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WA s best walking tracks
The West Australian WA's best walking tracks

It seems crazy but one trip the length of WA is equivalent in distance to driving across Western Europe twice.

It even looks like a melting pot of different countries - the landscape changes from lush greenery in the south to scrubby bush in the Mid West, red dirt and spinifex in the Pilbara and tropical rainforests and gorges in the Kimberley.

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There are more than 700 walking and other trails in WA and it can be a big task to choose one.

For city dwellers, there are plenty of good walks in the Perth Hills and outskirts. For people who prefer shopping or drinking beer to bushwalking, there are excellent walks in Perth and Fremantle where people can visit heritage buildings, breweries and boutiques.

A list of 50 Top Trails in WA - a collaborative project between the Federal and WA governments - has been set up to allow people to explore the State.

Photographers Mike and Jane Pelusey are keen bushwalkers and helped whittle more than 160 nominated WA trails to the top 50. They recommend bushwalking to anyone, as the State offered trails to cater to all different needs and fitness levels.

Mike noted that city trails were a bit unusual for people used to the great outdoors but added they were a great way for people to learn more about the area's history.

"We are seasoned bushwalkers and we knew a lot about these places but there were some we hadn't done before and it was great to be seeing them for the first time," he said.

Keen bushwalkers


The Bibbulmun Track is number one on the WA Top Trails list, and with good reason.

It stretches 965km from Kalamunda to Albany and has been traversed by thousands of nature lovers from WA and around the world since bushwalker Geoff Schafer went to the WA government in 1972 with his idea to get local people outdoors.

The track is named after the Bibbulmun people and is best attempted between April and December to avoid the heat.

Bibbulmun TrackFoundation spokeswoman Jean Byrne said the track was known as one of the great Australian bushwalks.

"It is certainly one of WA's major trails and one of Australia's major long-distance trails," she said.

"Because it is so easily accessible and there are facilities the whole way we get everybody from children who are three or four years old to people in their 80s."

Day trip to the city


The Boom or Bust Trail in Perth's city centre is like a journey back in time to the gold rush era. It takes walkers past some of the city's most interesting architectural sights such as the Perth Town Hall's Victorian Free Gothic arches, the Beaux Arts styled General Post Office and His Majesty's Theatre - the only working Edwardian theatre in Australia.

A free interactive audio tour is available from the City of Perth website to help make sense of it all.

Best of Fremantle


For a pub crawl with a little more class, Fremantle's Hotels and Breweries Walk circles around the town's bars and hotels, many located in buildings which date back to the gold rush days. Brewers Little Creatures and Monk are both on the itinerary.

Short walk in the hills


There are plenty of walks close to the city which are a good challenge. Lesmurdie Falls offers spectacular waterfalls and bushland for moderately fit hikers. The walk takes two hours and is best attempted in winter when there is plenty of flowing water.

Cream of Kings Park


You could spend all day on the various walking tracks in Kings Park. One of the best is considered to be the Law Walk and Lotterywest Federation Walkway which offers stunning views of the city, Canning River and Matilda Bay.

Throughout the walk, the landscaped areas become bushland and an elevated walk takes visitors over ancient jarrah and marri trees.

Underwater adventure


The Parker Point Marine snorkel trail on Rottnest Island is an underwater tourist trail that can take as little or as long as you want. Snorkellers follow 12 underwater plaques with information about the marine life around them. The trail is considered easy but for those who want to avoid deeper water there is also an easier snorkel trail at Little Salmon Bay.

Wheelchair access


The Forest Path at Crooked Brook 25km from Bunbury offers spectacular sights as well as a 600m wheelchair and pram-friendly path. Plenty of signs explain the native plants and animals in the area, particularly the abundant colourful wildflowers.

Family affair


For active parents and kids, Syd's Rapids and Aboriginal Heritage walk trails offer a wealth of knowledge about Aboriginal culture and traditions. The walking tracks are located at the meeting point of the Walyunga National Park and the Swan River, 40km north- east of Perth.

Driving, walking, mountain biking and paddling


For those who can't decide whether to walk, ride or paddle the Blackwood River Tourist Drive is a trail for everyone. Visitors can paddle along the Blackwood River, ride a bike along the Old Timberline Trail and hike along 16km of the Bibbulmun Track. Campers are allowed at the Tom Road campsite and the trails are close to Bridgetown and Balingup for those who want to explore the towns.

The full list is available at toptrails.com.au.