Top Trail: Sullivan Rock to Mt Cooke, Darling Range
This 18.4km return walk on the Bibbulmun Track takes you to the highest point in the Darling Range, Mt Cooke. A campsite (for walkers only - no vehicle access) is at the base of Mt Cooke so this is also a good option for an overnight walk.
About the Trail
This is one of many short walks possible on the Bibbulmun Track which stretches 1000km from Kalamunda on the outskirts of Perth, to the historic town of Albany on the south coast.
This walk starts at Sullivan Rock, just over an hour's drive south of Perth. The Track leading toward Mt Cooke is generally relatively flat. It crosses a broad and interesting creek system and passes through stands of sheoak, banksia and jarrah.
After reaching Mt Cooke campsite the Track ascends 2km to the summit of Mt Cooke, the highest point in the Darling Range, at 582 metres. The view here isn't the best - so continue on past the summit to the southern side of the peak and be rewarded with spectacular views.
If you've decided to stay overnight you can of course set up your tent and leave your pack at the campsite before heading up to the peak. This is a good overnighter for families with children 8 years and over. You can find other family hike suggestions on the Bibbulmun Track website.
Sullivan Rock carpark to Mt Cooke Campsite and back (13.4km return) or to Mt Cooke summit and back (18.4km return)
Sullivan Rock Picnic Area, Albany Hwy
Take Albany Hwy from Armadale to Sullivan Rock picnic area (9km south of the Jarrahdale Rd turnoff). Watch for the hiker warning traffic signs as well as an orange Bibbulmun Track sign on the left with the picnic area opposite on the right.
0.0 From the Sullivan Rock picnic site carpark off the Albany Hwy a clearly signed walk trail goes across the highway and over the rock to the Bibbulmun Track. Follow the rock cairns over the rock.
0.8 Turn right on to the Track and descend steeply.
0.9 At gravel road (Millars Log Rd (no vehicle access permitted) turn left. 50m further on turn right onto old vehicle track and descend to cross creek.
2.3 Pass reference tree BW74/3. Almost immediately pass a well preserved log landing made of jarrah logs on the right. The landings were used to roll logs onto the railway carriages.
2.5 Trail turns left on old vehicle track to cross creek on substantial foot bridge.WA Christmas trees here have brilliant orange flowers in summer.
2.7 Turn right off old vehicle track onto old railway formation. Watch for evidence of logging railways and timber operations.
2.9 Pass reference tree BW74/2. The incision on the tree is on the far side.
3.0 Cross creek on substantial footbridge. Continue through broad, swampy area on old formation. Pass stands of WA Christmas tree and kingia often confused with the balga grass tree.
3.5 Cross old vehicle track. Soon after, leave old formation veering to the left onto walking trail.
3.6 Trail turns left off old rail formation by rocky creek.
3.8 Turn left again off old formation. Then soon after cross old vehicle track on an angle. Wander through a fabulous stand of sheoaks.
5.5 Veer left off old formation ascending slightly.
5.6 Turn left off track onto walk trail.
5.8 Cross gravel road (Cooke Rd – no vehicle access) and continue straight ahead on old vehicle track, again passing through fine stands of sheoak.
6.0 Reach spur trail for Mt Cooke Group campsite on right.
6.7 Descend to reach Mt Cooke campsite. Just beyond campsite, near the boot cleaning station, is the original location of Mt Cooke campsite, burnt in a bushfire in 2003. The old water tank remains and interpretive signage explains the extent of the fire. Retrace your steps to your vehicle.
Continue for a longer walk option
7.1 Cross creek on substantial foot bridge. Soon after skirt small perched wetland with paperbarks and other swamp species.
7.3 Cross another wandoo-lined creek on a smaller footbridge.
8.0 After skirting above a natural amphitheatre lined with mature butter gums (Darling Range ghost gums), cross watercourse.
8.9 After ascending through rocks and butter gum with views northwest and southwest, reach the Mt Cooke ridge featuring massive jumbles of granite boulders. Pass alongside a granite slab with views to Mts Vincent, Cuthbert, Randall and Dale toward the horizon.
9.2 Reach the trig point on the summit of Mt Cooke. Soon after traverse long granite ridge. The best views are from this ridge further south along the trail, between 100 and 500m. From the summit, retrace your steps to your vehicle.
The Bibbulmun Track offers a wide range of experiences, from a gentle stroll to enjoy the peace and beauty of the natural environment, to an epic eight week adventure camping out at the 49 campsites and enjoying the hospitality of nine communities along the way. Those that walk every step of the way can be registered as end-to-enders.