High above the ground within the Porongurup Ranges in Western Australia's Great Southern Region is the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. If you are ever in this beautiful part of the state, this walk is a must do.
We arrived at the base of the walk at 11.30am not knowing what to expect. After surveying the information board we noted that the climb was a 2.3km Level 5 climb that ran upslope through jarrah, marri and karri forests, and to allow 2 to 3 hours for a return trip. It wasn't looking good as we only had one hour to spare.
But we were there and are slightly crazy so we raced up the hill. Luckily for us we were blessed with fine weather. Had it been raining the ground underfoot would've been very muddy and slippery and the hike up would be much more difficult. As fine as the weather was, it didn't help the steepness of the climb and after 600m I was already asking, 'Are we there yet?'
Unluckily for me the ascent only got steeper as we got higher. With encouragement from my partner and from the posts in the ground counting down how far we had left to walk, we finally reached the end of the hike after 2.2kms.
To our surprise we were rewarded with 'The Balancing Rock'. I knew it was along the hike and was so glad when I found out we didn't have to walk any further to see it and that it was situated just before the final climb towards the Skywalk.
After catching our breath at the Balancing Rock, we had to clamber over some natural rocks to get to the base of Castle Rock where there are two lookouts. One of the lookouts you can walk to without any further climbing. The views from here are fantastic but the climbers coming down from the one above said the views from the higher lookout were so much better.
To get to the Skywalk above, we needed to scramble over rocks and pull ourselves up between crevices between boulders with strategically placed metal handles that had been drilled in. Once we got through that part, there is another section of boulders to manoeuvre over before a medium length ladder to tackle. On the top of this ladder is the Skywalk.
An amazing catwalk situated 500m above sea level around the outside of the granite boulders gives you 360 degree view of the surrounds below. We could see all the way to Albany from the top. It is a little scary when the wind picks up speed but is definitely worth the long walk up.
The walk down was a lot more pleasant and there were no complaints from me as to if we were there yet. Conversations were about the wonderful view that we have just seen and how we will return to that spot again. We made it back to the car in a very quick 1 hour and 10 minutes, but a more relaxed and leisurely walk and more time to appreciate the views from above is definitely on the cards for next time.