Qualen Road Walk overview

This walk is mostly through picturesque, open wandoo woodlands, with some shorter sections of open jarrah forest partly within Wandoo National Park. The area lies between Christmas Tree Well Walk area to the south and the Upper Darkin Walk area to the north. There are some views east toward wheatbelt farmland. The beauty of the woodlands combined with the wildflowers in late winter to spring more than compensate for the limited variety in  the terrain.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk is mostly through picturesque, open wandoo woodlands, with some shorter sections of open jarrah forest. The area is 12-16km east of Mount Dale and lies just south of the Upper Darkin Walk area and north of the Christmas Tree Well Walk area. The NE half of the walk (NE of Sullivan Rd and between Korner Rd in the SE and Yarra Rd in the NW) lies within Wandoo National Park.

    The terrain here is mainly very gentle and allows for very easy walking, with only a few modest slopes across an eastern outcrop area and around the low, laterite-topped and forested  hills.

    There are some views from the eastern outcrop, across forest, toward wheatbelt farmland. -But the main attraction is the beauty of the woodlands combined with the prolific wildflowers in late winter to spring which more than compensates for the limited variety in  the terrain.

    This area is/was also of some significance for native fauna conservation: More than 20 numbats were released by the then CALM into woodlands in the Qualen and Nockine areas in late 1997 under a 10-year Numbat Recovery Plan (as part of the  Western Shield project). The released animals were to be radio-tracked but success to date in these release areas is unknown.

    Optional slightly longer walk: The route notes include an option for a fuller traverse of the granite outcrops in the NE. This worthwhile small diversion increases the total walk distance by only about 0.3km.

  • Route notes

    From the start point (at waypoint ‘START’), walk west to the nearby corner of Yarra and Qualen Roads at ‘1’, then south down Yarra Road for about 750m (to ‘2’). Then veer left to follow an old vehicle track uphill SE through open wandoo woodland for about 250m (to ‘2-1’). Continue due south along the hillside, initially through open woodland and soon through Parrot Bush shrubland (to ‘2-2’). Then veer SE again and enter open mixed forest (wandoo-jarrah-marri). Cross a stream course at ‘3’ and continue approx. SE to ‘3-1’ located on a broad flat ridge in very sparse, open jarrah forest and low heath (on a ‘pea gravel’ surface). Cross a vehicle track at ‘3-2’ and  descend gently to ‘3-3’ into the head of a small side valley. Veer left to head ESE down the side valley and re-enter wandoo woodland. Reach a broader, gentle N-S valley and cross a stream course to ‘4’.  Veer right (SE) and meet a minor vehicle track / trail bike track at ‘4-1’. Follow the track SE across a very gentle low ridge through jarrah forest. Veer left (eastward) at ‘5’ to leave the track and meet another track at ‘5-1’. Leave the track to descend  eastward into  a very gentle valley, again mainly  through wandoo woodland. Cross a stream course at ‘5-2’ and climb the eastern flank of the valley to ‘5-3’,  re-entering jarrah forest. Cross Korner Road at ‘5-4’ and  continue ENE to near a broad flat hill top at ‘6’. Veer left (NE) to follow a very broad gentle ridge top upslope. Cross Sullivan Road at ‘6-1’  then veer left (NNE). Soon re-enter  wandoo woodland along the edge of the laterite-capped hill top which drops away to the east. Continue NNE to descend the hillside. Cross a stream course at ‘7’, then veer NNW to cross a small low granite outcrop and walk gently uphill, initially through some sheoak shrubland and then back into wandoo woodland before re-crossing Korner Road at ‘7-1’.  Continue WNW up a broad ridge (to ‘7-2’) in attractive woodland, including some large wandoo. Then veer northward along slope and soon descend to cross a gully to ‘7-3’. Then veer right to head initially NE-ward up a rocky slope, picking an easy route through a patch of tall heath and gaining a pleasant local view SSE across the small side valley.  Soon reach a rocky ridge at ‘7-4’ and veer left (north), initially gently upslope before descending to a NE-sloping granite outcrop at ‘8’ with views eastward across the forest to wheatbelt farmland (which lies east of the Darkin River). Head NW and gently downslope from the outcrop into shrubland (to ‘9’). Then veer approx. westward downslope through wandoo woodland for about 150m to cross a small gully at ’10’).  Then head northward to soon cross another small gully at ’10-1’. (Or see Option below for longer traverse of granite outcrop.) Continue northward up the sloping granite outcrop to ‘10-2’. Veer right (NNE) to pass through a sheoak thicket. Reach an open area at ’10-3′ and veer right (NE) to descend the open, partly rocky slope, with views again to the east. Continue NE down a forested hillside to reach a granite outcrop at 11′ which provides local views across the small side valley. Then turn sharp left to head NNW for only about 100m to cross the nearby rocky ridge and reach the edge of wandoo woodland at about ’12’. Then veer westward, to head steadily upslope for 600m across partly rocky ground and through low she-oak thickets.  Reach open wandoo woodland again at the top of the ridge and (at ’12-1′) veer approx. NW (partly through a short section of scratchy heath) to reach a small rocky knoll at ’12-2′ from where there is a sweeping view NE. Then veer left upslope for less than 100m through  heathland to get back to open woodland close to the summit area on the ridge (elevation 376m).  Then head WNW to follow the ridge very gently downhill via ‘13-1’ and  ‘13-2’ through open woodland, initially keeping slightly to the right (north) side of the ridge crest, clear of the fairly dense Parrot Bush thicket along the crest. Cross Qualen Road at ’13-3′.  Continue WNW, descending gently to ‘14’,  initially through mixed forest, then back into open wandoo woodland on a broad, flat valley floor . Veer right (NW) to head down the valley (via ’14-1′) and at ’14-2′ veer left (westward)  to climb gently uphill avoiding the Parrot Bush thicket upslope on the left.  At ’15’ veer left to head SW, initially upslope into woodland (via ’15-1′), then along slope on the NW-sloping hillside. Veer left (SSE) at ‘16’ to continue along the steeper slope. Cross a gully at ’16-1’ and  reach a rocky ridge at ’16-2′, and pass by, or cross through, a group of large granite boulders. Descend a little along the SW flank to ‘17’, then turn sharp right (SW) to cross the head of another gully and then a narrow, Parrot Bush-covered ridge at ’17-1’.  Continue SW downhill through shrubland and heath to soon reach Yarra Road (at ’18’). Turn left to follow the road southward.  At ’18-1′ veer left (more southward) off the road to cross a small valley and return to the start point on Qualen Road.

    Option for slightly longer walk (~17km):  For a fuller traverse of the granite outcrops in the NE, instead of crossing the small gully at ‘10’ to reach the outcrops, continue westward to ’10-1alt’ to cross the stream course further up the gully. Climb the outcrop WNW to ’10-2alt’. Then veer right (ENE) to follow the top of the outcrops mostly along slope to rejoin the described route at ’10-2′. This worthwhile small diversion increases the total walk distance by only about 0.3km.

  • Access / Directions

    76km 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), then drive 12.4 km down Yarra Road (usually good condition gravel road, but may be corrugated at times; and watch for pot-holes).  Then turn right into Qualen Road (dirt road) and park on the roadside about 100m from the corner with Yarra Rd.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    N/A.

  • Escape route/s

    In west and north, to Yarra Rd or Qualen Rd. In SE, via Korner Rd and then Sullivan Rd NW to Qualen Rd, OR via Korner Rd south for 4km to Willies Rd, then about 4.5km west to Yarra Rd.

  • Other Info.

    Bauxite mining – WalkGPS page.

    “Wandoo 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 #309-2133-I-NE  and #311-2133-I-SE for relevant map coverage.

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