Gunapin Ridge Walk overview

This walk lies entirely within a more remote area of Wandoo National Park. The Gunapin Ridge area offers mainly easy walking through picturesque, open wandoo woodlands, similar to the Upper Darkin and Qualen Road Walk areas to the west and SW. The terrain along this walk route is again mainly very gentle, with only a few modest climbs to hill-tops. There are some good views both west (toward Mount Dale) and east (toward York) from a large eastern outcrop.  The main attraction is again the beauty of the woodlands combined with the prolific wildflowers in spring. The walk can be shortened to 15km.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk lies entirely within Wandoo National Park. The Gunapin Ridge area offers mainly easy walking through picturesque, open wandoo woodlands, similar to the Upper Darkin and Qualen Road Walks, about 15km to the west and SW.

    The terrain along this walk route is again mainly very gentle, with only a few modest climbs to hill-tops. There are some good views both west (toward Mount Dale) and east (toward York) from a large eastern outcrop, and also SE-ward from a smaller southern outcrop, toward an isolated strip of private farmland (Gunapin Ridge Pastoral Co.) which penetrates westward from the nearby wheatbelt into the Wandoo National Park. – But the main attraction is again the beauty of the woodlands combined with the prolific wildflowers in spring.

    Be prepared for some possible very short scratchy sections of dryandra scrub (mainly Pingle).

    Although this area is more remote, the drive from the Brookton Highway turn-off along 25km of gravel and rougher dirt roads through forest to reach the start point of the walk is very worthwhile in itself, and not too challenging provided you drive cautiously to avoid occasional pot-holes and kangaroos crossing.

    Shortened walk option (~15km): After the first 7km of the walk (and close to the halfway mark of the shortened route option) you can opt for a short-cut which bypasses the NW part of the walk route. (See Route notes).

  • Route notes

    From the start point (at waypoint ‘START’), head SSW via ‘1’ onto Gunapin Ridge Road and follow the road southward for 1.3km. Then veer to the right to head off-track SW up a hillside, initially picking  your way through a belt of heathland before entering wandoo woodland. Reach a small granite slab at ‘4’ . Turn left to follow the outcrop southward for a short distance to ‘4’ gaining a view to the SE.  Then turn sharp right to head directly upslope through a sheoak thicket to a smaller outcrop at ‘5’. Veer sharp left on the outcrop and descend gently southward across the hillsidecontinue uphill through a sheoak thicket to another small outcrop (at about ‘5’). Then veer southward approximately along-slope close to the edge of the laterite-capped hilltop, picking a way initially through the sheoak thicket and some heathland. After ‘5-1’ cross a gentle ridge and veer right (SSW) to descend the hillside to reach Kennel Road (vehicle track).  Turn right (NW) to follow the road for almost 1 km, initially uphill and across a broad saddle . At ‘7’, where the road starts downhill and the heathland to the left gives way to woodland, turn left to head mostly along slope,  initially westward through woodland to ‘7-1’ and then SW.  At ‘8’ veer right to head westward downslope to ‘9’. Then veer left (SW) to cross the head of the nearby narrrow gully to ‘10’ on  the SW side. Then head WNW downslope and descend through a cluster of large granite boulders at ‘10-1’. Continue deescending WNW to cross Qualen Road at ’10-2’ . Cross the nearby  narrow valley floor and climb via ’10-3’ to reach a local hill-top at ‘11’). Then veer westward, initially gently downhill, through sheoak thickets and across rocky ground to soon reach a granite slab at ‘12’ with views westward to distant Mount Dale (28km WSW).  Then head northward, initially along the outcrop. Veer left (NW) at ‘13’ to cross the sandy floor of a broad, gentle side valley at ‘13-1. ‘York Road Poison’ shrubs (Gastrolobium calycinum) display  their  abundant yellow-orange pea-flowers in this area in springtime. Then cross the gentle hillside via ‘14’, bypassing thickets of Parrot Bush upslope. Continue NNW along the slope (via’14-1’) soon entering a narrow belt of pleasant wandoo woodlands via ’14-2’. (Or see Option below if you prefer to opt at this point for the shorter walk via ’14-2alt’ etc.) Then descend gently through very open jarrah forest and cross the floor of broad sandy saddle area via ‘15’. Then climb gently to reach a ridge at ‘16’. Head north along the ridge, but slightly westward of the crest, to reach a rocky knoll at ‘17’ in wandoo woodland. Continue generally northward (via ’18’) around the head of a small westward-sloping valley, then climb quite steeply for a short distance via ‘19’ through a sheoak thicket to reach a small laterite-capped hill top at ’20’.  This is approximately the halfway point on the walk. Cross this flat heath-covered hill top NE-ward (to ’21’) and descend northward down the escarpment to a small granite slab (at ’22’). Veer NNE from the slab, skirt a patch of shrubland to cross a small gully and continue downhill to cross a larger gully (at ’23’). Veer eastward to climb the opposite slope and up a steeper rocky outcrop to ‘24’. Above the outcrop, the slope flattens.  Head SSE along slope, partly through sheoak thickets.  After ’25’ veer southward and gently downslope to’26’, picking a way along  animal tracks through a thick patch of heath. Then veer left to descend SE-ward to ’27’ to reach the valley floor again (about 1.2km upstream from the earlier stream crossing at ‘23’).  Follow the stream course eastward through the pleasant, very open wandoo woodland of the valley floor. Cross Dog Road (at ’27-1′) and continue along the stream course. Veer left at ’28’ to climb eastward up the hillside and then along  slope just below the laterite-capped ridge crest.  At ’29’, veer left (NE) to climb onto the flat ridge top which gives a limited view to the SW. Then head NE to descend from the small hilltop and cross a shrub-covered side valley and stream course at ‘29-1’. Continue NE to reach the south flank of a narrow gully at ‘30’. Veer eastward along the edge of the gully to cross at ‘31’. Then head ENE up the steepening slope to ’31-1’ and skirt NE around the steepish slope through woodland below the laterite-capped hill-top. At ’32’ head due north to cross the narrow gully and climb steeply up a hillside via ‘33’ and ’33-1’ to meet an old vehicle track on the hilltop at ’33-2′ (elevation 388m). Follow the track NE-ward and soon reach a granite slab on the northern edge of the hill top at ’33-3’, with a view across forest in the direction of the town of York and Mount Bakewell (30km NE). Then retrace your steps back along the vehicle track to ‘33-4’ and veer left to head southward back across the hill top, picking an easy way through heath and a patch of shrubland to reach the upper edge of an outcrop at ‘34’. Veer left to follow the south-SW-sloping outcrop generally SSE via ‘34-1’, ‘34-2’, ‘34-3’, ‘35’ and ‘36’. Follow the exposed areas of granite slab as much as possible and use the waypoints to help pick the easiest way through short patches of shrubland that cover parts of this 700m long outcrop area. There are some good views westward from the outcrop to Mount Dale and SW to the monadnocks area (including Mounts Cooke, Cuthbert, etc). After reeaching the southern end of the outcrop at ‘37’, veer right (SW) to pass through a group of large boulders at ‘38′. Then cross a small gully southward to ‘38-1’. Continue SSW via ‘38-2’, skirting initial patches of Parrot Bush on the broad ridge top and then pass through wandoo woodland. Then pick an easy way through a short patch of heathland on the west flank of the ridge and cross a small granite outcrop at ’38-3’. Continue SSW along the west flank to ‘39’, then veer left (SSE) downhill and enter a sheoak thicket on the west flank of a small gully. At ‘39-1’ veer SSW again to soon cross the stream course at ‘39-2’. Veer left (SSE) at ‘40’ and head SSE downhill to ‘41’, avoiding denser shrubland on the left (east). Then head ESE across the southward-sloping hillside and meeet an old vehicle track at ’41-1’. Follow the track downslope and reach Qualen Road at ‘42’ near the intersection with Gunapin Ridge Road and close to the start point.

    Option for shortened walk (~15km):  The NW part of the walk route between waypoints ‘14-1’ and ‘29’ can be bypassed by a short-cut . On reaching ‘14-1’ on the described route veer right to head northward, initially upslope to ‘14-2alt’, then to a broad flat area at ‘15-alt’ in wandoo woodland. Then turn right (ENE) to climb the hillside and reach the crest of a small, north-sloping ridge at  ‘16-alt’.  Veer right (ESE) along slope to cross a small gully at ‘17-alt’ and then veer left (NE) to cross a second small gully between ‘18-alt’ and ‘19-alt’. Head ENE down the hillside. Cross Dog Road and then a stream course in the main valley at ‘20-alt’. Continue ENE up the eastern flank of the valley to rejoin the described route on the laterite-capped hill top at ‘29’. This short-cut reduces the total walk distance by about 3.5km.

  • Access / Directions

    Via Yarra Road: 80km ESE of Perth. Follow Brookton Highway from Albany Highway for 47km, then turn left into Yarra Road (first road on left after Christmas Tree well on left).  After 12.4km up Yarra Road (usually fair to good condition gravel road, but may be corrugated at times; and watch for pot-holes)  turn right (eastward) to follow Qualen Road (dirt road; usually fair condition but again watch for pot-holes and occasionally rutted surface). Bear left at the fork after about 1km and reach the intersection with Darkin Road (dirt road) after 6km  (with the NW corner of a strip of private farmland on the right, owned by Gunapin Ridge Pastoral Company).  Continue a further 7km along Qualen Road to reach the intersection with Gunapin Ridge Road. Cross the intersection and park near the corner, a short distance along the eastward continuation of Qualen road (which here becomes a more minor dirt road).

    Via Talbot West Road: 95km ESE of Perth. Follow Great Eastern Highway for 30km from Midland to The Lakes, then Great Southern Highway for 13km to Yarra Road turnoff on the right. Follow Yarra Road for about 2km and turn left onto Talbot West Road. Follow  Talbot West Road for 22km then turn right onto Luelf Road and follow for 3km. Veer right onto Gunapin Ridge Road and follow for about 4.5km to the intersection with Qualen Road.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    N/A.

  • Escape route/s

    In south, use Qualen Road, Gunapin Ridge and/or Kennel Roads; In north, get to nearest N-S road (Kent, Dog or Gunapin Ridge Road), then south to Qualen Road.

  • Other Info.

    “Wandoo National Park”, DPaW site. – Includes a downloadable, very brief Park Guide. by DEC (undated pdf).

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate,  2015.  – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tile #465-2233-IV-NW for relevant map coverage.

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