The Stirling Ranges are a beautiful mountain range which has both stunning and diverse wildflowers, as well as the challenge of climbing Bluff Knoll, which draws bushwalkers and climbers to the Stirling Range National Park.
Stirling Range National Park is the only major mountain range in the southern half of Western Australia. It has rugged peaks, which rise to more than 1,000 metres above sea level, sharp cliff faces, protected gullies, and magnificent views.
The park is one of the world's most important areas for flora with 1500 species and it is all these reasons that the Stirling Range is a major tourist draw-card for Western Australia.
The Stirling Range is renowned for its unusual, and sometimes spectacular cloud formations, and it is also one of few places in Western Australia where snow occasionally falls.
1. TALYUBERLUP This is one of the "lesser" peaks of these ranges, and it has jagged ridges which are impressive and offer one of the finest rock scenery in the western half of the ranges.
It has a picnic area on Stirling Range Drive, which is about 45 minutes to the base of the crags. The climbers' track leaves the main track, near a huge boulder.
By Photographs by Gnangarra...commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY 2.5 au,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1749573
2. BLUFF KNOLL The time for this bush walk is between 1 and 3 hours and it is 6 kms. It is the highest, being 1073 m, and one of the most spectacular and popular peaks in Western Australia.
The trail features include abundant wildflowers, birdlife, reptiles, exceptional scenery and views of the Stirling Ranges and geological formations. There are soaring cliffs and it is well worth the effort of getting to the top!
Bluff Knoll is the most popular trail in the Stirling Range with outstanding 360-degree views from the summit. The walk starts at the southern end of the Bluff Knoll car park and picnic area, and then goes along a creek and across a mountainside to a saddle, before going to the top.
3. MOUNT TRIO This is a "boulder-strewn valley" near the start and rocky spires on the peaks of Mt Trio make this an intriguing walk.
Mount Trio comprises three separate peaks linked together by a plateau. The walk starts off as a steep climb and then turns into an easy walk to the north peak, where you can see sweeping views of Mt Toolbrunup.
The trail starts and finishes at a picnic area set amongst shady trees, which provides a relaxing place to rest after your walk.
4. MOUNT TOOLBRUNUP
This walk has excellent views from its summit and is the second highest peak in the Stirling Range.
Toolbrunup Peak towers above the other western peaks and offers uninterrupted views in all directions, however, it is a climb that can only be done if you are fit and able to "scramble" up some steep rock sections.
The trail begins at the car-park, and goes through woodland, often following along the banks of a creek as it becomes progressively steeper. After that, it rises steeply over large boulders, loose rocks and steep rubble, to a saddle near the top of the south-west buttress. From here it's a short, steep scramble to the top.
By Photographs by Gnangarra...commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY 2.5 au,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1749662
5. MOUNT HASSELL
This is a popular walk which leads to the summit of Mount Hassell, and has excellent views, particularly of Mount Toolbrunup which is just a couple of kilometres to the west.
The walk is a moderately difficult trail that starts gently from the car park. It then gets steeper as it nears a ridge and then meanders through thick bush across a saddle.
The last leg is a scramble up the small rocky castle that forms the summit, and this is easier than it looks from below, and is quite difficult in wet weather.
6. MT MAGOG
These are twin peaks, and they form a distinctive landmark in the centre of the western peaks.
The Mount Magog walk starts at a picnic site nestled amongst tall Wandoo trees. It then goes across a creek and winds across open country before rising steeply through thick bush to a clearing on the ridge, between Mount Magog and Talyuberlup Peak to the south-east. Once again, there is a steep scramble to the summit.
7. STIRLING RANGE RIDGE WALK
This one is definitely for the more serious bushwalker and should not be attempted by a beginner. If you are considering undertaking the Stirling Range Ridge Walk, also known as the Eastern Peaks Ridge Route, or other cross-country walks, you will need to contact the Stirling Range National Park rangers or the Albany District Office to obtain more detailed information. This can be done by phoning Stirling Range National Park office on 9827 9230; or Albany District office on 9842 4500.
The Ridge Walk is approximately 26 km one way from the north east corner of the park boundary, and it passes through Ellen Peak to the Bluff Knoll Car park. This is a difficult and challenging, unmarked, cross country bush-walk and it has no designated trail through a Wilderness Zone.
It will take between two to three days to complete the hike through this rugged terrain, and because it is not a "managed route", there are natural hazards existing. Hikers will need to ensure they are properly prepared. To undertake this hike, bush-walkers require previous experience as well as a high level of specialised skills and equipment including navigation skills, a map and navigation equipment to complete the walk.
There are many more walks which can be undertaken with various levels of fitness and to find out more you can go to this website.