Gibbs Rocks Walk overview

This walk is located east of Mount Cooke, in mixed jarrah-marri forest and wandoo woodlands in an area of granite outcrops around the main feeder stream of the Canning River. The walk includes a traverse of the main Gibbs monadnock and visits to smaller rocks to the north including the intriguing ‘Mushroom Rock’. There are good views to Mount Cooke and other high points. The terrain is varied but slopes are mainly gentle. Sections of the walk may be more challenging than originally described due to regrowth following a major wildfire in 2003.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk includes a traverse of the main Gibbs monadnock and visits to smaller nearby rocks in an area flanking the main feeder stream of the Canning River, about 11km east of Mount Cooke. Half the walk route, including Gibbs Rock, lies within the proposed Monadnocks National Park. Between the granite outcrops the walk passes through mixed jarrah-marri forest and wandoo woodlands. The terrain is varied but slopes are mainly gentle.  There are some good unrestricted views from the outcrops to Mount Cooke (11-12km west), Geddes Rock (7km NW), Boonerring Hill (14km SW) and Mount Randall (20km NW). Expect a few short sections of scratchy heath around the outcrops and stream crossings.

    A major wildfire in January 2003  temporarily destroyed much of the forest canopy in the walk area. This resulted in the vigorous growth of new, denser shrublands along parts of this mostly off-track walk route. Although these may be reduced by more recent DPaW prescribed burns, sections of the walk may still be more challenging than originally described.

  • Route notes

    From the start point ( at waypoint ‘START’) head initially approx. SW via ‘1’ through marri-jarrah forest on pebbly lateritic surface. Reach a granite outcrop at waypoint ‘1-1’ and follow the outcrop for about 300m, (passing one or two rock pools in winter), then re-enter open forest and cross the crest of a ridge to ‘2’. Veer right to descend westward to cross a small heath-covered outcrop at ‘2-1’. Veer WSW and after a further 250-300m cross a stream course (the upper Canning River) at ‘2-2’ with fringing wandoo woodland. Continue WSW up a very gentle gradient to reach North Road (vehicle track) at ‘2-3’. Turn right to follow North Road to meet nearby Pike Road at ‘2-4’. Then head westward through marri-jarrah forest, climbing to a ridge before descending to a granite outcrop at ‘3’. Veer right (NNW) , upslope, partly through a stand of casuarinas (sheoaks) and back onto the outcrop at ‘3-1’. (Prior to the 2013 wildfire, the outcrop here was partly covered in a rich carpet of lichens, sundews and Borya grass which will probably take years to return to their former glory.)  Follow the outcrop roughly along slope to the WNW, picking your own preferred route, using points ‘3-2’, ‘3-3’, ‘3-4’ and ‘3-5’ only as a rough guide to finding the easiest way through and around patches of heath and shrubland, and across small gullies. After crossing a small gully at ‘3-5’ emerge from shrubland to climb onto another SW-sloping outcrop. The top of the outcrop at ‘4’ is a good rest point with views to Boonerring Hill 14km SSW. Descend the outcrop and re-enter the (regenerating) forest, using points ‘4-1’ and ‘4-2’ as a rough guide, but again picking your own easiest route through possible denser patches of Prickly Moses (Acacia pulchella) in the understorey. After ‘4-2’ cross two closely spaced small gullies in forest before climbing westward up another outcrop to ‘5’. Turn right to head northward to NNW along this eastward-sloping outcrop until reaching its northern (and uphill) limit at ‘6’ from where there is a good southward view.  Veer right to head NNE up the forested slope. Cross the narrow laterite-capped and forest-coverd Geddes Rock summit ridge via ‘6-1’ and descend onto an outcrop at ‘6-2’ on the northern side with good views of Mount Cooke (11km WNW), Mount Randall (20km NW) and Geddes Rock (7km NW). Continue northward along a rocky slope through shrubland and heath via ‘6-3’ to reach a large sloping outcrop forming the north flank of Geddes Rock. Veer initially eastward along the north-sloping outcrop, then descend the steepish rock slope NE-ward. Cross a small stream course at ‘8’ at the foot of the outcrop and veer northward through forest onto another area of rock outcrop. Turn right at ‘9’ to head  upslope  via ‘10’ from where there is a view 11.5km WNW to Mount Cooke. This is nearly at the halfway point on the walk and is a good spot for a break. Continue eastward upslope through heathland to cross a gentle ridge and flat outcrop, before descending a little to ‘11’. Then veer left (eastward) and descend through a short section of heath and shrubland to soon reach a NE-sloping outcrop. Cross a small stream course at the foot of the outcrop at ‘11-1’ and veer NE-ward to re-enter forest (partly wandoo) and reach ‘12’. Then veer left (due north), and soon re-cross the stream. Continue very gently downhill and re-cross the upper Canning River (stream course) at ‘12-2’. (Note:  The stream may have been flowing upstream at ‘2-2’ yet you may find it is strangely dry here;  The sandy valley floor here absorbs any surface water until the water table rises and causes the stream flow to resume.)  Continue due north to initially cross a gentle ridge and then an old vehicle track at ‘12-3’ between two small gullies. Cross another small ridge at ‘12-4’ and reach the lower slope of a granite outcrop. Turn right at ‘13’ to head eastward upslope on the outcrop. Cross a patch of heathland to ‘14’, then  veer SE/ESE along the outcrop to ‘15’ near its SE edge.  (Or alternatively at ‘13’, see  Option below for a short diversion to a cluster of granite boulders near the hill top.) Then veer SSE to re-enter forest. Re-cross the old vehicle track at ‘15-1’  and climb to another, small outcrop at ‘16’. Continue southward to ‘17’ across a broad rocky ridge through heath and shrubland. Veer right (WSW) and descend a little to reach an area of very large boulders;  One (informally ‘Mushroom Rock’) is distinctively shaped like a mushroom, hollowed out by erosion to form a spacious cavern, and with rusty metal artifacts scattered around plus wooden struts showing it was once used as a makeshift shelter, perhaps initially by an early sawyer or other worker during the early logging days, perhaps as far back as the late 1800’s. (An extension of the old Millars Log Road passes just 700m to the north of this location.) Please don’t souvenir or disturb the artifacts which should be left for others to muse over. Head initially SSE from ‘18’ then  follow a series of outcrops eastward around the hillside, passing through a few patches of scratchy shrubland, via ‘19’, ‘19-1’, ‘20’ and ‘21’. Descend from the outcrop area after ‘21’ and veer SSE at ‘22’ to re-enter the forest. Cross a gully at ‘22-1’. Then continue SSE and initially very gently upslope, passing through a patch of wandoo woodland flanking the stream. Continue SSE along slope through open jarrah-dominated  forest to reach a narrow spur ridge at ‘23’, where there is a patch of wandoo. Then veer eastward  for a short distance (to ‘24’) and then approx. SE via ‘24-1’ ‘24-2’ and ‘24-3’ across often rocky lateritic ground and past some large granite boulders to rejoin Pike Road at ‘25’.  Then follow Pike Road for 700m to return to the start point.

    Optional diversion to granite boulders (from ‘13’):  For a worthwhile small diversion; Head ENE from ‘13’ up the hillside for almost 500m to ‘Alt-14’ where there is an interesting area of large scattered granite boulders on the ridge. Then veer sharp right (SSE) and downhill to rejoin the route at ‘15’.)

  • Access / Directions

    62km SE of Armadale, along Albany Hwy, turn left onto Wearne Road (poorly signed on left, 3 km before North Bannister); follow Wearne Road for 9km;  then take Metro  Road turn on left and follow for about 11km to reach Pike Road. Park about 1.5km along Pike Road after the Metro Road turnoff, near DPAW  ‘No Entry’ signs at edge of Dieback Disease Risk area. Total of 21.5km on dirt/gravel roads (Wearne Road, Metro Road and Pike Road).

    Alternative access is via Brookton Highway to Metro Road on right, then about 30km down Metro Road (dirt road) to Pike Road.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    N/A.

  • Escape route/s

    West to Watershed Road and then Pike Road to Albany Highway (less than 11km from centre of walk area).

  • Other Info.

    Bauxite mining – WalkGPS page.

    “Future impact of bauxite mining” under ‘Alerts / Issues’ on this page.

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate,  2015.  – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tile #307-2133-II-SE for relevant map coverage.

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