Cross Albany Hwy from the start point (at waypoint ‘START’) to the entry to an old vehicle track at’1’. Follow the track SW to ‘2’ dirt vehicle track to point ‘2’. Veer left (southward) across an excavated area (sand/gravel pit) and enter the jarrah forest at ‘2-1’. Veer left to head SSE up the steepening hillside. Cross an old forestry track at ‘2-2’ and a narrow gully soon after. Then begin climbing more steeply to reach ‘3’. Veer right (SSW) to head directly upslope gaining a view northward to Mount Cooke). Reach the edge of a rocky ridge at ‘4’. Veer right (due west) and pick an easy way across the ridge through partly scratchy scrub via ‘4-1’ and descend the steepish western slope to reach a steeply sloping outcrop at ‘5’. Carefully descend the outcrop (avoiding dark, wet slippery patches) to ‘6’, then veer right (about WSW) to cross a small gully, partly screened by scrub. Climb gently SW through forest via ‘6-1’ to ‘6-2’ near the crest of a ridge, then veer more southward to cross a saddle along the ridge and climb a gentle slope along the ridge to ‘7’. Descend SE, partly through heath, to ‘7’ on a long outcrop with local views across a small valley. Continue SSE along the outcrop to ‘7-2’, then gently uphill and along the ridge to an east-sloping outcrop at ‘8’. Veer right (SW) to cross the crest of the ridge through heath and shrubland, and descend to a south sloping outcrop with a view to distant Boonerring Hill to the SSE. Turn right (about NW), along slope through heath/shrubland to ‘10’ on the upper slopes of a west-sloping outcrop, with views west to Mount Solus. Walk westward down the outcrop (via ‘10-1’, ‘10-2’, ‘10-3’, ‘10-4’ and ‘11’) following (and crossing) a stream course down the lower slope, partly through shrubland. As a worthwhile, short and pleasant diversion, cross the stream at ’12’, onto a rock outcrop at ‘12-1’ near a small waterfall. Re-cross the stream back to ‘12’ and walk southward up the forested hillside via ‘12-2’ and ‘12-3’ to reach the upper slopes of a large west-sloping outcrop at about ’13’. Walk down the outcrop as far as ‘14’ gaining an excellent view west to Mount Solus. Then walk SE along the granite slope via ‘14-1’, then at ‘15’ veer southward to descend carefully down the steep southern edge of the outcrop to ’15-1′. Cross a stream course and short band of scrub before continuing SW to ’16’ on the large outcrop. Then turn right to head WNW, cross a minor stream course and re-enter forest at ‘16-1’ after about 200m. Cross a gentle, broad ridge and an old forestry vehicle track on the western flank at ‘16-2’. Continue WNW onto the open valley floor and reach a stream (via ’17’). Follow the stream course NW-NNW via ‘17-1’, ‘17-2’ and ‘17-3’, crossing and re-crossing the stream about 4- 5 times and using animal trails to pass through possible patches of tall scrub. (Note: These sections of shrubland will be more open, though less interesting to pass through if there has been a recent prescribed burn by DPAW in the area.) Reach a deeper pool at a right hand bend in the stream (near ’18’). If you prefer to follow the full 19km route, then turn due west from ’18’, initially through forest (with some wandoo) on pebbly lateritic ground and across a section of low-lying heathland, to reach a dirt road (Patens Road) at ’18-1’. (Or see Option 1 below if you prefer at this point to follow a shortened (12km) route. take a short-cut to waypt ’19A’ via ’18 and ’19’.) Follow Patens Road (a vehicle track) westward for about 700m to reach at ’19’ on the left hand side of the road an old timber loading platform (from the days when this section of the ‘road’ was originally part of the old railway system that connected through to Jarrahdale in the late 1880s-early 1900’s during the peak logging days. Sadly most of the remaining historic timber structure of the loading platform has been destroyed by burns in recent years.) Turn right (NE) at ‘19’ to leave the road and find a suitable point to re-cross the nearby stream (previously crossed at the bridge). Then head a short distance upslope through forest to reach a small outcrop (at ’19-1′). Cross the outcrop and pick a NE-ward route upslope through fairly thick low shrubs (check for ticks!), cross another small outcrop and re-enter forest. Reach a cluster of large boulders at ’20’. Veer left and head northward via ‘20-1’ across gently undulating terrain, through fairly open forest, and arrive at the southern edge of a larger outcrop at ‘20-2’. Pass through the fringing heathland onto the outcrop and walk north along the outcrop to ’20-3’. Then veer right to pass through a belt of heathland to reach the upper slope of the outcrop at ‘21’. Head NW along the outcrop and back into forest at ’22-1’. Continue along slope through a short section of forest to reach the start of a large west-sloping outcrop at ’23’. Walk down and along the outcrop via ’24’. At ‘25’ veer right (northward) and descend through mainly heath and scrub to cross a small stream course at ‘25-1’ on the southern edge of another sloping outcrop. Continue northward across the outcrop then turn right at ‘26’ to climb quite steeply eastward up the outcrop. Look back to take in the good views over the forest to Mount Solus, 6km WSW. Then veer northward again at ‘27’ on a continuation of the outcrop, mostly bypassing patches of low scrub and heath. Re-enter forest and after ‘28’ veer right (NE) around the hillside. Cross an old vehicle track at ’28-1’ and then a stream course, to reach a long, low outcrop. Walk SE along the outcrop via ’29’ to ’30’ (passing small rock pools and water courses in winter). At ‘30’ veer southward initially through heath, and gently uphill, to re-enter forest near ’31’. Veer SE through forest (which may include patches of possibly dense parrot bush if there hasn’t been a prescribed burn for some time). Ascend a slight slope to cross the crest of a broad ridge then descend via ‘31-1’ onto an eastward-sloping outcrop. There are excellent views to Mount Cooke, 4.5km NE, and across the valley to the main Windsor Rocks monadnock, 2km east of this walk route. Continue SE down the outcrop via ’31-2’ and re-enter the forest to descend to an old vehicle track (which was also once part of the old Bibbulmun Track and originally part of the original logging railway system). Follow the old track SSE down the valley to ’33’ then turn sharp left to cross the stream. Continue eastward across another small gully at ‘34’, then up a steepening hillside slope. At ‘34-1’ the slope flattens along the southern edge of the small spur ridge. Veer right (ESE) at ‘35’ to descend to an outcrop and cross a small stream course on a granite slab (at ’35-1′). Then continue uphill through forest. Cross another small gully at ‘35-2’ and continue upslope to reach ’36’ on a NW-sloping outcrop. If you have the remaining stamina to do the full walk, veer NE from ’36’ using animal tracks to cross a short scrubby section via ’36-1’ to reach a small gully at ’36-2′. (Or see Option 2 below for the optional shortened 12km walk.) Then climb fairly steeply northward up a partly grass- and shrub-covered outcrop (via ’37’, ’37-1’, ’37-2’, ‘38’, ‘39’ and ’39-1’) to reach the upper rock slope at ’40’, with superb panoramic view across the forest to Mount Solus. Continue NNE along the outcrop. Veer northward along slope at ‘41’ to pass through a short section of forest on a ridge. At ‘41-1’, descend northward through a short section of heath to descend across another outcrop to ‘41-2’. Then veer eastward to ‘42’ and then ESE to follow the outcrop upslope to the east to ’42-1′. Then walk SE along a fairly steep slope via ’42-2’ and ‘43’. Descend through another section of scratchy heath and down a steepish outcrop via ‘44’. Re-enter open forest at ‘45’ and re-cross the excavated area from ‘45-2’ to ‘2’. Then re-trace your outbound steps via ‘2’ to return to the start point.
Option 1, for shorter, 12km walk (after ‘18’): From ‘18’ instead of heading west to ‘18-1’, cross the stream and head northward to meet the ‘Old Bibbulmun Track’ (an old logging railway formation) at ‘OB-1’. Turn right to follow the old track northward around the hillside to rejoin the described route at ‘33’. Then head east to ‘34’ etc as per the notes above.
Option 2, for easier end to the walk (after ‘36’) : If at ‘36’ you are tiring and prefer an easier end to the walk rather than tackling the steep climb up the large outcrop to the north (via ’36-1’…’37’ etc), continue SE-ward upslope to the top of the outcrop. Then veer eastward, upslope through forest to the ridge line traversed on the outbound route between ‘7’ and ‘6-2’. Then walk back along the ridge to ‘6-2’, then head about NE direct to ‘2’, crossing the main NW-SE ridge and descending the steeper eastern flank to get back to the Start point, bypassing points ‘6-1′, ‘6’, ‘5’ etc. This ‘short-cut’ reduces the total walk distance by only about 0.7km, but requires quite a lot less energy.
Optional overnighter (20km): 5km of this route from waypoint ‘32’ to the end, can easily be combined with the 10km Mount Cooke Walk for a rewarding two-day walk. In this case start from the same start point as the Mount Cooke Walk as the parking location there offers more privacy for overnight parking than the more exposed Albany Highway start point for the Windsor Rocks South Walk. Do the short 5km northward traverse of Mount Cooke on the first afternoon (as per the Mount Cooke Walk description) before overnighting at the Mount Cooke campsite on the Bibbulmun Track. Next morning follow the route for the Mount Cooke Walk until you reach a point along the track on the western flank (at waypoint ‘F-1’ here) only about 0.5km from the Mount Cooke Walk start point. Turn right onto a side track there to descend to rejoin Cooke Road and then head SW on a vehicle track through the pine plantation to reach Albany Highway. Cross the Highway to reach a forestry track at ‘F-2’. Follow the track up a gully and meet another track at ‘F-3’. Continue SW to cross a ridge. The track then descends initially quite steeply and is joined by the Old Bibbulmun Track on the right at ‘OB-2’. The track then veers southward and descends to the valley floor where you connect into the Windsor Rocks – South Walk route at ‘32’. From there follow the last 5km of the described route via ‘33’, ‘34’ etc. After re-crossing Albany Highway, continue through the Windsor Rocks – South Walk start point and follow vehicle tracks NNE through to the NE edge of the plantation. Then either turn left to follow the vehicle track NW aroud the edge of the plantation to get back to the Mount Cooke Walk start point; Or alternatively, from the NE edge of the plantation, head off-track, up the hillside to meet a track at ‘F-4’. Then turn left to follow the track through the forest around the hillside and back to the start point. The total walk distance on the second day is 15km, including the linkages between the two walk areas. As a further option, the Mount Cooke Walk can be completed as an overnighter as above, but then return to the start point to unload your overnight pack and drive to the Windsor Rocks Walk start point to do the full day walk with a lighter pack. Also see Nearest campsite/s below for additional info.