Location: Apex Drive, Albany Heritage Park
Distance: 3.2km loop
Trail Marker: Orange topped posts
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Date Hiked: 18th December 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
The Mount Clarence Heritage and Granite Trail provides breathtaking views of the King George Sound, Princess Royal Harbour and out to the Stirling Range. Located within the 260 hectare Albany Heritage Park, Mount Clarence sits in the heart of Albany and is home to the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial.
Directly opposite Mount Clarence, also located in the Albany Heritage Park is Mount Adelaide, home to the National Anzac Centre, another adventure for another day. The thing I like about these two mountains is the trails that link up between them providing a wider experience of the two.
In preparation of our relocation to the south coast, I started getting out and exploring whilst on a week long holiday in October. I managed to convince Dave and Sophie to come with me, a bit of a mission after I had dragged them out in the wet to walk Lake Seppings. The weather was a little kinder to us on this particular day.
There is no official start to the walk, my guess is perhaps the interpretative sign at the top Apex Carpark but the walk can be started anywhere, and done any way you feel like. I decided to start opposite the sign, via the gate across the vehicle track.
I found the signage to be easy to follow, with orange topped posts pointing the way. Just be cautious if mixing it up a bit, as to which trail you do take as there are dedicated MTB Trails that are out of bounds to walkers, the trail does pass a few of these trails so you need to be alert, especially if walking on the weekend when I imagine the trails to be busier.
The initial section follows wide limestone vehicle tracks from the top of Mount Clarence, changes about half way down to a more forest setting, ascending down.
The forest was cool and damp, now and then providing glimpses of the Albany town as we passed by large granite boulders covered in green moss.
The trail then begins to flatten a little as we make our way along a wide sandy vehicle track, passing by suburbia, evident by the views of houses through the trees along this particular section.
We found the walk quite an enjoyable one with lots to explore from the beautiful big boulders, to the magic of textures and wildflowers, there was lots of exploring to do.
As we start looping our way back around the trails narrow making us a little cautious for slippery friends, thankfully none were seen,
But we did see the scaly kind. A beautiful Bobtail basking in the warmth of the sun.
Mr Bobtail was basking in the sun as we approached the trail section that runs alongside a drain that I assume would help with the run off from the mountain and help prevent erosion.
Shortly after walking next to the run off drain, we came across a fenced off track however the walk continues around the gate and runs past a water pipeline until you reach a bridge that crosses directly over and heads uphil into the forest.
What goes up must come down, in this case what goes down must come up, to get back to the start anyway. Ascend through a beautiful section of forest back up to the Apex carpark.
As you come out to the carpark area you will see the interpretive signage again. From this point we continue left to begin the second loop.
The second half of the loop takes walker up the steps to the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial.
The views from the top are amazing.
Bottom left out to Vancouver Peninsula, bottom middle looking over Mount Adelaide out to Breaksea Island and Michealmas Island, bottom right looking over Middleton Beach out to Gull Rock National Park.
Its then on to the Padre White Lookout, a steel walkway structure that curves around the surrounding rocks, marking the spot where the Rector of St John’s Church, Padre White, stood in 1930 after leading a pilgrimage from his church in York Street to Mt Clarence, in what is claimed to have been the first ever observance of a Dawn Service on ANZAC Day in Australia.
From the lookout the walk continues on down the stairs and on to the granite making its way through a small section of bush before coming out to the Transmitting Station and then continuing down gravel vehicle tracks to the large open granite section.
Once again walkers are greeted with beautiful views this time of the Albany town but as you walk along the shoulder Mount Adelaide and the islands once again come in to view.
A park bench has been provided for those wanting to take in the views over Lake Seppings and out to Emu Point. You can even see the Golf Course quite clearly from this point.
Leaving the exposed granite area, the trail narrows once again and brought us back to the first 4 wheel drive track we initially walked down on, so we made a simple right turn and ascending back up to the Apex Carpark where the walk finished.
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.