked this car park and not the one at the end of Rushton Road, is that I really enjoy the Blue Wren Ramble Trail that connects the two, and having a little extra distance makes the visit more worthwhile. The car park wasn't as full as I expected, a good sign for my love of relatively quiet trails, and we were soon all harnessed up and ready to go. The Blue Wren Ramble Trail starts from the large information sign near the gazebos and is a favourite spot for bird lovers/twitchers to bring their long lenses and photograph the local wildlife. For me, my lens was severely lacking in length for that, so would be concentrating on wildflowers and landscapes today. With Eagle View providing a stunning wildflower display the day before, I was expecting something similar here, and early on things were promising. Early finds along the edge of the Ellis Brook included Honey Bush, Mouse Ears, Winter Donkey Orchids, Graceful Honeymyrtle, Spindly Grevillea and False Boronia.

Along the edge of the brook you do hear and see a lot of birds but most of them were way too quick for me to photograph. The larger parrots were willing to play ball (i.e. just stay still for a second) and I managed to get both a Red-capped Parrot and the iconic Twenty-eight Parrot on camera. After about 500m of lovely wildflower lined trail, you climb up a set of steps and join Rushton Road for a little section. The purpose of this is to both cross Rushton Road and not have to build a separate bridge for walkers over Ellis Brook. Be mindful of vehicles along here, with the trail entering back into the forest on the other side of the road about 100m along (look for the blue poles). Back onto the single trail, this was much better, and the scenery through here is really enjoyable. The wildflower finds continued with Prickly Dryandra, Yellow Buttercups, Coach Honeypot and Two-leaf Hakea located right along the trail. Having secured Sadie's lead to my waist strap, my hands were free to photograph everything I wanted to, although Sadie sometimes had other ideas.


Winding up and down small elevation changes, this part of the Blue Wren Ramble Trail crosses Ellis Brook three times, with little foot bridges at each crossing. These along with the tunnels of Mouse Ears provided some really cool photo opportunities, with the tunnels being some of my favourite scenes from previous visits. Around the third crossing of Ellis Brook, the thicker vegetation starts to disappear and a lovely section of Wandoo opens up. Heading up a hill, the trail looks like it continues right up a steep hill, and while there is a track leading up the hill, it only takes you to an active quarry. Performing a little U-turn, this is the final little stretch of the Blue Wren Ramble Trail before it ends at the Valley Head car park. This is one of my favourite little areas of Ellis Brook, with the golden Wandoo trunks glowing in the sunlight and plenty of wildflowers lining the trail including Blue Stars, Woolly-flowered Grevillea, Lemon-scented Darwinia and Pincushion Coneflower.