60 Foot Falls at Ellis Brook Reserve -Banyowla Regional Park
We've hiked this trail a few times but have always walked clockwise so this time we decided to walk the trail anti-clockwise.
From the Waterfall Gully Picnic Area stop to clean your boots to prevent dieback entering this beautiful valley. This is a loop trail so you can head to the left and cross the bridge for the clockwise loop or continue straight ahead for the anti clockwise loop.
The trail immediately narrows and the stairs begin. The trail becomes rougher as you pass through overhanging thickets which are home to many small birds including the Splendid Fairy Wren and New England Honeyeaters. There are more stairs as you climb along the edge of the valley with a steep drop to the brook below. The advantage of walking this way is that you have magnificent views up to the falls as you climb higher and higher up the valley. At the first lookout you can look down on to the brook as it hurries down the valley. You can also look up to the falls and if you have a keen eye will spot the second lookout platform way up in the distance!
We came across a narrow side trail which we followed to the edge of the brook.
More stairs take you to the second lookout where you can see the brook trickling over the edge of the scarp before it cascades down the rock face and into the valley. You can look back down the valley to the first lookout and across to the open area near Barrington Quarry where you will be able to look back at the falls on the return section. And then more stairs.....
The second lookout is almost at the top of the valley but just as you think you have almost made it there is a rough rock path to scramble over before emerging at the rock platform that forms the top of the falls. From this vantage point the brook falls gently before disappearing from sight so from here you can't see the full extent of the falls. The flat rock is the perfect place to sit and take in the beautiful valley with distant city views and rest after that seriously steep climb up the valley.
Hop across the brook at the trail markers to continue the loop trail which climbs again for a short distance. At the highest point there is an intersection of trails. Follow the trail marker and take the left trail and you will start to descend through wandoo woodlands along a wider trail.
As you come to the quarry you will see the fence which surrounds the top of the quarry. You used to be able to climb through the fence to view the quarry from above but there is no way that can happen now! We followed the stairs down passing another quarried rockface.
At the road turn right for the short walk into old Barrington Quarry. The water here is the prettiest colour and you can see the area's geological history in the layers of rock towering above you.
From the quarry follow the road passing through a wide open area but head to the edge for views up the valley to the falls before descending to another lookout platform. From here the trail heads downhill with a few steps before emerging at the bridge just above the picnic area.
Be sure to clean your shoes at the dieback station before arriving back at the picnic area where you can read up on the Ellis Brook Valley and identify some of the many plants you may find on your hike.
You have a choice with this trail - a less strenuous hike with a gradual uphill climb and then a rocky descent going clockwise - but limited views of the waterfall. Or a steep hard uphill hike and then a gentler descent with full views of the waterfall.
The loop trail is only 2km in length but it took us a good hour to complete. For more detailed trail information click on the link: 60 Foot Falls
Parking is available at the trail head at Waterfall Gully Picnic Area however it does get busy and when we finished our hike cars were parked along the access road. You can also park at Honeyeater Hollow Picnic Area and hike the 1.4km Blue Wren Ramble Trail to get from the lower carpark to the upper car park. There is an information bay and a drop toilet on Rushton Road at Honeyeater Hollow. This is also where the Eagle View Trail and the Easy Walk (Echidna) Trail start and finish.
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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
As always when hiking in the bush please help to reduce the spread of Phytophthora Dieback by sticking to the tracks and paths, staying out of quarantined areas and, if possible, clean your shoes before and after hiking. A spray of 70% methylated spirit and 30% water can be effective.