Bells Rapids Walk Trail provides the choice of two scenic walks: the river walk and the goat walk. Both are dog-friendly, scenic trails that offer beautiful views of the rapids. Bells Rapids is well known as the best vantage point to watch the annual Avon Descent, a two-day 124 km river race from Northam to Bayswater. It is also a popular winter and early spring walk when the rapids are at their best. Families also enjoy visiting Bells Rapids for picnics on fine days.
This guide to Bells Rapids provides you with all the information needed to make the most of your time there.
As Perth locals, we visit Bells Rapids at least once a year.
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Location of Bells Rapids
Bells Rapids are in Brigadoon, part of the Swan Valley, Western Australia.
How to get to Bells Rapids
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction. Another option is Rentalcars.
Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Bells Rapids are only accessible by car and will take you 45 minutes from Perth CBD.
The car park is located at the end of Cathedral Avenue. The gravel road turns into a single lane, so slow down at this point.
The car park is right beside the river with toilets.
What is the best time to visit Bells Rapids?
The best time to visit Bells Rapids is after some good rainfall in the winter months. We’ve been early June, and the rapids were dry. However, after some heavy rain in July, they flowed well.
Winter is perfect hiking weather without the summer heat and the pesky flies.
If you like spotting wildflowers, you will enjoy Bells Rapids in spring.
Bells Rapids Walk Trail Map
Download a map of the Bells Rapids Walk trails here.
Bells Rapids Trail
From the car park, follow the river upstream. There are two choices: on the gravel road or along the river banks.
If you go along the riverbank, there are a couple of spots where rocks must be negotiated. It was pretty easy but wouldn’t be suitable for anyone who is unstable on their feet.
Near the bridge, there were large amounts of white foam on the river’s surface. I think the foam is naturally occurring and not due to pollution.
From here, climb the escarpment onto the gravel track to the bridge.
The view of the white water rapids from the bridge is beautiful in winter. The water rushes through and over the rocks.
Once over the bridge, there’s a choice of two walk trails – the 2.5 km River Walk and the 3 km Goat Walk (these distances are one-way).
Both trails require a reasonable level of fitness but are family-friendly.
Allow 1 to 2 hours to complete this nature walk.
Walk Trails – River Walk & Goat Walk
We decided to turn left and walk in a clockwise direction. This meant that we started on the River Walk, following the track along the streams.
The dirt track started very easy with lovely views of Bells Rapids and surrounding flora.
As the path carried on, there were parts where we had to scramble over the rocks.
Once over them, we took the right fork as per the map (the path on the left is unstable).
Once we could see the path for the Goats Walk, we headed towards that. This fire break trail is pretty steep, but the views are worth the effort.
Look back for panoramic views of the city, coastal plains, and the river valley.
Make sure to turn right where the gate is and then another right to follow the path back to the bridge.
This completes the walk, so make your way back to the car park and reward yourself with something to eat and drink.
Can You Swim at Bells Rapids?
Despite seeing some kids in the water, I advise against swimming at Bells Rapids. There can be strong undercurrents here, so it is not recommended for swimming.
Do you have to pay to go to Bells Rapids?
Bells Rapids is free; there are no entry fees to enter Bells Rapids Park.
Can you take your dog to Bells Rapids?
You can take your dog to Bells Rapids, one of the few trails where dogs are permitted. They must be kept on a lead at all times.
What river is Bells Rapids?
Bells Rapids is part of the Swan River.
Flora & Fauna
Some highlights to look out for on your walk are:
- Fuchsia Grevillea wildflower
- Swamp Paperbark Trees
- Swamp Sheoaks
- Flooded Gum Trees
- Eucalyptus Wandoo
- Little Pied Cormorant Bird
- Western gey kangaroos
This WA Wildflower Guide is a great resource for where to see more stunning wildflowers in Western Australia.
Bells Rapids Walk Tips
- Wear closed in shoes with good grip
- Take water with you
- Be careful stepping on the rocks; they can be wet and slippery
- Pack a picnic; there’s nowhere to buy food here except maybe a coffee van
- Bring chairs with you as there aren’t any picnic tables and hardly any grass to sit on
- It can be busy on weekends (especially in winter)
Bells Rapids Waterfall & Lookout
While you are in the area, drive to Bells Lookout for views of the Bells Rapids Waterfall.
If you don’t live nearby, consider an overnight stay.
Other Perth Waterfalls
Perth waterfalls may not be up there with New Zealand or Queensland, but there are still some beautiful falls and spectacular hikes. Some other waterfalls around Perth are:
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