John Forrest National Park was a mainstay growing up as a foothills girl. Our childhood home was situated near the edge of the park via the railway entrance, but we’d sometimes take the windy road off Great Eastern Hwy too.

Oliver and I visited twice in 2022. Most of the trails are flat gravel making it a handy spot to hike for beginners and/or with young children. Midwinter is also a great time to go when the creeks are flowing into the falls.

There’s a beautiful nature play area – both man made and naturally occurring – by the creek near the old Tavern (now closed permanently). There we found little rock pools, small creeks and streams in which to throw rocks, float leaves and make tiny dams. Ollie got absolutely soaked our first visit so I made sure to bring his mud suit the second time.

On our first visit we took a picnic and a cake tasting box from The Cake & I (for our upcoming wedding) since Jo is conveniently based in Swan View. We did have to pay for entry into the park by car and there are ramps and accessible areas if you were to bring a pram (but I wouldn’t).

We ate on a smooth flat rock. It was early in the morning with a chance of showers so it was serene and quiet. We had a feathered guest join us for a few crumbs.

There was no shortage of close encounters with wildlife on either visit. We stopped to watch kangaroos on our second visit with a friend of mine. We did the Swan View Tunnel via Falls trail, which is flat and about a 6km return. It takes you through the breathtaking falls.

There’s some beautiful lookout spots near the falls but these are a precarious and would be slippery on a rainy day. I had Ollie in a vicelike grip while we scoped them out.

National Park trips and hikes like these are my favourite activity to do with Ollie simply because they’re unstructured and connected to nature.

The nature scape by the creek also provides Ollie with a free, open arena to play and that in itself fosters creativity. You couldn’t ask for a better day out!

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