We approached the Stirling Ranges National Park at the magic hour. The warm colours of the sun on the golden field of wheat with the ranges in the background added some magic to the end of our long, boring drive. From Esperance, the GPS indicates to drive straight for… 4.5 hours!
We divided the drive back to Perth with a stop at the Stirling Ranges National Park, 75km north of Albany. We initially did not plan this detour. Travellers we met along the coast recommended visiting the only major mountains in the southern part of Western Australia. It sounded like a nice change from the beaches we had seen for the last ten days. Moreover, after climbing Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand, we were in the mood for reaching another summit.
The peaks of the Stirling Ranges rise in the middle of the flat land, offering an incredible view to those who make the effort to climb a bit. As we got closer, we could distinguish the relief on the ridges of the mounts. We got excited thinking of the next day and wondering which one was the highest, Bluff Knoll, as we were planning to conquer this popular summit.
We camped at Moingup Springs, surrounded by trees and funny insects I had never seen before! If, like us, you’re travelling without an ice box to keep food refrigerated, you can grab food (and meat for the barbie!) by turning left to the town centre of Ongerup.
Bluff Knoll Summit, the top of the Stirling Ranges
Bluff Knoll is the most popular hike in the area. It’s the highest peak of the South of Western Australia (1,099m). At the summit, the 360° view on the flatlands gives the rewarding feeling to be on top of the world. Some even say that they see the horizon of our round planet earth falling.
The hike is a 6-kilometre round trip. With an easy-to-follow path, there is no significant difficulty except going up a lot. However, the weather can become a real challenge.
In this area, the weather can change quickly, so it is recommended to bring warm and water resistant clothes. The group who told us about this hike could only stay a few minutes at the summit because of the cold. Our experience less than a week later was an entirely different story. We hiked during a 40° sudden heat wave, and we felt like making efforts in a sauna. The summit was slightly cooler with a bit of wind, which was nice!
It took us 1h20 to reach the top, and the same amount of time to go down. The views when going down were stunning. We spent 40 minutes enjoying the summit.
42 km Scenic Drive through the Stirling Ranges
After climbing Bluff Knoll, cooling down with the car air-con during the scenic drive was a fantastic option! We had a beautiful drive in the heart of the national parks. It was very pleasant to see the changing landscapes and discover the mounts from different angles. The dirt road was well-maintained so 2WD can enjoy the views too.
I wouldn’t classify the Stirling Ranges as a must-do in Western Australia if your time is limited, but it was definitely a nice stop on the way back to Perth.
Are you planning a trip to Western Australia? Or have you been there already? Have the Stirling Ranges made it to the list? Tell me what you think in the comments!
Where are Bluff Knoll and the Stirling Ranges?
The Stirling Ranges are the only major mountains in the southern part of Western Australia. They are approximately 300 km from Perth, and a nice detour if you are in the Albany or Denmark region.