Manns Gully – Chinamans Gully Walk overview

This walk crosses a few, mostly gentle, forested hills, and visits several picturesque gullies requiring  a few step-across creek crossings and only short steepish uphill sections. The scenery includes one or two very small waterfalls (after good winter rainfall!), picturesque stands of wandoo, a few granite outcrops and large ‘sculpted’ boulders, and some good views across Chinaman Gully and toward Lake C.Y. O’Connor (Helena Reservoir).


  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk takes in varied but mostly gentle terrain. It includes a few step-across creek crossings and only short medium to steepish slopes into and out of Chinaman Gully. The forest is mostly fairly open with only occasional scratchy bits. The scenery includes one or two very small waterfalls (after good winter rainfall!), picturesque stands of wandoo, a few granite outcrops and large boulders, and some good views across Chinaman Gully and toward Lake C.Y. O’Connor (Helena Reservoir).
    The Chinaman Gully area (and about 25% of this walk route) lies within the northern limit of the Helena National Park. The reaminder is in State Forest. None of the walk route falls within the limited access Reservoir Protection Zone around Lake C.Y. O’Connor.
    For overnighters: For those keen to camp overnight in the area: The Helena Campsite (which includes a 3-sided shelter; at waypoint ‘BIBHUT’) on the Bibbulmun Track can be reached by heading south from waypoint ‘28’ in Chinaman Gully to meet Chinaman Gully ‘Road’/track at ‘RD-ALT1’ and follow it south to join the Bibbulmun Track after 1km (at ‘BIB-TRK’). Then follow the Bibbulmun Track for ~1.4km (south and then ~NW) to the campsite at ‘BIBHUT’ (see map). Various, mainly on-track route options can be found to rejoin the walk route the next day (e.g. via Bibbulmun Track and then either Watson Rd (from ‘RD-ALT4’ to ‘38’) or Rushy Rd (‘RD-ALT5’ to ‘44’), this last option passing near to the impressive waterfall at ‘FALLS’. See Nearest campsite/s below for additional info.

  • Route notes

    From the Start point (waypoint ‘START’) on Cole Rd follow the forestry vehicle track past the vehicle barrier and initially southward down a gully to waypoint ‘1’, then follow the left road branch across a stream and uphill to meet Firewood Road at ‘2’. Head SE off-track (partly on traces of an old, overgrown forestry track) gently uphill through marri-jarrah forest (via ‘3’). Reach an old N-S forestry track (at ‘4’) after less than 1 km.  Turn right to follow the track southward for about 600m to reach North Rushy Rd (at ‘5’). Veer left to follow the road SE for 500m to where it bends E-ward (at ‘6’). Leave the road to continue SE through heath and forest to soon reach a small outcrop and a small stream (at ‘7’) which is a tributary that feeds into the main Manns Gully downstream. Follow the stream course via ‘8’ upstream over and around some nice granite outcrops and boulders, with abundant Sea Urchin Hakea (Hakea petiolaris) flowering in winter. At ‘8-1’ head uphill to follow a prominent granite outcrop southward and deviate via ‘8-2’ and ‘8-3’ to visit two large granite boulders before crossing Rushy Road (at ‘9’) and continuing southward along slope through open forest. Pass through more cluster of large boulders (via ‘10’ and ‘10-1’) before reaching an old forestry vehicle track (Considine Rd; at ’11’). Cross the road and head SW across a hillside (via ‘11A’) before descending to a gully. Pick a route through tall heath to cross the stream at about ’12’ and then veer left to head SE along the valley slope, passing through some local stands of wandoo. You can deviate a little to the stream bank near a large wandoo tree at ’13’ which is a nice spot for rest stop.  Cross Watson Road at ’14’ and follow the bank of the small stream gently upstream (via ’15’, ‘15-1’, ‘15-2’). After ’15-2′ cross the gully to continue SE, uphill to meet Considine Rd again (at ’16’). Follow the forestry track SE to its T-junction with Scott Road (at ’17’). Continue straight ahead, E-ward off-track and in less than 150m meet an old forestry track at ’18’ (North Gorge Rd), which follows the northern rim of Chinaman Gully). Follow the track NE-ward quite steeply uphill. Reach the crest of the ridge after about 500m (at ’19’), then head ESE downhill to cross (via ’20’) an outcrop in a small gully and descend to a partly shrub-covered outcrop (at ’21’) which extends along slope for about 250m and provides an excellent view SE-ward down Chinaman Gully and across the Helena River valley (now partly containing Lake CY O’Connor/Helena Reservoir). Stay on the upper slopes of the outcrop area and pick an easy route via ’21-1’ toward ’22’ across the outcrop and around the denser shrubby patches. After leaving the outcrop, re-enter the forest and cross a deep side-gully at ‘22’ before climbing steeply to a ridge (at ’23’). The ridge here is dominated by picturesque open wandoo woodland and abundant zamia palms.  Head S-ward via ’24’ & ’25’ down the ridge which narrows at one point and drops quite abruptly across an interesting rocky laterite escarpment which offers the opportunity for an easy rock scramble descent (or alternatively it can be bypassed via the adjacent less rocky slope to the right of the ridge crest).  At ‘26’ veer right (WSW) toward ‘26-1’ to reach the main stream course of Chinaman Gully. Cross the stream to a large granite outcrop at ‘27’. After winter rain a small waterfall is usually flowing. Then veer W-ward to cross a low, heath-covered ridge to meet another stream course at ‘28’ where there is often another very small waterfall flowing. Turn right to follow this tributary stream course upstream. Veer WSW-ward at ‘29’ to soon cross the stream bed to the northern side of the gully, passing through some very open wandoo woodland on the lower slopes and then some low heath and scrub on rockier slopes (at ’30’).  After ’31’, veer SW to reach a rocky ledge at ’32’ where a small waterfall occasionally flows after good rainfall. Continue SW up the partly heath-covered outcrop to a nice rest spot on a large granite slab at ’33’ with good views eastward down the valley to the opposite rim of Chinaman Gully, which you descended not long before. Then head initially WNW-ward along-slope to pass through a large boulder cluster (after ’34’). Then veer NW to cross a gully and climb to a broad flat ridge at ‘34-1’. Continue NW-ward through the open jarrah-marri forest (and abundant wattles in late winter) on the ridge for about 1.25km via ’35’, ‘36’, ‘37’ (crossing Scott Rd at ’36’) and meet Watson Rd at ‘37-1’ near a Y-junction with Burnt Bridge Rd (at ’38’).  Follow Burnt Bridge Rd for about 600m NW. At ’39’ veer north off-track to pass through a nice patch of wandoo woodland and then descend a granite slab (at ’40’). Cross the small stream at the foot of the outcrop and follow the opposite slope N-ward along the gully (via ’41’) for about 500m. At ’42’ in wandoo woodland, veer W-ward to re-cross the stream course and soon rejoin Burnt Bridge Rd (at ’43’). Follow the road for about 500m WNW to the junction with Rushy Rd at ’44’. Turn right onto Rushy Rd and, immediately after crossing a stream course (within 70m; this same stream was also crossed earlier on the route upstream at ‘12’), veer left of-track and walk NNW along slope to ‘46’, then veer NE to descend to the bank of the Manns Gully stream. Cross the shallow (if not dry!) stream to the western side at the granite outcrop and small rapids at ’47’. A rock pool lies immediately upstream.  Then head NW to meet a forestry track at ’48’. Follow the track northward, mostly very gently uphill. After 1.3km at a Y-junction at ‘49’, follow the right-hand fork northward to a T-junction at ‘50’. Cross the track and continue NNW off-track to meet Firewood Road at ‘51’. Turn right to follow the road across Manns Gully, then veer left (NNE) off-track and mostly along-slope through a very open eucalypt tree plantation to reach a vehicle track at ’53’. Turn left to follow the track back across the stream which was also crossed on the outbound part of the walk. Then return N-ward up the road to ‘54’ back at the Start point.

    Reduced off-track walking option:  If preferred the off-track walking can be reduced by ~2km by diverting from waypoint ‘28’ to Chinaman Gully Road (at ‘RD-ALT1’) and then following the road via ‘RD-ALT2’ and ‘RD-ALT3’ before rejoining the route off-track between ‘37’ and ‘38’. Also by following Considine Road from ‘11’ to ‘16’ and Burnt Bridge Road from ‘39’ to ‘43’ to bypass off-track sections you would would reduce  the off-track walking by a further ~2km. If these options are all taken off-track walking will be reduced to about 35% of the total walk.

  • Access / Directions

    To reach car parking spot at Start point, drive approx 1.7km down Cole Road (gravel; unsigned) which veers off Great Eastern Highway to the right just before the Highway curves left uphill out of Sawyers Valley township. After 1km down Cole Rd, cross the intersection with the ‘Powerline Track’, and after a total of  1.7km locate the turn-off on the right to follow Cole Road. (Take care not to continue straight ahead onto Poison Lease Road). Drive approx. 750m down the narrow vehicle track to parking bay (the Start Point) on the left near a private homestead and 150m before a DPAW barrier gate blocks the road.  Space for about 3 cars.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    Helena Campsite on Bibbulmun Track – At waypoint ‘BIBHUT’.  Also see notes “For overnighters” under Main Features/Highlights.

    NOTE: Bibbulmun Track sleeping shelter restrictions –  Check Overnighting on WalkGPS for info. on access to the Track shelters, especially if planning an overnight or multi-day walk for a group of 8 or more walkers.

  • Escape route/s

    Various vehicle tracks (see Walk Map) suitable for escape to north, west or south. Allen Road (in south) connects to Mundaring Weir Road to west.

  • Other Info.

    “Helena National Park”, DPaW site. – Includes a downloadable, very brief Park Guide.

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate,  2015. – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tiles #320-2134-III-SW and #324-2134-II-SW for relevant map coverage.


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