Stirling Range National Park - Oct 2017

blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,812
2,048
363
42
Perth
No snow on this trip, but a decent amount of vertical was hiked, and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing some photos from the area. So here goes...

I'd basically been down in this area around Easter as part of a bigger road trip, and the weather was pretty average, so I'd convinced myself to go back to the National park for a more focused visit. It's just over a 4 hour drive down from Perth to the Stirling Range Retreat, which is a caravan park just on the northern edge of the Park. We were based there for Saturday and Sunday night. It's popular with bird watchers and wildflower enthusiasts too, in our 30's we were probably at the younger end of the demographic staying there.

The park itself is stunning, and is quite striking as an oasis for nature in the vast farmlands that surround it. You notice the wildlife almost instantly, and even the peaks are teeming with bugs and birds and lizards. I was pretty unsure of the dirt roads in the park with a 2wd, but they are well graded and barely showed any signs of corrugation.

Onto the hikes, I'd hiked Bluff Knoll before, and Mt Trio was basically a smaller version of that walk. Relatively simple if not brutal in the early stages, with amazing views from the summit. Toolbrunup Peak on the other hand, is something altogether different. To summit on the trail you need to navigate 2 sections of granite boulder debris with gradients of over 45 degrees. The scramble up to the peak is just that, a scramble up the side of the granite peak. Not for the faint of heart or those of us who are less nimble. Bluff Knoll is basically a slog up 700m of vertical, with the middle section having the steepest gradient. Castle Rock was the easiest hike of the bunch and is at the nearby Porongorup park closer to Albany. It's a really well presented site with the Granite Skywalk at the top. Apart from Bluff Knoll, the Stirling Range hikes are fairly agricultural, with little signage and information apart from the trail heads.

We ended up with spectacular weather on Saturday and Sunday, and the pictures tell the story:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/smyM2CqHja6BF6Ef2

I'm definitely going to go back to attempt some of the other peaks in the Park! Feel free to ask if anyone has any questions about the area.

Itinerary was as follows:
- Saturday AM: Drive from Perth
- Saturday PM: Hike Mt Trio (340m elevation gain)
- Sunday AM: Hike Toolbrunup (500m elevation gain)
- Sunday PM: Hike Bluff Knoll (700m elevation gain)
- Monday AM: Hike Castle Rock (280m elevation gain)
- Monday PM: Drive back to Perth
 
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Myazma

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 10, 2009
3,545
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Jindi
Nice trip, were people adding rocks to the top of Bluff Knoll, should be. Highest altitude I ever got in WA was a big hill outside of Esperance. There is a couple of 'mountains' over 1000m up north, they ever on the radar or too far
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
5,948
6,633
563
Nice trip, were people adding rocks to the top of Bluff Knoll, should be. Highest altitude I ever got in WA was a big hill outside of Esperance. There is a couple of 'mountains' over 1000m up north, they ever on the radar or too far

The Pilbara mountains, along with some of the central desert ranges, have the best ' potential riding' contours I've seen in Oz. Cliff lines, scattered small trees, consistent fall lines, endless natural half pipes, bowls, just a pity they are 4000 degrees to hot.

Spent many of my 12 hours shifts salivating over them, imagining what they'd be like with snow. Closest I got was 2C with rain during one unusual southerly event in my five odd years there. People always thought I was mad talking about snow up there.

Lucky Japan is so close.
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
5,948
6,633
563
No snow on this trip, but a decent amount of vertical was hiked, and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing some photos from the area. So here goes...

I'd basically been down in this area around Easter as part of a bigger road trip, and the weather was pretty average, so I'd convinced myself to go back to the National park for a more focused visit. It's just over a 4 hour drive down from Perth to the Stirling Range Retreat, which is a caravan park just on the northern edge of the Park. We were based there for Saturday and Sunday night. It's popular with bird watchers and wildflower enthusiasts too, in our 30's we were probably at the younger end of the demographic staying there.

The park itself is stunning, and is quite striking as an oasis for nature in the vast farmlands that surround it. You notice the wildlife almost instantly, and even the peaks are teeming with bugs and birds and lizards. I was pretty unsure of the dirt roads in the park with a 2wd, but they are well graded and barely showed any signs of corrugation.

Onto the hikes, I'd hiked Bluff Knoll before, and Mt Trio was basically a smaller version of that walk. Relatively simple if not brutal in the early stages, with amazing views from the summit. Toolbrunup Peak on the other hand, is something altogether different. To summit on the trail you need to navigate 2 sections of granite boulder debris with gradients of over 45 degrees. The scramble up to the peak is just that, a scramble up the side of the granite peak. Not for the faint of heart or those of us who are less nimble. Bluff Knoll is basically a slog up 700m of vertical, with the middle section having the steepest gradient. Castle Rock was the easiest hike of the bunch and is at the nearby Porongorup park closer to Albany. It's a really well presented site with the Granite Skywalk at the top. Apart from Bluff Knoll, the Stirling Range hikes are fairly agricultural, with little signage and information apart from the trail heads.

We ended up with spectacular weather on Saturday and Sunday, and the pictures tell the story:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/smyM2CqHja6BF6Ef2

I'm definitely going to go back to attempt some of the other peaks in the Park! Feel free to ask if anyone has any questions about the area.

Itinerary was as follows:
- Saturday AM: Drive from Perth
- Saturday PM: Hike Mt Trio (340m elevation gain)
- Sunday AM: Hike Toolbrunup (500m elevation gain)
- Sunday PM: Hike Bluff Knoll (700m elevation gain)
- Monday AM: Hike Castle Rock (280m elevation gain)
- Monday PM: Drive back to Perth

You swore at least three times, with heinous blasphemy at end!!
 
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Xplora

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 7, 2015
2,188
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363
Nice trip, were people adding rocks to the top of Bluff Knoll, should be. Highest altitude I ever got in WA was a big hill outside of Esperance. There is a couple of 'mountains' over 1000m up north, they ever on the radar or too far
I walked up Mt. Bruce which I think is WA's second highest. Pretty easy walk but got a great view of a huge open cut mine. Seems when WA needs money they sell of the Parks for mining. Stirlings are much better.
 
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blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,812
2,048
363
42
Perth
Nice trip, were people adding rocks to the top of Bluff Knoll, should be. Highest altitude I ever got in WA was a big hill outside of Esperance. There is a couple of 'mountains' over 1000m up north, they ever on the radar or too far

It's kind of odd, Bluff seems like the only one without a proper cairn. At least I haven't noticed it the two times I've been there. Trio has 2 quite large ones, and the actual highest point of Toolbrunup is a flat bit of rock about 2m wide, so the cairn is understandably small.
 

telecrag

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Oct 12, 2007
32,260
48,684
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Had two goes at Bluff, pre internet days, one time was shut due to die back, the other a fire. I like how such small hills are so big (like UK) because they come from sea level basically.
 

Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,741
8,002
1,063
Perth
Great part of the world to spend some time. I did quite a few hikes in the area about 10 years ago, hiking Castle Rock, Bluff Knoll (several times), Mt Trio, Talyuberlup Peak, Mount Hassell (3 or 4 times). It was difficult to find the overgrown tracks near the top of both Trio and Talyuberlup. Really enjoyed doing Hassell, and it's so convenient being able to drive the sealed Chester Pass Rd, then about 2km on the gravel, do the hike and be in Albany for dinner.

Great time of the year to be hiking the area, but keep an eye out and make a bit of noise when you can't see where you're putting your feet, it's snake season.
 
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Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,741
8,002
1,063
Perth
Oh yeah, and most importantly the Porongurups being a bit cooler is a great area for dry Rieslings :D

Castle-Rock_2016_Porongurup-Riesling-500x500.jpg
 

GS

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
May 20, 2004
12,393
18,185
863
Yarra Valley Vic
I looked at the dates on my photos from Bluff Knoll...31 years ago. That's gone quick :eek: I recall staying at a campground just near there that a local farmer set up or something like that..it was brand new, spotlessly clean and tidy, and really cheap. I wonder if it's the same one.
 
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blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,812
2,048
363
42
Perth
Had two goes at Bluff, pre internet days, one time was shut due to die back, the other a fire. I like how such small hills are so big (like UK) because they come from sea level basically.

A lot of people you talk to about the climb will mention that they've never had views from the peak due to cloud cover, so we were really lucky with the weather. The majority of the park is above 200m and the bluff carpark itself is at around 400m ASL. It would seem even bigger if it came all the way from sea level :D

Great part of the world to spend some time. I did quite a few hikes in the area about 10 years ago, hiking Castle Rock, Bluff Knoll (several times), Mt Trio, Talyuberlup Peak, Mount Hassell (3 or 4 times). It was difficult to find the overgrown tracks near the top of both Trio and Talyuberlup. Really enjoyed doing Hassell, and it's so convenient being able to drive the sealed Chester Pass Rd, then about 2km on the gravel, do the hike and be in Albany for dinner.

Great time of the year to be hiking the area, but keep an eye out and make a bit of noise when you can't see where you're putting your feet, it's snake season.

I'm curious how Talyuberlup compares to the Toolbrunup hike. They sound like they have pretty similar sections towards the summits. I was wondering about snakes, we didn't see any, but they must be well fed during the spring with all those fat lizards gorging on the insects.
 

blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,812
2,048
363
42
Perth
I looked at the dates on my photos from Bluff Knoll...31 years ago. That's gone quick :eek: I recall staying at a campground just near there that a local farmer set up or something like that..it was brand new, spotlessly clean and tidy, and really cheap. I wonder if it's the same one.

There's two on the Northern side of the park. Stirling Range Retreat and Mt Trio Bush Camp. The former has some cabins that can be booked, whereas Mt Trio does not. I'd say it's almost certainly one of those two sites.
 
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Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,741
8,002
1,063
Perth
A lot of people you talk to about the climb will mention that they've never had views from the peak due to cloud cover, so we were really lucky with the weather. The majority of the park is above 200m and the bluff carpark itself is at around 400m ASL. It would seem even bigger if it came all the way from sea level :D



I'm curious how Talyuberlup compares to the Toolbrunup hike. They sound like they have pretty similar sections towards the summits. I was wondering about snakes, we didn't see any, but they must be well fed during the spring with all those fat lizards gorging on the insects.
Here we go

http://thelongwaysbetter.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/talyuberlup-peak-stirling-range.html

Summette hadn't been enjoying the steepness, so once we got to the rock faces near the top we had a quick look, couldn't find an obvious way to keep going, so headed back down from there. Toolbrunup is regarded as the most difficult hike in the park. Oh yeah, have done another one in the Porongurups, might have been Nancy Peak circuit.

The hike that really looks a spectacular one to do is Bald Head Walk Trail in Torndirrup NP. It's the very prominent point that you can see on the south side of Albany harbour. Notorious Tiger Snake territory though, might be a good one to do in winter when they're sleeping !

desert-corp-memorial-and-views-ah-web.jpg


http://thelongwaysbetter.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/bald-head-walk-trail-torndirrup.html
 
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telecrag

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Oct 12, 2007
32,260
48,684
1,063
Ive done the Bald Head one, its pretty nice, I like the feeling heading along the isthmus, with the sound on one side, and ocean on the other. Its like you can go for a swim on one side, or die on the other.
 
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blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,812
2,048
363
42
Perth
Here we go

http://thelongwaysbetter.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/talyuberlup-peak-stirling-range.html

Summette hadn't been enjoying the steepness, so once we got to the rock faces near the top we had a quick look, couldn't find an obvious way to keep going, so headed back down from there. Toolbrunup is regarded as the most difficult hike in the park. Oh yeah, have done another one in the Porongurups, might have been Nancy Peak circuit.

The hike that really looks a spectacular one to do is Bald Head Walk Trail in Torndirrup NP. It's the very prominent point that you can see on the south side of Albany harbour. Notorious Tiger Snake territory though, might be a good one to do in winter when they're sleeping !

Nice, Talyuberlup really does look like a spectacular walk. I was intending to do the Nancy peak hike on this trip too, but the weather came in while I was at the top of Castle Rock in the morning. This site has some excellent guides too:
http://www.thelifeofpy.com/nancy-peak-circuit-devils-slide

I explored a fair bit of Torndirrup around Easter (Blowholes, The Gap, Salmon Holes, Stony Hill) but didn't get time to do the hike. Good recommendation!

Some Pics from that trip:
https://goo.gl/photos/58doKywGVsmYCnXq6
 
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