The Porongurups: WA’s most overlooked National Park
Located in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia lies one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges and one of the best regions for hiking, holidaying, and wining and dining. Often overlooked due to living in the shadow of the famous Stirling Range national Park and the even more famed Bluff Knoll. This region is an amazing place to head to for a mini vacay or even a stopover on your next trip down south from Perth.
Over 1.2 billion years ago it is suspected that the landmasses that make up Australia and Antarctica collided to form this ancient range. This wise old mountain range is now home to one of a kind trails and breathtaking views. So hop in your car, lace up your hiking boots and charge up that camera because this is a spot you won’t want to forget.
Hikes and Trail Walks
You will find a variety of hiking trails here, from gentle flat strolls to rocky peak climbs that reach up to 670 meters in height. The most famous trail in the area is by far the Granite Skywalk, a massive steel structure that actually allows you to walk along the top and the edge of the massive granite rock called castle rock. With impressive views from all around you can see why people make the effort to walk the 2.2 kilometers up that finishes with a rock scramble and ladder climb. But do not fear there are more vantage points from down below if that is more your style.
We also would highly recommend taking the time to check out Nancy Peek and the Devils slide while you are in the area. This walk is one of the most amazing hikes in the region and hardly anyone talks about it so chances are you will find it way less crowded than the Granite Skywalk. This 6.4 kilometer loop will take you up 447 meters to Nancy Peak and then over to the Devils Slide. Here you will find yourself on the face of a Granite rock formation that looks like it is sliding off the face of this earth. It is a truly stunning sight to behold.
Wining and Dining in the Porongurups
Once you have had your fill of hikes swap out those dirty boots for some classy shoes and head out on a winery tour. This region is famous for its cold climate wines that will have you wondering how you have not heard of this region yet. Stop in at Dukes Vineyard, Castle Rock Estate Wines, and Zarephath Wines and be sure to try the Riesling which is the star wine of the region. You will be sure to have a boot full of bottles to share with friends when you head back home.
As for dining there are a few options in the area that focus on breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Be sure to book ahead for lunch if you have your heart set on somewhere. With such a small town it is pretty common that these places fill up quickly. Zarephath has a boutique contury kitchen with a modest menu including a tasting platter and a dorper lamb with homegrown veggies that should not be missed. You can also find an amazing Thia feast that can be enjoyed in the middle of a bamboo garden at Maleeya’s Thai Café. And if it is a cozy café vibe that you are after then you must head to the Porongurup Inn Shop and Tearooms. This stone cottage is as charming as ever and is a great place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.
Where to Stay
If you are after a cozy chalet that is private, self serviced and nestled in the woods among the karri trees then check out Woodlands Retreat. This chalet can be booked for 2-4 people and it includes a heated outdoor spa. Otherwise we recommend that you stay at Karribank, the oldest operating country retreat in all of Western Australia. Weary travellers have been resting their heads here since the early 1900s. With gorgeous cottages set against stunning gardens and tranquil water features you will be unwinding in no time.