Location: Tree in the Rock Carpark, Porongurup National Park
Distance: 5.5km loop
Trail Marker: Interpretative Trailhead sign, then blue triangle with yellow boot on posts
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Cost: $13 National Park Fees apply
Date Hiked: 19th July 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
Any of the hikes in Porongurup National Park rate high up on my list but I could be bias as we now have the privilege of calling them my locals. I first walked the Nancy Peak Circuit mid 2018, it was actually an unplanned walk as our itinerary was to do the Granite Skywalk but as drove along Porongurup Rd and saw the Nancy Peak sign, a spur of the moment detour was decided so these pics our from our first walk as it was probably the most memorable for us, so much so that we spent 6 hours walking it. It can definitely be done in a lot less, most average 2 -3 hrs but there was simply so much to see on this occasion and we were completely immersed in the experience.
The start of the circuit begins at the Tree-in-the-Rock picnic area at the end of Bolganup Rd. An informative trail-head sign provides visitors with information about the day use area as well as the many walks throughout the park. Picnic tables, bbqs and toilets are provided for those wishing to spend some time exploring this area.
The walk begins on the left hand side of the sign, although can technically be done either way. Clockwise will take you past as icon of the park, the Tree-in-the-Rock.
The Tree in the Rock is a natural attraction, highlighting a growing partnership with a giant karri tree and the granite rock from which it has grown from. An interpretative sign provides walkers with information on the organisms that thrive in and around the granite.
We chose a beautiful time of year to walk this trail, with lots of lichens, mosses and fungi present in the forest, a winter paradise.
A little further along a hollowed out karri provides a great photo opportunity to stand inside one of these towering giants.
The trail ascends via the occasional switchback, walking through the thick understorey over pebbles and rocks.
The occasional fallen giants lay on side the trail, remnants of the 2007 fires which wiped out a significant section of the park. The thick understorey an example of just how strong nature fights back afterwards.
The trail passes by large granite boulders, a common sight throughout the park.
Little wrens flutter about as we walk past taking in the beauty of the lichens on tree branches and moss covered bark.
Whilst the understorey is so thick that it prevents you taking in the views and seeing exactly how high you are, the rainforest feel helped further immerse ourselves into the experience.
I'm not a fungi expert so unfortunately cannot tell you the names of what we saw but there were quite a few varieties around.
I think this could be Bracket Fungi but couldn't be sure
Before long we found ourselves out of the karri forest, on top of the first section of open granite which provided our first views of the farmland below, Bolganup Dam which is the water supply to the village of Porongurup and the views even stretched out to the Stirling Range which was kind of hidden amongst the cloud.
From here a marker points back in to the forest so after spending a considerable amount of time at this first lookout we dragged ourselves away in awe of what was still to come.
Back into the forest we go, passing by beautiful wattle in bloom but only for a short stint as we were back out to another exposed section of granite covered in moss.
This section of exposed granite was on a bit of a slope and as we made our way across, our first glimpses of Devils Slide, Marmabup Peak and Bates Peak on the other side of the range came in to view and for the remainder of our walk my eyes were almost fixed on it.
Hayward Peak provides the first interpretative sign looking out over the farmlands and out to the Stirling Range and talks about a slow-moving collision between two continents giving birth to two very different mountain ranges.
Hayward Peak was named after the Director of the Tourism Department, Mr S.J. Hayward in recognition of their work preserving the beauty spots.
Some of the local resident skinks checking us out.
Continuing on from Hayward Peak we could see a much higher peak in the distance, and assumed it was Nancy Peak so proceeded on, getting a better view of the peaks to the south east of us, Twin Peaks being the most obvious, Collier Peak just beyond and Castle Rock would be hidden further on. Because of the cloud around you couldn't see too far in to the distance but Many Peaks is hiding out there.
The ascent up to Nancy Peak is quite spectacular with pretty much 360 degree views and amazing large granite boulders that just balance on top. Sophie thought she would be strong enough to get one to move but her attempt saw her exhausted so both her and Dave pulled up a chair on one of the rock seats.
I am in constant awe of the colours the Porongurup Range puts out hence why I can literally sit on top of the granite and waste many many hours just immersing myself in it all.
The last final ascent up to Nancy Peak takes walkers through a narrow gap between two big boulders.
and then flows out to the summit of the peak placing you on the highest point of the trail. The views are incredible, the only downside though is that unless you study the trail before hand, most won't know that this point is Nancy Peak because there is no interpretive sign saying so.
What I do know from research is that Nancy Peak was named after a cow. Yep you read it correctly. The cow had escaped her farm and went climbing! She was found up the track to the peak, so they named it Nancy's Peak, in honour of the cheeky bovine!
From Nancy Peak the trail begins to descend about 100m passing by Morgans View, a peak named after Alfred Edward Morgan who was premier of Western Australlia for one month during 1901. Morgan owned some of the land below, on the south side of the range.
Enjoy the last chance to absorb in the beauty of the Devils Slide as you get a little closer to it before descending down to the trail that runs between. By this point I was determined to add it to our little adventure, I just didn't tell Sophie or Dave until we got to the start of that particular walk.
The descent down to Wansborough Way is steep and at this point I wished I had brought my hiking poles to help with balance and to take pressure of the knee joints.
Once again we had entered the karri forest navigating our way the narrow uneven trail passing by moss covered granite once again.
A dieback station has been set up as you approach the range floor. Please make sure you do the right thing and clean your boots to prevent the spread of dieback throughout the range.
It's very obvious once you have come out on to Wansborough Way and from here you have a couple of choices. You can turn left and descend down a very steep hill to Waddy's Hut, or you continue on straight ahead to do the Devils Slide which we did on this particular day however the weather turned on us and by the time we got to the bridge and turned around the clouds had covered Nancy Peak so we knew we had little time left but continued on, making it to the top only to be greeted by a total white out. I couldn't believe we had spent hours admiring it only to then be greeted with that once we got up there haha
It just meant we had to do it another time and once we moved down here we had lots of opportunities. You can read all about our Devils Slide experience here.
If your not wanting to add Devils Slide to the circuit you turn right on to Wansborough Way and walk the 1.65km trail back to the Tree-in-the-Rock picnic area. It's quite a nice walk through tall karri trees, a reminder of just how small we are in this world.
As you approach the picnic area there is another short walk you can do. I have done it a million times but the blog it still to come. The Bolganup Heritage Trail is a 600m loop walk beneath the towering Karri trees to Bolganup Creek and return back to Tree-in-the-Rock picnic area.
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 first nations 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.