Bells Rapid - Mount Mambup Walk (Walk #2a)


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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see Photo Galleries)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references


 Walk map  Photo

Click on map for large version.

Waterfall and cascades in side valley

 east of Bells Rapid (Swan River),

August 2008.

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More photos.

        3D map view




 Google Map

Using this map.



 Additional Satellite Imagery

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for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area.

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for road details.

For Google Earth  users

Step 1: Left Click here

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 on image of the walk area.

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Step 2: Left Click here

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Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

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         Route profile



 Walk description  
Location :

33 kms NE of Perth.   

Length :

9 field kms (30% off-track)

Degree of difficulty :

EASY  (What does this mean?)

Amount of uphill walking :

300m (cumulative ascent)

GPS-preferred :

NO, but useful for locating turning points.

Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

Great Eastern Hwy and bypass, then north on Roe Hwy, then 8 km north along Great Northern Highway.  Turn right into Cathedral Avenue and follow for about 5 kms to the last parking area (before the closed road at the boom gate) which is the Start point above the Bells Rapid footbridge.  There are public toilets less than 200m back down the road from the parking area.

During the annual Avon Descent the Cathedral Avenue access can become congested with spectators’ cars.  For good alternative access at that time, continue north on Great Eastern Hwy past the Cathedral Avenue turnoff for a further 2.4 kms. Then turn right into Copley Rd and follow for about 2 kms and park near the road end, near the entrance sign to the Bells Raid walk trail.  You can join the walk route at this point (see waypoint ‘22’).

Also see Railway crossing Caution below.

Escape route/s :

West of Swan River:  Via the various tracks or firebreaks to Copley Rd in west, or via tracks along Swan River bank to Cathedral Ave. via Bells Rapid footbridge in southeast. 

East of Swan River : Via the dirt road to Bells Rapid carpark in the west, or up steeply-sloping pasture land to Campersic Rd (sealed road) in southeast.

Main features


This is a relatively short walk,  but an excellent one if you are wanting to step up to something a little more challenging than easier walks such as Bold Park or Thomsons Lake

Bells Rapid, at the edge of the Darling Range near Brigadoon, is best known in W.A. for its association with the very popular annual ‘Avon Descent’ down the Avon-Swan Rivers from Northam to Perth. The footbridge over the Swan River at Bells Rapid provides spectators with a great vantage point to catch the canoeing and power-boat action at close-range during the popular ‘white-water’ event held in early August each year. A 1.3 km section of this walk also follows the River bank at Bells Rapid along part of the City of Swan’s short Bells Rapid Walk Trail). If you don’t mind the crowds and opt to walk at that time, viewing some of the Avon Descent action (or the trial runs in the weekends before) will be one of the highlights, but even without that added attraction, the Swan River itself is a worthy sight when in full flow after good winter rains. Another outstanding feature after winter rains is an impressive (but unnamed) waterfall in the very picturesque side valley just east of Bells Rapid. The waterfall has a significant main drop of around 25m and rivals other falls along the Darling Scarp including Lesmurdie Falls (see Darling Scarp Walk) and the Sixty Foot Falls (see Ellis Brook-Bickley Brook Walk).  Energetic uphill climbs on both sides of the River (including the 210m climb up Mt Mambup) are also rewarded with many outstanding panoramic views from the steep valley slopes, including views along the Darling Scarp and across the Swan Coastal Plain to Perth City and the coast, and also views northward up the Swan-Avon River valley to Walyunga National Park. The walk also crosses the grassy summit area of Mt Mambup (elevation 220m) though the views from there are mainly restricted by surrounding woodland.

The off-track sections are mainly through very open woodland and former pasture-land, but include a short scramble up steeper slopes near the waterfall in the east, plus one rocky stream crossing also in that area.

The walk route is across land that is mainly reserved for parks and recreation. Much of the area north of Bells Rapid (i.e. west side of Swan River) was previously known as Jumbuck Hill Farm, and is now managed by DEC as Jumbuck Hill Regional Park, effectively as part of Walyunga National Park which it adjoins to the north.  The area in the immediate vicinity of Bells Rapid is managed by the City of Swan. Parts of the reserved land are currently privately-owned but are ultimately destined to become Crown land (see note below).     

The Nyoongah Community formerly led groups on a 6.5 km walk, Coondebung’s Kalleepgurr Heritage Trail, which visited sites in the Brigadoon area which are of special Aboriginal Heritage significance, including the large waterfall on this walk route, and the Winaitj, a special area for women which holds the spirits of the kangaroo women (half women-half kangaroos).  

Note:  Reserved land status -The part of this walk route east of the railway tracks along the east bank of the Swan River is on land that is reserved for parks and recreation (under the Metropolitan Region Scheme). Walkers often visit the falls within the reserved area, but currently do not have an automatic or formal right to use the existing informal foot-track and route below and above the falls as most of the reserved land is also currently privately owned. However, the landowner, property developer Peet Limited will be required by the City of Swan to cede to the State much of that reserved land if Peet’s currently proposed new northern Brigadoon subdivision gets final approvals, which appears likely in 2008. The reserved area would then effectively form a southern extension of Walyunga National Park, ultimately under DEC management. 

Caution:  Railway crossing -The walk route crosses the railway along the east side of the River. The line is now independently controlled by Brookfield Rail. Brookfield has for safety reasons  placed warning signage with contact information at the crossing, requesting any walkers planning to cross to contact the company in advance. Heed the sign/s. Trains pass frequently, so exercise great caution at the railway crossing. Provided you have permission, cross quickly after ensuring that a train is not approaching. You must exercise your own independent judgment as to whether it is safe for you to cross. WalkGPS accepts no liability whatsoever if you choose to cross.

Additional maps :

WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.

WalkGPS reconnaissance history: Click here for a map of past WalkGPS test walks in the walk area, plus the final route. The final route was selected only after several visits to the area which aimed to achieve a walk that would be the most rewarding.

Other:  Mundaring Sheet 2134-III NW, 1:25,000 series R811 (Royal Aus. Survey Corp. 1983); or

Mundaring 1:50,000 Sheet (Dept. of CALM, 1990); or 

Mundaring & Chidlow 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2134-3 & 2134-2.

Other background references :

"Bells Rapids", on The Sandgropers Blog, Jan. 2008. - Share in the joy (and delightful photos) of a young family's discovery of Perth's bushwalking opportunities.

"Heritage Trail - Coondebung’s Kalleepgurr", Heritage Council of W.A., 1998 (see W.A. State Library PR12454/84).  – This pamphlet is no longer current but provides a brief summary of the significance to the aboriginal people of some natural features and areas in the Brigadoon area, including a part of the walk route on this page. This 6.5km trail was not a formal, developed Trail and could only be followed with a guide from the Nyoongah Community.

Walyunga Walk – on this site, WalkGPS.  Includes information also on Syd's Rapids, which like Bells Rapid on this walk route, is another great viewing spot for white-water excitement during the annual Avon Descent.

See Robyn Khorshid's Canoeing in Western Australia site for more Avon Descent details and some great "Paddlers' Stories"

Bells Rapid Walk Trail, City of Swan. Walk trail brochure, for a short, 4.5 km loop walk, accessed via Cathedral Ave, Brigadoon. Also see WalkGPS walk map on this page for that shorter walk and Google Map for start point on road map.

"Swan Valley and Perth Hills Trails Discovery Guide", Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council ('EMRC'). 2005. (Booklet withdrawn from public sale but a copy can be viewed at the State Library of WA (book Call Ref. # 919.411 SWA). -  See Bells Rapid Walk Trail, p.74-75, which covers the same trail as in the above City of Swan brochure. 

Route notes :


The 9 km route recommended here should be reasonably easy to follow, including the approx. 3 km of off-track sections.  GPS is certainly not essential but the waypoints provided here will make your navigation more certain and will allow you to test your skills if you are new to GPS.

From the ‘START’ point at the parking area at the end of Cathedral Avenue, head down to the footbridge (at waypoint ‘2’) to cross the Swan River at Bells Rapid.  If the Avon Descent is in progress you will want to spend some time on the footbridge viewing the white-water action from this excellent vantage point. On the north side of the River, pass the sign to Bells Rapid Walk Trail on the left (near ‘3’) and continue up the dirt vehicle track which climbs to the NE. Turn left at the gate (at ‘4’) to head steeply up an old fenceline, reaching another gate (at ‘GATE’). Continue uphill (NW) on the track past the gate, ignoring the trail sign pointing westward along a firebreak track (Bells Rapid Walk Trail).  The uphill track soon (at ‘6’) veers initially west and then SW around the hillside, from where you get a good view southward (from ‘VU’) across the valley to the falls up the opposite side valley and down to Bells Rapid and the footbridge. When the track nears the crest of the ridge (at ‘OFTRK’), turn right (due north) to head off-track up the ridge through fairly open woodland, balgas and patches of grassland. Cross a track again (at about ‘CRSTRK’) and continue north to NNW along the very gently climbing ridge. The ridge flattens, but then steepens again after ‘10’, and you will need to pick a route around a few small granite outcrops in open woodland to reach the broad, flat summit area (at ‘11’) of Mount Mambup. Head initially NNE to cross the grassy summit area and then continue NE-ward down the initial gentle hillside, mainly across grassland with balgas, and reach an outcrop (at ‘RX’). Find the gap in the rocks to head eastward more steeply downhill for only about 100m.  Then veer north to reach a rough dirt vehicle track (at ‘CSTRK2’). Take in the views across and up the valley (toward Walyunga National Park).  Then cross the track (don't follow it down the steep hill) and head NW off-track (as a small short-cut) for less than 100m to rejoin the track (at ‘TRK’). Follow the track back up the hillside (via ‘16’) to join another track at a T-junction (at ‘17’) on the crest of the main ridge of Mount Mambup again.  Turn left to follow the track south and (at ‘18’)  pass close by the summit area of Mount Mambup (visited earlier). Continue gently downhill along the main southern ridge (via ’19 and ‘20’), gaining excellent views across the Swan Coastal Plain to the west, and also (near ‘20’) another view down the hillside to Bells Rapid and across to the waterfall east of the Swan River. The dirt vehicle track veers slightly off the ridge crest in places and passes close to a small rocky knoll (‘RK-X’).  After ‘20’ the track crosses to the westward flank of the ridge and descends SW-ward (via ‘21’) to meet a T-junction with a N-S track (at ‘22’). Turn left (south), passing the end of Copley Road (and the alternative walk access point, near ‘COP-RD’). Continue south downhill to join the Bells Rapid Walk Trail (at about ‘23’).  Follow the trail close to the north bank of the Swan River (via ‘24’. ‘25’, ‘26’) and turn right at ‘3’ to re-cross the footbridge at Bells Rapid.  At the south end of the footbridge (at ‘2’) , head up the short rough foot-track that heads steeply uphill to meet a dirt road (at ‘27’) which is a continuation of Cathedral Avenue.   Turn left (east) to follow the road (via ‘28’), - passing another excellent vantage point for viewing Avon Descent action at Bells Rapid - and soon reaching a closed boom gate (‘GATE2’). Pass around the end of the gate and cross the railway tracks, first ensuring none of the frequent trains are approaching. Pass around the boom gate on the other side of the tracks (‘GATE3’) and follow the road to ‘TRKST’, where a vague foot-track heads SE across pastureland and through very open forest, along the north bank of a small stream which flows quite strongly in winter. Follow the track eastward up the steepening side valley and find an easy spot to boulder-hop across the stream to the south bank (at about ‘32’). The very picturesque waterfall and cascades below come into full view.  Follow the track up the steepening hillside and scramble up a short rocky section toward an old fuel drum (‘DRUM’) which sits oddly on a small spur ridge. Continue to near the foot  of the main drop of the falls (at ‘FT’), then veer due south to climb and partly scramble up the steepish, mainly grassed and partly rocky slopes to reach an old farm track (at ‘TRK2’).  Turn left to follow the track NE-ward around the hillside for less than 200m (to near ‘LVTRK’). Then leave the track to cross the small rocky stream-course and head NW-ward, following kangaroo trails around the lightly forested, grassed hillside. Ensure that you stay well upslope (at least 50m) from the edge of the bluffs which drop off to the stream below. - You will again get a view through the trees down to Bells Rapid, 500m to the west.- Veer more northward at ‘38’ and begin descending across the steepening slope. When a small gully appears ahead, veer sharply SW (at about ‘39’) to continue descending across the slope, again following roo trails where possible to help make the quite steep descent easier. Reach a dirt road (at ‘40’) and turn left to follow the road back across the railway tracks (via ‘GATE3’). Continue to follow the road (via ‘27’) which takes you directly back to the Start point at the car park.



 Waypoint listing


Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..."  if you wish  to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX  file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software.  If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk Map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)


Route list :

Projection : UTM       Datum : Australian Geodetic 1966       Zone :  50

Waypt name         Easting      Northing       Comments

START       410955  6484088  Bells Rapid carpark; end of Cathedral Ave.

02          411087  6484172  At south end of Bells Rapid footbridge

03          411108  6484293  On track near north end Bells Rapid footbridge.

04          411249  6484457  At gate and fenceline track.

GATE        411124  6484653  At gate at corner of fencelines.

6           410992  6484849  Track veers westward on hillside.

VU          410862  6484768  Good view down to Bells Rapid & to waterfall.

OFTRK       410821  6484752  On track near crest of ridge.

CRSTRK      410819  6484942  Cross old NW-SE track.

10          410720  6485402  Off-track. In light forest. Slope rises to NW.

11          410626  6485548  Off-track. On grassy summit area, Mt Mambup.

MAMBUP      410648  6485589  Off-track. On grassy summit area. Mt Mambup.

RX          410865  6485830  Off-track. At small rock drop-off to E.

CSTRK2      410991  6485901  Old vehicle track. Slopes downhill to NE.

TRK         410937  6485942  Old vehicle track.

16          410843  6486113  On old vehicle track.

17          410669  6486054  T-junction of vehicle tracks.

18          410610  6485599  On main ridge track. Near Mt Mambup summit area.

19          410419  6484970  On main ridge track. Westward view.

20          410491  6484736  On main ridge track. Views SE-ward.

21          410144  6484173  On main ridge track. Steeply downhill to SW.

22          410097  6484166  Near end of Copley Rd; alternate entry point.

23          410087  6483813  Near junction with Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

24          410103  6483801  Trail close to Swan River north bank.

25          410662  6483835  On Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

26          410798  6484154  On Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

27          411075  6484140  On higher dirt rd above Bells Rapid.

28          411151  6484144  On dirt road.

GATE2       411202  6484100  Gate at north side of railway crossing.

GATE3       411215  6484056  Gate on south side of railway crossing.

TRKST       411339  6484013  Foot-track leaves dirt road.

32          411537  6483932  In rocky stream gully.

DRUM        411579  6483856  Old fuel drum on small spur ridge.

FT          411611  6483831  Nr foot of main drop of waterfall.

TRK2        411606  6483738  On old farm track.

LVTRK       411747  6483857  On/Near old farm track.

STRM        411744  6483892  Cross stream.

38          411609  6484060  On steeply W-sloping hillside.

39          411585  6484196  On steeply W-sloping hillside. Near small gully.

40          411336  6484041  On dirt road.

TRKST       411339  6484013  Foot-track leaves dirt road.

GATE3       411215  6484056  Gate on south side of railway crossing.

GATE2       411202  6484100  Gate at north side of railway crossing.

28          411151  6484144  On dirt road.

END         410955  6484088  Back at Start point. Bells Rapid carpark.


Additional Waypoints on map :

FALLS       411630  6483853  Approx. top of waterfall.

RK-X        410513  6485064  Small rocky knoll on ridge near track.

COP-RD      410058  6484169  Near end of Copley Rd.  Alternate parking & entry.

41          410697  6484480  On Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

42          410584  6484002  On Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

BK-BDR      410495  6484017  "Buttock Boulder" on Bells Rapid Trail.

44          410375  6483924  On Bells Rapid Walk Trail.

47          411386  6485777  On old vehicle track. Above W bank of Swan River.

48          411444  6485355  On old vehicle track. Above W bank of Swan River.  


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This page was last updated  :   24 March, 2017

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