Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia. The rugged peaks, which rise to more than 1000 metres above sea level, feature stark cliff faces, sheltered gullies, magnificent views and a rich diversity of unique and colourful wildflowers. The park is one of the world’s most important areas for flora with 1500 species, many of which grow nowhere else, packed within its boundaries.
The Stirling Range is renowned for its unusual, and sometimes spectacular cloud formations. The Aboriginal name for the range, Koi Kyenunu-ruff, means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’ – a frequently seen occurrence. The range is also one of few places in Western Australia where snow occasionally falls.
Moingup Spring is a lovely bush camp set amongst jarrah and marri trees and centrally located in the park. Camping fees apply. Stirling Range Retreat and Mt Trio Bush Camping and Caravan Park2, both on the park’s northern boundary, offer a range of accommodation and services.
The Stirling Range Drive winds through the heart of the park and offers ever-changing views of rugged peaks, each with its unique character. This 42km drive, on mostly unsealed roads graded for two-wheel drive, stretches from the Western Lookout near Red Gum Spring to the Eastern Lookout below Bluff Knoll. Take a break in the drive to enjoy sweeping vistas from Central Lookout or a picnic in shady woodlands at White Gum Flat.
Walking is an ideal way to discover the rugged beauty and enchanting wildflowers of the Stirling Range. There are established walks up Bluff Knoll, Mt Trio, Mt Toolbrunup, Mt Hassell, Talyuberlup Peak and Mt Magog. All walks are steep and have uneven surfaces. Wear boots or sturdy footwear, weatherproof clothing and sun protection. Take plenty of food and carry two to three litres of drinking water per person for half to full day walks. Several walks have a picnic area at the start.
If you are considering undertaking the Stirling Range Ridge Walk, also known as the Eastern Peaks Ridge Route, or other cross country walks, you are advised to contact the Stirling Range National Park rangers or the Albany District Office to obtain more detailed information. (Stirling Range National Park office – 9827 9230; Albany District office – 9842 4500)
The Ridge Walk is approximately 26km one way from the north east corner of the park boundary via Ellen Peak to the Bluff Knoll Car park. This is a difficult and challenging, unmarked, cross country bushwalk with no designated trail through a Wilderness Zone. It takes two to three days to complete hiking in rugged terrain. This bushwalk is not a managed route and natural hazards exist. Walkers are responsible for their personal safety and will need to ensure they are well planned, prepared and exercise appropriate caution.
To undertake the Ridge Walk bushwalkers require previous experience in the outdoors and a high level of specialised skills and equipment including navigation skills, a map and navigation equipment to complete the walk. Bushwalkers need to be self-reliant, particularly in regard to emergency first aid and be prepared for unforseen weather conditions which may be extreme. Storms and severe weather may affect navigation and safety. Walkers undertaking this route are strongly advised to carry their own Personal Locator Beacon and mobile communication devices in case of emergencies.
Bluff Knoll is the most popular trail in the Stirling Range with outstanding 360 degree views from the summit. The walk starts at the southern end of the Bluff Knoll car park and picnic area. The trail first drops down to a creek and then goes across a mountainside to a saddle. Here you can look over the ridge to the south coast. The trail then turns left and follows the ridge to the summit. Eucalypt woodland, banksia and grass trees blanket the lower slopes while exposed outcrops reveal layers in the rock – evidence of fine sediments that settled on the bottom of an ancient shallow sea long ago and then slowly became compressed into layers of rock.