If you’re looking for a challenging day hike within an hour from Perth, then the Numbat Trail in Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, Avon Valley is for you!
The Numbat Trail is the longest of three trails that Paruna has to offer and right from the start you can see why it has a good reputation. The start of the trail will take you over a boardwalk to a mysterious looking lake (dam) filled with desolate grey trees. Onwards from the eerie marsh the trail starts to incline through the gorgeous White Gum forest and the smell of Eucalyptus is ever present. Soon you will reach the first of many quick boardwalk diversions that take you to a lookout with views over the sanctuary. From here a small trek through more Wandoo and Marri woodlands will lead you to the valley ridge and views of the Avon River, railway and a picturesque landscape that needs to be seen, to be believed.
A series of switchbacks then lead you down to the impressive Paruna Gorge and its viewing platform, I highly recommend spending some time here to take it all in; the rocky pools and granite cliffs with a backdrop of hilly pastures is like no other. Before too long you will find yourself on a descent through a shaded valley, lined by big granite boulders and wildflowers leading you to a split in the trail. A left here will have you complete the Quenda Loop Trail (6.5Km), however carrying on with the Numbat Trail means we turn right and are quickly faced with another steep incline of steps.
The second part of the trail features a lush green gully with a waterfall and creek, this is a nice place to stop and cool down if it’s a warmer day, as you will soon encounter a lengthy loop of switchbacks ascending and descending the open valley ridge leading you past the Bilu Lookout. Completing this section of the trail takes you back to the lush waterfall gully area, then retracing your steps back up and down the valley to join the Quenda Loop. Another steep series of switchbacks lined with dense green bushes and a short hike through a White Gum forest will lead you back past the eerie marsh to the end of the trail.
This 12Km/4-5hr trail takes you on a journey of undulating terrain and features what feels like over 1000 steps and endless switchbacks, but the scenery and views are well worth it and make for an excellent cardio workout. There has been so much love, thought and care put into this well-marked trail and I can see why it is arguably one of the best Perth day hikes Off The Beaten Track.