Location: Castle Rock Rd, Porongurup National Park
Distance: 1km loop
Trail Marker: Walitj (wedge tail eagle) markers
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $13 national park fees
Date Hiked: 15th December 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
The Walitj Meil Walk Trail is a Friends of the Porongurup Range initiative and was funded through the Australian Government’s Community and Heritage Icons Grant, in liaison with the local Noongar community and in partnership with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ (DBCA) Parks and Wildlife Service.
Significant Noongar totems including the Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Mighty Marri and the Wardong (raven) are featured along the trail as well as the Iconic Porongurup Karri described by Von Mueller as the Grandest Tree and local flora noted for Noongar use. Bush Melodies highlight a few of the many bird species in the Park. A walking worm endemic to the Porongurup who boasts 15 pairs of legs and has remained relatively unchanged for over 500 million years takes its place in Relics to showcase an ancient Gondwanan species.
For a short little walk it really does have a lot going for it. The start of the walk can be a little tricky to find for some but I did feel there is good enough signage for most. At the Granite Skywalk picnic area there is a very clear blue square with a Walitj symbol pointing the way. The trail marker of the Walitj Meil Walk Trail is the wedge-tailed eagle, which is a symbol of strength, beauty and inspiration to the traditional owners of the area.
I was quite early on the trail this particular morning so was lucky to have a few of the locals hanging around for breakfast.
From the start walkers follow the trail markers along the edge of the karri/marri/yate forest to a scenic view across to the Stirling Range National Park.
The first stand out feature of the walk is the 'Mighty Marri', known by its Noongar name - marri, easily recognised by the redgum which oozes from the trunk, a result of wood-boring insects.
A piece of artwork left from the 2018 Art in the Park is seen at the base of a small tree. My thought is that the red represents the redgum bleeding from the trunk but I couldn't be sure.
Interpretive signage provides insight into local plants and animals, colonial history and Noongar culture. I particularly enjoyed reading about how the Red Tailed Cockatoo got his red tail feathers. Apparently three cockatoo species inhabit this forest. I am assuming they are the Baudin and Carnaby white tailed cockatoo as well as the Red Tailed.
Some other great info talk about the elusive and mischievous spirits called Mummari men are are believed to believed to become active at night encouraging those who are not welcome to leave.
I have been hiking in the range at night and early hours of the morning. Personally I sensed a slightly darker presence whilst hiking down the Granite Skywalk Trail, not an evil one, but definitely one that was cautious. The Nancy Peak Trail and Manyat Trails however I felt more connected too so would really love to delve a little more into this area, if that is even possible.
Other interpretive signs tell the story of the Wren and Eagle and how the male splendid fairy-wren became a splendid blue, info on the melodies of the bush by the local birds, endemic species of velvet worms and the Declaration of the Park which happened in 1926.
Before you know it, you have reached an amazing vantage point for taking in the views of the Stirling Range. The lookout area has a picnic table and bench providing walkers with the opportunity to sit and reflect taking in the beauty of the views and surrounding area before entering the karri forest and returning to the picnic area following the trail through the forest.
Weaving through the forest on a single narrow track, walkers are greeted with some of the most beautiful sights of granite rocks, seeping redgum and an understory thick with lush green foilage.
An interpretive sign talks about sharing the knowledge and how scientists and indigenous people have come together to share knowledge in the use of plants as a source of food, as medicine, for tool making or creating shelter.
I think the Friends of Porongurup Range have done an amazing job at bringing everyone together to create what is a very interesting little walk. If only all of our walking trails provided so much history and knowledge, think at how much more connected we would be to the earth.
The trail loops back around and ends up back at the picnic area just a little bit up from where it began. Turn left to head back to the car or if you still have energy left to burn turn right and begin the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Trail.
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.