Location: Stirling Range National Park
Distance: 42km drive
Trail Marker: Unmarked trail, easy to follow
Cost: National Park Entry Fees Apply
Toilet Facilities: Only at Eastern Lookout, Bluff Knoll
Dog Friendly: No
Date drove: 2nd May 2020
The Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia with rugged peaks that rise more than 1000 metres above sea level. The park is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots with over 1500 species of flora packed within its boundaries, many of which grow nowhere else on earth. The Stirling Range is also renowned for its unusual cloud formations. Koi Kyenunu-ruff, is the Aboriginal name for the range, and means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’ which is a frequently seen occurrence. Home to a variety of walking trails, today we decided to explore the 42km scenic drive trail that winds through the heart of the park from the Western Lookout near Red Gum Spring to the Eastern Lookout below Bluff Knoll.
After a quick brekky stop at the famous Mount Barker Bakery we left Barker and made our way to the Western edge of the range to begin the drive trail near Red Gum Spring. The range has been severely affected by bush fires recently, in fact on two occasions but new life was evident with plenty of regrowth covering the park. In fact is has been said that this Wildflower season will likely be the best yet as a result. There's something special about driving through the range, it evokes peace and gratitude for just how amazing country really is.
There are a few vantage points along the route, Western Lookout is the first stop coming in from Red Gum Spring, providing sweeping views of the Eastern Peaks framed by Baby Barnett Hill and Mondurup Peak. The peaks, valleys and plains are clothed in a thin mantle of vegetation of montane thickets, mallee heath and woodlands that contain just some of those 1500 endemic flora species. White Gum Flat provides the next opportunity to pause and reflect on the beauty surrounding with picnic tables inviting visitors to stop in the shady woodlands. Central Lookout invites you to think about the forces that have crafted the landscape below. A short walk from the carpark will see you arrive a the lookout, marked by a large rock cairns. The last 50m is steep, with jagged edges so make sure your wearing quality footwear. The views are awe inspiring looking out to the peaks in the east and west as well as out to the neighbouring Porongurup Range. The peaks of the Stirlings consist of sandstone and quartzite that was laid down more than 1800 million years ago as sand, silt and clay in ancient rivers and early oceans. The final lookout is the Eastern Lookout found at the base of Bluff Knoll, not actually on Stirling Range Drive itself. The lookout offers sweeping vistas into the heart of the park and stunning views of Bluff Knoll's craggy slopes and summit.