Location: Castle Rock Rd, Porongurup National Park
Distance: 4.4km return
Trail Marker: Trail-head sign and then 'how far' posts
Duration: 2- 3 hours
Cost: $13 National Park Fees
Date Hiked: 17 January 2019
Kml Map File: Please click here.
The Granite Skywalk, Castle Rock attracts over 95,000 people each year and it's not hard to see why. The suspended walkway wraps itself around the huge granite outcrop of Castle Rock and truly is a marvel of engineering with two lookouts that give spectacular views across the park.
Despite having done it many times, I didn't really have any fantastic photos that I felt were blog worthy so that meant I had to head out there to take some more.....any excuse for a hike right;)
Having done it during the day previously we thought we would aim for a sunset experience so set off from the Castle Rock carpark and began the 2.2km ascend up to the skywalk passing through jarrah, marri and karri forest. It doesn't take long to get the heart racing on this hike so enjoy the chance to pause, catch our breaths and explore the couple of little sidetracks that lead out to some open granite sections. (see middle pic below).
The size of the trunks of some of these trees really do blow your mind! Towering giants.
My favourite thing about the Porongurups is just how green the forest is throughout the year.
What I also enjoyed exploring was the different types of moss and lichens growing off the fallen giants. Really looking forward to seeing more of the Fungi coming out too this year.
The terrain varies from a slightly wider trail where you can pass people quite easily to narrow single file sections. There are quite a few steps and rocky areas that require a little more thought about where you intend on placing your foot but overall is is quite an enjoyable walk.
The first major point of interest on the trail is the bonus addition of a pretty unique 'Balancing Rock', a 6 m high granite boulder balancing delicately on a small base. It absolutely amazes me how this rock just sits there, and I'm sure creates a bit of hesitation as people try to get a pic next to it.
Moving on, scrambling between two rocks for just a short walk is where you then come to the exciting part of the walk. This last stage can be a bit tricky as it requires a bit more serious scrambling over and under granite rocks and then climbing to the top of the "castle" via an upright ladder. The first section of scrambling alone throws many people off as you really need to pull yourself up and over.
For those that are not keen or able to do the rock scramble, there is still the opportunity to see some amazing views via the Karri Lookout which is only 50m from this point. It too offers amazing views of the heathland and farmland below as well as the chance to look up to see the Granite Skywalk wrapping around Castle Rock.
For those that are able to make it over and under the rocks, you are in for a treat, that's assuming you are ok to climb the 6m ladder to the top. Despite having a safety cage wrapped around it, for those scared of heights it can be a bit of concern. Hopefully your able to go all the way, especially after walking that far.
We just made it in time to see the sun setting. Unfortunately there was a fair bit of cloud around so not a perfect sunset but beautiful none the less.
I did like the view down to the Karri Lookout too. Looks beautiful amongst the grand giants.
Highly recommend planning your itinerary for a sunset experience. It will mean your walking a fair amount of the return hike in the dark so make sure you pack torches.
The views out to the Stirling Ranges are pretty epic too.
To return, simply go back down the ladder, scramble back over and under the rocks again and descend back to the carpark. I really enjoyed walking back by torchlight as the wildlife that comes out at that time is amazing. See how many frogs and scorpions you can find.
Hopefully this post inspires you to visit and if so, we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.