Boyagin Rock Walk overview

Boyagin Nature Reserve is a truly wonderful and unique place on the edge of the wheatbelt, that amply rewards the longer drive from Perth. There are many highlights along the walk route, including the massive Boyagin Rock outcrop, fascinating giant boulders sculpted by nature, some excellent views, and many different wildflowers in springtime.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This is a longer day out than usual but despite the more distant location, the walk can be completed comfortably as a day walk and won’t disappoint! The Park protects an ‘island’ of remnant bushland within the wheatbelt east of the Darling Range, like Dryandra Woodland (about 40km to the south) and Lupton Conservation Park (less than 20km west). It has similar high conservation value for both fauna and flora. Native animals reintroduced to the Reserve as part of DPAW’s Western Shield project include numbats, woylies  and other marsupials. The tammar wallaby  also survives in the area.

    The Reserve is mainly known for the massive Boyagin Rock granite outcrop which can be easily climbed and provides good views across the surrounding bushland and farmland. Apart from the main rock the Reserve includes an amazing array of other granite rock forms, including several clusters of fascinating giant boulders sculpted by nature. The walk route visits several of these. It also takes in the forested summit of Mount Jelcobine (402m) which is the highest point in the reserve.  The route also passes across the site of an apparently historic homestead of which only the brick fireplace survives. (This is possibly the remains of a post-First World War, early 1920’s, soldier settler’s cottage.)

    Beyond the Rock and its fringing sheoak thickets, the adjacent, mainly open woodlands also provide for some excellent off-track walking. Wandoo dominates the woodlands but there is a diversity of eucalypts, including brown mallets, York gums, marri and other species. The attractive Eucalyptus caesia which is a well known cultivar, occurs naturally only very locally on Boyagin Rock and other isolated outcrops across the central wheatbelt.  The shrub Kunzea pulchella (Granite Kunzea) puts on a brilliant red display in gullies on the lower slopes of the Rock in spring.  Dense heathlands, which cover some of the lateritic hilltops, are mainly avoided by this walk route, but are well worth visiting during the spring flowering.

    The terrain is mainly quite gentle, aside from an initial 70m climb up the slopes of Boyagin Rock,  plus several short climbs up laterite ‘breakaways’ / rocky escarpments and  up the banks of incised stream gullies.

    Shorter walk option: The route can be easily adjusted to give a shortened walk of approx. 14.5km, bypassing the western section by taking a short cut south along an old vehicle track.

    For overnighters: The Boyagin Rock picnic area at the start point is suitable for overnight camping, but has only basic facilities (toilets, barbecue, no water).

  • Route notes

    From the start point at the picnic area carpark (at waypoint ‘START’) head SW off-track through sheoaks to reach a small sloping outcrop. Climb the outcrop and pass through a band of shrubland via ‘1’ to reach the foot of a large eastward-sloping granite outcrop. Head initially westward up the outcrop slope. Veer left at ‘1-1’ to stay on the exposed granite and bypass the narrow strip of shrubland along the crest of the ridge. Veer right (westward) at ‘2’ to cross the crest of the ridge to reach the top of the more extensive open outcrop on the NW flank at ‘3’. The good view across to the ‘Split-in-the-Rock’ gully to the northern, bald granite dome of Boyagin Rock makes the easy 75m climb from the carpark well worth the small effort. This partly vegetated southern culmination has a summit elevation ~375m above sea level and is slightly higher than the more-visited northern dome. Veer SW across the summit area to ‘4’,  then turn sharp right to descend the rock, partly through shrubland, and partly across patches of open outcrop. Keep a look out here for  Eucalyptus caesia and Hakea petiolaris in flower, and as always take great care to avoid darke, slippery patches and moss on the steepish rock slope. Cross a small gully at the foot of the rock at ‘5’ and pass through a cluster of giant boulders between ‘6’ and ‘13’. Take time to explore this fascinating location,and follow the several waypoints closely to ensure you don’t miss the nice view to Boyagin Rock from the top of the boulder at ‘10-1’ and the large cave under the boulder at ‘12’.  Then head SW-SSW  through wandoo wooodland via ‘13’ and cross a vehicle track (DPAW name “Frogmouth Lane”) at ‘13-1’. Continue SW-ward through woodland via ‘13-2’ initialy along the north side of a gentle gully. Veer westward at ‘14’ bypassing some possible dense patches of Prickly Poison (Gastrolobium spinosum). Cross a small stream course at ‘15’ and veer right (WSW) across the very gentle hillside. After ‘15-1’ you will need to patiently pick an easiest route through ~150m of quite dense belt of shrubland. (This is an area of re-vegetation across a small, former farm block.) Reach a vehicle track at ‘16’ (DPAW name “Falcon Lane”). Turn left to follow the track for less than 50m to ‘17’, then turn right to a grassed clearing at ‘17-1’ where a solitary brick fireplace and chimney survives as the sole indication that an old homestead once stood here. (The nearby scrubby, re-vegetated areas and occasional old fence posts and wires in the bushland, plus Google Earth imagery, suggest this may have been a small, post WW1 soldier settler allotment of less than 1 sq km on a narrow strip of land running between here and Boyagin Road, 500m to the south.) Then head westward for almost 1km across a broad low area, crossing small stream courses at ‘18’ and ‘19’ and mostly bypassing patches of denser bush to the south. Reach an outcrop at ‘20’ and climb 150m northward up the gentle rock slope and enter a fringing sheoak thicket across a small hill top at ‘21’. Cross a small gully at ‘22’ and then veer eastward to cross a vehicle track at ‘22-1’. Meet another vehicle track at ‘23’ and trun right to follow the track up the hillside for less than 100m. Veer eastward at ‘24’, off-track again, through shrubland. (Or see Option below for a short-cut bypassing the westernmost part of the walk route between ‘24’ and ‘39-1’.)  At ‘25’ spot the large Wedge-tailed Eagle’s nest in the top of a nearby tree. Then veer right (NNW) across a low ridge. Cross a small gully at ‘26’ then veer left (WNW) to reach a small east-sloping outcrop at ‘27’. The higher area on the rock slope to the right makes a nice spot for a rest stop. Continue WNW across an old vehicle track at ‘27-1’, then veer right (northward) at ‘28’ along a steepish breakaway slope. Cross a narrow gully at ‘29’, then turn left (westward) and continue mostly westward for the next 600m, via waypoints ‘30’-‘33’, crossing narrow gullies at ‘30’ and ‘32’ and passing through a sheoak thicket on a broad, rocky spur ridge (via ‘30-1’).  Reach another old vehicle track at ‘33’ and turn left to follow the track gently downslope for 100m. Veer right (WNW) at ‘34’ and climb through a sheoak thicket and clusters of large boulders at ‘34-1’ and ‘34-2’.  Climb a laterite escarpment through wandoo woodland to reach the flat laterite-capped hill top. Veer right (NNE) at ‘35’ through fairly open shrubland and then back into wandoo woodland along the gentle westward slope. Veer right (NE) at ‘36’ and continue mostly along slope via ‘36-1’ to reach the abrupt end of a distinctive laterite-capped promontory that provides an excellent sweeping view north to NW across the adjacent farmland. Then turn sharply southward upslope, back along the promontory and at ‘37-1’ veer SSE along slope through wandoo woodland. Pass a cluster of large boulders on your right and cross a small gully at ‘38’ Then veer left (eastward) past more boulders and across small outcrops through pleasant woodland via ‘38-1’. Meet an old vehicle track at ‘39’. Turn left to follow the partly overgrown track NE for 300m across a shrubland-coverd hill-top. Meet another vehicle track at a T-junction at ‘39-1’. Cross the track to continue  NE-ENE for 800m via ‘39-2’ and ‘39-3’,  initially through a patch of she-oak thicket and then across a mainly open low lying area. Reach at ‘40’  the west bank of a narrow N-S gully which drains southward. Turn left to follow the gully northward. Soon reach the southern foot of a long, gently sloping outcrop. Follow this outcrop northward for more than 300m via ‘42’. At this point you have completed about 55% of the walk and the outcrop makes a good spot for lunch and/or a rest stop. Re-enter she-oak forest at ‘43’ and head NNW-NW, crossing a vehicle track at ‘43-1’ and meeting the same track again at ‘44’. Turn right to follow the track northward to ‘44-1’ then veer right (NE) and soon reach two massive boulders in wandoo woodland. A large ‘slice’ that has dropped off one of the boulders contains a small hidden pool in winter.  Continue NE via ‘44-3’ and reach a large south-sloping outcrop. Turn right (ESE) on th outcrop and pass through a narrow belt of she-oaks to reach a SE-sloping outcrop which gives a good view across the woodlands to Boyagin Rock 2.5km SE. Turn left to head northward across an upper outcrop via ‘47-1’ and ’47-2’. Re-enter forest and climb to the flat wooded hilltop of Mount Jelcobine (elevation ~ 402m) at ‘48’.  A large cairn erected by surveyors in 1951 marks the summit. Turn sharply right to head ESE down the east flank of the hill via ‘48-1’.  Veer left at ‘49’ and then right (eastward again) at ‘50’ picking a way down and around the large boulders on the slope. Continue eastward across a small outcrop and then across a gentle laterite-capped ridge via ’51’. Reach a vehicle track at ‘52’ and turn left to follow the track NNE through woodland for 750m. Veer NE off-track at ‘52-1’ and reach at ‘53’ the first of a group of massive boulders in this northernmost section of the walk (within 250m of the northern boundary of the reserve). Take time to explore the boulders, including the large hidden caverns below each. Turn sharp right at ‘54’ to head southward about 50m up slope through the open woodland to reach an even more impressive pair of huge boulders concealing a high natural corridor between them. Pass through the ‘corridor’ and head up slope via ‘54-2’ to reach a narrow laterite-capped ridge at ‘55’ with a view to farmland to the north/NE. Turn sharp right (SW) to descend to an eastward-sloping outcrop. Cross the outcrop SSE-ward via ‘55-1’ and a low ridge at ‘55-2’.  Then veer right, southward and across further small east-sloping outcrops at ‘55-3’ and near ‘56’.   Turn left at ‘56’ to descend SW down a steepish rock slope to ‘56-1’ and reach the valley floor and an outcrop crossed by a stream course which flows into a small pool at ‘57’ after winter rains making this a pleasant spot for a possible rest stop. Follow the outcrop downstream for less than 100m then turn right (southward) at ‘58’ to meet a vehicle track at ’58-1’. Follow the track southward, gently upslope, then turn left to follow a narrow outcrop upslope. Turn left again (ESE) near the top of the outcrop to pass through a narrow patch of open shrubland and reach another small outcrop at ’58-4’. Veer right (southward) to cross the outcrop and cross the broad hill top, mostly through sheoak. Reach the upper edge of a large SE-sloping outcrop at ’59’ and turn right (WSW) along slope to ‘60’. Descend the outcrop southward to its lower edge  ‘60-1’ then veer right (WSW) and thread your way through a fairly dense thicket of young  ‘Jam’ trees (Acacia acuminata) for about 100m to climb via ‘60-2’ to a small, steep-sided laterite promontory (at ‘61’).  Then veer left to descend and head SSE-ward along the gentle east-sloping hillside through open woodland. Cross a narrow, deeply-incised gully after ‘61-1’ and continue southward, upslope to meet a vehicle track at ‘61-2’.  Follow the track southward for 100m then veer left (SE) off-track across a broad ridge. Veer right (southward) at ‘62’ through woodland and pass another large boulder at ‘62-1’ with a small cavern below. Veer right (SSW) to follow the nearby foot of Boyagin Rock to ‘63’. Then turn sharp left to climb eastward up the Rock to the bald summit area, again avoiding any darker potentially slippery areas on the rock surface. Veer left (NE) at ‘64’ to cross the summit area, taking in the great 360 degree views, including to Mount Jelcobine crossed earlier in the walk and now 2.9km NW. Also look southward across the Split-in-the-Rock to see the southern culmination climbed at the start of the walk. Head NE across the broad summit area and descend the NE flank to a saddle area in a sheoak thicket at ‘65’.  From there, follow a well used foot-track eastward to ‘66’ then SE-ward down the rock slope via ‘66-1’. Bushes of the beautiful, prolifically red-flowering Kunzea pulchella are scattered around the rock surface, their roots penetrating down into narrow fractures in the solid rock. Soon after ‘67’ cross a small stream in bushland, then  visit the nearby large and interesting information shelter before arriving back at the start point.

    Option, for shortened walk (~15km), after ‘24’:  You can opt to bypass the westernmost part of the walk to shorten the walk by 2km:  Instead of leaving the vehicle track at ‘24’ continue following the track northward for 1.3km to rejoin the described route at ‘39-1’.

  • Access / Directions

    140km SE of Perth. Follow Brookton Hwy for 94km, then York-Williams Rd (on right) for 10km, then Boyagin Rd (gravel/dirt, on left) for 6.5km (taking special care driving on the initial section of Boyagin Rd which is poorly gravelled and can become very slippery when wet), then 1.3km along dirt road (Pech Road) on left to Boyagin Rock picnic area.  Park in the picnic area. (No entry fee. Toilets nearby, but no water.)  The small town of Pingelly on the Great Southern Hwy east of the Reserve, about 30km by road, has a caravan park and motel accommodation.

    Alternatively, you could combine a visit to Boyagin Rock with a prior visit to Dryandra (only 40km south; see Dryandra walk). From Dryandra, take the Wandering-Narrogin Rd NW about 16km to Pumphreys Bridge, then follow the York-Williams Rd north for 24km to Boyagin Rd on the right.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    N/A. (Toilets, but officially no camping is permitted.)

  • Escape route/s

    A fire access road runs approx. N-S though the middle of the walk area from the northern Reserve boundary to  Boyagin Rd in south. From the northern Reserve boundary it is about 2km NW across farmland to Jelcobine Rd, then a further 2.5km to Brookton Hwy. Several other tracks/dirt roads are also available, including to the SW and NW  boundaries of the Reserve.

  • Other Info.

    “Birdwatching around Narrogin”, Birdlife Western Australia brochure.  – For a brief birdwatcher’s overview of this region. Over 80 bird species have been recorded in Boyagin Rock Reserve.

    “Boyagin Nature Reserve”, DPAW site – Unfortunately this currently (2017) provides no significant information.

    “Exploring Wheatbelt Woodlands”, Mike Bamford, 1995 (CALM publication; ISBN 0 7309 6495 7). – Provides a good introduction to the flora and fauna of remnant woodlands in the region.

    “Exploring Wheatbelt Woodlands – Teaching Activities for Upper Primary Schools”, Lyn Chadwick et al, 1994 (CALM publication; ISBN 0 7309 6320 9).  – A useful aid for anyone interested in introducing children to the flora and fauna of remnant woodlands in the region and helping them understand and value the remaining woodlands.

    Granite Outcrops,  Merredin Districts Visitors site. – For a summary of more remote, large granite outcrops to explore in the Wheatbelt region.

    Information Display at the picnic site at the base of Boyagin Rock – This provides an excellent summary of the Reserve, including  the strong cultural and spiritual links of the Nyoongar people to the area.

    “Travellers guide to the Parks & Reserves of Western Australia”,  Simon Nevill, 4th Edn. 2011, p.113 (Simon Nevill Publications) –  Includes a brief summary of the Reserve.

    Walks in other ‘islands’ of remnant bushland within the wheatbelt:  See WalkGPS Dryandra Walk and Lupton Walk on this site and also Wongan Hills (Mt Matilda  Walk Trail  on Trails WA site).

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate, 2015. – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tiles #458-2233-II-SE and #459-2233-II-SW for relevant map coverage.

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