The outside wall of the swan valley tunnel john forrest national park

John Forrest National Park: Locals Guide 2023

western australia expert disclosure

Looking for information on visiting John Forrest National Park? You’ve come to the right place. The area is where Dave grew up and a place we frequently visit as a family.

This picturesque park, named after Sir John Forrest, the state’s first Premier, offers a captivating blend of native bushland, waterfalls, and wildlife. Whether you’re an avid hiker, nature enthusiast, or cyclist, John Forrest National Park is a perfect outdoor destination.


Summary

  • National Park fees apply
  • 60 minutes +
  • Open 24 hours
  • Easy to Challenging
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Photography & Drones allowed – see regulations

Location of John Forrest National Park

John Forrest National Park is in Western Australia, approximately 24 kilometres east of Perth. The park’s convenient location makes it a popular destination for day trips and weekend getaways for those seeking outdoor activities and natural beauty.

one of the john forrest national park trails with red dirt gravel and trees

How to Get to John Forrest National Park

To get to John Forrest National Park from Perth, you have a few transportation options:

  1. By Car: The most convenient way to reach the park is by car – head east from Perth on the Great Eastern Highway (Highway 94) towards Mundaring. Follow the signs to the national park, and you’ll arrive at the park entrance.
  2. By Public Transport: Take a train from Perth to the Midland Train Station. From Midland, catch a bus, which will take you directly to the John Forrest National Park. Use Transperth’s Journey Planner to painful out times.
  3. Organised Tours: Some tour operators offer day trips and tours to John Forrest National Park from Perth. Check with local tour companies to see if they have any available options.

There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental.

To compare Australia car hire prices, Discover Cars is 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.

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.

Compare Rental Cars Here.

Best Time to Visit John Forrest National Park

The best time to visit John Forrest National Park is during the cooler months, generally from April to October. During this time, the weather is milder and more enjoyable for outdoor activities such as hiking and bike rides.

In the cooler months, you’ll also have a higher chance of spotting wildlife as they tend to be more active during this time of the year. Additionally, wildflowers bloom in spring (September to November), adding an extra touch of vibrant colours to the park’s landscape.

The best time to visit the waterfalls is after heavy rains in winter and early spring.

water cascading over granite rocks at national park falls john forrest national park wa
National Park Falls in winter

Cost to Enter John Forrest National Park

Standard vehicle (12 or fewer occupants) A$15.00 (A$8.00 conession)

Large vehicle(more than 12 occupants) A $7.00 per person (A$2.50 per person)

Motorcycle A$8.00

Features of John Forrest National Park

Scenic Hiking Trails

The park has a network of picturesque hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels. From easy walks to challenging hikes, these trails lead you through forests and past waterfalls with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Waterfalls

John Forrest National Park has two beautiful waterfalls, Hovea Falls and National Park Falls. These cascading waterfalls create a serene atmosphere, providing excellent spots for relaxation and photography.

Wildlife

The park is teeming with native Australian wildlife. You can encounter kangaroos, euros, echidnas, possums, various bird species, and reptiles as you explore the park’s trails and open areas.

Picnic Areas

The park has designated picnic spots, making it an ideal place for families and groups to enjoy a day out in nature. Picnic facilities often include barbecue areas and tables.

Lookout Points

John Forrest National Park has several vantage points with panoramic views of the landscape, including the city of Perth in the distance.

Historic Railway

The Swan View Tunnel and the historic John Forrest Heritage Trail are part of the old Eastern Railway route. Kids love exploring the dark, damp tunnel.

Wildflowers

During the spring (September to November), the park comes alive with vibrant displays of wildflowers, creating a colourful sight for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

outside looking into the swan view railway tunnel on the railway trail in john forrest national park
Swan View Tunnel

🤩 See Guided Hike Details Here

History of John Forrest National Park

Traditional Custodians

This area was part of the traditional lands of the Whadjuk Noongar people, who had inhabited the region for thousands of years.

Railway Development

In the 1890s, the Western Australian government began constructing the Eastern Railway, aiming to link the inland goldfields to the port city of Fremantle. As part of this railway project, the Swan View Tunnel and the heritage-listed railway formation passed through what is now the park’s territory.

Conservation and Establishment

In 1898, the government made the area a conservation reserve, making it the oldest national park in Western Australia. In 1947, it was renamed John Forrest Park in honour of Sir John Forrest.

Accessibility of John Forrest National Park

The park management strives to make it inclusive and accommodating for many people. While some areas of the park may have uneven terrain due to its natural setting, facilities and features are in place to ensure accessibility as much as possible.

Trails

There are various trails within the park, catering to different fitness levels. Some trails are relatively easy and suitable for those with mobility challenges, while others may be more challenging and best suited for experienced hikers.

Picnic Areas

The park has designated picnic areas accessible to visitors, providing facilities for outdoor gatherings and picnics.

Parking

Parking areas near the entrance and certain key locations allow visitors to access the park easily.

Facilities

Restroom facilities are available within the park, designed to be accessible to all visitors.

While the park management does its best to provide accessibility, visitors with specific mobility concerns or other accessibility requirements may want to contact the park authorities in advance to inquire about specific facilities and services available. This way, they can better plan their visit and ensure a comfortable experience.

Facilities & Amenities of John Forrest National Park

  • Picnic areas
  • Parking
  • Toilets
kangaroo in john forrest national park
Saw this little fella on our bike ride along the Railway Trail

John Forrest National Park Trails

Wildflower Walk Trail

  • Trail Type: Bush Walk
  • Distance: 4.5 kilometres
  • Description: The 4.5km Wildflower Walk Trail is a class 3 trail popular when wildflowers bloom, generally between August and November.
  • View this trail

Christmas Tree Creek Walk Trail

  • Trail Type: Bush Walk
  • Distance: 10.5 kilometres
  • Description: A moderate 10.5 kilometre loop hike along scenic parts of the Eagle View Walk Trail. It has a challenging, steep incline across the park towards Hovea Falls.
  • View this trail

Eagle View Walk

  • Trail Type: Bush Walk
  • Distance: 15 kilometres
  • Description: This challenging 15 km circuit walk around John Forrest National Park has great views across the Swan Coastal Plain to Perth City. The trail is a bushwalker’s delight, covering a variety of landscapes and passing beautiful waterfalls with spectacular wildflowers in spring.
  • View this trail

Glen Brook Trail

  • Trail Type: Bush Walk
  • Distance: 2.2 kilometres
  • Description: The easy Glen Brook Trail is a 2.2km loop in John Forrest National Park, starting and finishing at the main picnic area and skirting around the Glen Brook Dam. Perfect for a short stroll after your picnic and great for families.
  • View this trail

Please note that the provided trail descriptions and distances are subject to change, and it’s recommended to check with the park authorities or visitor centre for the most up-to-date information and trail conditions before embarking on any hikes.

inside the dark swan view tunnel john forrest national park with cobbled walls
Swan View Tunnel

🤩 See Guided Hike Details Here

John Forrest National Park Waterfalls

Hovea Falls

Hovea Falls, which runs down a large sheet of granite, is one of two beautiful waterfalls in John Forrest National Park. It can be seen 800 m from the main picnic area.

During winter or after heavy rainfall, the waterfall’s flow becomes more pronounced, adding to its natural charm.

hovea falls john forrest national park cascading down granite slab
Hovea Falls

National Park Falls

National Park Falls is the second waterfall within John Forrest National Park, situated on the 2.5 km National Park Walk.

The waterfall flows over the 20m rock face and is best seen in winter or early spring.

water flowing down national park falls john forrest national park
National Park Falls

What To Bring

  1. Water and Snacks
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Comfortable Footwear
  4. Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers according to the weather forecast.
  5. Insect Repellent: Depending on the time of year, insects might be in the park.
  6. Camera or Smartphone
  7. First Aid Kit
  8. Trash Bag: Respect the park’s natural beauty by bringing a trash bag to collect your litter and dispose of it properly.

Pros & Cons of Visiting John Forrest National Park

Pros

  • Natural Beauty
  • Picnic Areas
  • Accessibility: The park is relatively close to Perth, making it easily accessible for day trips and weekend getaways without extensive travel.
  • Historical Significance: The park has historical features, such as the Swan View Tunnel, offering insights into Western Australia’s railway heritage.

⛔️ Cons

  • Limited Facilities: While the park offers essential amenities like restrooms and picnic areas, there are no options for food.
  • Bushfire Risk: During the dry season, the park is susceptible to bushfires, which might impact certain areas or result in temporary closures.
  • Insect and Wildlife Hazards: Visitors should be mindful of insects, snakes, and other wildlife in the park, particularly during warmer months.
an old wooden railway track in john forrest national park
Jane Brook Bridge

Guided Tours of John Forrest National Park

Two popular local tour operators run guided hikes of John Forrest National Park. I’ve yet to experience these hikes, but they are well known in Perth and have excellent reviews.

1. John Forrest Ultimate Collection | 10 km | 3 Hrs | From A$39

This Hike Collective tour explores the highlights of John Forrest, from the Swan View tunnel, to the wildflowers, waterfalls and dams.

INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET:

  • A guided 10km hike along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail in John Forrest National Park
  • Amazing historical stories and secrets covering local heritage of our fascinating hiking trail
  • Personal recommendations for local cafes and restaurants
  • A great experience with Perth’s award-winning hiking tour operator
  • Friendly and knowledgeable, first aid trained tour guide

Book Direct Here

2. Tunnels, Falls & Eagle Views Hiking Experience | 10 km | 4 Hrs | From A$55

Experience the impressive and historic Swan View Tunnel, National Park Falls and views of the Swan Coastal Plain from the Eagle View Lookout on this Off The Beaten Track guided hike.

INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET:

  • 10 km guided hike
  • morning tea
  • complimentary use of hiking poles, sunscreen, repellent
  • access to all hike photographs

Book Direct Here

Nearby Attractions

You can explore several attractions and points of interest near John Forrest National Park during their trip.

mundaring weir in summer

Mundaring Weir

Located just east of the national park, Mundaring Weir is a significant historic site popular for picnics and walks. It is a part of the Goldfields Pipeline, an engineering marvel that supplies water to the Eastern Goldfields region.

John Forrest National Park: Locals Guide 2023
Lake Leschenaultia

Lake Leschenaultia

This picturesque lake is about 20 minutes drive from John Forrest National Park – perfect for walks, swimming, kayaking, and picnicking.

Kalamunda

The charming town of Kalamunda is nearby, known for its artistic community, local crafts, and weekly farmers’ markets. It’s an excellent place to explore galleries and boutiques and enjoy the local cuisine.

the foot of a waterfall with water cascading down the rocks
Lesmurdie Falls

Lesmurdie Falls

Lesmurdie Falls offers another scenic waterfall experience not far from the national park.

Have you been to other National Parks in WA? Let us know in our Facebook group and share your photos.

Join Facebook Group here

FAQs for John Forrest National Park

Are dogs allowed in John Forrest National Park?

Dogs are not allowed in John Forrest National Park to protect the native flora and fauna. The park aims to preserve its natural environment and wildlife, and pets can disturb the ecosystem.

Can I camp in John Forrest National Park?

Camping is not permitted within John Forrest National Park. The park does not have camping facilities, and overnight stays are not allowed.

When is the best time to see wildflowers in the park?

The wildflower season in John Forrest National Park typically occurs between August and November.

Are there any swimming spots in the park?

There are no designated swimming areas within John Forrest National Park.

🤩 See Guided Hike Details Here

Save Money Planning your Trip

Click on the links which will take you direct to the website.

Flights ✈️

We fly Virgin Australia domestically due to their competitive prices and fantastic customer service and fly with Qatar Airways to Europe.

Accommodation 🏩

We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.

Car Rental 🚘

To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.

Campervan/RV Rental 🚐

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.

Travel Insurance 🌏

Cover-More and Travel Insurance Direct are our preferred travel insurance companies for domestic and international travel.

See this Travel Insurance for Australia guide for more information.