Mt. Observation-Pony Hill Walk (Walk #25)


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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
Click on map for large version.

Wandoo woodland south of

 Mount Observation, April 2004.

Click on photo for larger version.

More photos.

       3D map view



  Google Map

Using this map.



 Additional Satellite Imagery

Click here

for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area.

-Use zoom bar

for road details.

For Google Earth users

Step 1: Left Click here

For fly-in to waypoints and route

 on image of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Step 2: Left Click here

For fly-in to 3D view

 of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

in Google Earth to "3" (via 'Tools' menu, 'Options' & 'View' tab).


         Route profile



 Walk description  
Location :

73 kms SE of Perth. Along Great Eastern Hwy to The Lakes, then Great Southern Hwy to Mount Observation unsealed access road (Catchment Road) on right, approx. 23 kms after The Lakes and just past Berry Brow Rd on left. 

Length :

18 field kms (95% off-track).

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM   (What does this mean?)

Amount of uphill walking :

310m (cumulative ascent)

GPS-preferred :

PREFERABLE (to help locate subtle turning points and features).

Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

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

Follow the access road to the Mount Observation picnic area  (signposted on Great Southern Hwy) for 1 km from the Highway and park  at the picnic area. (There are public toilets nearby.)

Important access issue:   Walkers need to be aware that this walk area and many others on WalkGPS lie within drinking water catchment areas. In 2007 DoW in effect recommended a prohibition of all traditional off-track bushwalking activities across the entire Perth region catchment areas covering 4500 sq km, far beyond the limits of  existing or proposed Reservoir Protection Zones (see map). By March 2008, the DoW had been persuaded to reconsider its published position. The new Policy of 2012 refrains from banning traditional bushwalking in the outer catchments. The community, including visitors to WalkGPS, need to remain vigilant to ensure that commonsense continues to prevail over regulatory zealotry. See also Home page: 'Access' and Related access issues on WalkGPS, and DOW's "Mundaring Weir Catchment Area Drinking Water Source Protection Plan" of 2007.

Escape route/s :

To Catchment Road (dirt road) in NE (then NW  along Catchment Rd to Start point at picnic area and to Great Southern Hwy, or SE to Helena Rd), or to Manna Flat Rd and/or Helena Rd (dirt road) in south. Pony Rd (dirt road) crosses walk area from Manna Flat Rd in SW to Catchment Rd in east.

Main features


This walk is within the new Wandoo National Park. It is very pleasant, easy walking through picturesque, open wandoo woodlands (but due to the distance is rated "Medium" in difficulty).  For a shorter walk in similar open woodlands see Christmas Tree Well Walk).  Meney & Brown, 1985, have previously noted of these woodlands:  "..the character and form of the widely spaced virgin wandoo creates a most unique bush atmosphere which is a delight to any bushwalker"

The route is mainly over reasonably gentle terrain, with a few modest slopes. There are  views around the flanks of Mount Observation and Pony Hill and from a granite outcrop at the westernmost point on the route.

Manyuering Spring is another location of interest in the area (see waypoint 'SPRING'). Though not visited on this walk route it lies only 1.5 kms due west of the Start point at the picnic area. The spring was one of the staging posts along the old coach route to York and there are also historic ruins of a convict campsite nearby. The old coach route is also accessible to four-wheel drive vehicles.

Note: Despite its National Park status, parts of this area and other wandoo woodland areas have become increasingly popular with trail bike and quad bike riders. Their uncontrolled off-road activities are causing extensive environmental damage throughout much of the Park including along stream courses, including the Helena River. Hopefully the riders will be encouraged by DEC (and via The State Trail Bike Strategy of Dec. 2007 and the Recreational Trailbike Riders Association of WA (RTRA)) to find more appropriate legal areas for riding before too much more damage is done here. Meanwhile your walking may be disturbed by the whine of their bikes.  

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:   Mount Observation & York 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2234-3 & 2134-2; or,

Mount Observation 1:50,000 Sheet 2234-III (DOLA, 1994).

Other background references :

"Wandoo National Park - Park Guide" by DEC (undated pdf; 248KB).

"Forests on Foot (40 walks in W.A.)" by Meney & Brown, 1985, pp.100-106 (Wescolour Press, Fremantle).  Includes an easy 2-day 22 kms walk  which follows a partly similar route to this walk, but also includes Mount Talbot to the south. It also provides good descriptions of the vegetation.

"York Trails Master Plan" (draft), Shire of York / Transplan, May 2008 (3 MB pdf). 

Route notes :


Head south and gently downhill on the picnic area road (with views to the SW through the wandoo trees). Reach an eastward bend in the road after only about 100m (at waypoint '2')  Then continue approx. SSE, off-track, and  initially more  steeply downhill to cross a small gully and climb gently across partly rocky ground (to '3').  Continue across fairly flat terrain to '4'.  Then veer approx. ESE to initially descend to cross another small gully. Then climb gently for almost 1 km, partly across low to medium heath and very open woodland, to reach the summit area of Mount Observation (at '5').  Veer almost south and reach a low granite outcrop (at 'SLAB') on the south flank of Mt. Observation. Veer SSE and steadily downhill initially through open woodland and then across heathland and a  gentle valley floor to cross Pony Road (dirt road) after about 1 km. After '6', veer south to reach '7', then SE, gaining  a view SW to the western flank of Pony Hill, before descending quickly to cross a stream course and a nearby road (at '8'). Continue SE and climb gently through a mixture of low to medium heath, some dryandra shrubland,  and woodland.  At  '9' veer south again and follow the east side of a small gully on the north flank of Pony Hill. (In places the heath or shrubland thickens, but animal tracks provide easy ways through.) At '10', near the top of the gully, veer approx. SE once more to cross the eastern ridge of Pony Hill and soon  descend to a granite outcrop ('RK') on the other side, with a view due south to Mount Talbot about 3 kms away. Veer approx. west, to reach the wooded summit of Pony Hill (at about '11').  Then head NW to soon reach a long SW-sloping granite outcrop partly surrounded by sheoaks. Follow the outcrop NW to another outcrop (at  'RK2') from where there is a good view SW across the small (120 ha) isolated Manna Flat Farm (Quinkitchmunging freehold pastoral property) toward the eastern flank of Helena Hill. Continue NW back into woodland (at '12') along the western ridge of Pony Hill. Then veer west and stick to the slope at the foot of the laterite breakaway (via '14' and '1-2WAY'), avoiding the prickly dryandra thickets on the ridge above the breakaway. This section is close to the halfway point of the walk and a good spot for a lunch break.  Then veer approx. WNW to continue along the northern side of the gently descending ridge,  There is a fleeting view due north to Mount Observation. Pass a small granite tor (at 'RK4').  Continue WNW to soon descend to the valley floor, cross a dirt road  and then a stream course at '15' (Sadly, when it is dry, this stream and the nearby Helena River course are used as an off-road track by trail-bike riders).  Continue WNW and cross a low rocky ridge, through thickets of sheoak, before descending to cross the Helena River course (at '16').  Continue WNW through woodland to re-cross the Helena River after about 1 km. Continue WNW to soon cross Pony Road and reach the foot of a fairly steeply sloping granite outcrop. Find a safe and easy route up the outcrop to reach an upper level (at 'ROCK'), from where there is a good view back to Pony Hill, now 4 kms ESE. Follow the outcrop approx. along slope, then descend gently NE-ward to '17A'.  Then veer approx. ENE and in less than 500m you will meet Pony Hill Road (at '17B').  Follow the dirt road ENE for 1 km (to '18'). Then turn left, off-track, and head due north for more than 1.5 kms, crossing the western slopes of Mount Observation. At '19' veer NW to soon cross a stream gully and then climb gently to reach a small rocky ledge at 'RK5'.  Veer approx. north, passing through a sheoak thicket, to soon reach '3'.  From '3' retrace about 500m of the route (via '2') covered at the start of the walk to get back to the picnic area road and car park.



 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       457986  6470851  Car park at picnic area.

2           458019  6470735  At eastward bend in picnic area road.

3           458189  6470245 

4           458441  6469872

5           459743  6469575  Summit area of Mt Observation.

SLAB        459860  6468936  On granite slab.

6           460499  6467578  About 250m south of Pony Rd (dirt road).

7           460464  6466865

8           460934  6466346  Cross dirt road (after ?dry stream course).

9           461258  6466024  On north flank of Pony Hill.

10          461256  6465671  On east side of small gully.

RK          461366  6465481  On granite outcrop just east of Pony Hill summit.

11          461148  6465396  In open woodland on Pony Hill summit.

RK2         460783  6465672  On granite slab with views to SW.

12          460672  6465766 

14          460388  6465802  Close to laterite breakaway.

1-2WAY      460278  6465786  Close to laterite breakaway.

RK4         459583  6466094  Small granite tor.

15          459023  6466223  Cross stream course (?dry).

16          458318  6466451  Cross Helena River course (?dry).

17          457114  6466807  At foot of steeply sloping outcrop.

ROCK        457064  6466914  On granite outcrop (with views to Pony Hill).

17A         457303  6467209 

17B         457660  6467363  Meet Pony Road (dirt road).

18          458603  6467694  Leave Pony Road.

19          458658  6469415 

RK5         458213  6470012  Small granite boulders.

3           458189  6470245 

END         457986  6470851  Back at car park.

Additional Waypoints on map: 

TNOFF       458569  6471670  Mt. Observation picnic area access road turnoff.

SPRING      456548  6471030  Manyuering Spring (1.5km due W of Mt. Observation picnic area.

MANNA       459351  6464465  Manna Flat Road meets Helena Road (in south).

30          456636  6466322  Pony Road meets Manna Flat Road.

SMT         456527  6467901  Approx. summit of western hill.

HELENA      455792  6465109  Approx. summit of Helena Hill (in SW).

TALBOT      461278  6462487  Approx. summit of Mt. Talbot (in SE).


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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.