This Stirling Ranges in Western Australia is one of the most spectacular places to spend a weekend away hiking in nature. We all know about them because Bluff Knoll is one of our highest peaks and makes for fantastic Instagram posts, but it can have a lot of foot traffic and once you've done it once, I would really encourage you to explore the other peaks in this national park near Perth. This weekend outlined here was birthed into existence as my friend and I attempted the Stirling Range Ridge Walk. We showed up and did not realise that it had been close due to wildfire damage.... so we made the best of it and had a blast.
HIKE QUICK SUMMARY:
Length: Weekender: OVERNIGHT. 3 separate hikes all with significant climbing
Day 1- 4km (grade 5) Mt Toolbrenup & chill
Day 2 - 3.5km (grade 5) Mt Trio + 4.7kg (grade 5) Castle Rock Granite Skywalk
Difficulty Level: Moderate to hard, the grade is steep but the distances low. Get you're climbing muscles ready.
Start Point: Mt Trio Bushcamp - HOME BASE.
Terminus: Not applicable, but you will finish in Porongurup National Park.
Logistics: You require a vehicle. Arrive late Friday evening or leave early on Saturday morning - JUST TAKE EXTREME CARE as there are many kangaroos that cross the road esp about half an hour away from the Mt Trio bushcamp. Take a map or GPS to find the hikes, all are very well signposted. Fuel up: as close to the national park as you can. The nearest fuel otherwise is Amelup, 25min from home base. On day 2 complete Mt Trio early then travel to Porongurup National Park for the Castle Rock Hike, from here head back to Perth or wherever you are travelling from!
Overnight Stay: Mt Trio Bushcamp -you need to book online or email them. It's $16/night/person for an unpowered sight, they have an open awesome communal area with fireplaces, tables, bbq, fridge, basic kitchen and kettles. It's really well equipped yet is still very basic and the open-air style to it makes you feel like you're always in the outdoors. Bring your tent or swag, it can get very cold. The bushcamps also have basic hot showers, luxury.
Honestly, I really recommend this place, even though it has all amenities you don't feel like you are in a caravan park, it's in the bush, has great views and as long as you are not going on a public holiday weekend it's very peaceful. Usually, I am not a fan of road accessible campsites, but this place holds dear to my heart and I always feel like going back.
Break Points/POI: The mountain top of each hike of course! Granite Skywalk.
Water Sources: Mt Trio Bushcamp.
Food Resupply: Collect all supplies before leaving for your weekend, limited capacity to replenish in the Stirling Ranges. Your options are as follows, however, note opening hours are not the most reliable, call then before leaving to check: Amelup Service Station for lollies and snacks. Borden Tavern for a bottle store and a pub meal (does not open till after 4/5 pm) about 40 min from Mt Trio. Bluff Knoll Cafe and Shop - they recently closed, so check before heading there for food or groceries.
Fire: Communal fireplace and stove at Mt Trio, no personal fires. This is a great place to have a chat and meet new people, not to mention it's usually a large fire and will still be going in the morning when you wake up - so you can defrost at any time.
Recommended Equipment/Clothing: Rug up - this is one of the few places in WA where snow falls. GPS/downloaded google map of the area - reception is poor.
Time of Year: Any! Wildflower season is supposed to be wonderful. CHECK for park closures before going on the DPAW website.
Navigation: Use trail markers, it's nearly impossible to get lost.
Mobile Reception Coverage: Poor better on Telstra than Vodaphone but still not reliable, download what you need before you go.
Hazards: Kangaroo with nighttime driving. Watch your step on Mt Toolbrenup you will be boulder jumping and climbing. The Skywalk - if you have acrophobia I wish you luck, meditate yourself before attempting the granite skywalk or sit it out, there is a reasonably scary ladder you have to climb up and the floor is grated so you can very much see how high you are.
Flora and Fauna: Grass trees galore, I hiked these after wildfires so mainly saw burnt trees and beautiful regenerating growth.
Highlights: Mt Toolbrunup! it's a really fun Challenging hike, and even though we saw no view on the day because of fog it was still incredibly gorgeous.
Nadirs: None, except that we missed out on our original plan and when we went looking for a bottle store the opening hours were not reliable and our positivity drained miserably.
Arrival - Friday Night - left work at 4:30 pm to arrive around 9:30 pm at Mt Trio bushcamp.
Day 1 - Breakfast and coffee in the bushcamp around the ashes and small flames around the campfire. Travel to Mt Toolbrenup mid-morning - hike up the mountain, take many pictures and lunch at the top. The afternoon can be used to do the short hike in Mt Trio bush camp (it's only about 30 minutes), relaxing and reading. Alternatively - make your way to Borden Tavern, fill up along the way at Amelup, and buy a bottle of wine or have dinner here to support local businesses. You can also explore - head to the public toilets in Borden, here is a map that has several areas of interest to check out and drive to. We drove to where the spring crosses the road and just had a wander around. Click here for the location on GoogleMaps.
Day 2 - Hike up Mt Trio early morning, then head off towards Porongurup National Park. Have lunch before you start the Castle Rock Hike and climb up to the Granite Outcrop Sky Walk. Head back home, making sure you stop somewhere local for a snack or something to support the businesses there.