One would think after climbing a 1000 metre mountain in the morning that our hiking for the day would be done, but no! After our morning on magical Bluff Knoll we decided to tackle another hike in the area so that we would have the whole of the following day to explore Albany and the surrounding sites. So we decided to tackle the famous Granite Skywalk on Castle Rock. But first it was lunch break, and after a gorgeous lunch at the cozy Porongorup Tearooms we then went on to our afternoon hike. Sadly (or not sadly for this glutton) I couldn’t resist the amazing homemade scones with homemade jam and cream for dessert. This absolutely unnecessary gluttony mixed with the tired legs of the earlier hike made for a long and slow afternoon hike. By the end I was in agony, but it was so worth it!
Just off Porongorup Road, at the end of Castle Rock Road you will find the carpark, picnic area and lovely new clean toilets. Use them as there is nothing for the rest of the trail! The hike starts easy enough, and apart from a full belly I was feeling good! It had drizzled earlier in the day so the trail was super muddy, which was fine for prepared people like myself, but for those certain tourists that wear white converse shoes or worse, sandals, it was a nightmare. The higher up the trail you went the more wet and muddy it got.
As you get higher up the trail the muddy path gives way to rock. The Porongorup Range is basically made up of numerous massive ancient granite domes, that rise up to 600 metres from the earth. When I say these are ancient, I really do mean ancient – apparently these rocks are the oldest mountain range in the world that are over 1 billion years old! These granite rocks make for some great scrambling, and as you get closer to the skywalk you will begin the challenge of climbing up the rocks (with the help of some handrails and a ladder).
570 metres from ground level and we are up on the granite skywalk! I must admit to being a bit freaked out by how the skywalk is kind of just drilled into the side of a huge piece of granite rock. 570 metres might not sound that high but when you are up there the wind is fierce (even on this calm quiet day the seabreeze from the southern ocean can feel quite strong!) After a few minutes up the top the wind chill cooled down the sweat of the climb quick smart and it got cold real quick! After some quick snaps of the views of the surrounding farmlands we headed back down.
Overall a fantastic experience and definitely recommended! It can be done by pretty much anyone with a basic level of fitness, but be warned you will need to do a bit of scrambling and grabbing on to some rails to hoist yourself up. My friend and I followed a family up and we helped the young boys whose tiny legs were too short to hoist themselves up at times! It’s a big call to make but I think I enjoyed this experience more than the “premier” tourist spot that is the hike up Bluff Knoll. I just loved the ancient granite outcrops and the “fun” of climbing and scrambling!
15km (10 minute) drive from Mount Barker or 40km (30 minute) drive from Albany. This region is about a 4 hour drive from Perth. The trail itself is 4.4km return, so should take you around 2-3 hours. As mentioned it gets muddy – every day when we woke from our chalet nearby we would see misty clouds hanging around the rock, which means its pretty much always damp, so wear decent footwear! Entry fee is $15 per vehicle and this is paid at the pay machines at the carpark. For keen hikers there are numerous other trails like Nancy’s Peak and the Devils Slide Trail. Your entry fee is good for the whole day so you can park at different trails and spend the whole day here.