Zig Zag Scenic Drive is a one-way scenic road in Perth

Zig Zag Scenic Drive is a one-way scenic drive down the side of the Darling Ranges in Gooseberry Hill, in Western Australia. The road provides spectacular views of the city of Perth and coastal plains of the Indian Ocean.

Zig Zag Scenic Drive

How long is the Zig Zag Scenic Drive?

The road, also known as Kalamunda Zig Zag, is 2.9km (1.8 miles) long. It’s a narrow one-way bitumen road that leads downhill through the Gooseberry Hill National Park. The steep three-kilometre descent features many switchbacks and constantly changing surroundings. One second you're sandwiched between rock faces or trees; then, all of a sudden, the sides open out with steep falls centimetres from the roadside. It definitely keeps you interested. The road is very narrow and has many hairpin turns, so for safety reasons, it is one-way traffic down to the plain. The road is closed on the first Sunday of October to celebrate the Zig Zag Festival, a community celebration of Spring, involving walking, music, wildflowers, and measuring the longest skid mark.

Is Zig Zag Scenic Drive worth it?

Located within the Beelu National Park, the drive is definitely worth it. It provides a panoramic view across the coastal plain to the City of Perth. Zig Zag Scenic Drive is a photographer's dream destination. Its high vantage point gives you views as far West, North, and South as the eye can see. The Zig Zag Scenic Drive was originally a section of railway line (the Upper Darling Range Railway) built to transport timber from the top of the escarpment down to the commercial centre of Midland. The line was laid in 1903 and required a series of switching points, known as Zig Zags, to shunt trains up and down the steep gradient of the Darling Scarp. The timber industry eventually closed down. The line was closed in 1949 and since then has become a scenic drive. The rails were removed in 1952.

How to drive the Zig Zag Scenic Drive?

This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped. Originally made as part of the Upper Darling Range Railway, the hair-raising one-way road is now widely regarded as one of the most picturesque locations in Western Australia. Unfortunately, thanks to the nature of the road (hairpin turns, low traffic, far away from police), degenerates in cars do occasionally ruin the serenity with their primitive mating calls - i.e. tyre screeching and loud mufflers. As usual, anyone who witnesses this behaviour is encouraged to take down the number plate and notify police. The one-way scenic drive leads downhill through the park and provides amazing photography and birdwatching opportunities. The narrow bitumen road has few gravel vehicle pull-off points and no separate footpath. The road is currently used by pedestrians on a shared basis with bicycles and motor vehicles. There have been reported near misses when vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians have narrowly averted collisions. Although there is a 40-kilometre per hour speed limit, the lower Zig Zag is not considered safe to be recommended for hiking while accessed by motor vehicles. The road opens at 11 am and closes at 8:30 pm seven days per week. Vehicles still within the Scenic Drive after 8:30 pm will be locked in overnight and can be collected the following morning from 11 am once the gates are reopened at 11:00 am. In May 2020, the road was closed for 1 year due to problems with antisocial behaviour, drugs, and hoons.