Upper Darkin variation Walk (Walk #18b)


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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.

Typical wandoo woodland north of upper Darkin River, April 2006.

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 :

66 kms ESE of Perth.   

Length :

14 field kms (85% off-track),

(or 16 field kms alternative).

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM   (What does this mean?)

Amount of uphill walking :

420m (cumulative ascent)

(or 500m for alternative longer route).

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 Brookton Hwy from Albany Hwy for 47 kms to Yarra Road on left (first road on left after Christmas Tree well on left).  After 18 kms north up Yarra Road (usually good condition gravel road, but watch for pot-holes) turn right into Darkin Road and then immediately left to park in open area at corner of Darkin and Yarra Roads.

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 :

North or south (generally less than 1 km) to Darkin Road; then east (max. 5 kms) to Yarra Road, or west then NW (min. 18 kms) via Darkin, Beraking Pool and Reservoir Roads to reach SE end of Lake CY O'Connor (Helena Reservoir).

Main features


The laterite escarpments and stream courses on both sides of the narrow upper Darkin River valley provide interesting, varied terrain and lots of excellent views across and down the valley. This walk is a relatively easy circuit around both sides of a 5 km section along the valley, about 12 kms ENE of Mount Dale. The area lies within State Forest including: Nockine Block (north of the River); Qualen Block (to the south); and Flynn Block (covering part of the alternative longer route, east of Yarra Road).

The walking is mostly through open forest and woodlands, but with some medium slopes, uneven pebbly surfaces, and a few brief patches of possibly scratchy heath or shrubland. The route mostly avoids areas of denser dryandra scrub (parrot bush) which is common on some of the laterite-capped hill tops. The only crossings of the Darkin River course are by road bridges, via Yarra Road at the eastern end starting point, and via Topher Road at the western end.

Like the nearby Upper Darkin Walk, which is immediately to the SE, the route passes through some picturesque, open wandoo woodlands (especially on the south side of the valley). The walk route includes a very short segment overlap of less than 1 km (between waypoints '41' & '45' in the SE) with the Upper Darkin Walk.

The alternative longer route option also visits an additional granite outcrop (at waypoint '7') with a good view to the east, which is also included on the Flynn hills Walk route which is immediately to the ENE.

Controlled burns:  See DEC's 6-season indicative burn program

Note: The forest in the NW portion of this walk route (from approx. waypt '25' to '31') was burnt in the wildfires of January 2005 (evidently started by arsonist/s) which destroyed 28,000ha of forest canopy between Pickering Brook and Karragullen in the west, Lake C.Y. O'Connor in the north, and as far as this area in the east. The area had regenerated well by July 2011 and was easily walkable, but walkers may encounter some denser understorey patches of 'Prickly Moses' (Acacia pulchella) and 'Net-leaved wattle' (Acacia urophylla).   

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:   Kelmscott & Beraking 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2133-4 & 2133-1;

or Kelmscott 1:50,000 Sheet (WA Forests Dept., 1984).

Other background references :

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

Route notes :


From the Start point, head northward on Yarra Road, which initially crosses Darkin River then climbs gently uphill. After 300m (at waypoint '3'), veer NW to head off-track initially crossing a stream course close to the road, then climbing gently through open wandoo woodland. (Alternatively, for the longer route option, at waypt '3', you can veer NE off-track Continue upslope via '3A' and into a fairly open dryandra (parrot bush) shrubland/understorey. After 1.5 kms from Yarra Road, reach (at '3B') wandoo woodland on a N-S ridge. Head SW downslope to reach (at 'SLAB') the northern end of a large rock slab on the western flank of the ridge. Traverse the 200m-long slab southward to '16'. Then continue southward (via '17') across the ridge through wandoo woodland and descend through low shrubland and a sheoak thicket to '18'. Continue southward around an east-sloping hillside (via '19') and reach (at 'SLAB2') the top of a small (40m-long) SW-sloping rock slab, with a good view southward across the main Darkin River valley to slopes 1 km away that will be traversed near the end of the walk. Veer SW (to '20') to re-enter forest along the upper slopes of a laterite escarpment. Follow a 'roo trail W-WNW (via '21') around the southward-sloping hillside  through a low shrub understorey. Reach another small outcrop at 'BIGRK' (with nearby view to Mt Dale, 12 kms WSW), and continue approx. NW down the hillside through wandoo woodland. Veer westward at '22' and descend to cross an incised stream course near '23'. Head westward uphill and soon follow (via '25') the top of the south-sloping laterite escarpment through  shrubland/open forest which is strongly regenerating following the 2006 burn. There are some good views south and SW. At '26' veer SW and then westward again at '27'.  At '28' veer SW to return to the top edge of the escarpment at '29'.  From here there are again good views across the valley to the walk route ahead along the laterite slopes on the south side, less than 1 km away. From '29', veer WNW to cross a low spur ridge and pass back into wandoo woodland. At '29A' veer SW and pick a route through descend (via '30') through patches of regenerating 'Prickly Moses' to cross a rocky stream bed and climb gently to reach Topher Road (dirt forestry road) at '31' Turn left to follow Topher Road southward, crossing the Darkin River at '32'. Continue on the road to '33', then head eastward off-track, gently uphill into wandoo woodland. Climb a laterite escarpment and cross a narrow spur ridge before descending quite steeply to cross a stream course (picking a way through local patches of 'Prickly Moses'). Veer SE at '34' to climb to the top of a small laterite butte. Then continue SW to cross a gentle saddle through open woodland and begin climbing quite steeply up a north-sloping laterite escarpment. At '35' veer NE and climb to 'VU', near the top of the escarpment from where there is a good view WNW down the Darkin valley, across the small butte just traversed. Continue eastward (via '36' & '37') through very open woodland, along the mainly bare pebbly surface of the north-sloping escarpment. After '37' veer NE to cross the 'breakaway' at the top of the escarpment onto the flatter terrain above, then head gently downhill.  Veer ESE at '38' and descend to cross a side valley. Continue around a hillside through open woodland via 39'.  At '40' veer due south and climb to a viewing point at '41' (from where you may get a view 1.6 kms across the main valley to the area of the rock slab crossed at 'SLAB2' earlier in the walk). Then descend via '41A' to cross a stream course at '42'. Head NE, picking an easy way through patches of denser shrubland and crossing a small rock slab at about '43' and a deeply incised stream course soon after. Then climb the laterite escarpment to '44' and veer briefly northward to '45', still in wandoo woodland. Continue NE again to cross another deeply incised stream course at '46' and reach a small (50m) rock slab at '47'. Head NNE down the outcrop and then through wandoo woodland. Meet Darkin Road at '47A' and turn right (eastward) and follow the road for 1 km to return the Start point.

Longer walk option (16 kms):  For a slightly more challenging day's walk;  on reaching waypt '3' on Yarra Road, instead of heading NW off-track, head NE uphill and off-track (via '4' & '6') to a small laterite-capped ridge. Head north along the ridge top through wandoo woodland for less than 500m, then descend briefly to reach (at '7') a 150m-long sloping granite slab, offering a good eastward view. Then veer NW to cross a gentle saddle area along the ridge and descend via '8' to cross Yarra Road at '9'. Head westward gently uphill and veer SW (at '10') after crossing a small gully. Climb quite steeply uphill to '11', then WSW along slope before crossing the same stream gully near '12'. Then gently climb to a small rock slab at 'RK3'. Continue WSW gently uphill to cross a small spur ridge at '13'.  Then veer SSW, initially gently downhill onto a broad ridge which has a cover mainly of open dryandra. At '14' veer southward to soon pass through a patch of wandoo woodland (at '15') before descending to the granite slab (at 'SLAB') to rejoin and follow the 'main' route described above (via '16', '17' etc).



 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       446633  6450241  Near corner Yarra and Darkin Roads.

1           446570  6450240  Yarra & Darkin Rd intersection.

2           446575  6450355  On Yarra Road(gravel/dirt road).

3           446549  6450551  On Yarra Road.

3A          445874  6450976  On very gentle slope, rising to NW.

3B          445241  6451265  On ridge top.

SLAB        445144  6451198  At north end of 200m-long rock slab. View.

16          445044  6451014  At south end of 200m-long rock slab.

17          445065  6450857  In wandoo woodland, near ridge crest.

18          445002  6450569  In sheoak thicket, on rocky ground.

19          445047  6450398  In open shrubland, with valley to E.

SLAB2       445040  6450342  At top of rock slab, sloping SE. View.

20          444965  6450277  In low shrubland, on SE slope.

21          444889  6450276  In low shrubland, on S-ward slope.

BIGRK       444637  6450433  On rock outcrop. View W-ward.

22          444460  6450607  In open forest, on W-ward slope.

23          444192  6450563  Close to incised stream gully.

24          444068  6450532  In open forest/woodland. Gentle ESE slope.

25          443634  6450652  Slope rising gently W-ward. Views south.

26          443309  6450726  In open forest-low shrubland.

27          443081  6450535  Near top (N) edge of laterite escarpment.

28          442750  6450507  In low shrubland-open forest.

29          442521  6450283  At top(N) edge of escarpment. Views.

29A         442133  6450439  On SW-sloping spur ridge. Wandoo.

30          441891  6450327  In/Near Prickly Moses patch.

31          441674  6450154  On Topher Road.

32          441925  6449848  On Topher Rd. bridge over Darkin River.

33          442036  6449576  On Topher Road.

34          442752  6449625  On steepish Westward-slope.

BUTTE       442876  6449517  At top of small laterite butte.

35          443132  6449264  On steep N-sloping laterite escarpment.

VU          443287  6449371  Nr. laterite escarpment. View NW.

36          443341  6449411  On steepish N-sloping escarpment.

37          443500  6449412  On steepish N-sloping escarpment.

38          443634  6449509  On pebbly laterite surface, rising gently SW.

39          444403  6449309  In open forest, on gentle NE slope.

40          444535  6449137  In open forest, on gentle ENE slope.

41          444555  6448738  On steepish hillside, sloping ENE.

41A         444714  6448643  On steepish hillside, sloping ENE.

42          444816  6448701  Cross stream gully.

43          444993  6448943  On/near small rock slab.

44          445138  6449090  At top of W-sloping laterite escarpment.

45          445112  6449204  At top of NW-sloping laterite escarpment.

46          445257  6449370  Cross deeply-incised stream gully.

47          445486  6449524  Near south end of 50m long rock slab.

47A         445603  6450051  On Darkin Road(dirt road).

END         446633  6450241  Near corner Yarra and Darkin Roads.


Additional waypoints on map : 

4           446662  6450780  In open forest, slope rising to NE.

6           446926  6451258  On laterite-capped ridge.

7           446892  6451741  On E-sloping rock slab. View E.

8           446541  6451872  In open forest, on SW slope.

9           446075  6452111  On Yarra Road.

10          445725  6452045  On small spur ridge near gully.

11          445662  6451931  In forest on narrow ridge.

12          445516  6451886  Gully crossing about here.

RK3         445502  6451900  On rock slab, sloping  E-ward.

13          445363  6451853  Cross crest of minor spur ridge.

14          445124  6451433  Bypassing thickest parrot bush patches.

15          445182  6451319  On ridge NNE of large rock slab.

ROK         442253  6450274  50m-long rock slab.

60          443472  6450041  On Darkin Rd, crossing slight ridge.

61          444421  6449869  Stream course crossing on Darkin Road.

62          445127  6449885  Stream course crossing on Darkin Road.


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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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