Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Visiting Mandurah and the Perth Hills with the family


After watching my 4 month old grandson's swimming lesson, we had lunch at a Portuguese cafe nearby (Portuguese Delights) and then I drove my brother in law and sister in law to Mandurah about 70km south of Perth.

Mandurah used to be a sleepy fishing village but in the last 10 years or so there's been a lot of development and a quite a few people, specially retirees are moving there.

Man made canals were built and in the centre of the town there are shops, restaurants and apartment blocks around the canals known as "Little Venice".
On the outskirts of Mandurah, big mansions with private jetties for their boats have been built facing the canals.  The visiting family were left open mouthed at the size of the mansions and fancy boats!!

Mandurah's Little Venice - Dolphin Quay shopping centre, apartments by the canals
Top: Fancy houses and boats by the canals.  Bottom: metal boat statue, War memorial, more fancy houses
                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kalamunda/Lesmurdie Falls, Mundaring weir

The following day we drove to the Perth hills (part of the Darling scarp), about half an hour east of my house, or 40 min from Perth city. 
The area is home to beautiful National parks and forests, lots of cycle and walking trails,  art studios and galleries, craft shops and other interesting shops and lots of farmers sell their local organic produce, all very old-world here.

Starting at the village of Kalamunda we stopped to browse around some shops and popped into the local library to see an awesome 25mt wide stained glass window, the largest in the Southern hemisphere!
It was crafted by the Kalamunda Stained Glassgroup in 1987-1988 featuring the hills landscape and green/grey foliage of the area.
The library staff were very kind and even told us to climb the stairs to the first floor to get better photos.

25mt wide Stained glass window at the Kalamunda Public Library

After a quick lunch we drove to Lesmurdie Falls located withing the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. At the entrance just off the car park there are signs indicating walking trails and with information about the Darling scarp and the National park.
We chose the shortest walking trail to the waterfalls and could hear the water right from the start.
There wasn't that much water at this time of the year though, I assume the best time would be in winter when there's more rain.

The views were spectacular and it was a pity the day was overcast, but we could still make out Perth's silhouette in the distance.

Lesmurdie Water Falls
Viewing platforms and views of Perth in the distance, flowers and gum nuts

Next stop was the Mundaring Weir (dam) in the village of Mundaring.
Construction of the weir or dam was started in the late 1890's and completed in 1903.
It was designed by Irish Australian engineer C.Y. O'Connor with the view of transporting water to the goldfields of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in the east of Western Australia - the Golden Pipeline, which is the longest freshwater pipeline in the world.
The lake created by the dam is known as Lake C.Y.O'Connor.

The old Pumping station Number 1 is now the C.Y.O'Connor Museum, where you can see details of the farming, logging and railway history of the area.
The Bibbulmun walking trail commences in Kalamunda, crossing the weir wall and then northern side of the lake, and on to Albany in the south (963km long trail). (see photo of myself and sister in law).

Mundaring Weir/Dam, motors used as art, and Pumping station house
Me and my sister in law crossing the weir wall over the lake (part of the Bibbulman track)

Back to Kalamunda's neighbouring suburb -Gooseberry Hill where we enter the Zig Zag Scenic Drive (from Lascelles Parade). As the name indicates, Zig Zag Drive is a narrow and windy, one-way only downhill road 2,9km long.

The panoramic views across to Perth are amazing and there are places where you can stop to take photos. Unfortunately as with the Lesmurdie Falls, the visibility wasn't good.

The road was originally a section of the railway line built to transport timber from the hills to the commercial centre of Midland down below. The line required switching points or zig zags to shunt trains up and down the steep hills of the Darling scarp. The timber industry eventually dwindled and the train rails were removed in 1952.

Top: Perth Views with overcast sky. Bottom: houses scattered over the hills

And because it was my birthday (2nd March), it was time to drive back home and get ready for dinner at Lago di Como, an Italian restaurant in the suburb of Como, that my husband had booked for the 4 of us.

And what about this sunset for my birthday?  As we were parking the car I could see the sun setting over the Swan river near the restaurant, and my sister in law and I climbed the bridge over the freeway to capture the magic.
Sunset over Swan river, Como Jetty, my husband and I at dinner

                                                                                                   1st & 2nd March 2017


  1. So nice to have family over to visit you and show them around the country.
    We can enjoy it aswell with your photos.

    1. Thanks Mariette, glad you are enjoying the visits too.

  2. It is so lovely! And be able to be a privileged guide to ones family must be really good!

    1. I've certainly enjoyed showing the best of Perth and surrounds to the family. Thanks Paula.

  3. Did I miss your birthday Sami? Happy very belated wishes if I did ☺ Your visitors were so lucky to have you as their tour guide, you did a brilliant job! Gorgeous sunset in last collage!

    1. Thanks Grace, I think you congratulated me on Facebook, but thanks anyway. That sunset was amazing!

  4. You take really good care of your visitors and are a very good guide :)
    What a spectacular sunset you got as birthday gift! Very well captured in the photo as well!

    1. Thank you Sara, I'm so glad I managed to capture that amazing sunset.

  5. The name sure rang a bell there, Sami! Kalamunda/Lesmurdie Falls we did last time, too, we had no water, but a perfect view on Perth.

    Little Venice reminds a bit of the area when you go back from Matilda Bay to Perth, I sadly can´t remember the name.

    And that sunset sure was a great pressie from Mother Nature, too.
    Is that a heart of meat-loaf on the bread? If so: Yummy Birthday-card, good idea.

    1. Is that the area just at the end of Kings Park? - Crawley I think.
      It is a pity we didn't get the views from the hills, next time!
      Not meat loaf, that was the starters, that was olive tapenade on bread if I remember right.

  6. I had NO idea you had a birthday, so let me wish you a belated one, now. Sorry I missed it.

    I was awe struck with Little Venice. If only the "real" Venice was that plush! It's gorgeous there.

    What an amazing trip your family had. The Lesmurdie Falls took my breath away. And that stained glass in the Kalamunda library was out of this world (but very much a part of yours). That would have been worth the trip alone.

    What a fascinating back story you gave us as you took us up Zig Zag Scenic Drive. Is that fog or smog over Perth? Regardless, the sights are fabulous. Sort of reminds me of my research on Brazil, where they started with mules to remove gold, then later put in a train system similar to the one at Gooseberry Hill.

    Thanks for taking me with you on this trip with your family, and happy belated birthday.

  7. Thanks so much Elizabeth, I didn't mention my birthday at the time as I wasn't posting while the family were here. That is fog over Perth, it had been raining that day and that's why we didn't get the views. That stained glass window is certainly worth the trip!

  8. Great post! I loved seeing the views towards Perth and I could really imagine living in one of those mansions in Mandurah!
    The library's stained glass window is stunning!

    1. Thanks Christine, I wouldn't mind living there either with a nice yacht in the canal. No harm in dreaming :)

  9. My first though was my they start those kiddy swim lessons young, my second thought was wow is your Grandson already four months old, doesn't time fly?
    Wren x

  10. Dearest Sami,
    You for sure did spend some happy time with your family.
    Lovely photos and all worthwhile points to see and capture on camera.


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