While in Albany, we took a day trip to visit the Porongurup National Park and the small village of Porongurup, situated about 50kms north of Albany.
We had heard about the Granite Skywalk, a suspended walkway around the huge granite outcrop of Castle Rock and were keen to see the views from the top.
The short pleasant drive from Albany brought us to the Granite Skywalk carpark, just a few kilometres before the village itself. The views of the range as we approached provided a slightly worrisome indication of the climb we had ahead of us to reach the Skywalk.
It was a tough Class 5, 4.4km return trail, but we were blessed with a pleasantly overcast day with a slight breeze to help keep us cool. From the start the track headed steeply uphill, and was variously gravel, rocky, muddy and a constant climb. The light woodland provided few openings for taking in the views, but the first gap that allowed glimpses of the Stirling Ranges to the north encouraged us to keep going. Having seen the Skywalk while driving along a track to the south of the range, we expected to find spectacular views from the top.
The second half of the walk up became even steeper and rockier and, nearing the top, became more of a scramble over huge boulders. As we reached the Balancing Rock, we knew we were nearly there and stopped for a couple of photos (but, really, it was for Jen to catch her breath!).
A bit further on, we were offered a choice of two lookouts. But who takes the easier option? Naturally, we headed off for the Skywalk on the Castle Rock Summit.
From this point on the climb was pretty much single lane traffic, and we waited while a large family group descended from the Skywalk and through the narrow scramble and gap before we could proceed (another good chance to have a rest). Then it was off to the top …
Once over the scramble, there was only the seven metre ladder climb to go.
The views from the top really made the effort to get up there worthwhile. Panoramic views of the Stirling Ranges to the north, and also south towards Albany. Seeing the construction of the Skywalk up close was impressive; full marks to the team that built it way up there.
The walk back to the car was relatively easy, just a continuous descent to test out the knees and quads (and avoid slipping in the muddy sections).
Once back in the car we visited the small village of Porongurup, and enjoyed a late lunch at the quaint tea rooms, and checked out the ‘robot’ petrol pump.
With lunch over we drove some of the trails around the Porongurup National Park and ranges. The views were stunning.
We stopped in to see the ‘Tree in a Rock’. The tree established itself in a crack in the rock and has since grown to a significant size.
With the day of exploring and hiking over, it was time to take our weary feet and sore joints back to Albany for a rest and a good night’s sleep!
Next stop, we head about 400kms inland to visit Wave Rock.