What a beautiful hike!
The track begins 9kms past Jarrahdale Road on the Albany Highway, roughly an hour south of Perth. You’ll have to cross Albany Highway by foot as the parking area is on the opposite side.
This hike begins at Sullivan’s Rock- a ginormous piece of earth poking out from the ground. You’ll walk to the top and then down the other side which is where the real track begins.
The very start of this walk is mostly downhill, with large areas of open sunlight. I chose to go on a mostly overcast day, but I’d imagine on a clear, sunny morning, that this section could get quite heated. The track is clear and concise, and there is little to no chance of anyone ever getting lost. It’s clearly marked with the signature Bibbulman Track snake attached to many trees pointing you in the appropriate direction.
The second half of this trail was far more enjoyable for me. You wind up and down hills, through some proper forest canopies until you come to the Mount Cooke campsite. If I were to estimate the distance between the start of the trail and this point, I’d say it were around 8 kilometres. This is only a short walk in the grand scheme of things and is appropriate for a day trip or an overnighter. I opted for an overnight hike as I wanted to test out my brand new camping hammock.
This section could probably use an article of its own, and, if you wanted to skip past it, I couldn’t blame you, but I’ll throw it in here anyway. In short; I loved hammock camping!
Hammock camping on an overnight hike-
Two words spring to mind instantly; comfortable and easy. This was by far the best sleep I’ve had in the outdoors. Laying diagonally in my hammock ensured the flattest lay, and falling asleep watching the stars is something I’d recommend everyone to do atleast once in their life. Throw in the fact that I was on-top of a mountain, and you’ve got yourself an ideal sleep for ultimate serenity and peace.
I woke once during the night as there was an animal in my camp. For comparison sake, I’d normally wake five or six times in a tent. This is mostly a comfort thing. In a tent, your body is actually in contact with the ground through your sleeping pad. This causes sore spots as you’ll very rarely get a perfectly flat lay. The difference with a hammock is that there is no point of contact with anything. You’re sleeping in the air. It’s like laying on a cloud, or sleeping on your back in a pool of water.
It was easy to set up and there’s no need to find a flat-ish piece of earth. All you need are two trees around 4-5 meters apart. I actually slept on a slight hill which you really couldn’t do in a tent.
If you’re looking into going hammock camping you will definitely need a sleeping pad or preferably an underquilt. As the sun creeped up from the horizon, I did have cold legs. A sleeping pad is somewhat awkward when used inside of a hammock and my legs had actually slipped off of the pad through the night. My torso was still on top of the pad and was toasty warm. For this reason I’d highly recommend an underquilt to go along with your hammock. These are quite pricey but will ensure a warm nights sleep. I intend on sewing my own synthetic underquilt as down might be a little too warm for the months I intend on using my hammock. This is a much cheaper alternative and will be fun to put together too.
I had an everyday tarp that I bought from Bunnings. Whilst sufficient, this tarp is not light, and doesn’t pack down particularly small. I think I will also be sewing my own lightweight tarp too in the coming months. The tarp itself is easy to hang, you just need a length of rope between the two trees. I used this length to hang my pack up. This was just to deter any animals from digging through my things.
The pack down was as easy as it was to set up. It took me roughly ten minutes to set up, and just under ten to pack down. I will definitely be taking my hammock camping again, probably more so than my tent because you can’t beat a comfortable night’s sleep when you’re out in the bush. With a lightweight tarp my pack will be much lighter than my tent set up and I greatly look forward to future nights spent in my hammock. This is the most comfortable sleep you can get camping; I’m 100% sure of this.
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Now, back to the trail.
From the Mount Cooke campsite to the peak itself, is around 45 minutes of leisurely hiking. Because I was staying overnight, I’d set my hammock up back at the campsite, and opted to just bring my day pack for this section.
There’s a few solid lookout spots on this section that you’ll probably want to spend some time relaxing at. The peak itself is not that pretty, but there’s a section prior that you could easily spend an hour or two observing the landscape below.
The round trip ends up being somewhere around the 20km mark, and is extremely suitable for a day hike. It’s an enjoyable escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, all within a two hour round trip drive from Perth City. I’ll definitely be visiting this trail again in the future and would recommend it to anyone of a moderate fitness level.