Sullivan Rock to Monadnocks
5th July 2014
Autumn to Spring
Directions - The Sullivan Rock car park is an hour's drive from Perth and is located on the south side of Albany Highway about 9.5km past the turn-off for Jarrahdale Road. The trail starts at the red Bibbulmun Track sign on the north side of Albany Highway.
Note - Do not step on the moss at Sullivan Rock, it is extremely sensitive and will eventually disappear if everyone tramples all over it. Stick to the bare rock and Leave No Trace.
The Hike - Before I start I will confess that this is not the hike I intended to do when I arrived at the car park. The plan was to do Mount Cooke but a navigational error early in the trek meant we ended up heading north on the Bibbulmun Track instead of south-east but it turned out to be a fantastic day anyway. Joining me today was long time fan of The Life of Py, Philip, who had previously been keen to come out but is extremely time poor.
The morning we headed out there we ran into a thick fog just before the car park so had to double back after missing the turn off. With the car parked and our gear ready we crossed Albany Hwy (the trail is on the north side) and headed towards Sullivan Rock. With all the fog around it was an eerie sight when we got to Sullivan Rock (100m from the road). Visibility was limited to about 20-30m and finding our way up the bare rock face wasn't easy. After a while we realised that there was a pattern of pyramid rock formations that had been constructed by fellow hikers over the years and they lead the way over the exposed rock. The landscape was other-worldly in the fog and with blankets of moss covered in sticky Sundew plants it certainly is a special place. You eventually reach the edge of the forest and trundle through the familiar Marri/Jarrah trees of the Bibbulmun Track. When you reach the 4x4 track it is really important to make sure you chose the right direction. Mt Cooke is a right turn and Monadnocks Campsite is to the left (or straight ahead to be pedantic).
We weren't paying attention and chose to continue towards Monadnocks. Be sure to stop at the scrubbing station to clean your shoes and protect the landscape against dieback. There is evidence all along the trail of trees succumbing to this disease so making sure you clean your shoes as it's the least we can do to stop it. The forested area doesn't last long as the path leads out on to more exposed rock and the first real climb of the trail, Mt Vincent (500m). Thankfully the climb meant that we were able to ascend above the fog that had limited our views of the landscape and it quickly became apparent that this was no small hill (by Perth Standards at least). Hiking up the western side of the hill over bare granite the view just kept getting better and better. When we reached the point where we had to turn east into the bush, the view was nothing short of spectacular. We could see the thick fog slowly moving over the forest to the south and looking west there was nothing but forested national park as far as the eye could see. The summit of Mt Vincent is marked with a large rock pyramid that looks like a natural round-a-bout. From this spot you look east and again it is unspoiled bush land until the horizon (on a sunny day).