Stargazing At Sullivan’s

Stargazing At Sullivan’s

Who the heck is Sullivan you ask? Not a mate of mine, but a large granite rock situated a half hour drive east of Armadale along the Albany Highway. Having hiked the hills surrounding Sullivan Rock, I had explored it during the day time before, and yet still it was difficult to find the rest area I usually stop in to access the rock. If you are in the same position, reset your car’s trip meter at the intersection of Albany and South West Highway’s in Armadale, and keep an eye out for a rest area sign after about 33km, the rest area is at around 35km. Or just use one of those new fan-dangled GPS devices and point it to (32 22’46.37″ S, 116 15’01.07″E).

Starting the walk to Sullivan Rock, on Albany Highway

Starting the walk to Sullivan Rock, on Albany Highway

Pulling up into the patch of gravel it was eerily dark and silent, the two rental cars parked up were at a logical guess belonging to overnight hikers. But of course not everybody’s mind is logical in the dark bush, and as such the first thought was axe murderers.

The pathway leading up to the rock is easily found on the opposite side of the highway, just look for the tiny bridge across the drain.

It is frequently accessed and is easy to follow the path through the bush and up the rock, and it only took us about 10 minutes even in the dark, with six people, three torches, two camera cases, two tripods, one telescope, a picnic….and yeah you get the idea. It’s pretty easy.

The familiar stone cairns you see on a lot of popular hikes are dotted up the rock to mark a path, we tried not to deviate from them or the track both to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems on the rock, and to avoid being lost in the dark.

 

Stone cairn on Sullivan Rock Western Australia

Stone cairn on Sullivan Rock Western Australia

We had specifically chosen this night for the new moon, the best time for star gazing and night photography. Unfortunately whilst it is far better out here than in the suburban area’s, you do still get some light pollution from the city, and even out to the east some light pollution from industrial works. You can see that in the bottom of my image.

Using the Starwalk app for Iphone (If you like the odd stare at the heavens this app is a must have!) we saw that Saturn would rise at 10:20pm, and decided to make sure we had a look at that before we packed up and moved on. By the time Saturn had risen past the tree’s half of our group had got so tired that they had fallen asleep on the rock, and it was just on pack up time when we saw a light coming up the hill towards us. Scary.

After a tense and silent minute or so, the serial killer was in range of us and shot a nervous “G’day” our way which was enough to break the tension we were all feeling. Turns out the lone night-hiker was out here for the same purpose and frequents this spot by himself. As scary as that might seem I think he may have convinced me to do the same.

A view of the stars from Sullivan rock.

 

Alex

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2 Comments

  1. Linda Martino
    March 17, 21:52 Reply
    There's always an axe murderer on a new moon night. Stunning photo.
  2. Wendy Garner
    March 21, 22:37 Reply
    Love it, the writing held me in suspense and a great photo even with the light pollution.

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