Bannister Hill Walk (Walk #29b)
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|On this page:||
1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations
3) 3D map view
7) Waypoint listing and grid references
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Wandoo woodland near laterite breakaway,
WNW of Bannister Hill summit area, Oct. 2004.
Click on photo for larger version.
Using this map.
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|Location :||70 kms SE of Armadale along Albany Highway.|
|Length :||12.5 field kms (90% off-track).|
|Degree of difficulty :||MEDIUM (What does this mean?)|
|Amount of uphill walking :||300m (cumulative ascent)|
See Google Map for start point on road map.
(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)
Continue down Albany Highway for approx. 6 kms past the North Bannister Roadhouse (the Roadhouse is just before North Bannister-Wandering Rd turnoff) and at the end of a straight stretch, where the Highway curves to the right, turn off sharply to the left onto a minor vehicle track (approx. at waypoint 'TNOFF') which itself meets another old track within 50m. Turn right onto the old track to park nearby at the Start point. (The vehicle track off Albany Hwy is also 1.4 km past Plantation Rd turnoff on right.)
|Escape route/s :||
In west, head SW for 1-1.5 kms to Albany Highway. In east, head east for 1-2.5 kms to meet a N-S vehicle track which approx. follows the boundary between the State Forest , then follow the track southward for 1-2.5 kms to meet another track at a T-junction (at approx. waypoint '38'), then follow track right (SW) via waypt '37' for just under 2 kms to meet Albany Hwy at waypt '36' about 3.5 kms south of the Start point.
The SW and NE flanks of Bannister Hill provide many excellent views on this walk route, including to the Boonerring and Kimberling (White Horse) Hills 13-15 kms to the NW. On the SW flank of the Hill the route follows an extensive, sloping granite outcrop for about 600m, giving plenty of opportunity to enjoy the views. In the NE, the route also follows Galway Creek (may be flowing in winter-early spring) through wandoo woodland for a short section. The route also crosses a number of other (usually dry) stream gullies and laterite breakaways.
Bannister Hill (elevation 488m) is located within a relatively small area of State Forest (Gyngoorda Block) which is bounded by the Albany Hwy in the SW, the North Bannister-Wandering Rd in the north, and farmland in the east. Despite the small area, the vegetation here is more varied than in the jarrah-marri forests to the north and includes picturesque open wandoo woodlands on several of the slopes and in the gullies, while mainly open jarrah-marri forest (with patches of parrot bush) dominates the higher areas.
A survey station marker cairn of laterite boulders on the summit of Bannister Hill was erected in 1941 by the Royal Australian Survey Corps.
Although the walk is only 12.5 kms in length, allow about 4˝ hours including rest stops. The uphill walking involves only gentle to medium grade slopes.
Caution: A short, steepish descent through scratchy shrubland is required to reach the outcrop on the SW flank of the Hill and special care and commonsense is needed when descending the outcrop itself (especially between waypoints '14' and '14A'). -Don't rush; avoid the steeper and smoother areas of rock, especially when they are wet and slippery after rain.
Controlled burns: See DEC's current 6-season indicative burn program.
Future impact of bauxite mining: Sadly, the presence of lateritic caprock and pods of bauxite ore across the Bannister Hill area has made it the firm target for future bauxite strip mining which is destined to prevent bushwalker access and destroy the intrinsic recreational and landscape values of this area. Ironically the relatively rich botanic diversity in the Gyngoorda Block was recognised in the "Northern Forest Region - Regional Management Plan 1987-1997" (CALM, Dec.1987) with its designation as a proposed future Conservation Park of around 3465 ha to be managed identically to a national park. However, little more than a decade later, political 'pragmatism' (i.e. the attraction to this State of mining royalties) prevailed and the "Regional Forest Agreement for the SW Forest Region of W.A." (Cwth. & W.A. State Governments; 1999) withdrew the "Proposed Conservation Park" status. Under the later Forest Management Plans (including the draft 2013-2023 Plan of August 2012) only a residual 1350 ha eastern strip remains proposed ("reinstated") as a future Gibbs Conservation Park while the other 61% (2005 ha) has remained as State Forest to ensure it is available for the bauxite miners who in 2008 gained environmental approval for their future extensive mining expansion into the area.
The State's environmental approval processes (through the EPA) have failed to ensure bona fide “close consultation" with the community that the mining proponents have claimed. In place of consultation there has been continuing slick public relations 'spin' by bauxite miners, conveying an impression to the public that "world's best" environmental rehabilitation programs (including "re-landscaping") can restore (even improve!) the intrinsic values of a landscape that has been essentially destroyed by mining. Hopefully, growing public awareness, scepticism and concern will lead to better outcomes for the community and especially for future generations. (See also below, for link to Video, etc.)
|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.
Other: Area is mainly covered by Duncan 1:50,000 Sheet 2132-1 (CALM/DOLA, 1995);
and part on Wandering & Dattening 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2232-4 & 2232-1, or on Wandering 1:50,000 Sheet 2232-IV (Dept of Lands & Surveys, 1977).
|Other background references :||
"Forests on Foot (40 walks in W.A.)" by Meney & Brown, 1985, pp.96-99 (Wescolour Press, Fremantle). Includes a simpler 14.5 kms walk which visits Bannister Hill summit and the northern area, but not the extensive southern outcrops. Includes some brief descriptions of the wide range of vegetation types in the area.
"Worsley Bauxite mining expansion Environmental Review and Management Programme" (ERMP) by Worsley Alumina Pty Ltd. Released May 2005 by the EPA. Public submissions closed August 2005 and W.A.'s EPA gave final environmental approval of the expansion plan in February 2008. The mining area expansion within the extensive existing lease will eventually affect much of the Bannister Hill area and northward to near North Bannister-Wandering Rd (see WalkGPS map). The planned new conveyor belt route will also traverse part of the Gyngoorda block within the Bannister Hill area. (Worsley is 86% owned by BHP Billiton). Also see:
Route notes :
From the Start point, follow the old vehicle track gently uphill, SE for 500m then turn left at waypoint '6' onto an old side track. Follow this track ENE uphill through jarrah forest via '7' gaining a view to Boonerring Hill about 12 kms WNW). After crossing a broad ridge, the track begins descending. At '8' veer sharply right to leave the track and head southward, initially along slope. Soon reach a laterite breakaway and descend quite steeply to cross a gully which is lined along the dry stream course with Oak-leaved Dryandra shrubs. (Locate the kangaroo track for an easy route through the narrow belt of Dryandra.) Climb the SE side of the gully to '9', then veer right (SW) along slope through picturesque wandoo woodland. At '10' veer sharp left (SE) to climb a ridge to reach a rocky laterite breakaway. After climbing the breakaway to '11' , veer right (SSW) for about 50m, gaining more good views through the trees to Boonerring and Kimberling (White Horse) Hills to the WNW. At '12', veer SE across the laterite surface and through open jarrah forest to meet an old vehicle track at '13'. If you want to visit the nearby official (but unremarkable) summit point of Bannister Hill, follow the track approx. eastward for 200m to find the survey station marker cairn of laterite boulders (at 'CRN') erected in 1941, and now surrounded by Parrot Bush on the broad, flat, laterite-capped hill-top. Then retrace your steps back along the track to '13'. Then veer SW off-track and downhill, soon entering a narrow belt (about 50m wide) of shrubland which fringes the upper slopes of the granite outcrops along the SW flank of the Hill. You should be able to pick a reasonably easy route through the shrubs and down the steepening slope to reach the granite outcrop at about '14'. Good views open up to the west and SW (and persist for much of the 600m of the route between '14' and '14E', along the granite outcrop). Proceed carefully approx. SSE down the initial section of outcrop, picking out a safe route, avoiding the steeper, smoother and slippery areas of rock. After reaching the lower edge of the outcrop climb to '14A' on the nearby forested spur ridge. Then turn left (ENE) along the ridge to soon reach the continuation of the outcrop. Follow the slope of the outcrop approx. eastward via '14B'. [Alternatively, for a more direct route along the initial part of the outcrop; from '14' you could try walking ESE 'along the outcrop and then pick a way through a patch of possibly quite dense shrubs to continue on the outcrop to '14C'. -I have not yet tested that route.]
At '14C' veer SE to follow the outcrop gently downslope (partly through patches of open shrubland). At '14D' resume walking along the slope of the outcrop. At '14E' veer SE to pick a way through the narrow belt of fringing shrubland and continue SE through open forest across a low ridge to then descend to a smaller granite outcrop in a broad gully (at 'ROKVU'). Then head NNE up the gully, initially on the outcrop, then following animal tracks uphill through shrubland for about 100m to reach open forest. Climb the laterite breakaway and follow the edge of the flat laterite surface to '15' gaining a good view eastward to farmland. Veer northward, descend to below the breakaway and walk along slope through mainly open jarrah forest to '16'. Then veer WNW to continue along slope to reach the upper slope of an outcrop at '17' on the NE flank of Bannister Hill, again gaining views WNW to Boonerring Hill and NE to farmland. Follow the outcrop NNW downslope and pass through a small patch of shrubland near the foot of the outcrop. Veer NE at '18' to re-enter forest and initially cross a stream gully. Continue NE across a low ridge. At '19' veer ENE and soon follow a low ridge through wandoo woodland. At '20' veer NE to reach a vehicle track after 200m. Follow the track across Galway Creek, then after less than 100m, veer NW to leave the track. Pass through wandoo woodland via '22' and '22A', then veer westward to reach a possible small waterfall and small rock pools along the stream course at '23'. Continue along the north bank of the gully to '24', then veer west to cross the Creek at about '25'. Then head SW through forest via '26' and cross a vague stream course to reach '27'. Then veer westward to approximately follow the stream course for about 200m before climbing gently uphill for about 400m, then crossing a vehicle track. After a further 250m reach a small laterite-capped hill top at '28'. Continue westward for about 500m along the narrow rocky hill top, then veer SW at '29' to descend and cross a stream gully at '30'. Finally, veer WSW and make short deviations around any dense patches of shrubland on the lower ground to get back to the Start point.
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!
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 1984 Zone : 50
Waypt name Easting Northing Comments
START 450855 6389589 Park car on old vehicle track just off Albany Hwy.
6 451217 6389334 On old vehicle track which branches to left.
7 451848 6389602 On old vehicle track.
8 452380 6389673 On old vehicle track.
9 452401 6389460 In wandoo woodland on SE side of stream gully.
10 452280 6389384 In wandoo woodland on SE side of stream gully.
11 452386 6389216 Near laterite breakaway,NW end Bannister Hill top.
12 452361 6389165 On rocky laterite surface, views to NW.
13 452594 6388958 Meet old vehicle track.
CRN 452802 6388920 Rock cairn on approx. summit of Bannister Hill.
13 452594 6388958 Leave old vehicle track.
14 452438 6388847 On/near upper edge of SW-sloping granite outcrop.
14A 452473 6388754 On forested ridge,between outcrops to WNW and ESE.
14B 452532 6388780 On granite outcrop (sloping quite steeply to SSW).
14C 452675 6388751 On outcrop (SW of Bannister Hill summit).
14D 452807 6388595 On outcrop.
14E 452997 6388533 Near eastern edge of granite outcrop.
ROKVU 453206 6388237 On granite outcrop in stream gully.
15 453348 6388602 In open jarrah forest, near laterite breakaway.
16 453300 6388996 In jarrah forest.
17 453088 6389122 Near top of granite outcrop, on NE flank of Hill.
18 453002 6389464 Near lower edge of granite outcrop.
19 453436 6389788 In open forest.
20 454149 6389957 In forest.
21 454389 6390161 On vehicle track (near State Forest N-S boundary).
22 454215 6390376 In wandoo woodland less than 100m NE of Galway Ck.
22A 454071 6390447 In wandoo woodland less than 100m NE of Galway Ck.
23 453724 6390484 Near rock pools and small waterfall along Galway Creek.
24 453660 6390619 In wandoo woodland just NE of Galway Ck.
25 453559 6390627 Cross Galway Creek.
26 453340 6390368 In forest.
27 453000 6390015 Near stream course.
28 452142 6390032 On rocky laterite surface near top of breakaway.
29 451694 6390063 Near west end of narrow, rocky, laterite ridge.
30 451526 6389889 Cross stream gully.
END 450855 6389589 Back at Start point.
Additional Waypoints on map :
TNOFF 450787 6389597 Vehicle track off Albany Hwy to Start point.
40 450123 6390847 Track off Albany Hwy approx. opp. Plantation Rd.
CARALT 450235 6390873 Alternate car park area on track off Albany Hwy.
32 452152 6390565 T-junction of old forestry vehicle tracks.
33 451726 6391550 Near T-junction of old vehicle tracks.
34 451509 6388686 Old vehicle track meets Albany Hwy.
35 452083 6387986 Old vehicle track meets Albany Hwy.
36 452827 6386902 Old vehicle track meets Albany Hwy.
37 453535 6387286 Approx. track junction south of Bannister Hill.
38 454391 6387599 T-junction of old forestry vehicle tracks.
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This page was last updated : 07 February, 2013
Site authored by David Osborne. Photographs and text are copyright © 2003-2013 David Osborne.