Local Escapes

Dust Off Your Boots And Book A Trip To WA’s Most Underrated Hiking Hot Spot

By Cassandra Charlick
1st Oct 2021

Castle Rock hike in the Porogurup Ranges captured by Let's Escape Together

Often caught in the shadow of the mighty Bluff Knoll and The Stirling Range National Park, The Porongurup Range, better known as ‘The Porongurups’, is one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges. It’s also home to some of the best hiking trails in the South West and a smattering of Australia’s best wineries.

Wondering where to head on your next min-vacay? At just over a four hour drive from Perth, the Porongurups are a sure bet for some epic adventures.

Get Set For Epic Hiking In The Porongurups

Yep, at 1.2 billion years old, the Porongurups are indeed one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges and are full of interesting trails and Instagram worthy views. You’ll find a host of different options across the 12km range, from gentle flat strolls, through to rocky trails hitting the highest peaks at 670 metres high. The area is set within the Porongurup National Park, so you’ll need to make sure you purchase either a day pass or a multi-day holiday pass to truly enjoy it all. 

Park at the Castle Rock picnic area, and be sure to take the time to enjoy the 4.4km return hike up to the lower lookout. Those who get a thrill from scrambling over rocks and gazing out over some of the best views in the region will want to tackle the granite skywalk and the 6 meter ladder at the top. It’s worth it! For a more gentle option, take the  Walitj Meil Walk Trail at the base of the granite slopes.

Another great spot is the Tree-In-The-Rock picnic area. You’ll find a handful of different hike options from the starting point, including a trek to Devils Slide; the highest peak in the range.

As always, be sure to slip-slop-slap, bring plenty of water and snacks, and always advise someone of your plans ahead of time, so they know when you’ll be expected to return. We recommend sturdy hiking boots if you have them, however sneakers should also do the job for most of the trails. Also hot tip, not all of the car parks accept card, so bring some cash or book online in advance. 

Wine In The Porongurup Mountain Range

Seriously, if you call yourself a wine-lover, then you are missing out on some of the best stuff if you’ve not visited the wineries of the Porongurups. Thanks to the terroir (a French term describing the environmental factors affecting wine crops) of the land, a cooler climate, and Mediterranean long ripening season, the wines produced are of exceptional quality. Not many people know just how bloody good they are, though, so you’ll be hailed as a hero at your next wine gathering back home when you take a few bottles back with you.

Riesling truly is the star of the show in this region, however you’ll also find stellar examples of cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. Be sure to stop off at Dukes Vineyard, Castle Rock Estate Wines and Zarephath Wine, and arrive with plenty of space in the boot as you’ll not be leaving empty handed.

Fuel Up With The Best Porongurup Eats

With a population of only 290 people, you’ll need to book ahead when it comes to meal times. For your lunch-time bookings, try Zarephath Wine for a post hike feed, or enjoy a surprising Thai meal in the middle of a bamboo garden at Maleeya’s Thai Cafe. Ironwood Estate Wines provide simple, yet wholesome cafe food and the view alone is worth a stop here for hungry bellies and weary feet.

The Porongurup Inn, Shop and Tearooms is a cute-as-pie stone cottage, drenched in country charm and character. Pop in for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea—or all three if you’ve been hiking up an appetite. There is also cosy accommodation here, and you’ll find all the essentials in the shop if you’ve run out of band-aids or walking snacks.

Dinner time in the ranges is generally DIY, so it’s best to grab supplies on your way through the nearby town of Mount Barker. The bakery is an award winning one, so if you’d like to ‘heat and eat', just pick up a pie or quiche on your way through. You can pop into the historic Karri On Bar for a meal from Friday through to Sunday, where along with a tasty supper and local beer, you’re guaranteed to leve feeling like one of the locals.

Rest Your Head At These Porongurup Stays

You can’t find a better spot to stay than at Karri Bank, WA’s oldest country retreat. Yes, really—it’s been hosting weary travellers since the early 1900s. Set amongst rambling gardens filled with roses, shady canopies and tranquil water features, the cottages range from family chalets through to rooms with an ensuite spa for two.

Relaxed and casual, the accommodation here is cosy and welcoming and the perfect spot to properly unwind from everyday life. Sit on the veranda and watch the sun set over the ranges and the rolling countryside surrounding the property. If staying over the weekend, you’ll also be able to enjoy dinner on site at the Karri On Bar.

Continue Your South West Adventure

After you’ve taken in all the magic of the ranges and driven the 23km Porongurup Scenic drive, check out the South West Edge for some expert ideas on where to head next. If you’ve got the time, why not enjoy the entire 12 day road trip?

While your down that way, why not add this epic 11-day foodie fest to your agenda.

Image credit: Let's Escape Together

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