Traversing mostly formed roads and very mild terrain on the plateau containing the heads of the Canning, Serpentine, Bannister and Dale rivers, this route may not require the use of the spare diff if dry. However, 4W drivers can test their own power to weight ratio by climbing Mount Vincent, a peak in the Darling Range near Sullivan Rock or Mount Cooke further south. Please follow all DPAW and TRACK CARE signs. Track conditions and further information can be obtained from DPAW’s Mundaring Office on 9290 6100.
Please note that you can purchase this and 14 more great day trips out of Perth in 4WD Days out of Perth (5th Edition)
‘Sullivan Rock’, around 36 kilometres from Armadale, is usually unnoticed by motorists who sweep past its south-western foot heading south on Albany Highway. On the opposite side of the highway is a reserve containing the old 41 Mile Well, a stoned well so named from its distance from Perth. Adjacent to reed covered swampland, the haunt of an occasionally-glimpsed Tiger Snake, this historic well was a popular overnight stop for teamsters and bullock drivers beginning the long haul from the Swan River Colony to the King George Sound settlement.
Mount Vincent, a minor (about 500 metres high) granitic eminence in the ‘Monadnocks’ chain of hills, is named after Claude Vincent Kinsella who was responsible for the establishment of the Forest Department’s Gleneagle settlement in 1936. The summit can be reached by following a pathway over Sullivan Rock and past fascinating relics of the old timber-felling days. To prevent the spread of the deadly dieback fungus disease, please brush the dust from your boots into the trays provided along the track.
Mount Cooke, further south, rising to 573 metres, is a longer climb than Mount Vincent, but still accessible to those of moderate fitness. Named after Ernest William Cooke, Government Astronomer in WA from 1895 to 1911, the hill is a long ridge with three summits and a granite rock cave alongside the path about halfway up. The turn-off to the Mount Cooke trail is on the LHS of Albany Highway 8.34km on from the Sullivan Rock car park. About 900 metres in, you’ll find a parking area with the summit walk trail heading off on the left.
Wearne Road, further down Albany Highway, leads to a belt of Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) and Powder-bark Wandoo (Eucalyptus accedens) that extends north and south for a considerable distance. Both species flower in the summer. The section on Link Road was burnt out during the summer of 1998 and it is interesting to observe the regrowth as the forest gradually recovers. Wandoo forest is the home of the Numbat, Western Australia’s animal emblem. Despite this termite eating mammal being diurnal, it is seldom observed in the wild, generally scurrying into hollow logs at the first hint of danger. This entire area was heavily baited as part of Operation Foxglove, which was hoped would lead to a reduction of foxes and see native species like the Numbat, begin to recover.
At Pike Road, the track leading straight on is a dry weather alternative only. This sensitive region has been proposed as a conservation area and may be completely closed to vehicles in the future. Metro Road, the wet weather alternative, takes you through alternating jarrah and wandoo forest to Brookton Highway.
Christmas Tree Well, less than 2km from the Metro Road junction, is a picnic spot at a waterhole beneath shady paperbarks and clumps of Christmas trees (Nuytsia floribunda). It is situated between wandoo forest and a pine plantation. The Christmas tree is the largest member of the parasitic mistletoe family and obtains part of its nourishment by tapping into the roots of other plants. They are called Christmas trees because their brilliant orange flowers open in December providing a photographer’s dream.
Regardless of the type of adventure you are embarking on, keeping the basics in your vehicle means that you should be bale to deal with most situation that may arise.
Great for getting yourself out of a sandy situation. They also work really well in mud.
You never know when you are going to have to dig yourself out of trouble or when there is a call of nature that requires a hole.
You don’t always need this equipment BUT when you do, you do. Best to ensure that it is always in your vehicle.
Much better than a stick and a lot more accurate. You will more than likely need to adjust tyre pressure on this trip.
If you need to let your tyres down for any reason then you will also need to pump them back up again.
Being so close to Perth is no reason to disregard the basic planning process. Make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be home. Mobile phone coverage should not be relied upon. This could impact how well Google Maps (or equivalent works) and you should either invest in a good quality GPS unit or ensure you have a map of the area.
Something to deal with minor cuts and scrapes as well as compression bandages to treat snake bite.
Make sure you have some sunscreen and insect repellant with you.
Ensure there is enough water in the vehicle for everyone who is coming with you.
We use and recommend HEMA’s HX2 GPS navigator. The unit does not require mobile phone signal to operate, shows you exactly where you are and what is around you (including points of interest and facilities). The HX2 also gives you turn by turn navigation when back on the bitumen if you need it.
Your other option is to grab a copy of one of HEMA’s maps or 4WD atlas relevant to your area of travel.
If you have a smart phone or an iPad (preferably one that can take a mobile SIM card – you don’t need a SIM installed) you can look at HEMA’s CamperX or 4×4 Explorer.
Keep a roll in the car, along with hand sanitiser and maybe some wipes. Make sure you have a rubbish bag handy and bring all of your rubbish home.
Don’t spend the entire trip driving, make sure you stop and explore. It’s a great opportunity to build some memories with the family.
Time your trip so you stop at Mt Observation and have either morning tea or a picnic lunch there. Spend some time exploring the area and take in some of the views.
When you stop and sit for a little while you will be amazed at the amount of wildlife that you will spot.
Take a camera and try your hand at some scenic shots or even some macro. It’s also a great spot to get some nice portrait shots of friends and family or even a candid shot of them enjoying nature.
There are a couple of ways that you can get your hands on the instructions for this little adventure.
Grab a copy of 4WD Days out of Perth (5th Edition) from our web shop or your nearest 4WD accessory store.
You can also purchase our basic Fact Sheet and Map from our web shop for $2.95
‘When I die I shall go through the sea to Kurannup where all my moorurtung (relations) will be waiting on the shore for me, waiting with meat and drink for me…Kurannup is the home of my dead people and I must go to them, and my kaan-ya must be free to rest on the kaan-ya tree (Nuytsia floribunda) before it journeys through the sea. Since Nyitting (cold) times (long time ago) all Bibbulmun kaan-ya have rested on this tree on their way to Kurannup; and I have never broken a branch or flower, or sat under the shade of the tree because it is the kaan-ya tree only winnaitch (forbidden, sacred).’
Joobaitch (ingenious informant for Daisy Bates, from the Guildford area, who passed away in 1907)
The traditional beliefs of the local Noongar people is that the Western Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda) is the home of the spirits of those who have passed on.
It is said that the tree is a resting place for the kaanya (recently departed souls) as they make their way from this world to Kurrannup (the land of the ancestors across the Western ocean)
Daisey Bates observed during her studies of the Noongar that:
“No living Bibbulmun ever sheltered or rested beneath the shade of the tree of souls, no flower or bud or lead of the tree was ever touched by child or adult. No game that took shelter beneath it was ever disturbed.”