Location: Porongurup National Park just over 30 minutes from Albany
Distance: 4.4 km return (it took us about 2 hours)
Difficulty: Grade 4 – Bush walking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
What to bring: Nerves to climb the ladder at the top
Cost: There is an entry fee for the National Parks which is $15 for a day pass or you can get a cheaper deal if you will be heading to the parks for longer. Check it out here.
When I told everyone I was heading down south to Albany, the most common recommendation I received was to climb to the Granite Skywalk atop Castle Rock in the Porongurup National Park. After looking at the most amazing drone pictures online, I decided I just HAD to go during sunset. My Uncle Paul and cousin Millie didn’t need much convincing to come along with me. Even though Millie had completed the walk exactly one year prior, to the day. The night before we were set to complete the hike, she excitedly packed her school bag full of exercise clothes, snacks and torches. We were very well prepared.
After picking Millie up from school, we drove to the Porongurups and began the 2.2km hike to the top. My uncle was worried about his fitness levels but he left us in his dust and absolutely powered up the mountain. The track led through the bush and Millie and I found plenty of photo ops along the way amongst the trees and boulders.
After we’d been climbing for about an hour, we began to notice the trees thinning out and huge granite boulders standing in their place. Only a few hundred metres from the top, there is a beautiful look out over the forest and farms. We stopped here to enjoy the view and some of the snacks Millie had packed for us. There were only a handful of obstacles between us and the skywalk now. And the sun was beginning to set. Buckle up for the best bit.
Following the track around a bit further, you come to a narrow walkway between two towering boulders. After a hop, skip and a jump (literally) over the rocks you climb out onto a flat granite boulder. The views from this platform were insane! As was the drop if you looked over the edge. This was the checkpoint before the end. The final obstacle was attached to the boulder in front of us. A 20 rung ladder straight up. My cousin had apparently never made it past this point before so we were determined to overcome the hurdle this time. Paul went for it. Straight up, no worries. Millie followed pretty confidently. I brought up the rear with my humongous drone backpack on my back which hardly fit in the surrounding cage. I feigned confidence right to the top and it wasn’t until my uncle said, “that was actually pretty scary wasn’t it”, that I showed how much my hands were shaking. We’d reached the skywalk. And boy was it worth it!
The skywalk has a recycled plastic material flooring with glass, waist-high walls on both sides to protect you from the drop. If you look straight down, you can see straight through the gaps to the huge descent below. I scrambled to get the drone up in the sky as the sun was setting behind a larger mountain I didn’t know would be there. I pretty much missed the sun on Castle Rock as you can see but the views were so beautiful. We stayed up there for a good half an hour before we made the decision to head back down before it got too dark. We made it back to the car right before the sun set. Didn’t even need a torch. Did I mention that we saw NO ONE on the track the whole way?! Those post coronavirus wins. Cannot recommend this awesome little hike enough!