John George Walk Trail
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
The John George Walk Trail is a 5.5km loop walk between Woodbridge and Viveash. You can start the trail at Reg Bond Reserve in Viveash or from Swan Riverside Reserve at Woodbridge. The advantage of starting at the latter is that there are toilets and a coffee hub inside the Woodbridge Play Space, which is a fantastic place for a picnic and a play as a reward for the kids walking or riding the trail.
Woodbridge Play Space is one of few all age and all ability playgrounds in Perth. It features play opportunities for wheelchair users and visitors with other physical or intellectual impairments: encouraging social play through signs across the play space which feature visual instructions for key phrases (e.g. swing) in sign language.
The trail follows the Swan River and you have the option of taking the paved shared use path or diverting to the gravel trail which takes you closer to the river. Both trails are level and easy walking but the gravel trail has the advantage of taking in more river views.
About half way up, opposite some private jetties, kids had built some steps on to a tree and added a rope swing hanging over the river. There is a very long family sized picnic bench here - one of a variety of different seats and benches found along the river.
We walked up to Reg Bond Reserve on the shared use path pushing ourselves to get a cardio workout before wandering back along the dirt track enjoying a more leisurely pace as we took in the views. Reg Bond Reserve has parking, a barbecue and picnic table and river access.
Interpretive signage along the walk trail has information about the area's history, flora and fauna. Be aware that this area is home to the Oblong Turtle, which nests between September and January, with hatchlings appearing between May and September. You might also hear a Western Banjo frog as you wander among the Swamp She-oak (Casuarinas) and Swamp Paperbarks. In spring you can enjoy the Coojong (Golden Wreath Wattle) in flower.
You will pass Bernley Drive Billabong - a billabong is a seasonal wetland that forms when the path of a river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. There is a zig zag bridge here and it's wooden posts are decorated with a representation of the Waugal, which features in the Dreamtime stories of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River). A boardwalk would have been so much more attractive here but the concrete is more practical in this seasonal wetland.
There were plenty of birds about - on the water and in the trees and our walk was accompanied by different bird song all the way. We surprised a white faced heron catching his meal but by the time we got a photo he had swallowed his little fish!
It is so peaceful wandering along by the river listening to and watching the birds and following the journey of the kayakers. There is no traffic noise and the only noises not relating to nature were the occasional plane flying overhead and a church bell ringing in the distance.
On the return as we approached a jetty with a houseboat we could hear water splashing and were intrigued. It turned out to be a waterfall on the property on the opposite bank, Caversham House, a popular wedding venue. We could see chairs and red carpet being set up in the gorgeous riverside gardens.
At the car park at Woodbridge Play Space there is a small river beach where the kids can play in the sand and splash on the edge of the river.... this is also a popular spot to launch a kayak. Behind the playground there is a full size AFL oval and a few pieces of exercise equipment along the river as well as a second small river beach.
The full walk will take just over an hour but you can walk as far as you like. There are also some offshoot paths which you can take to extend the walk.
This is a great path for the kids to ride their bikes or scooters as there are no roads or traffic to contend with. It is also fully accessible for those in wheelchairs or on motorised scooters.
Dogs are permitted on this walk but must be on the leash.
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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.