The Top 5 Locations To See A Perth Hills Sunset! (A Local's Guide)

I have grown up and been spending time in the Perth Hills for my entire life, and my curiosity has led me to explore and experience the area like nobody else. This guide is based off of my experience over the past seven years as a professional landscape photographer.

The "Perth Hills" refers to the section of the Darling Range which is within the Perth Metropolitan Area in Western Australia. The Darling Range extends well South, East, and North of this area and I'll be covering scenic areas within these regions in a future guide. Within the Perth Hills there are many great parks to explore such as Walyunga National Park, Avon Valley National Park, John Forrest National Park, Wandoo National Park, Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Mundy Regional Park, Beelu National Park, and more!

In this guide to the top 5 best places to watch a Perth Hills sunset I'll be sharing all you need to know to see the very best of the hills!

Where is the Perth Hills?

The closest access to the hills is just over 16km East from the Perth CBD, and the largest settlement, Kalamunda, is just a 30 minute drive away.

Although only a short drive, the hills are surrounded by nature and natural bushland, often making you feel as though you are further from the hustle and bustle than you actually are! I can recommend a day trip out here as there are many great cafes (Jack and Jill is a favourite of mine!), hiking trails, and of course viewpoints to watch those epic Perth Hills Sunsets!

How accessible is the Perth Hills?

All of the locations mentioned in this guide are easy to visit, with 2wd accessible car parks, and only a short work on well defined trails!

If you are after a bit more adventure check out my downloadable PDF guide to The Waterfalls Of The Perth Hills (and how to photograph them) which contains 24 unique Winter waterfall locations! There is a mixture of some easily accessible waterfalls in there and some which require a bit more work (hiking)!

When is the best time to visit the Perth Hills?

Spectacular sunsets can happen year round in the hills, but my favourite time to visit is throughout Winter and Spring because of the added bonus from flowing freshwater streams and prolific wildflowers!

For the best colour, aim to visit on an afternoon with a light of high cloud about - if it is too overcast that beautiful late afternoon light may be unable to peek through the clouds, and if it is too clear you won't get as much colour in the sky, but the landscape will be glowing golden all afternoon!

How to Photograph A Perth Hills Sunset

- One of the biggest challenges in photographing the sunset is the harsh difference in light between the shaded ground and bright sky. A camera will often struggle to capture the full dynamic range in a scene such as this but there are two solutions, and they are:

A) Facing away from the sun. I often recommend to my participants at photography workshops not to face directly into the setting sun, and to instead find a composition facing on an angle between 45° and 180° from the sun. The light is significantly easier to deal with and you will still capture that stunning golden light that we all love! Remember to expose for the highlights!

B) Bracketing.

Bracketing is a technique where you take multiple exposures at different shutter speeds, and capture the full dynamic range of a scene across a sequence of photographs. You will have generally have a bright exposure (exposed to show detail in the darker areas of the image) a middle exposure (to help with the blending, sometimes you'll end up having multiple of these) and a dark exposure (exposed so that the sky, or brighter areas of the image aren't blown out).

You will then use Photoshop or another post processing software to blend these multiple exposures together and achieve an image that is much closer to what you could see with your own eyes.

I teach bracketing and blending along many other useful photography techniques as part of my Online Training via Patreon, I recommend learning this technique before you visit head out to photograph your next sunset!

- Another option is to use a Graduated ND filter on your lens, but this is not always the best option. Why not check out my guide to filter selection for landscape photography?

What camera equipment is recommended for sunset photography?

If you want to get serious with landscape photography, you'll need A GOOD tripod for the best results in low light.

- Tripods are often an afterthought for many new photographers, but a good, sturdy, tripod is essential for taking great landscape images, and you will enjoy the process much more with an easy to use tripod. I recommend using a ball head along with a tripod that has a fully adjustable leg angle. I go into much more depth on selecting the right tripod on my Tripod Selection For Landscape Photography guide. I am also an authorised reseller for Sirui & Explorer tripods, you can contact me for advice on your next tripod purchase to suit your needs at a great price.

- A lens cleaning kit. You should carry lens cleaning equipment with you in your camera bag at all times. An ideal kit will contain at least one microfibre cloth, lens cleaning solution, a rocket blower, and a soft bristle brush.

- As for the camera, I am assuming readers already have their camera of choice so I won't make any recommendations here. But for lens choices, If I could only take one lens to photograph a Perth Hills sunset it would be my 14-24mm f/2.8. My second choice would be a 24-70mm lens. The compositions and photographic opportunities that these camera lenses will provide are endless. A telephoto lens is also great for isolating a subject and capturing some unique images around Perth.

Some other considerations for your visit to the Perth Hills for sunset.

Phone reception is available with most mobile carriers at these locations.

Even though these locations are easy to access, I recommend arriving at least half an hour prior to sunset to make the most of them, especially if you are looking to capture some photographs! You will need some time to set up and find the perfect angle for your photograph.

The top 5 viewpoints to watch a sunset in the Perth Hills

5. John Forrest Rotary Lookout & Park Rd

Park Road is a scenic drive within John Forrest National Park. It is not a loop drive and both ends eventually meet the Great Eastern Highway, either opposite Bilgoman Aquatic Centre in Darlington, or Hardey Rd in Glen Forrest.

Along the road there are two main scenic viewpoints, If you begin at the entry point opposite the Bilgoman Pool, you will first see the Rotary Lookout on the left with a medium sized carpark (1.7km down the road). A further 900m down the road and you will see a rocky outcrop on the left with small areas of gravel to pull over well off the road. It is a stunning vantage point to view the Perth Hills as the sun goes down!

As this is a National Park there are NO DOGS allowed. Leave your furry friends at home and enjoy the wildlife at John Forrest National Park.

4. Bells Lookout

Bells lookout provides a beautiful view down the Avon Valley and across the Swan Coastal Plain, out toward Perth and the surrounding suburbs.

Bells Lookout is located on the left-hand side of Campersic road as you are driving up the steep incline and it is hard to miss. But if you do accidentally drive past you can do a U-turn at the  Boulonnias Dr roundabout and then as you descend it will be on the right. The official lookout is just a gravel pull over bay on the edge of Campersic road, but there is also a disused land sales centre on Campersic road less than 150m from the pull over bay, which provides more parking spaces and an opportunity to walk down to the waterfall in Winter time.

This Beautiful lookout is dog friendly, but I highly recommend keeping your pooch on a leash as there is a lot of Kangaroos that call this area home (also many feral rabbits and goats)!

3. Lesmurdie Falls Lookout

When the waterfall is flowing well this is my favourite place to watch the sunset! Lesmurdie Falls flows for majority of the year, but is usually looking much better in Winter and Spring.

To get here, park at the sealed Lesmurdie Falls Carpark toward the end of Falls Rd in Lesmurdie. There is toilet blocks and for some strange reason, dogs are allowed (ON A LEASH) even though it is a National Park! From the carpark make your way down the stairs and keep left, following the gravel park down toward the stream and continue to keep left (do not cross the bridge). After approximately 280m you will have glorious view of Perth City from above the waterfall!

2. Lions Lookout Lesmurdie

Lions Lookout gives a great view over the city, and if you time your visit during Spring the wildflowers are plentiful!

It is located on Welshpool Road East near the Crystal Brook Rd intersection, across the road from the BP Fuel Station. There is a large sealed carpark from here so you can watch the sun go down from the comfort of your vehicle, or walk one of the many trails nearby! This area is dog friendly, there are also BBQ & picnic facilities available.

1. Kalamunda Zig Zag & Statham's Quarry

Coming in at the number one place to catch a sunset from the Perth Hills is the Kalamunda Zig Zag. This is a one way scenic drive that begins on Lascelles Parade and ends on Ridge Hill Road. There are many places to park up and enjoy the sunset, including a large gravel carpark approximately half way down which has a walk trail leading to the top of Statham's Quarry.

More to see in the Perth Hills!

There is more to see here in the Perth Hills other than just our beautiful sunsets. We have some beautiful seasonal waterfalls which you can discover via my Waterfall PDF Guide, and abundance of wildflowers, hiking trails, and tourist activities!

Thanks for reading!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this Guide to the top 5 best sunset locations in the Perth Hills!

All of the images here are available as prints, if the photograph you'd like isn't in the online store, just contact me.

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