Avon Valley (both sides) Walk  (Walk #17) 



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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see Photo Galleries)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references


 Walk map  Photo

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View of forest and outcrop near Sapper Rd,

 northern Avon Valley National Park,

May 2004.

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More photos.

        3D map view



  Google Map

Using this map.



 Additional Satellite Imagery

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of the walk area.

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       Route profile



 Walk description  
Location :

87 kms NE of Perth (road distance). 

Length :

15.5 field kms (55% off-track).

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM - HARD  (What does this mean?)

Amount of uphill walking : 580m (cumulative ascent)
GPS-preferred : YES
Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

Great Eastern Hwy and bypass, then north on Roe Hwy, then approx. 48 kms NE along Toodyay Rd to signposted turnoff to Avon Valley National Park on left (Morangup Rd), then about 5 kms  to Park entrance road on left. Park entry fee is $9.00 per car. Follow the gravel road for about 8 kms, passing Quarry Rd ('No Entry') on the right, to reach a fork in the road soon after. Take the left fork which is Governors Drive and is signposted "to Bald Hill".  (The right fork which is Forty One Mile Rd,  is signposted "to River", and ends at the Valley Campsite near the Avon River).  Follow Governors Drive for less than  1.5 kms and turn left into the signed Homestead Campsite and park in the camping area. (Public toilet close by). 

Park opening-closing times are 8.00am-5.00pm. Make sure you finish the walk in time to leave the Park by 5.00pm before the entry gate is closed. Take care driving on the narrow and gravelly Park access roads, and watch for kangaroos and emus crossing.     

For Park Ranger (Avon Valley & Walyunga Nat. Parks), ph. 08 95711371.

Also see Railway crossings Caution below.

Escape route/s :

South of the Avon River:  Via the railway service road (along the north side of  the railway track) either to Forty One Mile Rd (below Valley Campsite) or to Quarry Rd (east of the walk route), then south. 

North of the River (only if river can't be re-crossed):  Via Sapper Rd west to T-junction with Plunkett Rd then north (about 9 kms to Julimar Rd). 

Main features /Highlights:

This walk offers a good sampling of the rugged scenery of the Avon Valley National Park on both sides of the Avon River. The River runs southwestward through  this   4400 ha park,  cutting deeply into the granite of the Darling Range  (as it has also done about 20 kms further SW at Walyunga National Park, where it becomes the Swan River). The Avon Valley is now an important area for native fauna conservation. Animals re-introduced to the Park in recent years by DEC/AWC include the tammar wallaby, the black-flanked rock wallaby, the quenda (southern brown bandicoot), and woylies (bettongs).

Western Australia's most famous bushranger "Moondyne Joe" once roamed the slopes of the Avon Valley (between 1855 and 1861) and the pioneering surveyor-explorer, John Forrest (later a Premier of W.A.) and his surveying team in early 1878 placed cairns on several  observation points  near the hill-tops overlooking the valley. This walk captures some sense of that history by including visits to the historic sites at "Joe's Cage" (where Moondyne Joe once captured wild horses and cattle) and at "Cairn DP" and "Cairn GR" (two of the best preserved of the John Forrest cairn sites, with marked trees nearby) .  

The steep slopes on both sides of the Avon River provide for some reasonably challenging uphill climbs but also some excellent views across and along the main valley from both sides.  The walk also includes two crossings of the River, one at the ford below the Valley Campsite, and the other 1 km upriver from Emu Falls.  -The Falls, which are not on the main walk route, can be visited by an extra 1 km round-trip diversion along the railway service road from near the  crossing point at the ford.

The Park lies at the northern limit of the jarrah forests and includes a transitional mix of wandoo woodland with jarrah and marri trees. The walk route is mainly through reasonably open wandoo-dominated woodlands, with some short sections of thicker shrubland. (You may prefer to wear trousers or gaiters to avoid scratches. And be aware of ticks!)

Alternative walk:  Considering the fairly rugged terrain, the full walk is only for the suitably fit. Also, because the River may be unsafe to cross during much of the peak wildflower season, you may prefer to do the separate Avon Valley (South Side) Walk  which doesn't require the river crossings.  That alternative walk also allows flexibility to change your plans if the River just happens to be unseasonally high when you visit.

Two-day visitAnother good option is to spend a weekend in the Park, arriving Saturday morning and leaving Sunday afternoon. Camp at the Homestead Campsite (for fee of $7.00/night per adult, additional to the park entry fee). Do this walk on Day 1 and then the Avon Valley (South Side) Walk on Day 2.  There is no significant overlap between the two walks, but both start conveniently from the Homestead Campsite.

The Valley Campsite (at waypoint 'VALL') provides an alternative good camping option for this walk.   It is much closer to the River and easily reached via waypoint '33', about 4 kms before the end of the walk route.

Other opportunities:  Much of the western area of the Park, west of Joe's Cage, is less easily accessible, and is quite rugged and challenging in places, especially between Plunkett Rd and the Avon River, with some dense, scratchy shrublands, but it also has potential for some good walking.  Access is possible from Great Northern Hwy, via Chittering Rd (from Bullsbrook) and Wilson Rd, then into the Park along dirt roads (Smith Rd and Plunkett Rd). The dirt roads are quite rutted and rocky in places and more suited to 4WD.

However, a little further north on Chittering Road (14 kms from Bullsbrook) the "Peace Be Still" Guest House/Retreat  provides easy access to walking at the westernmost fringes of the Park, above the Brockman River and Chittering Valley (e.g. Kyotmunga Walk Trail  and 'Out & Back' Walk).


1) River crossings -The Avon River changes character dramatically in winter-mid spring when it can be transformed into a raging torrent, becoming unsafe to cross. (The annual Avon Descent takes place down the Avon and Swan Rivers in August, attracting lots of canoeists and power boaters. -See Walyunga Walk and Bells Rapid-Mt Mambup Walk and Robyn Khorshid's canoeing site for more details. Also see YouTube videos.)  

In late spring, summer, and very early autumn, provided there has not been recent heavy rainfall, the River can usually be crossed easily and safely at the two crossing points on this walk. Cross carefully, preferably with the assistance of a walking pole and watching your footing on the often very slippery rocks. Do not attempt to cross if the river is still flowing fast in places, even if it appears narrow or quite shallow (including at the ford). If you prefer to remove your boots for the shallow wading, pack suitable sandals with a good grip sole to change into for the crossings.

2) Railway crossings -The walk route twice crosses the railway along the south side of the River. The line is now independently controlled by Brookfield Rail. Brookfield for safety reasons requires that any walkers planning to cross to contact the company in advance. Permission may be declined. Trains pass frequently,  so exercise great caution near the railway. You must exercise your own independent judgment as to whether it is safe for you to cross. - Walk well away from the lines and if you consider it safe, cross quickly after ensuring that a train is not approaching.  WalkGPS accepts no liability whatsoever if you choose to cross.

Good alternative to SW crossing of the railway:

In the SW, you may prefer to scramble through a concrete culvert (~1 m diameter) which passes under the railway embankment 50m past waypt '34' . The route notes below include the details for this alternative.

3) Unexploded Ordnance ('UXO') - Avon Valley National Park was the site of a former Department of Defence Artillery Training Area (1958-1966) and may still be contaminated with unexploded Mortar Bombs and Artillery Projectiles. DEC signs alert walkers to the 'Risk Areas'. Off-track walking is allowed through the area and there is negligible risk provided walkers do not attempt to touch, handle, remove, or disturb in any way any UXO (or suspected UXO) that they may rarely come across. UXOs have been found in the recent past and FESA advises that any ordnance found must be treated as extremely dangerous. Without disturbing the object or immediate vicinity, the site should be clearly marked (e.g. with flagging tape or small rock cairn) and a GPS location obtained, or the site marked on a map if available. The location must then be reported to the Park Ranger or nearest Police Station a.s.a.p. (See also FESA 'Warning' sheet; rev. April 2007.)

4) Controlled burns:  See DEC's current 6-season indicative burn program.

Additional maps :

WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.

WalkGPS reconnaissance history: Click here for a map of past WalkGPS test walks in the walk area, plus the final route. The final route was selected only after several visits to the area which aimed to achieve a walk that would be the most rewarding.

"Avon Valley Survey Heritage Trails: recognising the pioneering achievements of 19th century surveyor/explorer, Lord John Forrest." - undated former Department of Land Administration, Mapping & Survey Division publication (two maps on one double-sided A4 sheet.  Copy provided to me by the Park Ranger but original also available in W.A. State Library map collection at Battye Library; Call # 9022.H65E635.) Some short sections of the "Survey Heritage Trails" network are followed on the route described on this page and you will find red-orange trail markers and also information boards at a few key points (including at the Homestead Campsite entry, at "Joe's Cage", and at historic Cairns "DP" and "GR"). Some other sections of the original trails are across very steep and difficult slopes (not on this route, and not recommended!) where the trail is no longer  maintained and has been overgrown and lost in dense shrubland.

Other: Jumperkine & Toodyay 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series  (current) Sheet 2134-4 & 2134-1;

or Avon Valley 1:50,000, National Map Ref. 2134-4 & -1 (WA Forests Dept., 1983);

or Jumperkine 1:25,000 2134-IV, NE sheet (Dept. of Lands & Survey, 1983; Series R811)- available on DVD -covers western half of walk route only.

Other background references :

"Avon Valley National Park - Park Guide" and "Avon Valley National Park Flora & Fauna Guideby DEC (undated PDFs on DEC's website );  and

"Avon Valley National Park -Guide to areas outlined on 720 ABC Perth..." by DEC (undated PDF).

DEC's website also provides a very brief description of the Park.

Landscope magazine (CALM), Spring 2004, includes article on CALM/AWC collaborative work to restore wildlife to the Avon Valley.

"Bushranger Country: Avon Valley National Park"  article mainly about Moondyne Joe, by John Hunter, in Landscope magazine (CALM), Vol.14, No.2, Summer 1998-99, pp.10-15. 

"Walking in the bush at Chittering with history as your guide" - by Wendy Gellard.  This little booklet (available from "Peace Be Still") provides some interesting historical background including George Fletcher Moore's discovery of the Chittering area (west and NW of the Park) in 1834-35 and his early interactions with the local aboriginal tribes.

Kyotmunga Walk  - 7.1 km point-to-point on-track walk,    between "Peace Be Still" car park access in south off Chittering Rd and Yozzi Rd access in north (through citrus orchard off Chittering Valley Rd).  Mainly lies within the NW-most area of the Avon Valley National Park. Regarded as one of the best of the on-track trails in the Shire of Chittering. Passes partly through wandoo woodlands and provides views across Chittering Valley. (See WalkGPS map and waypoint file). Also see Kyotmunga Walk Trail brochure by Kyotmunga Estate, 2006.

'Out & Back Walk' (and 'Valley View' extension) - 6.5(-9.6)km on-track walk from the "Peace Be Still" car park in Chittering (see mud-map) at the western edge of the Park. See WalkGPS maps and waypoint file or check at the Guest House for additional information.

"Travellers guide to the Parks & Reserves of Western Australia" by Simon Nevill, 2001, p.41 (Simon Nevill Publications)includes a brief summary of the Park). 

Climbers' Association of W.A. - For a climber's perspective of the Avon Valley.

See Robyn Khorshid's Canoeing in Western Australia site for a kayaker's perspective of the Avon Valley i.e. the "Avon Descent", including some great "Paddlers' Stories".

Also search YouTube for white water canoeing action on the Avon River e.g. Video at Emu Falls (by "920rookie").

Route notes :


Start from the Homestead Campsite, cross Governors Drive and head approx. NNW gently uphill to a ridge,  through light forest and shrubland and across small granite outcrops, and meet an old track after less than 500m (at '1'). Follow the track NW and after 100m meet South Break track (at '2'). Turn right to follow South Break track approx. NE-ward for a total of about 1.7 kms. The track initially descends to cross a stream gully (at '3'), then climbs steeply to reach Forty One Mile Rd (at '4'). After crossing the road, South Break track then turns north (to '5'), then veers NE-ward again, crosses another stream gully, and climbs through wandoo woodland to the crest of a broad ridge. At '6', turn left to head northward off-track, approximately following the ridge (via '7'). The ridge descends to a saddle and then crosses  another small rocky hilltop.  Veer NE at '8', in quite thick undergrowth to reach a small granite slab (at 'ROKVU') which provides a good view NE the Avon Valley.  Then veer NW to cross the rocky crest of the ridge and descend across granite outcrops  for about 300m (to '10'). Near the foot of the outcrops (which are quite steep in places), veer NE to soon meet a dirt road (at 'ROAD'). Follow the road approx. NE to reach the railway embankment.  Cross the embankment  to reach the service road on the north side of the railway (at '12'). Follow the service road east for 200m (to '13') and then turn NW off the road to cross the Avon River (at'RVR').  (If the river is flowing strongly do not attempt any river crossing but shorten the walk by firstly heading westward back along the railway service road to waypoint '34' and then continuing with the remainder of the route south of the River from there. This shortened route totalling about 10 field kms ) also passes Emu Falls (waypt 'EMUFLS').  After crossing the river head approx. northward up the nearby ridge (via '15') which soon narrows and provides a view east up the Avon Valley.  The ridge steepens then becomes gentler and broader. Veer NW at '16' and soon cross some small granite outcrops (e.g. at RK1'). Continue up the ridge to the historic Cairn "DP" (at waypt 'CRNDP'). Stop there to read the information notice and to also locate the nearby tree marked by the John Forrest survey team about 130 years ago.  Then walk a short distance due west through the open wandoo woodland to reach the firebreak road at the Park boundary (with farmland immediately to the north). Follow the firebreak road SW-ward (via '20', '21' and '22'), crossing a few quite deep gullies, to reach a T-junction with Sapper Rd. (Waypt '21' is at approx. the halfway point on the walk.) Turn right to follow Sapper Rd uphill and through a gate (near '23'). [Alternatively, at '22' instead of continuing to follow the firebreak road, veer off-track to head direct to '23' up a steepening ridge through delightful open wandoo woodland.]  After '23' continue west on Sapper Rd which is flanked mainly by thick dryandra shrubland with scattered jarrah trees on the laterite plateau. Turn left at a track (at '24') indicated by a small red Survey Heritage Trail marker and follow the foot-track through quite thick shrubland to soon reach the historic "Joe's Cage" site (at waypt  'CAGE'). Stop to read the information notice and to locate nearby a small part of the original wooden 'cage' structure that was used by bushranger 'Moondyne Joe' in the 1850's to capture wild horses and cattle as they came to drink at nearby springs. (Moondyne Joe lived in the Valley between prison terms served mainly for petty theft and prison escapes. The 'cage' structures measured 20m by 10m.) Head approx. south from "Joe's Cage" for less than 100m (to '26') to bypass thick undergrowth, and then veer ESE to cross the nearby stream gully and climb through quite thick heath/shrubland to soon reach open wandoo-dominated forest on the slopes. Walk along slope for about 250m then slightly downhill, but staying clear of the thicker understorey downslope. At '27' veer NNE and continue along slope and then downhill to reach a stream gully and meet Sapper Rd nearby again (at '28'). Follow Sapper Rd downhill (via '29' and '30'). There is a public toilet (at 'TLET') near a campsite at the bottom end of Sapper Rd. Cross the river at 'FORD'. After  100m the dirt track up the south bank meets the railway service road (at '33'). (At this point if time and energy allows, it is worth making a 1 km round-trip diversion NE-ward along the railway service road to visit Emu Falls (at 'EMUFLS').  Then follow the service road SW for 500m (to '34'). Then veer south to cross the railway  (to '35') and then follow the SE side of the railway past a rocky gully (to '36'). [Alternatively, instead of crossing the railway embankment, locate the twin culvert (waypt 'CLVT') which passes under the railway embankment about 50m further SW of '34' along the service road. The two culvert pipes are 1m diameter and free of debris. Most will find it is very quick, easy and comfortable option to scramble or 'waddle' through in a low crouching gait to emerge on the SE side of the embankment  and head for '36']. Then head approx. SE off-track and gently uphill. When the shrubland thickens (at '37') veer approx. SW and continue up the steepening slope (to '38').  Then veer SE again and climb a rocky slope before reaching quite open and flatter ground at '39'.  Veer SW again and gently uphill through fairly open forest and scratchy heath. Reach a narrow rocky ridge (at 'VU') with a view to the NW across the Valley. Then continue southward up the ridge (through light scrub and trees) for about 100m to reach historic Cairn "GR" (near waypt 'CRNGR'). Stop there to read the information notice and to also locate the nearby tree marked by the John Forrest survey team in 1878. Then head ESE approx. along slope through wandoo woodland (to '41'). Continue SE, climbing up across the laterite breakaway onto the laterite plateau. At '42' veer approx. south to follow the edge of the plateau through mainly open shrubland and low heath.  Descend through woodland to a narrow ridge (at '43'), then veer SE to follow an old track along the ridge to meet South Break track again (at '44'). Turn right to follow the track southward for only about 150m (to '45').  Then veer southward and off-track gently downhill to '46'.  Finally, veer SE to cross Governors Drive after about 200m and get back to the Start point at Homestead Campsite.



 Waypoint listing


Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..."  if you wish  to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX  file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software.  If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)


Route list :

Projection : UTM       Datum : Australian Geodetic 1966       Zone :  50

Waypt name         Easting      Northing      Comments

START       428396  6502560  Homestead Campsite.

1           428301  6502984  Meet old overgrown vehicle track.

2           428216  6503068  Old track meets South Break(firebreak track).

3           428413  6503510  On South Break track. 

4           428594  6503600  Cross Forty One Mile Road.

5           428595  6503781  At bend on South Break track.

6           429227  6504340  On South Break track (commence off-track).

7           429109  6504769  On ridge, off-track.

8           429211  6505284  In shrubland, close to ridge top.

ROKVU       429247  6505322  On small rock slab. View NE up Avon Valley.

10          429049  6505568  At bottom of granite outcrops.

ROAD        429107  6505631  Meet dirt road.

12          429280  6505765  Cross railway embankment to service road.

13          429502  6505751  On service road (dirt road).

RVR         429408  6505827  Avon River crossing.

15          429415  6506077  Off-track, in forest on ridge.

16          429574  6506527  On narrow ridge.

RK1         429490  6506585  Rock outcrop on ridge.

CRNDP       429320  6507023  At John Forrest Survey Cairn "DP".

19          429194  6507034  Meet firebreak (dirt road), farmland on N side.

20          428266  6506541  On firebreak road.

21          427994  6506667  At sharp southward bend in firebreak road.

22          427966  6506395  On firebreak road.

23          427154  6506170  Near gate on Sapper Rd.

24          426917  6506068  On Sapper Rd. at start of "Joe's Cage" track.

CAGE        426905  6505881  At "Joe's Cage" historic site.

26          426898  6505821  Near stream gully, near "Joe's Cage" site.

27          427368  6505726  In mainly wandoo forest. View across Valley.

28          427392  6506104  Meet Sapper Rd near stream gully.

29          427561  6506109  On Sapper Rd.

30          427719  6505838  On Sapper Rd.

TLET        427840  6505401  Camping area toilet close to Sapper Rd.

FORD        427933  6505331  Concreted ford across Avon River.

33          428031  6505260  On railway access road(NW side of embankment).

34          427720  6504825  On railway access road(NW side of embankment).

35          427742  6504766  On SE side of railway tracks.

36          427666  6504663  On SE side of railway tracks. 

37          427738  6504554  In shrubland, on slope rising to SE.

38          427667  6504379  On steep slope, near small granite outcrops.

39          427816  6504274  On fairly open, grassed area on gentler slope.

VU          427556  6504103  On narrow ridge. View NW across Valley.

CRNGR       427565  6503981  John Forrest Survey Cairn "GR".

41          427805  6503939  On forested slope below laterite breakaway.

42          428026  6503779  On eastern edge of laterite plateau.

43          428100  6503183  On old track on narrow ridge, in wandoo woodland.

44          428217  6503077  Old track meets South Break firebreak track).

45          428175  6502940  On South Break track.

46          428201  6502695  Off-track.

END         428396  6502560  Back at Start point at Homestead Campsite.   

Additional waypoints on map : 

CLVT        427699  6504782  Twin culvert under railway embankment.

VALL        427991  6504877  Valley Campsite near N end of Forty One Mile Rd.

EMUFLS      428369  6505630  Emu Falls (approx. location).

CRNJC       426881  6505016  John Forrest Survey Cairn "JC" near here?

GOVDR       429846  6502849  On Governor Drive at Quarry Rd turnoff.

FALLS       426938  6502939  Emu Springs Falls (below Drummonds Campsite).


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This page was last updated  :   24 March, 2017

 Site authored by David Osborne.  Photographs and text are copyright  2003-2013 David Osborne.

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